PT Westmorland

P T Westmorland

Brigadier-General Percy Thuillier Westmorland CMG DSO was born in 1863 and went to Wellington in 1877, the same year as fellow Lodge Founders Alexander Latham and Dighton Pollock (of the Bridge…). He was in the Orange. Westmorland was the son of Colonel J.P Westmorland RE and the late Rose Julia, eldest daughter of the late General Sir Henry Thuillier CSI RA, and wen into the family business via Sandhurst.

He was initiated into Rokell Lodge No 2798 in Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1901, where he was also passed and raised,  whilst serving there on The Gambia Expedition. He was one of the Founders of the OW Lodge in 1909. He was also a joining member  Khyber Lodge No 582 then in Peshawar, between 1908 and 1910. That Lodge now meets at Duke St in London.

In one of those small but satisfactory coincidences, his name appears on the lists of generals serving in the Great War  next to his fellow Founder S V P Weston.

He was a member of the ‘Senior’, the Athenaeum and the Baldwin.

Westmorland was commissioned into the Bedfords, and promoted Captain in 1889. He was transferred to the West India Regiment in 1892 and employed with the Army Pay Department between 1894 and 1897.

He served on the West Coast of Africa 1894, with the Expedition of the Gambia against Fodey Silah (Despatches London Gazette, 4th May 1894), and with the Ashanti Expedition (1895-96). Promoted Major in 1897 he served in the South African War (1899-1900). He became a Staff Officer in Glencoe and commanded St Helena. He returned to West Africa 1901 with the Expedition of Gambia.

He served on the North-West Frontier of India, 1908 and took part in the operations in the Mohmand country, for which he was mentioned in Despatches, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (London Gazette 14th August 1908):  “In recognition of (his) services in connection with the recent operations against the Zakka Khel and Mohmands”.

He retired a Major in 1912 only to return two years later. He served in the European War from 1914-16, for which he was mentioned in Despatches and was created a CMG in 1916. He was Brigade Commander in 1916, and joined the Territorial Force Reserve in 1918, as Lieutenant-Colonel. He commanded two separate battalions on the Western Front, the 19th London in 1912 and the 1/5 Lincolnshires in 1915.

He was one of the 134 descendants of the Rev C Cardew DD (1747-1831), Rector of St. Erme in Cornwall, who served in the British forces in the Great War.

His DSO was awarded for the action near Matta Mughal Khel, April 24th 1908, Whilst the left column under Colonel Unwin was occupying the attention of the right flank of the Mohmand position, General Anderson’s right column was going into action near Matta. Here up to 8000 tribesman (mainly from the Baezai clan) had constructed a series of strong sangars stretching for about one and a half miles along a line of low foothills.

The right column made up of 1150 infantry drawn from six different corps included 300 men from the 1st Royal Warwickshires under the command of Major Westmorland. They prepared to advance up the slopes to the west. The slopes were covered with flags and sangars of the tribesmen who were clearly present in great strength along a front of one and a half miles.

Anderson brought forward all of his infantry in line and prepared to attack. The action began at 7am and lasted until 10.20am. Anderson’s orders forbade him from doing anything more than driving the enemy to his right as the dominating feature, he ordered the men of the Warwickshire Regiment under Major Westmorland to seize the knoll and clear it.

The general advance had not progressed very far when the tribesmen opened a heavy fire, the Royal Warwicks charged straight on their objective, the small hill, pushing parties up the slopes, then collecting together in an area of dead ground near the crest before rushing the summit with fixed bayonets and taking the hill. Eventually the position was won and the tribesmen fell back into the hills towards the Burjina Pass after having received- and given out- a fair degree of punishment.

Source: Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India, Volume 1, pages 37,38,39