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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Added 31st May 2012. Latest additions 23.3.2013.

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Cornet Fitzroy Donald MACLEAN — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born on the 18th of May 1835, the son of Colonel Sir Charles Fitzroy Maclean, the 9th Baronet, and his wife, Eleanor Emily, daughter of the Hon. Revd. Jacob Marsham, Canon of Windsor.

His father had served in the 81st Foot, and was also shown as having been gazetted Lieutenant-Colonel of the 13th Light Dragoons on the 23rd of June 1838, but retiring on the same day.

His grandfather was General Fitzroy Jeffries Grafton Maclean, Colonel of the 45th Foot. He had served for many years in the West Indies and was present at the reduction of the various islands. He also received the medal for Guadaloupe.

1841 Census

Rectory, Kirkby Overblow, Knaresborough.

Emily Maclean 9, Louisa 8, Fanny 7, Fitzroy 6, Georgiana 4,

Six staff are also shown.

1851 Census

Cocken, Durham.

Sir Charles Maclean, 51, widower, Military service, born Isle of Barbados.

Fitzroy, 15, Dublin.

Georgiana, 14.

Eight staff are also shown.

Service

Cornet in the 7th Dragoon Guards: 9th of August 1852.

Cornet in the 13th Light Dragoons: 12th of October 1852.

Lieutenant, 13th Light Dragoons: 26th of October 1854.

Captain, 13th Light Dragoons: 18th of January 1856.

Aide-de-Camp to Field-Marshal Lord Seaton from May 1858 to September 1859 and in the same capacity to General Sir George Brown from September 1859 to the 15th of August 1861.

Major in the 13th Light Dragoons: 16th of August 1861.

Lieutenant-Colonel, and assumed the command of the regiment: 4th of February 1871.

1871 Census

Edinburgh Barracks.

Fitzroy D Maclean, 35, Lieu Col, 13th Hussars.

On the 17th of January 1872, he married Constance Marianne, daughter of George Holland Ackers, of Moreton Hall, Cheshire.

Marriage registered

Fitzroy Donald Maclean to Constance Marianne Ackers, March Quarter 1872, Westminster.

Births registered

Hector Fitzroy Maclean [son], March Quarter 1873, Farnham.

Charles Lachlan Maclean [son], December Quarter 1874, Elham.

John Marsham Maclean [son], December Quarter 1879, Kensington.

Retired, and on to half-pay: 17th of October 1873.

Major in the West Kent Yeomanry: 10th of March 1875.

Lieutenant-Colonel, and assumed the command: 13th of March 1880.

1881 Census

Hayle Cottage, Loose, Kent

Fitzroy D Maclean, 45, Lieutenant Colonel Commanding West Kent Yeomanry (retired), born Ireland.

Constance Marianne, 27.

Hector Fitzroy, 8.

Charles Lachlan, 6.

John Marsham, 1.

Seven Domestic Servants are aso shown, including a Butler and Footman.

Birth registered

Finovola [sic?] Marianne E Maclean [daughter], March Quarter 1887, Paddington.

Resigned his commission on the 13th of September 1899, "with permission to retain his rank and wear the prescribed uniform."

Life after service

Lived at West Cliff House, near Folkestone, and at No. 15 Hyde Park Terrace, London.

1891 Census

26. The Leas, Folkestone.

Fitzroy D Maclean, 55, Army Colonel, Baronet, Justice of the Peace for Kent.

Constance M Maclean, 37.

John M Maclean, 11.

Finovola M.E. Maclean, 4.

Eight servants are also shown.

1901 Census

26, The Leas, Folkestone.

Fitzroy D Maclean, 65, Late retired Cavalry, Army Officer, born Ireland.

Constance M Maclean, 47, London.

Finorola M.E. Maclean, 14, London.

Nine servants are also shown.

Marriage registered

Finovola [sic?] M.E. Maclean [daughter] to Roger Cordy Simpson, June Quarter 1908, Paddington.

[CP: Cordy-Simpson was of private means and an officer in the West Kent Yeomanry of which his father in law was Commanding Officer now retired.]

1911 Census

Overblow, Shorne, Gravesend.

Fitzroy Donald Maclean, 75, Colonel Bart KCB JP Dep Lieut for Kent, born Dublin.

Constance Marianne, 57.

[Note: "Married 36 years with 5 children, 3 still living"]

Five staff are also shown.

Campaign service

Lieutenant Maclean served the Eastern campaign of 1854, including the affair of the Bulganak and the battle of the Alma.

(Hart's" "Army List" credits him with the medal and two clasps and the Turkish Medal but the Regimental History only with "Alma, medal and clasp and Turkish medal", although in a portrait painted in later life he is obviously wearing the Crimean medal with two clasps.) His name does not appear on the Sebastopol clasp roll of the regiment.)

Sick on board ship at the time of Balaclava, being sent to Malta on the 25th of October 1854 and thence invalided to England. (No date is shown, but he was at the Regtl Depot from the 16th of May 1855.)

He also served in Canada from the 12th of September 1866 to the 30th of July 1869.

Medals

Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma and the Turkish Medal.

He was presented with his Crimean medal by Queen Victoria at aceremony on the Horse Guards Parade on the 18th of May 1855. His name appears in the Nominal Return of those present now in the PRO, and also on a similar roll which appeared in the United Services Magazine for June of 1855 and on that which appeared in theIllustrated London News of the 26th of May 1855.

Appointed a C.B. (Civil) on the 22nd of June 1897 and to a K.C.B. (Civil) on the 26th of June 1906. He was also awarded the Order of the League of Mercy.

Commemorations

Life after service

Death & burial

Died on the 22nd of November 1936 at Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, at the age of 101 years.

Extracts fromThe 13th/18th Royal Hussars Journal for 1937:

Colonel Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Bart.

We regret to announce the death on November 22nd 1936, of Colonel Sir John Fitzroy Maclean, aged 101.

The following obituary notice is taken fromThe Times and an "appreciation" by Lord Baden Powell, together with an account of the funeral (kindly sent by Captain G. Malcolm of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) are also included.

When a boy in his early teens he was taken by his father to see the ruins of Duart Castle, burnt to the ground two centuries before, and he then made a vow that he would one day regain the castle and restore it to its former glory. The vow was redeemed in 1912, when the yellow banner of the Chief the Clan once more floated over the castle walls and the rejoicing of the chieftains and clansmen from all over the world.

His lineage goes back to Gillean of the Battle-Axe, founder of the Clan Gillean, whose grandson fought at Bannockburn and was the father of John Dubh, who held Dowart or Duart and other lands in the Isle of Mull. All through Scottish history his forebears were good fighters. He was born on May the 18th 1835, the only son of Colonel Sir Charles Fitzroy Maclean, ninth Baronet.

After having spent a few weeks as a Cornet in the 7th Dragoon Guards he was transferred on October 12th 1852 to the 13th Light Dragoons. In this regiment, which afterwards became the 13th Hussars, he served until September of 1873, being its Colonel from February 1871. Having been promoted Lieutenant in October 1854 and Captain in 1856, he served in Bulgaria and the Crimean War.

He was at the cavalry affair of the Bulganak, but missed being in the charge at of the Light Brigade, owing to illness. He was however, present throughout the battle of the Alma and the siege of Sebastopol, receiving the medal with two clasps and the Turkish medal. From May 1858 to September 1859 he was an A.D.C. to Field-Marshal Lord Seaton, and from 1860 to 1861 to General George Brown.

He became a Major in August 1861, and in August 1865 was selected to report on the French cavalry manoeuvres. From September 1866 to July 1869, he served in Canada, whither the regiment had been sent to cope with the trouble which was apprehended as a result of the Fenian conspiracy. From 1880 to 1889 he commanded the West Kent Queen's Own Yeomanry Cavalry. He succeeded his father as tenth Baronet in 1883. He was made a C.B. in 1897 and promoted to K.C.B. in 1904.

Sir Fitzroy, who was twenty-sixth Chief of the Clan McLean, entered in possession in August 1912, of Duart Castle, in the Isle of Mull, which, after a lapse of 200 years, had again become the family home.

Members of the Clan from all parts of the United Kingdom, the Dominions, and America, crossed from Oban to the Isle of Mull on the occasion of their Chief's formal entry to the stronghold of his race. More than 400 clansmen headed by pipers marched from the landing-place, and Maclean of Ardgour, the senior clan chieftain under the Chief, beat upon the door of the castle and in Gaelic summoned the Man of Duart to come and receive the greetings of his clan in the home of his ancestors.

The Chief responded by welcoming his guests in Gaelic. Having unfurled the banner of ownership, he then read a letter from Mrs. Guthrie, of Duart House, the former proprietor of the castle, intimating that she was changing the name of her estate, so that Duart might stand alone as a Maclean possession. The Duke of Argyll, whose ancestors had taken the castle from the Macleans, sent a telegram of congratulation. On the Chief's hundredth birthday, there was another great gathering of the clans folk. Last year, when he became 101, there was only a family gathering, but the Chief, although confined to his room, continued to take the greatest interest in the clan."

Sir Fitzroy Maclean — By Lord Baden-Powell

The Regiment has lost its grand old veteran, Colonel Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Bart., who died recently at the age of 101. He had joined the 13th Light Dragoons, as we were then, in 1852. He served in the Crimea, but was on the sick list on the 25th of October 1854 and did not take part in the Balaclava Charge, although he was present at the fight at the Bulganak and at the battle of the Alma and other scraps.

He afterwards rose to command the regiment in 1871 and retired in 1873, so there are not many alive who served with him, but I have been fortunate in getting a few notes about him from Mr. Fred Tuffield, one of the oldest members of our Old Comrade's Association. (Tuffield was trumpeter of the Guard when I did my first turn as Orderly Officer in Lucknow as long ago as 1876.)

This is what Tuffield had told me:

'Our late chief had a very deep affection for the Regiment down to the humblest trooper in it. His father had risen to command it and he in his turn served for twenty years in the 13th, and also commanded it.

He was with the Regiment in Canada when it was sent to cope with the outbreak of the Fenian rebellion. I remember Sir Fitzroy telling me that a Canadian friend took him out shooting one day and when driving home in a dog-cart they were held by a party of rebel pickets. As the men approached to question them the friend had whispered, 'Wrap up your feet in the rug.' After they had been allowed to proceed his friend said that had the rebels seen his boots, which were evidently English, and not Canadian, they would probably have shot him.

Tuffield also related to me an incident of the time when the Regiment left York to embark for Canada.

This was on the 11th of September 1866, (just ten years to a day before I joined.) While getting the horses into the train, Captain Joyce, the Adjutant, and his batman, Allen, joined hands to push his charger into the box. The horse lashed out, killing Allen and cutting Captain Joyce's head open. Sir Fitzroy was present and Tuffield said; "I saw tears in his eyes and I think that from that moment, I loved him."

On the march to Montreal the Regiment stopped to feed and water and Sir Fitzroy ordered Tuffield to sound "Feed" and then to go into the restaurant to get some food and drink for himself. He always had a kind thought for the men.

On one occasion when the Regiment was on the march for Edinburgh the Colonel suddenly stopped the band playing and said, "Trumpeter, "Sing us a song." Tuffield writes — "I did so, thinking it rather strange that he should prefer a song and chorus to the band music, but no doubt the singing of the chorus all down the ranks, linked his happiness of heart with his beloved old regiment."

Sir Fitzroy rode a big charger, over sixteen hands high, a bay with black points and not a speck of white anywhere. His trumpeter was riding a chestnut, but he quickly selected another horse for him — a good-looking bay to match his own.

When the Regiment arrived at Lucknow in India they were inspected by General Olipherts, V.C., a splendid old soldier. It is reported that when he saw them he cried, 'My God. If only we had such a body of cavalry in 1857,' — meaning that it would have soon put an end to the Indian Mutiny. I think the Regiment has always kept up the good name which it had then, and I have often been asked by Sir Fitzroy in the past few years whether the 13th still deserved old Oliphert's praise — and I have always been able to say, 'Yes, indeed they have.'

He was glad to keep up a connection with the regiment through having a grand-son amongst its officers in Mr. Cordy Simpson.

Apart from his interest in the 13th, Sir Fitzroy was Chief of the Maclean clan. He rebuilt their old stronghold, Duart Castle, on the Isle of Mull, and lived in it as a typical old Highland Chieftan, beloved by his clan. And there he died quietly in his sleep the other day at the ripe old age of 101....

The remains of the old Chief of the Macleans were carried to their last resting place on the 26th. The burial of Sir Fitzroy Donald Maclean, Bart. K.C.B. and D.L. of Dowart and Moraven, took place where he had wished it to be — in the little graveyard of Kilpatrick, not far from his beloved Duart. His grave is facing to the north looking across the sheltered bay to where Duart Castle stands proudly as a great monument to the Chief, who had reconstructed its once ruined walls and renewed the ancestral home of the clan.

Of the many tributes which have been paid to the memory of Sir Fitzroy by the members of his own clan, and other clans from all over the world, none could have been more touching than the last respects of the gathering of the mourners at his funeral. Many of those present had been at Duart on that day in May 1935, when Sir Fitzroy celebrated his 100th birthday. The scene then, of much rejoicing, was changed to one of respectful silence, in keeping with the solemn occasion.

A breathless calm around the shores of Duart emphasised the reverential stillness there, only the meeting of the tides out in the entrance to the Sound of Mull gave movements, as the swirling waters disturbed the surface.

The Chief's banner, unfurled at half-mast above the castle, seldom stirred to show The Rock, The Fiery Cross, The Galley and The Salmon and Eagles. Even the sun contributed its effect, dimmed behind a veil of mist.

As clans people and others, arriving from all parts of the Mull and the mainland, gathered at the entrance to the ancient stronghold, the principal mourners, castle staff and intimate friends, gathering in the banqueting hall, where the coffin lay. It was draped in the Union Jack, on top of which were the Chief's plaid, his three-feathered Glengarry bonnet, and his favourite cromag.

And then the silence was broken by the mournful sound of the pilbroch "Cumha Eachain Raidh nan Cath" (Lament for Red Hector of the Battles) which was played from the ramparts by Piper Hector Maclean, the clan piper.

As the very last notes of this dirge floated away a short but very impressive service was conducted by the Very Reverend C.W.R. Lloyd, Dean of Argyll and the Isles, assisted by the Revd. Hugh Livingstone, Craignure."

Further information

Of his sons, Hector Fitzroy, became a Major in the Scots Guards, serving in South Africa in 1900-01 and in World War One, Charles Lachan became a Captain in the Royal Navy, serving at Benin in 1897, China, 1900-01 and in World War One, and John Marsham served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and died of wounds he received in action in the South African War, on the 4th of November 1900.

References & acknowledgements

Additional marriage, birth and death registrations, and Census information for 1841-1911, kindly provided by Chris Poole.


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