|Eyre Macdonnell Stewart
|Eyre Macdonnell Stewart Crabbe was born at Southampton on 15 March 1852, and educated at Harrow. He entered the Grenadier Guards as Ensign & Lieutenant in October 1871, and served with the Auxiliary Transport in the Egyptian war of 1882 (Medal, and Khedive's Star). Promoted to Captain in November 1883, he was one of two officers of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, specially selected for service with the Camel Corps in the Nile expedition of 1884-85, during which he served as Acting Quarter Master General to the Guards' Camel Regiment, and was present at the actions of Abu Klea and El Gubat (mentioned in despatches, Brevet of Major, two clasps to Egyptian medal). Confirmed in the rank of Major in June 1885, Crabbe was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in July 1898, and assumed command of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He took the regiment to South Africa on the outbreak of the Boer War, arriving at Cape Town on 15 November 1899. He subsequently took part in the advance on Kimberley, including the actions at Belmont - wounded, and Magersfontein; the operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900 - seriously wounded 23rd March - including the actions at Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Vet River, and Zand River; in the Transvaal in May and June, including the actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill; and in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria, July to 29th November, including the action at Belfast (twice mentioned in despatches, C.B., Queen's Medal with 5 clasps, King's Medal with 2 clasps). In the action at Belmont, Lieutenant Blundell was notoriously shot and mortally wounded by a wounded Boer, to whose assistance he was going. In a similar fashion a Boer lying on the ground with a smashed knee shot Colonel Crabbe at close range through the wrist and thigh, the command of the Grenadiers consequently devolving on Major Kinloch. Colonel Crabbe ‘might probably have been killed had not a private suddenly rushed to the rescue. The plucky fellow shot two of the enemy, silenced a third with his bayonet, and finally, amid a shower of bullets, carried off the Colonel to the shelter of an Ambulance wagon.' Crabbe's second wounding was altogether a most unfortunate incident. On the 23rd of March, 1900, some officers of the Guards Brigade rode off from Glen Camp in the early morning to make arrangements with the local farmers for ensuring forage and supplies. The party consisted of Colonel Crabbe, 3rd Grenadiers, Colonel Codrington, Coldstream Guards, Adjutant Hon E Lygon, Captain Trotter, and an orderly, Private Turner of the 1st Cape Volunteers. While riding along close to a homestead called Maas Farm, the Guards party discovered that four mounted men were making for a kopje as though to head them off. Whereupon the party instantly advanced to meet the enemy. These promptly hid themselves behind the friendly boulders, where they were joined by three other Dutchmen, who assisted them in pouring a smart shower of lead upon the approaching officers. These, with only four Lee-Metfords between them, made an effort to get at the unseen enemy, but in a very few moments all the members of the British band had dropped. Colonel Crabbe had a bullet through arm and leg, and his horse was killed. Colonel Codrington was injured in the thigh. Lieutenant Lygon was shot through the heart and died instantaneously, while Captain Trotter and Private Turner were also wounded. Then between the prostrate Colonels a debate took place. Now that resistance was useless, each invited the other to display a white handkerchief. One refused because he declared he couldn't - his handkerchief was a crimson one. The other refused becaused he vowed he wouldn't - his handkerchief was a British one, and never manufactured for waving at Boers. But, finally, he was brought to reason, and immediately on display of the magic square the Boers ceased fire. The prisoners were carefully tended by the Boers, however, who requested an ambulance to be sent from the Guards' Camp, whereupon the wounded were given up by their captors and allowed to return to camp in the charge of the medical party. The body of the Hon. E Lygon was also removed, and buried the next day. In the closing months of the war, Colonel Crabbe rendered invaluable service in command of a mobile column during the great hunt for De Wet and his fellow commando leaders. His most notable success was the capture of the Boer leader Kritzinger in December 1901. On returning from South Africa he was appointed Assistant Quarter Master General, 1st Army Corps, in November 1902. In April 1903, he was appointed Chief Staff Officer, 4th Army Corps, with the rank of Brigadier-General, which appointment he held until transferred to the 1st Army Corps at Aldershot, where he served until his death on 8 March 1905. Sold with a substantial quantity of research including a complete photocopy of First or Grenadier Guards in South Africa 1899-1902, published in 1907, the narrative of the 3rd battalion's history having been written by Brigadier-General Crabbe, who only completed the work two days before he died.
CB b/b, Jubilee 1897, Egypt (2) The Nile 1884-85, Abu Klea (Lieut., 3/Grenr. Gds.); QSA (5) Belm Drief Joh DH Belf (Lt Col., CB, Gren. Gds.); KSA (2) (Col., CB, Gren Gds.); Khedive's Star 1882. Spinks Apr 68. DNW Jul 04 £5,500
Source: List of CB recipients. Various sources
|He was the son of Captain Frederick Crewe, 17th Madras Infantry, and is descended from the Crewes of Crewe, Cheshire, of which family he is one of the few male representatives remaining. He was born in London on Jan 11, 1855, and was educated privately. Colonel Crewe has had a varied political and military career. He went to SA in March, 1878, and joined the Cape Mounted Riflemen, serving with this regiment through the Kaffir War, receiving for his services medal and clasp, 1878-79. He again saw service in the Basuto War of 1880-81, receiving medal and clasp. In 1881 he retired from the CMR and commenced farming. In 1898 he stood for Aliwal North for the House of Assembly, and was only defeated by two votes. In May of the following year he was returned to the Legislative Assembly for East Griqualand, and devoted himself to the reorganization of the Progressive party. At the general election in Feb 1904 he succeeded in ousting Mr J W Sauer from the representation of Aliwal North, and on the resignation of Sir Gordon Sprigg's Ministry immediately after the elections he joined Dr Jameson's Cabinet as Colonial Secretary. On war breaking out in SA he raised the Border Horse Regiment (Feb 1900), and served first as Major commanding and was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in May 1900, and full Colonel in May 1901. He for many months commanded a mobile column of Colonial troops in the ORC, and later on took command of the Western Div. of the Cape Colony from November 1901 to the end of the war. He retired from the CCF Dec 31, 1902. For his eminent services Colonel Crewe was mentioned in despatches, received the CB, and the medal with clasps for Wepener, Transvaal, and Cape Colony. He married Helen Orpen, daughter of J M Orpen, late Surveyor General of S Rhodesia, on July 11, 1887.
Source: List of CB recipients. Various sources