Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Annesley Gray-Cheape, DSO and Bar, Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars (Worcester Yeomanry), born in 1878 at Burntisland, Fife, was the eldest son of Colonel George Clarke Cheape and his wife Maud Mary Cheape of Wellfield, Gateside, Fife. Maud was the proud owner of a motor car before the First World War.


His siblings were Catherine Beatrice, George Ronald, Leslie, Helen Margaret and Maude Ann.


On 18 April 1906, he married Carsina Gray, of Carse Gray, Forfar, incorporating their names and becoming Gray-Cheape. They lived at Carse Gray, Forfar, Angus, the family home of the Grays, and had four daughters – Carsina, Maud Mary, Barbara Susanne, Diana – and one son – Leslie George.


He was promoted from the Worcester Yeomanry in 1915 to be Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Warwickshire Yeomanry. Having also served in the Boer War 1900-1902 he was awarded the DSO in January 1917. He achieved fame and a Bar to his DSO for conspicuous gallantry when he commanded the Warwickshire  and (temporarily) Worcester Yeomanry in the charge at Huj in Egypt on 8 November 1917.


This was the last charge on guns in British Military History when the attack was directed at Turkish positions. This action, in defence of the beleagured 60th London Division who were pinned down by Turkish fire succeeded in forcing the Turks to withdraw and resulted in the capture of the guns. Yeomanry losses were heavy with two out of nine officers killed and four wounded and of the 96 NCOs and men 17 were killed and 35 wounded. He survived that ordeal only to tragically drown on 27 May 1918, age 39, when aboard the HMT Leasowe Castle when it was torpedoed 100 miles from Alexandria. He is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria, Egypt along with around 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who have no other grave but the sea. 


His sister Catherine Beatrice Cheape Cay lost her life in the Empress of Ireland disaster in 1914. The ship was sailing from Quebec to Liverpool when it was struck in the fog by a Norwegian ship carrying coal. The Empress of Ireland was severely damaged and within 15 minutes it sank with the loss of over 1,000 lives.


His brother, Captain Leslie St. Clair Cheape, 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards attached to Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, born in 1882 in Fife, played international polo for England and was described as "England's greatest player". He played for England in the Westchester Cup three times in 1911, 1913, and 1914. In 1914 the final had to be delayed when he was hit in the face by a polo ball and his nose was broken.


He was killed in action on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1916, age 33, in Palestine while commanding a squadron of the Worcestershire Yeomanry, and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial.


The third son and his younger brother, Brigadier General George Ronald Hamilton Cheape, 86th Infantry Brigade, was born in 1883 at Kinglassie, Fife.


On 21 March 1912 at London, he married Margaret Ismay, one of the four children of Joseph Bruce Ismay, head of the White Star Line. Ismay survived the Titanic disaster in 1912. Bruce Ismay left the White Star line in 1913 and retired to County Galway and died in 1937. In his will, Bruce Ismay bequeathed to his daughter, Margaret, his ring engraved "Be Mindful".


George joined the Kings Dragoon Guards on 22 November 1914 near Orleans. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1915 for leading the successful counter attack to regain the Chateau of Hooge near Ypres from the Germans. He rose to be a Brigadier General commanding the 86th Infantry Brigade which was in the 29th Infantry Division, First Army British Expeditionary Force. He therefore commanded during a series of successful attacks and ultimately the breakthrough of the Western Front in 1918. He was engaged at the battles of Lys, Ploegsteert, Ypres and finally near Ledeghem.


For more information, click the following links:


Catherine Beatrice Cheape.

HMT Leasowe Castle.

 Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Annesley Gray-Cheape, DSO and Bar

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Annesley Gray-Cheape.

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