This Roll of Honour lists those RUSI members who died during the conflict. With over 500 members’ names, the Roll of Honour represents the cream of Britain’s military intelligentsia, severely depleted during this period.
As is expected, the high numbers of RUSI members who died in 1914 were mostly the ‘young blood’ of RUSI: Second Lieutenants, Lieutenants, and Captains. But contrary to common perceptions that those of higher ranks had little contact with the enemy, RUSI’s roll call reveals officers at Lieutenant Colonel level and above also being killed at this time.
Four members of RUSI were lost on the very first day of the BEF’s first encounter with German forces, on 23 August 1914 at the Battle of Mons. This was followed by really high losses among RUSI members in late October to mid-November 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres, the final death knell of the ‘Old Army’.
There were at least eight RUSI members who received the Victoria Cross during the war. The 2014 August/September issue of the RUSI Journal features the first Victoria Cross recipient, Major C A L Yate, who was awarded the VC posthumously for his actions during the Battle of Le Cateau in August 1914.
The other Victoria Cross recipients were:
- Brig Gen Charles FitzClarence (1914)
- Brig Gen John Edmond Gough (1915)
- Maj Garth Neville Walford (1915)
- Capt Francis Octavius Grenfell (1915)
- Lt Col Bertram Best-Dunkley (1917)
- Lt Col Neville Bowes Elliott-Cooper (1918)
- Lt Col John Dimmer (1918)
RUSI’s Roll of Honour also reveals that seven of its members died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, on 1 July 1916.
RUSI members, then, as now, were the lifeblood of the Institute. They were often young officers eager to find a platform for debate about military policy and strategy. In turn they would contribute to the national debate and policy-making process for Britain’s defence and foreign policy. Their subscriptions and attendances, as well as their deaths, are charted in records that today can be found in the RUSI Archive.
They provide a fascinating insight not only into the history of the Institute, but also into the lives of those individuals who, through their membership and participation, allowed RUSI to thrive.
Over 500 of RUSI’s members died in the service of their country during the Great War. As part of its centenary commemorations, the Institute will remember these men with a Roll Call of Honour – published in the August/September issue of the Journal and online – and with a series of accounts that will draw out the unique stories that lie behind the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Some of the information recorded in the archives is incomplete. The names of those members whose fate could not be verified are nevertheless included at the end of the roll call.