Lieut-Colonel W S Pilcher DSO

W S Pilcher served with the Grenadier Guards throughout the war on the Western Front. He was a lieutenant in the King's Company 1st Battalion at Ypres in the autumn of 1914 and was one of the few surviving officers from that battle. He was promoted to Captain and commanded the 4th Company, and then from Jan 1916 was in command of the King's Company. He was promoted to Major and second-in-command of the 4th Battalion in Jan 1917 and was in that position during their hardships at Gonnelieu. He took command of the sadly depleted 4th Battalion on 16 Dec 1917 and commanded them at the battles near Hazebrouck including their perilous defence at La Couronne on 13 April 1918. He was awarded the DSO and mentioned 3 times in despatches.

The photo shows Lieut-Colonel W S Pilcher DSO Grenadier Guards on the occasion of his marriage to Miss Diana Lawrence at the Guards Chapel Wellington Barracks on 30 June 1932. During WW2 Colonel Pilcher was involved in the Rudolf Hess and Admiral Canaris affair. While he commanded the Guards at Windsor he was relieved of his command, probably on the instructions of Churchill, and sent into exile in Scotland, living like a recluse until his death in 1970.

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by Stephen Luscombe