Charles Doughty-Wylie

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Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie
Charles Doughty-Wylie VC.jpg
Born 23 July 1868
Theberton, Suffolk
Died 25 April 1915(1915-04-25) (aged 46)
Gallipoli, Ottoman Empire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1889 - 1915
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit Somaliland Camel Corps
The Royal Welch Fusiliers
Battles/wars Mahdist War
Chitral Expedition
1898 Occupation of Crete
Second Boer War
Boxer Rebellion
Third Somaliland Expedition
First World War
Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of the Medjidie (Ottoman Empire)

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie VC CB CMG (23 July 1868 – 26 April 1915) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Doughty-Wylie was also posthumously awarded the Order of the Medjidie from the very Ottoman Government he fought against.

Early life[edit]

A native of Suffolk, Doughty-Wylie graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1889. His military career included the Chitral Expedition (1895), 1898 Occupation of Crete, the Mahdist War (1898–99), the Second Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and Somaliland (1903–04) where he commanded a unit of the Somaliland Camel Corps.

Turkish Revolution[edit]

Colonel Doughty-Wylie was the British consul in Mersina, Ottoman Empire,[1] during the Young Turk Revolution of 1909. Richard Bell-Davies (later a VC winner, then a lieutenant on the battleship HMS Swiftsure) met him at the time and gives an account in his autobiography Sailor in the Air (1967).

Massacres of Armenians started along with the revolution, and Bell-Davies says that it was largely due to the efforts of Doughty-Wylie that these were halted in Mersina. Doughty-Wylie then went to Adana, forty miles away. He persuaded the local Vali (Governor) to give him a small escort of Ottoman troops and a bugler and with these managed to restore order. Mrs. Doughty-Wylie turned part of the dragoman's house into a hospital for wounded Armenians. Bell-Davies says that by the time an armed party from Swiftsure arrived, Doughty-Wylie had again almost stopped the massacre single-handedly. Newspaper reports of the period record that Doughty-Wylie was shot in the arm, while trying to prevent these massacres.[2]

Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie was the recipient of the Order of the Medjidie from the Ottoman Government. He was awarded the Medjidie because of his work during the Balkan Wars when he served with the British Red Cross helping the Ottoman Military.[3][dubious ]

First World War[edit]

Doughty-Wylie was 46 years old, and a lieutenant colonel in The Royal Welch Fusiliers, British Army when, "owing to his great knowledge of things Turkish" according to Bell-Davies, he was attached to General Sir Ian Hamilton's headquarters staff of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force during the Battle of Gallipoli.

On 26 April 1915, following the landing at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula, during which the brigadier general and the brigade major had been killed, Lieutenant Colonel Doughty-Wylie and another officer (Garth Neville Walford) organized and made an attack through and on both sides of the village of Sedd-el-Bahr on the Old Fort at the top of the hill. The enemy's position was very strongly entrenched and defended, but mainly due to the initiative, skill and great gallantry of the two officers the attack was a complete success.

Both were killed in the moment of victory. Doughty-Wylie was shot in the face by sniper and died instantly. Doughty-Wylie is buried close to where he was killed. His grave is the only solitary British or Commonwealth war grave on the Gallipoli peninsula: The Turkish authorities moved the graves of all other foreign soldiers to the "V Beach" graves except for his.[4]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, Wales.

Personal life[edit]

Doughty-Wylie, a married man, had an unconsummated affair with Gertrude Bell with whom he exchanged love letters from 1913-1915 until his death. Bell was an eminent English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist who explored, mapped in the region of Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia.[5]

References[edit]

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