Lieut.-Colonel Ernest Charles Forbes WODEHOUSE, D.S.O.

Commanded the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from December 1914 to March 1915.

Ernest Charles Wodehouse was born 5th August 1871, at Hove, Brighton, son of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Wodehouse, CIE, Bombay Political Service, at one time Resident of Kolhapur, and of his wife, Jermima Forbes, daughter of George Forbes, of Springhill, Aberdeenshire.

He was educated at Wellington College, and Oxford Military College, and joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion Worcestershire Regiment at the age of 19. He joined the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment as Second Lieutenant on the 19th October 1892, and was promoted Lieutenant on the 26th December 1895, and Captain on the 10th January 1900.

He served in the South African War 1899-1902, as District Adjutant, Heilbron, and as Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from 30th November 1898 to 31st May 1902; during operations in Orange River Colony, May to 29th November 1900, including actions at Bethlehem (6th and 7 July 1900) and Wittebergen (till 29th July 1900); operations in the Transvaal, west of Pretoria, July to 29th November 1900; in the operations in Cape Colony, south of Orange River, 1899-1900, including actions at Colesberg on the 1st January to 12th February; operations in the Transvaal 30th November 1900 to May 1901; operations in Orange River Colony, May 1901 to 31st May 1902; was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 16 September 1901, and on another occasion]; received the Queen's Medal with clasps for (1) Wittebergen; (2) Transvaal and (3) Cape Colony, and the King's Medal with two clasps.

Lieut.-Col. E. C. F. Wodehouse

Officers of the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment (1900)
Captain Ernest Charles Wodehouse as Adjutant is seated front 3rd from left

He was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 27 September 1901]: "Ernest Charles Forbes Wodehouse, Captain, Worcestershire Regiment. In recognition of services during the recent operations in South Africa". He was invested by the King on the 24th October 1902. His DSO was given for good work in South Africa, being Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion from 15th April 1899 to April 1903; was Acting DAAG, Bloemfontein District, from April 1903 to July 1903; Adjutant of 6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from the 10th August 1903 to 1907. He was promoted to rank of Major on the 27th November 1907.

During the Boer War he kept a diary of events:

Ernest Charles Wodehouse married Amy Violet Isaac, daughter of J. S. Isaac, of Boughton Park, Worcester, at St John's Church, Worcester on the 18th April 1906.

He was very keen on cricket and was known as a good shot.

In 1913 sailed with the 1st Battalion to Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo), as 2nd-in-command. At the out break of the First World War in 1914, he returned to England with the 1st Battalion, arriving at Liverpool on the 16th October 1914. Back in England the battalion joined the 24th Brigade and sailed for France in November the same year.

When Lieut.-Colonel Arthur Edward Lascelles was invalid home from France in December 1914, the then Major Wodehouse took over command of the 1st Battalion.
He commanded the 1st Battalion, as Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, from 1st January to 12th March 1915, when he was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle. He was mentioned in Despatches, dated 31st May 1915 ( published London Gazette 22nd June 1915) for gallant and distinguished service in the field.

He was killed as he led a battalion advance storming buildings in the front-line at Neuve Chapelle and attempted to hold the position against enemy counter-attacks. However, no support came and the British artillery were also shelling the buildings they were trying to hold. The battalion was surrounded by the Germans on three sides and it was clear that their position could not be held. During the withdrawal over open ground on the 12th March 1915, Lieut.-Colonel Wodehouse was killed (age 43). Initial reports stated that he was "wounded and missing" but a fortnight later he was reported as killed.

E. C. F. Wodehouse