1899, Battle of Colenso

CONGREVE, WALTER NORRIS, Captain, was born 20 November 1862, son of William Congreve, JP, DL, of Congreve, Staffs, and Burton Hall, Cheshire, and Fanny Emma, daughter of Lee Porcher Townshend, of Wincham Hall, Chester. He was educated at Harrow, and entered the Rifle Brigade in 1885. He became Captain in 1893. He served in the Boer War of 1899-1902. Was mentioned in Despatches twice, received the Queen's Medal with seven clasps, the King's Medal with two clasps, the Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel, and the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 7 February 1900]: "Walter Norris Congreve, Captain, The Rifle Brigade. Date of Act of Bravery: 15 December 1899. At Colenso, on the 15th December 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted. About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga, in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire. Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter, but seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall badly wounded, he went out and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and shoulder, and his horse shot in three places". He won the Victoria Gross with several others in an attempt to save Colonel Long's guns at Colenso. Captain Congreve served on the Staff in South Africa, as AMS and Private Secretary to Lord Kitchener. In 1900 he married Celia, daughter of Captain C B La Touche, and they had three sons, one of whom was Major Congreve, VC, DSO, MC who won his VS on the Somme. He was promoted Major, and Lieutenant Colonel on 21 December 1901. In December 1902, he became Assistant Military Secretary and ADC to HRH the Duke of Connaught in Ireland, being made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order by His Majesty the King when on a visit to that country in 1903. He became Major-General in 1915, and Lieutenant General 1918, and was created a KCB in 1917. He lost his left hand in 1917 and wore a prosthetic replacement. General Sir W N Congreve was a Commander of the Legion of Honour and held the Order of St Anne of Russia, First Class. Congreve became governor of Malta and died while in office on 26 February 1927. He was buried at sea and commemorated by a stone pillar on the Maltese South Coast and by a tablet in Stow-by Chartley church in Staffordshire.

VC, KCMG, Order of St John Knight of Grace, MVO, QSA (7) CC Paard RofL Drie Joh DH Belf, KSA (2), 1914 Star and bar, BWM, VM & MID, 1902 Coronation Medal, Russia Order of St Anne of Russia (1st Class), France Legion of Honour (Commandeur), Rumania Order of the Crown 3rd class. RHQ.

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