Casimir Cartwright van Straubenzee

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Sir Casimir van Straubenzee
Born (1867-11-11)11 November 1867
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Died 28 March 1956(1956-03-28) (aged 88)
Lansdown, Bath, Somerset
Allegiance Canadian Red Ensign 1921-1957.svg Canada,
 United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Major-General
Unit Royal Artillery
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Major-General Sir Casimir Cartwright van Straubenzee KBE CB CMG (11 November 1867 – 28 March 1956), was a Canadian officer in the British Army (Royal Artillery); GOC Singapore and Malaya Command.[1] In 1900, he played cricket for Canada.

Military Career[edit]

Born at Kingston, Ontario, he was the third son of Colonel Bowen van Straubenzee (1829–1898), a native of Spennithorne, Yorkshire, and his wife, Anne Macaulay Cartwright, daughter of The Hon. John Solomon Cartwright, of Kingston, Ontario.[2] He was a nephew of General Sir Charles van Straubenzee, Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong and Governor of Malta.

He was educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope, and the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. He joined the Royal Artillery and served with the 4th Ashanti expedition (1895-6) before returning Canada as Professor with the RMC staff 1898-1903,[1] with the local rank of major from 18 August 1898, and was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 27 February 1902.[3] He was promoted Lt-.Colonel and served during World War One from 1914 (awarded the Croix de guerre).[4] He was Inspector-General of the Royal Artillery from 1917 to 1918. He was promoted Major-General in 1919 and then served as General Officer Commanding Singapore. He was commanding officer of the Malaya Command from 1927 to 1931. This command of British Commonwealth forces was formed in the 1920s for the coordination of the defences of Malaya and Singapore.

He played cricket for the Royal Engineers from 1892 to 1908, and one first-class game in 1899 for the MCC. He also played for Canada in 1900.[5] He was the author of Recollections of Sportsmen and Sport in Days of Yore. In 1909, he married Ethel Purcell VanKoughnet (d.1949), whose father, Mathew Robert VanKoughnet (1824–1874), was a first cousin of van Straubenzee's mother - sharing a common ancestor in James Macaulay. She was a niece of Philip Michael Matthew Scott VanKoughnet and the sister of Mrs Frederick Edmund Meredith. They lived between London and Bath. He died 28 March 1956, Lansdown, Bath, Somerset.


He was the sitter for two of the portraits in the National Gallery, London.[6]

Straubenzee, the fictional maker of Colonel Sebastian Moran's air-gun in Sherlock Holmes' 'The Adventure of the Empty House', is identified as Major-General Casimir Cartwright Van Straubenzee (1866–1956).[7]


  1. ^ a b Preston 'Canada's RMC: A history of the Royal Military College' Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1969
  2. ^ Memorial Plaque to Colonel Bowen van Straubenzee
  3. ^ "No. 27419". The London Gazette. 25 March 1902. p. 2072. 
  4. ^ Kellys Handbook to the Titled, Landed & Official Classes for 1923
  5. ^ Casimir Cartwright van Straubenzee at Cricket Archive
  6. ^ Major General Sir Casimir Cartwright van Straubenzee
  7. ^ C7204. Redmond, Donald A. "Where He Got a Name: The Man Lived in Canada," CH, 5, No. 1 (Autumn 1981), 2-3. illus.


  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876-1918. Volume II: 1919-1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Theodore Fraser
GOC Malaya Command
Succeeded by
Harry Pritchard