Pictures courtesy of Spink
QSA (2) Cape Colony, South Africa 1902 (Lieut: Visct: T. U. C. Northland. Coldstream Guards.)
1914 Star (Lieut: Viscount Northland C. Gds.);
British War and Victory Medals (Capt. Viscount Northland.);
Great War Bronze Memorial Plaque (Thomas Uchter Caulfield Viscount Northland)
Thomas Uchter Caulfield Knox, Viscount Northland was born on 13 June 1882 at Northland House, Dungannon, the son of Uchter John Mark Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly and Hon. Constance Elizabeth Caulfeild. Educated at Eton College, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1900 and served with them during the Boer War (Medal & 2 clasps). He thence went out to New Zealand during the Governor-Generalship of his father, to act as Aide-de-Camp to the Earl from 1903-04. He left the Coldstream Guards in 1906, subsequently joining the Yorkshire Dragoons and being added to the Reserve of Officers in 1907.
Having been married in 1912, he took a keen interest in the Ulster Volunteer Force. Northland was chiefly instrumental in organising and training the 4th (Dungannon) Battalion of the Tyrone Regiment, which numbered 2,500 some men. He was also Commanding Officer of the Battalion.
An enthusiastic Orangeman, on the death of H. W. Chambre in 1914 he had been elected Deputy Grand Master of the County Tyrone Grand Orange Lodge and District Master of Killyman District Orange Lodge; he also held the office of Deputy Grand Master of the Orange Institution of Ireland.
With the outbreak of the Great War, he rejoined the Coldstream Guards and served in France from 11 September 1914 but continued the call to arms back in Ireland, writing in the Tyrone Courier:
'Ulster Volunteer Force, 4th Dungannon Battalion. Your King and Country needs you now. Enlist at once for the duration of the war at the Inniskilling Fusiliers Depot, Omagh. No one should hesitate. No personal or political consideration should stop you. We will deal with politics later. I personally appeal to all members of the Dungannon Battalion to join at once and prove the loyalty of Ulster. Enlist today. Northland, Lieutenant, 4th Coldstream Guards.’
Having shared in the hot actions of the remainder of 1914, several diary entries included:
'28 September 1914
When morning came one of our groups got left in the open as the fog rose rapidly. Snipers got all three men, but one crawled in. Something had to be done and a volunteer, Dobson, crawled out and found 1 dead and the other severely wounded. It was a risky and Dobson recommended for the V.C.
21 October 1914
I dashed up to the firing line opposite where Iay down - which unfortunately was in the exposed part where the 1st supporting half-Platoon had laid. The firing now became general and we could see no Germans as the hedge protected them from view. I tried to control the fire as much as possible calling out for 3 rounds distributed on first one Section and then another, of the fence. Then a man four off me was hit in the face and started to groan and then a man to my right was slightly hit and tried to crawl off. I thought he was shamming and told him if he did not come back at once I would shoot him myself.'
He was with the 2nd Battalion by early 1915 and was killed in action on 1 February 1915, the Tyrone Courier again:
'The sad news of Captain The Hon. Viscount Northland, of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards, who was killed in action at Cuinchy, near La Bassee on Monday 1st inst., was heard of with general regret throughout Ulster, and particularly in Dungannon and district, where he was well known as an officer of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Although Viscount Northland’s death took place on Monday, the sad news only reached the London residence of his father, the Earl of Ranfurly, on Wednesday night, and it was immediately telegraphed to Northland House, Dungannon, where he was Earl in attendance. The news was broken by his medical adviser, Dr F. C. Mann, who was accompanied by a friend of the family, Mr. W. H Darragh, J.P. His Lordship was almost prostrated at the news, more especially as he had heard from Lord Northland a few days ago, stating that he was quite well and hoped to get over to London for a short visit to see his family and relatives, but it is understood he expressed his satisfaction in the fact that his gallant son had fallen in the noble cause of King and Country. When the intelligence became generally known in Dungannon on Thursday, widespread regret was expressed by all classes of the community in the town and country, amongst whom he was a well-known and popular figure. The church bells of the parish were solemnly tolled. The country folk, to whom the late Lord Northland was intimately known, expressed the sincerest sorrow of his death, as well as deep sympathy with the Earl and Countess and the bereaved widow and family. The relatives of the late Lord Northland have been informed his Lordship did not die of wounds, as was at first reported, but was shot through the head and died immediately.'
A memorial service was held at St Anne’s Parish Church, Dungannon, in which a procession of some 1,500 soldiers turned out in his memory. He was buried in the Cuinchy Communal Cemetery and an impressive marble memorial raised in Dungannon.