Hanover House’s Military Connections

Following on from previous blogs on various military subjects, including a few on the Army’s regimental structure and drill, it might be worth briefly summarising some of the Hanover House B&B, (www.hanoverhouse.org ) military connections.

Col William Croker, Commandant Bathurst NSW

Col William Croker CB, Colonel of the Leicestershire Regiment

In its first ten years of existence, between c1848 and 1858, the house, then 4 York Terrace, had several military or ex-military residents. First came the initial occupier, Colonel William Croker CB., of the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot and occasionally his sons, John (killed in 1855 at the Battle of Sevastopol in the Crimea) and Robert – both captains in their father’s old regiment. One of Robert’s sons commanded his grandfather and father’s old regiment, by now named The Leicestershire Regiment, in the trenches in France during WWI, rising to command a division as a Major General in Mesopotamia in 1918. In 1857 came Captain (later Lt Col) John Shakespear of the Royal Horse Artillery, whose father Arthur had served as an Aide de Camp (ADC) to Maj Gen Sir Hussey Vivian, commanding the 6th Light Brigade at Waterloo, and who was present at, and in support of, the charge of the Light Brigade during the battle of Balaklava in the Crimea (of recent interest in the news when Putin’s Russia regained control of the peninsula).

Lt Col John Shakespear RHA

Lt Col John Shakespear RHA

Caroline Alice Elgar, who lived in the house in 1860-61, came from a military family. Her father Major General Sir Henry Gee Roberts served in India as part of the East India Company Army of Bombay during and after the Indian Mutiny, and her brothers joined the Army too…. She had great-uncles who had been sailors, one of whom had been one of Nelson’s Captains, one of his ‘band of brothers’ and having lost a leg during the battle of the Nile had ended his career as an admiral running the Navy’s finances.

Robert Fullerton, who lived in the house in 1855 served as a junior officer in the Bengal Native Infantry, but had left India before the Indian Mutiny commenced.

A gap followed, filled by the clergy, business or ex-business people, and later boarding house keepers. Even then, a number had military connections, one, a Mrs x Bostock’s grandson becoming an Air Chief Marshal in the Australian Air Force and having originally flown in the Royal Flying Corps in France in WWI, commanded all Allied air operations in the Pacific in WWII under the command of the American General Douglas MacArthur. I have perhaps restored a more direct military tradition, in that I served in the Ordnance, later the Royal Logistic Corps for a full career, and the house is full of my own military mementos, pictures of my father, who was also a career soldier, enlisting during WWII into The Royal Scots, followed by The Sherwood Foresters and Parachute Regiment, fighting at the battle of Arnhem, and later serving in Palestine.  My brother followed my father’s footsteps into the Parachute Regiment.

72 DunwichNIdress

Lt Ritchie, att 1 Royal Hamps 1973

During its time as Hanover House B&B, more military or ex-military people have passed its portals, some Navy and some RAF, but also surprisingly and totally coincidentally, previous military colleagues of mine, one in particular having served in my company at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst while I was there.

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