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PELHAM, Charles Sackville [Lord Worsley]

Conflict Commemorated:WWI

Last Name:PELHAM

First Name:Charles Sackville [Lord Worsley]

Date of Birth:14/08/1887

Age At Death:27

Birthplace:London

Rank:Lieutenant

Regiment/ Service:Royal Horse Guards

Unit:Machine Gun Section

Date of Death:30/10/1914

Cause of Death:Killed in action

Place of Burial/ Commemoration:YPRES TOWN CEMETERY EXTENSION West-Vlaanderen

Country:Belgium

Panel/ Bay/ Grave:2. D. 4.

UK Memorials:Brocklesby All Saints

Next of Kin:Lord Worsley. Son of Charles Alfred Worsley Pelham, 4th Earl Yarborough and the Countess of Yarborough, of Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire; husband of Lady Worsley, of 8, Great Cumberland Place, London.

Biographical Notes:Apart from the memorial tablet in All Saints Church, Brocklesby, the name of Charles Sackville Lord Worsley is among the names of the fallen engraved on the Rood Screen in St. Peter's Church, Great Limber. Charles Sackville Pelham, the eldest son of Charles Alfred Worsley Pelham, 4th Earl of Yarborough and Marcia Pelham, Countess of Yarborough, was born at 17 Arlington Street, London, on 14th August 1887; as heir to the family estate he held the title Lord Worsley. He grew up at Brocklesby Hall on the family estate in Lincolnshire where he soon became an accomplished horseman. Educated at Eton, but not a scholar as such, Lord Worsley always took great pride in all that he did. In 1906 Lord Worsley entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, left in 1907 to join the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) and was gazetted Second Lieutenant on 5th October, 1908. On 31st January 1911 he married the Hon. Alexandra Mary Freesia Vivian (her older sister Dorothy 'Doris' had married Maj. Gen. Douglas Haig in 1905). From 1912-13 Lord Worsley was extra on the staff of General Sir Douglas Haig (GOC Aldershot). Early in 1914 Lord and Lady Worsley took up residence at Little Brocklesby in the parish of Great Limber near the Pelham family home at Brocklesby. (Courtesy of Lord Yarborough, Brocklesby Park became the field training ground of the 10th Lincolns, the 'Grimsby Chums'; some Labour battalions also formed there). When war broke out one squadron from each of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards was formed into a Composite Household Battalion and sent immediately to France. That summer the remainder went into training, having been brought up to strength from cavalry of the line reservists. During this time Lord Worsley went to Hythe on a machine gun course, on completion rejoining the regiment in training at Ludgershall Camp on Salisbury Plain as officer in charge of the machine gun section (2 guns per regiment). In October 1914 Lord Worsley embarked with the Royal Horse Guards on active service, landing in Flanders on 8th October. The next day at Bruges the regiment joined the rest of the Household Brigade, as part of the 7th Cavalry Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division. Mid October saw the 7th Cavalry Brigade making forays towards Roulers (Roeselare), being billeted at Passchendaele. Here Lord Worsley's gunners had the opportunity to bring a gun into action, silencing enemy rifle fire being directed towards them. At Passchendaele they joined with the 7th Infantry Division, whose task had been to take Menin. But the enemy went on the offensive and the British began to dig in, the cavalry having to work dismounted. Early on 21st October the enemy attacked the 7th Division in Zonnebeke and the 7th Cavalry Brigade was sent in support. The Blues moved into good trenches under fire and opened up on the enemy massed on a ridge, driving them back. The Coldstream Guards later relieved them. Meanwhile the 6th Cavalry Brigade reinforced the 2nd Cavalry Division, with a gap in its line near Zandvoorde, the 7th Cavalry Brigade going into billets at Zillebeke. A thinly strung out line of Cavalry now held the line Zandvoorde - Messines. The defence of Ypres was on; the salient was in its infancy. On 23rd October the Blues relieved the 1st (Royal) Dragoons (the Royals) in trenches at Zandvoorde, being heavily shelled whilst doing so. Relieved by the 6th Brigade on 25th October the Blues camped at Klein Zillebeke except 'C' Squadron - including Lord Worsley and his guns; they remained in their trenches in support. Little did Lord Worsley know that was where his guns would stay, unrelieved, either reinforcing the 1st Life Guards, who had only one serviceable gun, or in support. And things were hotting up. On 29th October, the Blues, manning widely spaced short section shallow trenches on the forward slope of the Zandvoorde ridge with no communication to flank or rear, came under fierce bombardment by heavy guns. A breach was made in the exposed cavalry line in this sector but the enemy failed to exploit the gap, which was plugged and held with the help of infantry. That evening 1st Life Guards relieved 'D' and half 'C' squadron of the Blues, Lord Hugh Grosvenor's 1st Life Guards being supplemented by Lord Worsley and his guns. With them were two troops of 2nd Life Guards. To their right were the Blues 'B' Squadron and two troops of 'C'. Next morning at 7 a.m. a bombardment of high explosive and shrapnel lasting ninety minutes preceded an enemy attack on the weakened 7th Infantry and Cavalry Divisions on the exposed Zandvoorde ridge, destroying their trenches. The enemy, advancing in strength, attacked the right of the line first causing the 2nd Life Guards (Capt. O'Neill) at 'D' to fall back (see diagram right). The Blues at 'D1', in turn also forced to fall back from the right (as were the 1st Life Guards at 'Y', with one gun and heavy losses), sent messages to Lord Hugh Grosvenor in the other 'C' trenches informing him to pull back. It is not known if they were ever received. Those trenches were by this time surrounded - their occupants fighting until annihilated. There were no wounded to tell the story and the enemy took no prisoners! The enemy subsequently took Zandvoorde in the course of the day. Killed in those trenches that day were: One squadron of 1st Life Guards: Capt. Lord Hugh Grosvenor, Capt. E. D. F. Kelly, Lt J. C. Close-Brooks, Lt Hon. G. E. F. Ward and 67 other ranks. Two troops of 2nd Life Guards: Capt. A. M. Vandeleur, Capt. F. J. Todd, Lt J. Anstruther and 57 other ranks. (Other ranks include cavalry of the line). Lt Lord Worsley's Machine Gun section, Royal Horse Guards. (The 1st and 2nd Life Guards officers named above are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. The CWGC record Lt. J. C. Close-Brooks' surname as Closebrooks. Of the other officers and men killed in that action on 30th October 1914, nothing has ever been heard of them since that day nor anything found to identify any one of them.) For unexplained reasons the Germans were interested in Lord Worsley's death; possibly because Oberleutnent Freiherr von Prankh of the 1st Bavarian Jäger Battalion, who witnessed the fight, knew their opponents were the Royal Horse Guards. Inspecting the captured trenches he found the body of an English Lord. He ordered a Lt von Neubert to have any personal items removed and handed over, so the next of kin could be informed, and the body buried. This was subsequently carried out that same evening, 30th October. Meanwhile no one had heard any word of the men in those trenches. The first news, 'Lord Worsley missing', came from the War Office on 7th November, 1914. On 15th November The London Gazette announced his promotion to Captain. On 5th December The Times reported that he and three other officers were 'missing'. The distraught wife and parents sought news from many sources. On 11th January 1915 news arrived that Lord Worsley's name was on a German list as killed and buried at Zandvoorde, no date given. The Times published the official report on 20th January, and on 7th February the War Office issued a death certificate to Lord Yarborough. Following on from the 'missing' declaration of 7th November, Lord and Lady Yarborough sought more information through diplomatic sources at The Hague. This eventually resulted in a plan of the burial site being obtained from Berlin. The plan noted that the identification tag had been removed. A second, private, source from inside Germany forwarded a similar plan to the family from Berlin. Attempts to locate the burial site were not possible until after the war ended. Finding the site was not easy, for that part of Belgium had been blasted out of all recognition during four years of warfare. The site was located at a second attempt, on 15th December 1918, by a young officer and family friend, Mr A. H. James, using the plan confided to him by Lady Yarborough, assisted by an ex-RSM of the 10th Hussars who had been in action on 30th October 1914 near Zandvoorde. The grave, more like a filled in shell-hole, was marked with a crude broken wooden cross that bore no name. Mr. James supplemented this with a pile of stones when the site agreed with the burial plan. Before returning home arrangements were made locally for another cross to be made inscribed with Lord Worsley's name. On 27th January 1919 Mr James, accompanied by Lord Worsley's younger brother the Hon. Sackville George, returned to the site picking up the newly made cross en-route. Snow made finding the grave difficult but they found it, the original German cross in place, and proceeded to dig a hole in which to stand the new cross, unearthing the missing broken-off piece of the original cross a few inches down; this was also unmarked. Reporting their action to the War Graves Commission, they returned home taking with them the original German cross. (Lady Worsley eventually purchased the burial site). The War Graves Commission, as part of its policy to concentrate isolated graves, made arrangements for the body to be exhumed for re-burial in Ypres Town Cemetery Extension. On 8th September 1921 the Revd Swann-Mason from Immingham, representing the family, was present at the unearthing of a body about five feet down in the uniform of a Royal Horse Guards officer. Further identification came from a maker's name in the boots and a gold tooth filling. Next day the re-burial of Lord Worsley took place with Revd Swann-Mason in attendance; the new cross that had been made to mark the original burial site now marked the grave. It was returned to the family in 1923 when a standard CWGC stone marker replaced the wooden cross.

Researcher:Michael Peck and C J Anderson, roger Frankish

Notes:Baron, Lord Worsley on memorial. Also on Brocklesby All Saints Roll of Honour. Brocklesby All Saints is the Brocklesby estate family church and contains many memorial items related to Charles Sackville, Lord Worsley including two battlefield crosses, his sword, Death Penny, the Memorial tableau and he is remembered among the 'Men of Brocklesby and Great Limber.' continued from Biography above: Tucked down a narrow path dividing a row of houses on the southern edge of the village of Zandvoorde, Belgium, overlooking well tended gardens, stands the Household Brigade Memorial (left). In 1924 the Horse Guards had a memorial made to the Household Brigade; this was duly erected on the burial site previously purchased by Lady Worsley. On 24th May 1924 this memorial, inscribed 'To those of the 1st & 2nd Life Guards & Royal Horse Guards who died fighting in France & Flanders 1914. Many of them fell in defence of the ridge upon which this cross stands', was unveiled in the presence of Lord and Lady Yarborough, Lady Worsley and Lord Worsley's two younger brothers - the Hon. Sackville George Pelham and the Hon. Marcus Herbert Pelham. Field Marshal Earl Haig, the then President of the British Legion (and Lady Worsley's brother-in-law) unveiled the memorial. In July 1924 the War Graves Commission located the identity tag of Lord Worsley attached to a list of names in a German Sanitary Unit, including a note that nothing else had been handed in. The disc was in good condition never having been buried. It was returned to Lady Worsley who had also received her husband's sword from officers in his regiment. The sword is now in Brocklesby Church, as are the two wooden crosses and Lord Worsley's Memorial disc. Beneath the sword a plaque states 'This sword was carried by Charles Sackville Lord Worsley Lt. Royal Horse Guards who died for his King and Country at Zandvoorde 30th October, 1914. Buried in Ypres Cemetery. Dulcet et decorum est pro patria mori'. The two wooden crosses that hang in Brocklesby Parish Church. Both marked Lord Worsley's grave. By the family pew in All Saints Church, Brocklesby, is a small monument to Lord Worsley sculptured by Mr. C. Sergeant Jagger, who had served with the 2nd Worcesters and was seriously wounded when that battalion charged and retook the village of Gheluvelt on 31st October 1914. The wording beneath the monument (see photograph left) reads: Vincit Amor Patræ. To the Glory of God and in memory of Charles Sackville Pelham Lord Worsley Lieutenant Royal Horse Guards who fell at Zandvoorde 30th October 1914 aged 27. This monument is erected by his sorrowing family and the tenantry of the estate. Brave courteous loving and beloved 'He died the noblest death a man may die fighting for God and Right and Liberty and such a death is immortality.' Almost opposite the small monument in Brocklesby church there is a large memorial tablet mounted on the south wall of the nave. Dedicated to the fallen of the First World War from the villages of Brocklesby and Little Limber it includes the name C. S. Lord Worsley.

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