1900 - The return of Lieutenant Charles Evelyn Forrest, Oxfordshire Light Infantry, to Grymsdyke, near the village of Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire.
...."This gallant young officer, who belongs to the First Oxfordshire Light Infantry, and is the second son of Mr. John Forrest, of Grymsdyke, met with an enthusiastic greeting at the hands of his neighbours, the residents of Risborough, Lacey Green, Loosley Row, and Speen, on his arrival home from South Africa on Monday evening. Lieut. Forrest left England several months ago. He was not attached to his own Regiment, but to the Mounted Infantry, who experienced a good deal of active service under General Clements. Mr. Forrest was shot at by the Boers while performing an act of bravery in trying to rescue a comrade in connection with the task of capturing a railway at Elaandsfontein on May 29th. Lieut, Forrest and a staff officer noticed a private soldier dangerously situated in one of the trenches, and they pluckily went out to bring him to a place of safety. In this attempt they encountered a somewhat heavy fire from the enemy, and as a result both were wounded and incapacitated. Lieut. Forrest sustained a very severe wound in the calf of the leg, which was penetrated by a bullet from a Martini- Henry rifle; while his brother officer was shot in the arm in two places. Lieut. Forrest was confined in hospital for some time, and was eventually invalided home on board the transport Assaye. which conveyed nearly a thousand invalid soldiers from South Africa, and arrived in Southampton Water on Sunday night. Upon landing on Monday morning, Lieut. Forrest was met by his father, who accompanied him home via Basingstoke and Reading, arriving at Princes Risborough by the 5.36 p.m. down train. The time of the arrival had not become generally known at Risborough. so that the company which gathered there was not a large one. Those present, however, made up for the smallness of their number by the heartiness of their reception of the hero of the hour. The near approach of the train was signalled by the explosion of some fifty fog signals which had been placed on the line. When the train had come to a stop Lieut. Forrest, with his father, stepped on to the platform, the former looking remarkably well. He was attired in mufti, and carried his khaki hat in his hand. Mr. Forrest's carriage, the horses decked with red, white, and blue rosettes, was awaiting the travellers outside, and after exchanging a hearty shake of the hand with Mr. Timms, the coachman, who looked very happy on the box. the gallant young soldier, with his father, were driven away amidst hearty cheering to Grymsdyke. the charming residence of Mr. Forrest. Just at this moment Mr. Stratton's cannon was fired in honour of the event. The carriage drove on to The Windmill at Lacey Green, where a huge crowd of men, women, and children had assembled. The carriage was drawn up, and vociferous cheers raised for Lieut. For- rest, who is a native of the parish, having been born at Grymsdyke. The horses were then taken out of the carriage, and traces covered with red, white, and blue material affixed to the equipage, which was subsequently pulled by some of the villagers to Mr. Forrest's residence. Prior to the start, however, the Speen Brass Band (under the direction of Mr. W. Plumridge. jun.), played "See the conquering hero comes," and the Bandmaster read aloud the following address : —
"To Lieut. C. E. Forrest.
...."We, the inhabitants of Lacey Green, Loosley Row, and Speen, desire to present to you our hearty congratulations upon your safe arrival on British soil and to your home and friends. We are profoundly conscious of the many hardships and privations you, together with her Majesty's forces in South Africa, have undergone, in order to maintain the prestige of our beloved country, and uphold the valour of the British Army. Our sympathy is extended to every sick and wounded officer and man. and while we wish to see a speedy termination of the war, we are desirous that every effort should be made to uphold the glorious traditions of the Army, Navy, and Colonial Forces, and we are convinced that at whatever cost of blood am! money, no effort will be spared in the present conflict to add yet another to the many brilliant victories which for ages have made the British Army at once the admiration and terror of the world. We welcome you to our midst, and we wish that your life may be spared that you may help to develop and maintain the efficiency for which the Regiment to which you belong is distinguished." (Applause.) ....Lieutenant Forrest, who was enthusiastically cheered, in a brief reply, said it was very kind of them to give him that address. He did not think he deserved it, because there were fellows out in South Africa who were doing a great deal more than he had done or was likely to do. He did not expect anything like the present welcome at all; and his father never told him that any preparation was being made to receive him. It was very kind indeed of them all. and also very kind of the Band for coming there, and those who were going to pull the carriage. He laughingly added that he hoped they would be quick about it—a remark which elicited renewed cheering and merriment. The coachman having taken his seat on the box. a start was promptly made for Grymsdyke, tbe band playing appropriate marches, including "Soldiers of the Queen," Home, sweet home," and "God save the Queen." At the entrance to the grounds a line of flags was displayed, together with the words "Welcome Home," while the hedgerow on the side of the drive was studded with miniature flags. Bunting was also displayed at many houses in the village. At Grymsdyke Lieut. Forrest was received by Mrs. Forrest, his mother, and the Rev. Graham Forrest (brother). Other members of the family were unable to be present. Mr. and Mrs. Forrest hospitably provided refreshments in the coach-house, cups bearing the photograph of Lord Roberts being presented to a number of those present as a souvenir of the occasion. The proceedings terminated with performances by the Band." The Bucks Herald, Saturday 15th September 1900
Source: DSO recipients
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Charles Evelyn Forrest, born 1876, at Lacey Green. After boarding school he joined the regular army. In 1901, he was a lieutenant in the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, living in Cowley Barracks. He married Ruth Mary Holmes A'court (1885-1960), at Oxford, on 20th September 1910. Her father was the Chief of Police in Oxfordshire. In 1911 Captain Charles Forrest and Ruth Mary Forrest lived at Cherry Orchard, Combe, Westbury on Trym, Gloucestershire. ....Charles Evelyn fought with the 43rd Ox and Bucks, 1st Battalion Mounted Infantry from 1899-1902, in the Boer War, South Africa. He was slightly wounded at Elandsfontein; fought in five operations; Was awarded The Queen's Medal with 3 clasps; the King's Medal with 2 clasps; was mentioned in despatches, and awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In India from 1910. 1914, WW1, in Mesopotamia, in command of "S" Company throughout operations on the Tigris, battles of Es Sinn and Ctesiphon, where he was killed in action 22/11/15. He was buried at Al Basrah, Iraq. He was a good all-round sportsman, a good shot, and a keen and bold rider to hounds. He played polo for the 43rd when in India. Taken, with permission, from the Lacey Green & Loosley Row villages' website -
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