Lieutenant, The Hon. Charles DOUGLAS-PENNANT.
Aged 37

1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Killed in Action on Thursday 29th October 1914

An Old Contemptible

Born on 7th October 1877 at Wicken, Northants [Pottersbury 3b:31] to George Sholto GORDON, 2nd Baron PENRHYN and his 2nd wife, Gertrude, Lady PENRHYN (née GLYNNE) Wicken Park House, Wicken, Northants.

1881 census...Charles [3] was at Wicken Park House with his father George Sholto Gordon DOUGLAS-PENNANT [44] J.P. ,born Linton Spring, Yorkshire ; his mother Gertrude Jenny [30] born Howenden,Flintshire and his sisters Kathleen [19] born Chesham Place,London; Alice [18] born Easton Square,London; Ina [13] born Chapel Street, London; Violet Blanche [12] born Chapel Street, London; Gwynedd [1] born Wicken and Lilian [1 month] born Wicken, and his brother George H [3] born Torquay, Devon, plus 4 cousins and many servants.

His father succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Penrhyn in 1886.

1891 census...Charles [13] was with his parents, sisters Alice; Hilda [25] born in London; Ina; Violet Blanche; Gwynedd and Lilian and brother George. There were 4 new sisters, all born in Wicken, Winifred [8]; Margaret [5]; Nesta [3] and Elin [1].

1901 census...Charles was in South Africa with the Coldstream Guards. His parents and most of his siblings moved to Linton Springs, Yorkshire, another family seat.

On the 28th January 1905 at St Michael's, Chester Square, he married Lady Edith Ann (née Dawson), daughter of Vesey, 2nd Earl of Dartrey and they lived at Soham House, Snailwell Road, Newmarket.

1911 census...Charles was a Reserves Officer, living with his wife Lady Edith Ann at Soham House, Newmarket.

His entry in Du Ruvigny's Roll of Honour reads:-
Lieut., 1st Battn.Coldstream Guards, 3rd s.of George Sholto Gordon, 2nd Lord Penrhyn and his 2nd wife, Gertrude Jessie (37, Lennox Gardens, S.W.),yst.dau. of the Rev.Henry Glynne, Rector of Hawarden: Wicken, Northants, 7 Oct.1877: educ. Eveleyn's; Eton, and Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut., Coldstream Guards, 8 Sept.1897, and promoted Lieut. 5 Feb.1899; served in South African War, 1899-1902; took part in the advance on Kimberley, including actions at Belmont, Enslin, Modder River and Magersfontein; operations in the Orange Free State, including actions at Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Vet River (5-6 May) and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal, May-June 1900 including actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Diamond Hill (11-12 June); operations in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria, July to 29 Nov.1900, including actions at Belfast (26-27 Aug), operations in Cape Colony,Nov.1900 to 31 May, 1902 (twice mentioned in despatches [London Gazette, 26 Jan.1900 and 10 Sept.1901); Queen's medal with six clasps, King's medal with two clasps; was A.D.C. to Maj.Gen.8th Division, Irish Command (Sir Reginald Pole-Carew), 9 Nov.1902 to 1905; retired and joined the Reserve of Officers, 22 Feb.1905; rejoined his regt.on the outbreak of war went out France, 11 Sept.1914; was reported missing after the fighting near Gheluvelt, 29th Oct.following, and is now assumed to have been killed in action there that day. He m. at St.Michael's, Chester Square, 28 Jan.1905, Lady Edith Anne, née Dawson (Soham House, Newmarket), dau of Vesey, 2nd Earl of Dartrey. His elder brother, Capt.the Hon.G.H.Douglas-Pennant was killed in action, 11 March,1915, and his nephew, Lieut. the Hon.A.G.S. Douglas-Pennant was reported wounded and missing, 29 Oct.1914.

He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1912. His wife later became Lady Edith Windham of Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire

He was reported missing near Gheluvelt in Belgium, the Newmarket Journal of 7th November 1914 :-
News has been received that the Hon. Charles Douglas-Pennant, of Soham House, Newmarket, is wounded and a prisoner. His wound, it is stated, is not serious, but prevented him from keeping up with his regiment, the Coldstream Guards, and caused him to fall into the hands of the Germans. Mr Douglas-Pennant is a son of the late Lord Penrhyn, and married in 1905 Lady Edith Anne Dawson, second daughter of the Earl of Dartrey. During the South African War he was A.D.C. to General Pole-Carew, and he rejoined his regiment whenthe present war broke out."

Then, on 3rd July 1915 the Newmarket Journal reported:-

"After having for several months been kept in suspense Lady Edith Douglas-Pennant of Soham House, Newmarket, has now received news which unfortunately leaves little reason to doubt that her husband, Lieut.,the Hon Charles Douglas-Pennant of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, met his death on October 29th Last year, near Gheluvelt. Mr. Douglas Pennant, a son of the late Lord Penryhn and brother of the present peer, was only 37 years of age. His wife is a daughter of the Earl of Dartrey. Though he had resided in Newmarket for some years Lieut.Douglas Pennant took no part in public affairs; but the same sense of responsibility which led him to give his services to his country as soon as the war broke out, led him to take a real interest in the welfare of those around him, and by all in Newmarket who knew him, personally or by repute, he was held in high respect. In her loss Lady Edith has the heartfelt sympathy of everyone in the district.

From the Llangollen Advertiser February 23rd 1917:-
Lieut. the Hon.Charles Douglas-Pennant.

Information has been received from the German Red Cross Society that Lieut.the Hon.Charles Douglas-Pennant, Coldstream Guards, who was reported wounded and missing after the action near Ghiluvelt at the first battle of Ypres, Ocotber 29th, 1914, was re-buried by the Germans on November 18th 1916,in the cemetery at Reutel, Belgium.
A private letter from a prisoner of war in Germany showed that Lieut.Charles Douglas-Pennant had been killed in action, and he was reported officially in 1915 "unofficially believed killed". The information just received is the first that has come officially from Germany. The German list also gives the name of Lieut. C. Douglas-Pennant's servant F.T.Edwards, and of another officer in the same company, Sec.Liuet. Chas Williams Wynn, only son of Mr.and Mrs. A. W.Williams Wynn of Coedymaen.Wynn.

No more details have been found on line at International Red Cross records. There is just this one above

The clasps to his Queen's South Africa medal may cause some confusion, since if a soldier received a clasp for a particular action, then he could not receive the clasp for the state in which that action took place, hence he did not have the usual clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal as he had clasps for actions in all three states. Further, at that time, there was no emblem for a mention in despatches.

The battle of Gheluvelt, 29th to 31st of October 1914, was part of the first battle of Ypres. After the failures of earlier attacks, German General Falkenhayn created Army Group Fabeck. General Fabeck was given six divisions, The new formation was created to launch the big attack on the British line between Ploegsteert Wood and Gheluvelt. The main attack was due to start on 30th October, but on 29th October a preliminary attack was planned, with the aim of capturing the village of Gheluvelt. This attack failed to capture the village, but briefly threatened to break the British lines. The Germans did capture the Gheluvelt crossroads, east of the village.
The main attack, on 30th October captured the village of Zandvoorde, but did not achieve the expected breakthrough. The crisis came on 31st October. A number of German troops broke into the British lines south of Gheluvelt. After a prolonged bombardment the village was captured. The advancing Germans suffered heavy casualties, but were in a position to launch the final attack on Ypres.
The situation was restored by a counterattack. Brigadier General FitzClarence, commanding the 1st (Guards) Brigade, found some last reserves, 364 men of the 2nd Worcesters, and sent to them to retake Gheluvelt château, just east of the village. The British regulars crossed 1,000 yards of open ground, losing a third of their men, and then launched a bayonet charge against some 1,200 German troops outside the château. The German force was made up entirely of reserve units, and after a short but brutal fight fled. Combined with a second counterattack by the 7th Division, the Worcesters had restored the British line. The French provided reinforcements, taking over part of the newly extended line. The German near-breakthrough at Gheluvelt would remain the closest they came to breaking the Allied lines around Ypres until 1918.

138 men of the 1st battalion Coldstream Guards died that day and only 20 have identified graves. One reason could be that this early in the war, the recording of graves, indeed the marking of them was as yet in its infancy. The Imperial War Graves Commission had not even been thought of.

Charles was initially buried by the Germans in grave 466 in the Korpsfriedhof in Reutel (just east of Ypres, near Beselare), in a small plot in the centre of the cemetery with 4 other Coldstream Guards. They were concentrated to Perth China Wall in August 1924.

© Roy Beardsworth

Charles is buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium-Ref: X.A.26
and also commemorated on the Roll of Honour in St Marys Church, Newmarket
and Llandegai War Memorial,near Bangor, Penrhyn Castle being the family seat

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details