|Memorial .||Ypres Town Cemetery||I. B.||Flanders|
Awards & Titles:
|Knight Commander of The Royal Victorian Order
Mentioned in Despatches
Family :He was the youngest son of HRH Prince Henry of Battenberg, K.O.. P.C. (who died on active service at sea. 20 Jan. 1896 of fever contracted during the Ashanti War), and of HRH the Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg). Born Oct. 1891, 40th and youngest grandson of Her Majesty Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India etc etc etc etc.
Education & Career :Educated at Wellington, where he was a Lance Corporal in the O.T.C. and became one of the best marksmen at the College. After leaving Wellington he went to Sandhurst, from where he was gazetted to a second lieutenancy in the King's Royal Rifle Corps.
Lieutenant. 1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps; He had been made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
On the declaration of war he mobilised with his battalion at the town barracks in Aldershot and proceeded to France. He was mentioned twice in Sir John (now Lord) French's Despatches (London Gazette. 19 Oct. 1914. and 17 Feb. 19I5) for gallantry in the field at the crossing of the Aisne. He was first over the bridge by which his battalion had to pass under heavy fire, and when Major Armytage led the line forward in a splendid charge he was in the thick of the fray. His name and that of Major Armytage were on every man's lips in the battalion.
The following account of the action was given by Corporal Jolley: "Instead of retiring as we had been doing, on 5 September we advanced five miles to Firoy. There was very fierce fighting, the German infantry advancing to within 800 yards of our artillery, and also in good rifle range. They were practically slaughtered, and hundreds of dead lay everywhere. On the morning of the 6th we were up and on the scent, the Guards being the advance guard for a change. Towards the afternoon they got in touch with the German rearguard at a place called by us and the Germans The Valley of Death. All the artillery possible was brought on to a ridge overlooking this alley and played on the enemy. On the morning of the 7th the King's Royal Rifles were the advance guard. We traversed a wood, and found that the enemy had camped on the other side. We could see the Germans on the bridge, preparing to blow it up, but on seeing us they made off. and as we had no artillery with us they got off free. The order then came that the bridge must be taken at once. When we got there we found that the bridge had three blockages, comprised of carts, furniture, glass, wire. etc. Prince Maurice of Battenberg was first man over, searching the house beyond all by himself.
This was a brave act for an officer alone. The blockage was removed and the battalion got across without a shot being fired. On 27 Oct. 1914, he was ordered to storm a German position and capture some guns which were doing a lot of damage. On the advance they came to a wood which was too thick for them to get through conveniently, and they had to cross an open field. Prince Maurice was leading his men across this open space when a shell fell and burst right by him. He knew that his injuries were mortal, and wished the men good-bye. He was carried to a field dressing station, where he died. He was buried at Ypres and the burial ceremony was conducted by a brother Mason and Past Provincial Grand Chaplain of Hampshire, Reverend Captain Edmund KENNEDY (who is also listed in the Masonic Great War Project). Not far away the German big guns were firing on our trenches, and our men were doing their best to put them out of action. The guns were making such a noise that you could not hear the Chaplain's voice. It was a soldier's funeral amidst the noise of battle wrote Captain W. Dyer. Prince Maurice was fond of football, tennis and motoring. He was also greatly interested in aviation, and made many flights as a passenger at Hendon.
His two brothers are on active service; Prince Alexander Albert with the Grenadier Guards and Prince Leopold with the 60th Rifles.
19 October - 22 November 1914. Following the failure of the German Schlieffen Plan in August and September 1914, both sides engaged in a series of linked battles as they sought to outflank each other. The climax of these manouvres was at Ypres in November 1914 when the might of the German Army attempted to break the much outnumbered British Expeditionary Force. The political importance of Ypres, being the last town of any size in Belgium that remained in allied hands, established its importance for both sides and ensured a series of battles over four years.
The First Battle of Ypres in 1914 is characterised by a series of linked heroic stands by outnumbered British soldiers in conditions of confusion and weary endurance. The Germans never knew how close they had come to winning - at one point just the clerks and cooks were the last line of defence for the BEF. By the end of the battle the magnificent original BEF, composed of professional regular soldiers, had been all but destroyed and already the Territorial battalions were called into battle. From the end of 1914 a 'Regular' battalion was in terms of its compostion little different to a Teritorial or later Service Battalion. The professional soldiers had all but vanished.
|Type||Lodge Name and No.||Province/District :|
|Mother :||Old Wellingtonian No. 3404 E.C.||London|
|Joined :||Twelve Brothers No. 785 E.C.||Hampshire & IOW|
21st June 1912
18th October 1912
15th November 1912
Prince Maurice was made a Freemason in the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No. 3404 (the Lodge of the Old Wellingtonians) on 21 June 1912, recorded as a Lieutenant in the K.R.R.C. at Aldershot. He joined Twelve Brothers Lodge, No. 785 Southampton on 26th December 1912 and was installed as Master on 22 April 1914.
The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The (UK) National Archives
- Ancestry.co.uk - Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History online
- ugle.org.uk - The records of the United Grand Lodge of England including the Library and Museum of Freemasonry
- Website : Old Wellingtonian (Heroum Filii) Lodge No. 3404
- Researcher : Tom Hawley
- Book : 1921 - Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918 - Oxford University Press