Sir Herbert William Wilberforce KBE CB CMG


Herbert William Wilberforce was born 4 July 1866 and educated at Eton and went to RMC Sandhurst, entering the army in 1886 and was mentioned in despatches for his work as orderly officer on the staff of Major-General W K Elles in the Hazara Expedition in 1891. He was ADC to the Governor-General of Canada 1895-98. He served in the Boer War 1899-1902, in the South African Constabulary. Herbert served throughout the First World War and was mentioned 5 times and knighted KBE in 1919. He retired in 1920 with the rank of brigadier-general. He was married to Eleanor Catherine Micklem on 7 Mar 1905. He died on 24 April 1950 aged 83.

Herbert was an accomplished polo player. While the Queen's Bays were in India from 1886 to 1895 they won the inter-regimental polo tournament three years running from 1892 to 94. He was on the team for the last two of those years. He took over command of the Bays in 1910 and provided a detachment to escort King George V and Queen Mary on a tour of Aldershot. He appears in a group photo with the rank of colonel in the centre of his officers just before they embarked for France in 1914. He commanded them at Nery on 1 Sep, where L Battery RA earned immortality with their brave action. The commander of the battery, Captain Bradbury had his legs blown off, and as he was carried back, dying, he spoke to Col Wilberforce, "Hallo Colonel," he said, "they have been giving us a warm time, haven't they?" On 21st Oct 1914 Col Wilberforce had to relinquish command temporarily as he was invalided with muscular rheumatism. On 28 April 1915 he was transferred to staff duty.


Regimental details | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe