Captain Harold (Haddo) Reginald DRUMMOND FRASER


Regiment/Service:
Cheshire Regiment
Unit:
5th (Earl of Chester) Battalion
(Attd. 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regt.)
Service Number:
n/a
Date of Death:
1 August 1918 - Died of wounds
Age:
22
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
IX. D. 3.
Awards:
Military Cross


Personal History:

Haddo (Harold) was born in the September quarter 1895 Chorlton, Manchester, the son of Sir Drummond and Lady Valeska Rosalie (nιe Fraenkel) Fraser. His father was a 'Bank Manager' before progressing to be the Managing Director of the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank whose Head Office was at Spring Gardens, Manchester.
Haddo had an older brother, Victor Murray, who was also killed in action, in 1915 [see Footnote below]. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3669) the family were living at 135 Palatine Road, Withington, Manchester. They attended Tan-Y-Bryn Preparatory School, Llandudno, but by the time of the 1911 Census (RG 14/3090) both Haddo and his brother, Victor, were students at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey. Their parents were then living at 'Earlscliffe', Devisdale Road, Dunham Massey. with three Servants. (RG 14/21551). After Charterhouse Haddo went on to study at Cambridge University and when he was in the middle of an Honours degree in Engineering at Clare College. It was reported that he tried to enlist on the first day War was declared.

It is unlikely that Haddo ever lived in Buxton. Probate Records show that at the time of his death Haddo's home address was still 'Earlscliffe', Devisdale Road, Dunham Massey. His effects amounted to £629 12s 9d [£629.64] - a relative value of £26,760.00 today [2014] - which was left to his father.

During and after the War, even after losing both sons, father, Sir Drummond, was quoted in articles around the World on the state of banking, after the end of hostilities. Nevertheless, at some time before Val (mother) died, in 1927, they must have moved to the town - perhaps on retirement - as both are buried in Buxton Cemetery. [see below].

If they moved to Buxton after The Slopes Memorial and Church Memorials were unveiled in 1920-21, that would explain why Haddo's names is not on those, but is on The St John's Church Memorial window, which was not unveiled until 1926. What remains a mystery, however, is why the name of his brother, Murray, is not also included among those listed alongside the window.

Military History:
As stated above Haddo tried to enlist right at the start of the War but he suffered from short sightedness and an intermittent heart beat, and in total he was rejected by eleven different regiments because of it. Duncan was determined, however, to see action at the Front and "... steadily refused every job offered to him at home and his persistent determination to join up ...".

His brother, Lieut. Victor Murray Drummond Fraser [see Footnote below], was serving in the Cheshire Regiment, and in April 1915, maybe with his brother's influence, Haddo eventually succeeded in being Commissioned in the Earl of Chester's Battalion, a new Reserve Battalion, under Colonel C. E. Bromley.  Sadly, it was whilst undergoing his training that his brother was killed at Ypres in June 1915. Haddo was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant with effect from 5th April 1915 in the 5th (Earl of Chester) Battalion. (London Gazette, 28 April 1915).

Haddo went through a very thorough training, during which he went on many courses, such as were given at Oxford and Altcar (where he obtained a first at musketry). His Medal Index Card states that Haddo was posted to Egypt, but the absence of a date indicates that his posting was after the end of 1915 as he did no qualify for the 1914-15 Star Medal. In May 1917 he was attached to the 1st Battalion, The Hereford Regiment, and posted to Palestine. From there he wrote that he had had the good fortune to be in “all the stunts”.

Haddo had two narrow escapes whilst in Palestine, the first was in August 1917 when a patrol of eight men met up with five times as many Turks. He had asked permission to accompany the older officer “for experience”, an experience that nearly cost him his life.  They rushed the Turks, firing as they went.  A brother officer wrote to his mother; “... your son shot a Turk with his pistol and broke through with some Turks after him. He must have had a close shave, for a shot carried away his cap! Suddenly, he threw himself to the ground and took out the pin of the bomb he was carrying. This bomb is timed to explode in five minutes. Your son held it for three and then threw it, catching one of the Turks in the “tummy”. Our party saw nothing of them after the explosion and so got safely back to our trenches.”

Haddo's second narrow escape was on the 6th November 1917, when his Regiment attacked up the side of a steep hill. He had just killed some Turks when a jar on the right side made him “... pull up sharp ...” but an “... all right, Sir ...” from one of his men allowed him to continue the fight without a break, while his field glasses fell to the ground, cut in two by a Turk, who had got his bayonet right through the field glasses themselves, inflicting a merest flesh wound - “... a pin prick ...” he called it.

At the end of June 1918, Haddo was sent to France and promoted to the rank of Captain. His Captaincy was obtained in the field. 'The Altrincham Guardian', in reporting his death in their edition of 16th August 1918 stated that after his death, Haddo's Commanding Officer wrote to his parents informing them that he had been in the firing line the whole day on the 23rd July.  He said that he was a born organiser and that his dispositions in the line left nothing for the CO to do except say 'Yes' to his every proposal. He was killed by a shot through the head, as he led his Company forward, on the 1st August 1918.

Haddo was buried in Raperie British Cemetery, Villemontoire. His headstone is inscribed:
"Younger brother of Murray, killed June 3 - 1915.  
Greater love hath no man than this".

The announcement of his award of the Military Cross was made in The London Gazette of 11th November 1918, to 'Lt.' Drummond-Fraser, but amended in the edition of the 2nd December 1919, to 'Lt (A/Capt.)'. The citation read:

"For conspicuous gallantry during an attack. On two occasions, when direction was uncertain, he ran out by himself and with great  courage remained standing in his forward position directing operations. By his gallant conduct the line was advanced in the face of intense machine-gun and rifle fire for a distance of 1,200 yards."

At the end of 1917 Haddo wrote home, and part of his letter was published in the 'Altrincham Guardian' as part of his Obituary:

“For many years, I have celebrated the incoming New Year, clad in the conventional garb of English society...The old order changeth and giveth place to the new! For the bringing in of 1918 out here in Palestine was indeed very different. We were holding a series of strong posts, all separate and yet connected. I had to visit these during the night. I commenced one of my rounds at midnight, and so brought luck, I hope, as I am so dark, to all the various positions. As midnight was due, I got out to listen to the glorious peeling of the bells from the Mount of Olives. How every note seemed to spell “Ring out the old - ring in the new” (Tennyson was no ordinary man). Having heard the Old Year rung out and the New Year rung in, I immediately proceeded to the nearest machine gun and fired a cheering burst; just to show Mr Johnny Turk that we meant to do him this year. No vindictiveness was meant thereby. When I returned, a few of us solemnly drank a small portion of Palestine wine - very feeble - to celebrate the New Year.”

N.B. On the 5th July 2011 Haddo's Medals [see right] were sold at Auction


Footnote:
Haddo's brother, 2/Lt. Victor Murray Drummond-Fraser, was commissioned on the 7th November 1914 in the
Earl of Chester's Batalion. His MIC states that he was posted to France on the 30th April 1915.

In the evening of the 2nd June 1915 he volunteered to undertake the dangerous task of erecting a barbed wire
entanglement in front of the British lines. He was shot in the chest a little above the heart. Murray is buried in
Grave E.22, Dickebusch Military Cemetery. His death was reported in the Altrincham Guardian on the 11th June 1915.

Victor's headstone inscription mirrors that of his brother, see above:

"Elder brother of Haddo killed near Soissons Aug 1918. 
Greater love hath no man than this".

Sources:
· I am grateful to 'The War Graves Photographic Project' for the photo of Haddo's grave.
· "The Altrincham, Bowden & Hale Guardian Newspaper" - Obituary published 16 August 1918. Also, 11 June 1915.
· "The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War" - Col. A. Crookenden, ISBN 10: 1781515336


Commemorated on:
Haddo's name does not appear on The Slopes Memorial
He is also Commemorated, with his brother, on their parents' grave in Buxton Cemetery




Link to CWGC Record
poppy
The Drummond-Fraser family grave in Buxton Cemetery