The very fine and interesting Great War Western Front New Years Honours 1918 Staff Officer’s Distinguished Service Order, 1903 King’s Visit to Ireland Presentation of Colours Member 5th Class of the Royal Victorian Order, and North Russia 1919 to 1920 and British Mission in Estonia and Finland Imperial Russian Order of Saint Anne 3rd Class and Order of Saint Vladimir 4th Class group awarded to Captain T.C. FitzHugh, Royal Irish Regiment and Special Reserve of Officers, who was present with the 2nd Battalion during the operations on the Punjab Frontier and the Samana Ridge during 1897 to 1898 including the relief of Gulistan, and having then seen service with the 1st Battalion during the Boer War in South Africa, was then serving in Ireland with the 2nd Battalion when he was one of two officers of his battalion to be appointed to be Member’s of the 5th Class of the Royal Victorian Order on the occasion of the King’s Visit to Ireland in 1903, he having served with the Colour Party on the occasion of the presentation of new colours to his battalion. Having then relinquished his commission in 1907, he then went out to China for work with the British Engineers’ Association as its Commissioner in China, but with the outbreak of the Great War returned to service. Present with the 2nd Battalion out on the Western Front from December 1914, he was then transferred for work with the Quarter-Master General’s Department as a Staff Officer at Calais and later Dunkirk, being twice Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order, he however then found himself transferred to the Chinese Labour Corps on account of his having fallen foul of higher authority, having been seen walking with a lady who proved to be the wife of a French officer. Subsequently considered for service as an Interpreter in Siberia, he however failed a medical, and having later passed, then found himself on service as a Staff Officer out in North Russia at Murmansk from August 1919, and also saw service with the British Mission in Estonia and assisted in the repatriation of British prisoners of war from Finland. Demobilise in June 1920, he continued to act in the Baltic area on behalf of the British Committee of the Russian Red Cross in Great Britain, and was sent to Finland to report on the situation regarding the large number of Russian refugees in that country, and then latterly spent his life travelling in China up to his death a Peking in 1939.
Group of 9: Distinguished Service Order, GVR Cypher, silver-gilt and enamel, complete with top bar; Royal Victorian Order, Member 5th Class, silver, gold and enamels, reverse numbered: ’44’; India General Service Medal 1895-1902, 2 Clasps: Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897; (2D: LIEUT: T.C. FITZHUGH. 2D: BN: RYL: IR: REGT:); Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, 2 Clasps: Cape Colony, Wittebergen; (LIEUT: T.C. FITZ-HUGH, RL: IRISH REGT); 1914-1915 Star; (CAPT. T.C. FITZ HUGH. M.V.O. R.IR.REGT.); British War Medal and Victory Medal with Mention in Despatches Oakleaf; (CAPT. T.C. FITZ HUGH.); Imperial Russia: Order of Saint Anne, 3rd Class neck badge with Swords, bearing 1908-1917 Kokoshnik mark and ’56’ for 14 carat gold on the ring suspension, and 'ВД' marks on reverse beneath enamel for the maker Eduard of Saint Petersburg, this mounted into his group in order for wear on the breast; Imperial Russia: Order of Saint Vladimir, 4th Class with Swords, gild and enamels, bearing 1908-1917 Kokoshnik mark and ’56’ for 14 carat gold on the ring suspension as well as on the backs of both grips of the swords. Mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: overall slight contact wear, the 7th has a replaced hand painted central image of Saint Anne on the obverse, the last also has a replaced centre, this appearing to be a hand painted insert, overall Very Fine.
Herrick Charles FitzHugh was born on 16th November 1876, the third son of William Henry Fitzhugh of Craven Hill Gardens, London, he was educated at Wellington College, followed by the Royal Military College, and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the Royal Irish Regiment on 5th September 1896, and was then posted to the 2nd Battalion out in India on 26th January 1897.
FitzHugh saw action on the Punjab Frontier during the period from 10th June 1897 to 6th April 1898, including the operations on the Samana Ridge and the Kurram Valley during August and September 1897. He was also present during these operations at the relief of Gulistan in the Tirah on 12th to 13th September 1897.
Returning home on 11th January 1899, Fitzhugh was promoted to Lieutenant on 15th March 1899, and transferred to the 1st Battalion. FitzHugh then embarked for South Africa on 3rd March 1900 for serving during the Boer War, and then took part in operations in the Orange Free State between March and May 1900, in the Orange River Colony between May and July 1900 including the action at Bethlehem on 6th to 7th July 1900, for which he received the clasp Wittebergen. Subsequently present on operations in the Cape Colony to the south of the Orange River, he wad present in action at Colesberg from 24th January to 12th February 1901, and was then posted homed on 15th September 1901.
Some nine months later FitzHugh was posted to India on 28th June 1902, but returned homed on 18th March 1903, and was then stationed with the 2nd Battalion in Ireland, where he was on the occasion that King Edward VII paid a State Visit and his battalion received new colours from the King. Fitzhugh was one of the officers with the Colour Party on this occasion, and these officers of the Colour Party were subsequently appointed to the Royal Victorian Order on 11th August 1903, FitzHugh receiving the Member 5th Class of the order. He was one of two officers of his battalion to be appointed to the Royal Victorian Order on the occasion of the presentation of new colours, and he was one of six men to be appointed to the Royal Victorian Order Member 5th Class on the occasion of the King’s visit to Ireland between 21st July and 1st August 1903. Two others went to officers of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, one to the Adjutant and Quartermaster of the Royal Hiburnian Military School at Dublin, and the other to the Athlone Pursuivant of Arms and Private Secretary to the Ulster King of Arms at the Office in Dublin.
Promoted to Captain on 14th October 1903, he passed for promoted to Major on 4th November 1904, and was then posted to the Staff College in 1905 and passed his Final Examinations in 1907. FitzHugh had also qualified as an Interpreter in French, German and Russian. FitzHugh then apparently resigned his commission on 28th May 1907, and was then employed with the British Engineers’ Association as its Commissioner in China. There, he added to his other languages some knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.
With the outbreak of the Great War, FitzHugh returned to England, where on 22nd November 1914, he placed himself on the Reserve of Officers in his former rank of Captain. FitzHugh then rejoined the Royal Irish Regiment, and went out to the Western Front to join the 2nd Battalion in December 1914. FitzHugh remained with the battalion until 5th May 1915, taking part in the early stages of the Second Battle of Ypres from 22nd April onwards. However with his Staff College qualifications, he was then transferred to the Quarter-Master General’s Department as a Staff Officer, serving first at Calais until October 1915, and then at Dunkirk until October 1917. Twice Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette for 4th January 1917 and then 11th December 1917, however just before the publication of his second award, he had fallen foul of higher authority, having been seen walking with a lady who proved to be the wife of a French officer. As a result he was transferred to the Headquarters of the Chinese Labour Corps in October 1917 where his work, according to him, consisted mainly in visiting army bases to try cases of Chinese coolies due for court-martial. Despite his mishap, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the New Year’s Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 1st January 1918, this being for his services whilst on the Quarter-Master General’s staff.
FitzHugh returned to England in December 1918 under orders for Siberia, where his linguistic abilities in Russian would be put to good use. However he was then reported unfit by a medical board owing to the failure of an earlier hernia operation. FitzHugh was however fit again in May 1919, when he applied for a post appropriate to his qualifications and, on 16th August 1919 he obtained a Staff Post with the British force operations out at Murmansk in North Russia. He also saw service with the British Mission in Estonia and assisted in the repatriation of British prisoners of war from Finland.
FitzHugh was Mentioned in Despatches for a third time in the London Gazette for 3rd February 1920, this being “for valuable services in connection with military operations in Finland and the Baltic States.” Later his award of the Imperial Russian Order of Saint Vladimir 4th Class with Swords and the Order of Saint Anne 3rd Class with Swords was published in the London Gazette for 16th July 1921.
Demobilised on 11th June 1920, FitzHugh continued to act in the Baltic area on behalf of the British Committee of the Russian Red Cross in Great Britain, and was sent to Finland to report on the situation regarding the large number of Russian refugees in that country. In 1921 he married Nesta Mary Richardson, and they had one daughter. FitzHugh spent the latter years of his life travelling in China, and he died at Peking on 13th August 1939.