Colonel Frederick Forsyth MC

In the trenches near Wieltje. Captain F.R.G Forsyth with periscope, August 1915 (from Great War Diaries of Brigadier Alexander Johnston)

Frederick Richard Gerrard Forsyth was born in Netherleigh, Leamington in November 1882, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Arthur Forsyth, late 5th Fusiliers, and was educated at Sandroyd School and Wellington College. He was in the Murray from 1897.

Appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Scottish Rifles, in April 1901, he witnessed active service in South Africa, where he was present in operations in Cape Colony, Transvaal and Orange Free State – and injured on the occasion of the derailment of No. 12 Armoured Train (Queen’s Medal & 5 clasps). The latter incident is mentioned in a letter of recommendation for a Regular Army commission from General G. T. Pretyman:

‘I recommended him for one when I was at Kimberley. The lad was badly shaken in an armoured train accident which occurred up by Taunga some months ago. I knew all about the accident. Young Forsyth was working in the train under Grant of the Black Watch, who was one of the best captains of an armoured train we had … ’

Duly granted a commission in the Northumberland Fusiliers in May 1902, Forsyth won his Royal Humane Society Medal for rescuing one of his men who got into difficulty while bathing in a river at Fenit, Co. Kerry, in July 1905 (R.H.S. Case No. 33,996 refers).

In February 1908, after transferring to the Seaforth Highlanders as a Lieutenant, he quickly witnessed further action on the North West Frontier in Mohmand country and shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, after attachment as a Captain to the Army Signals Service, he served out in France and Flanders from October 1914 until September 1915, including a brief stint as an A.D.C. to the G.O.C. 4th Division.

He was wounded several more times  in the face by machine gun fire in June 1915 and again in the head by high explosive in September of the same year and was awarded the MC

He went on to witness further action out on the Salonika front from January 1916 until June 1917, latterly in the 4th Dragoon Guards, and again in France and Flanders, but was invalided after being gassed in the Ypres Salient in November of the latter year. In addition to his MC he won a brace of Mentions. Forsyth Mas made Lieutenant-Colonel in the 51st Highland Division, Royal Signals, in the same month, in which capacity he served until resigning his commission in October 1928. He was, however, recalled on the renewal of hostilities in September 1939, and served as an Honorary Colonel in 51st/52nd Scottish Divisional Signals from November 1941.

He joined the Lodge in 1912, having been initiated into Triune Brotherhood Lodge No 2121, in Kasauli (or Hirsar) in the Punjab, India, another of those Empire-era lodges that is now part of the Indian Constitution.

Forsyth, who was a Deputy Lieutenant of the City and County of Aberdeen, died in 1962.