Sir Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven VC GCMG CB DSO* PC

b. 06/07/1872 Windsor, Berkshire. d. 02/05/1955 Shipton Moyne, Gloucestershire.

Alexander “Sandy” Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven (1872-1955) was born on 6th July 1872 at “The Hermitage”, Clewer, near Windsor, Berkshire, the son of the 8th Baron Ruthven and Lady Caroline Annesley-Gore, daughter of the 4th Earl of Arran, KP. He attended Winchester College as a boarder from 1884 to 1885, though Hore-Ruthven spent most of his early education at Eton College, where he stayed until 1888, when he was withdrawn from Eton due to eyesight problems and sent into business by his parents.

Sir Alexander G A Hore-Ruthven

He first worked in a tea merchant’s office in Glasgow and then travelled to India to work on a Tea Plantation in Assam. Hore-Ruthven, however, soon succumbed to malaria and he returned to England in 1892. He then joined the army and later the Militia in 1892. After training at the United Services College he was posted as an officer into the 3rd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry. He fought in the Sudan Campaign in 1898, where he was mentioned in despatches.

He commanded the Camel Corps Detachment at the Battle of Gedarif, and subsequent operations in the Sudan in 1899, including the final defeat of the Khalifa, and became the first Militia Officer to be awarded the Victoria Cross (gazetted 26th February 1899).

On 22nd September 1898 at Gedarif, Hore-Ruthven saw an Egyptian officer lying wounded within 50 yards of the advancing Dervishes, who were firing and charging. He picked up the wounded officer and carried him towards the 16th Egyptian Battalion; he had to drop his burden several times in order to fire upon the Dervishes and check their advance, but his action undoubtedly saved the officer’s life.

He received his VC on 11th May 1899 at Windsor Castle from Queen Victoria. In December 1900, he was promoted to Lieutenant in the Cameron Highlanders. From 1903 to 1904, he was a Special Service Officer in Somaliland, being present at the action of Jidballi (Medal with two clasps). From 1905-1908, he became Military Secretary and Aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of Ireland, Lord Dudley. He was then promoted into the 1st Dragoons as Captain on 11th April 1908, and on 1st June, he married Zara, daughter of John Pollock from County Galway, Ireland. They had a son, Alexander Hardinge Patrick, born in 1912. Sadly, a second son died in infancy.

In July 1908, less than a month after getting married, Hore-Ruthven followed Lord Dudley as his Military Secretary when he became Governor-General of Australia. He held the appointment until 1910. He returned to military service in India and was promoted to Brigade Major, and then Major in the Welsh Guards, shortly after the outbreak of the Great War.

During World War I, he served in France and at Gallipoli, where he was severely wounded, awarded the Distinguished Service Order (1916) and Bar (1919), and Mentioned in Despatches five times. He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) on 8 March 1918. He finished the war as a brigadier-general, was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1919 and commanded British forces in Germany between 1919 and 1920.

After this he held various Army staff positions until 1928, when he was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG, 24th January 1928) and appointed Governor of South Australia. He became Governor General of Australia in 1936 and held office until 1945. He retired from public life and returned to England, where he lived his later years in Gloucestershire. He died on 2nd May 1955 at his home in Shipton Moyne, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. He was buried in the churchyard of St John the Baptist in Shipton Moyne. His medals are held by the Ashcroft Trust and displayed in the Imperial War Museum.