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Lieutenant Colonel William Giffard
Collection Description

Lieutenant Colonel William Carter Giffard’s collection including portrait, medals, letters, soldier’s pocket camera and pictures.

Collection Detail

Lieutenant Colonel William Carter Giffard was commissioned in the 41st (the Welch) Regiment of Foot in 1878. During his military career, Lt Col Giffard served all over the world, including Gibraltar (1880), South Africa (1881-86), Egypt (1886-89), Malta (1891-93) and the Gold Coast (1897-99). He also fought in both the Boer War and in World War One.

Wherever he was in the world, he kept in touch with his family at home, writing regularly to his mother, until her death in 1900, and to his daughter from the trenches in France. He was also a keen photographer, and amassed a huge collection of pictures from his travels, the images, ranging from theatres of war and hunting expeditions, to wild animals, plants and even pets, were all taken on his pocket camera.

Giffard was not in good health when he arrived home from Africa, and retired on half pay at the end of 1902. In 1907, aged 48, he married Cecil Schwabe and in 1909, the couple had a daughter, Diana. However, his retirement was cut short with the outbreak of war in 1914. He re-enlisted in the army as a brevet Lieutenant Colonel and, in 1915, was given command of the 13th Battalion, the Welch Regiment in Neuve Chapelle, France. Despite the hardships of trench warfare, he managed to write home to his daughter, even enclosing a diagram of the trenches in 1916.

Once again, he was mentioned in Despatches and was promoted in the field, this time to brevet Colonel. However, his health was beginning to fail and he retired for the second time a few months before the end of the war.

He died three years later, aged 61.

To read more about Lt Col Giffard’s military service, click here.

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