Frederick Henry Forde MC

Correct Medal Index card, note address of Zephyr Lodge, Bexhill on Sea is given in press report on Kilmichael Ambush

1896 Jul 27. Born India son of a British Army Officer Lionel Forde, Garrison Artillery, Western Division

The noted dates on the left will be when Cheltenham College and the Colonial Office obtained copies of the cert

1907 May. Enters Cheltenham College

1911 census Parents are living at Ivy Lodge, London Road, Greenhithe, Kent. And Frederick Henry Forde is a boarder at Christowe Sandford Road, Cheltenham, part of Cheltenham College. He is given as age 14 and born in India at Brougha Gally. Christowe is one of the houses of Cheltenham College. It moved into the current building in 1866 under the Housemastership of the Rev’d William Boyce. The rest of his family is given in the census return below.

1914 Jul 11 Sits and pass exam to enter Royal Military Academy. His parents are now at Shafte Crofte, Edenbridge, Kent

1915 Feb 10. 2nd Lieutenant F H Forde commissioned. Medal card shows he served in 156 Battery 8 Brigade RFA (A64 & C64)

1915 Oct. Lands in the Balkans with the RFA. He served in Egypt, Salonica, Serbia and Palestine

1918 Apr 11. MC Gazetted for Lt. Frederick Henry Forde, R.F.A.

1918 Oct 12. RFA The undermentioned to be Adjts., and to be actg. Capts. (with pay and allowances as Lt.) whilst so empld.: — Lt. F. H. Forde, M.C.

1919 Feb 10. To be Acting Captain whilst 2nd-in-comd. of Batt - Lt. F. H. Forde, M.C

1919 Mar. Suffering from "chronic nephritis", which causes him to eventually go on half-pay list. Chronic nephritis is a chronic inflammation of the tissues of the kidney.It is caused by a wide variety of etiological factors. The disease is frequently associated with a slow, progressive loss of kidney function

1919 May 10. The undermentioned Lts. relinquish the actg. rank of Capt.- F. H. Forde, M.C.

1920 Apr 23. His mother writes to the Army reporting his progress and asking for his re-instatement

1920 May 2. Applied for medals

1920 Sep 26. RFA. Lt. F. H. Forde, M.C placed on Half Pay list on account of ill health contracted on active service. His address is given as Zephyr Lodge, Bexhill. He is instructed to report for a further medical in 12 months time, to reassess his health

1920 Oct 20 Joined ADRIC with service no 850. Posted to C Coy

1920 Nov 28. Forde was wounded in the Kilmichael ambush, and left for dead by the IRA, but is found to be barely alive by the British who later removed the bodies. He was taken to hospital in Cork

1920 Nov 29. Colonel Barton Smith who commanded C Coy in Macroom Castle sent a contingent of Auxiliaries to investigate the disaster and recover the bodies. The Auxiliary Munro's account says that news of the ambush did not reach Macroom on the evening of 28th November "No news of the ambush reached the Company that night. But as the patrol had not returned by midnight it was evident that something serious had happened. Volunteers were called to form a search party and two tenders covered every conceivable road that the patrol could reasonably have taken. The night was a filthy one with no moon and rain coming down in torrents making visibility very poor. That is possibly why no one was seen as the party passed the junction where the patrol had turned off ....Nothing was to be gained by sending out a second search party after the first had returned, and it was decided to wait until daylight." Just after 9am on Monday 29th Nov news was brought in by one of the local doctors. "All available transport was got ready and with two only of the tenders manned, we set out to bring in all that was left of the Sunday patrol. The doctor accompanied us as it was not known whether there were any wounded. There was no difficulty in finding the spot in daylight. There were the two wrecked tenders, and scattered over the road what was left of twenty (sic) of the patrol....A strange thing was that one of the worst looking cases was still alive. Even the doctor was amazed that it was possible. He gave his opinion that it was because of the incessant rain that the man's wounds had been kept clean and to this he owed his life. It was far less than a fifty-fifty chance that we could get him to hospital alive, but it was done. He was paralysed for the rest of his life.

Lieutenant Forde’s family made a claim for compensation as it appears that he was seriously disabled due to his injuries. During this claim process, Fleming's map was used by the Forde family solicitors to substantiate their case. They were successful in receiving a sum of £10,000. This document was held by a law firm in Macroom until the 1960s when it was given to the O’Mahony family of Ballymichael.

The RIC Surgeon gave evidence that Forde had sustained a compound fracture of the skull, caused by a gunshot wound and external violence with damage to the brain substance and was certified to be unfit for further service.  His ability to contribute in future, to his own support, is classified as totally destroyed.

Forde was awarded the maximum Pension under section 5 of the act of 1883 is £127.8s.0.(under four years service) and  an additional provisional allowance on account of pension, on the Desborough rates of £67.12.0. be paid making a total of £195. being 45/60 of his pensionable pay under Authority of Treasury letter 4th January, 1921. NO,T.I..1086/20. Also Forde was awarded £10.000. compensation under the criminal payments (Ireland )  act 1919. Kew- H.O.- 184/216-218. The payment of the £10,000 is confirmed by other sources

An interesting insight to the compensation is given in The Briar of Life by A J S Brady, the son of the Macroom Church of Ireland Minister. Brady later worked for Tom Grainger, who was Forde's solicitor in the compensation case. I am convinced that Brady's account is true as he publishes in his book a map of the ambush annotated by Tom Barry that ties to another copy of the same map. Brady read Grainger's file of the case and notes "I found a letter from Forde to Grainger in which he acknowledged receipt of a cheque for £9900 that Grainger had sent him. To cover costs Grainger had deducted £100 from the full sum awarded. Forde called him a robber for having done so" It does therefore establish the Forde did receive £9900 in compensation, and he was also getting £140 a year in disability pension, plus an army pension of £195 per year.

1921 Jan 9 Admitted to Q A Military Hospital at Millbank

1921 Jan 18 Compensation claim heard in Bandon Assizes

1921 Apr 20. Oddly ADRIC Roll says "resigned on completion of 6 months service" Though he was paid a pension for 18 months from 1 May 1921

1921 May 20 Transferred to Osbourne Convalescent Hospital on Isle of Wight.

It is proving difficult to ascertain exactly how bad his injuries were and how they would effect his life. He certainly had a metal plate in his head but the memory in the family today is that they do not recollect that Freddy had anything more than a metal plate in his head. But he certainly had a relationship with two women and fathered a child by each of them.


1921 Jul 14. He married Gertrude Woodbridge in the Isle of Wight

His address is given as Osbourne House. During World War I, the secondary wings of Osbourne House were used as an officers' convalescent home. A 1930 guide says that it had room for about sixty Officers of the various services. They were married by Licence rather than Banns. The witness from his side of the union was his mother.

1922 Apr/Jun daughter born Peggy M Forde ref Battle 2b, 71 (she died unmarried in 1995 in Worthing)

1922 Aug 21. Writes to Army requesting that he can resign his commission and retire on disability retired pay. This letter is in his own handwriting, and the signature is the same as in later letters

1922 Sep 23. The undermentioned Lts., h.p. list, late R.F.A., retire on ret. pay, and are granted the rank of Capt.: F. H. Forde, M.C., on account of ill health contracted on active service

1925 May 19 He enters a protracted correspondence with Army about the fact he was overpaid while in ADRIC. Basically he was on half pay when he joined the ADRIC and he should have told the Army when he joined ADRIC and the half pay would have stopped while he was getting ADRIC money. He did not so advise the army, and was therefore paid his half pay salary while in ireland. When the army eventually found out, they wanted the overpayment back - amounting to £75. What is amazing is that he had got £9900 compensation a few years earlier, and was getting a regular income from army pensions. It would appear that the capital of £9900 had somehow "disappeared"

1925 Sep 23. Army refuses Forde's request to write off the rest of his debt to them for overpayment of his Half-Pay. He claims that his wife and child have been ill and that he cannot afford to send the Army the agreed £5 per month.

1925 Dec 11. Forde is trying to recover tax that he paid on his over-paid Army pay that he is refunding. He has repaid £50 at this stage.

1926 Feb 15. He writes a letter to the Army from 88 Plaistow Lane, Bromley enclosing a cheque for £20-4-0, which clears his debt to them from the original £75-4-0. He says that the demands of the Inland Revenue have prevented him paying the Army any sooner. The latter is hand written, and shows that he could write at this date.

1926 Oct 26. His father Col Lionel Forde died. Probate was for an estate of £783

Col Forde obit

1927 He had a small stroke (see 1928 car accident below)

1928 Prosecuted for drink driving and acquitted. I have excluded some of the detail of the case which relates only to witnesses and not about Forde

1930 Jul 18. Applies for a position in the Colonial Office. They take up references with Army. But he does not appear to have got the job.

1933 May 11. Forde gets a copy of his service record . He wishes to register with the "Officers Association Employment Bureau" and requires this piece of paper. His address is 20 Sandford Rd, Bromley, Kent

1935 Jul. Forde in correspondence over medical costs. Army say that he is not entitled to any.

1935 Dec 18. Birth of son Patrick H Forde registered in Hendon. Mother is given as Turnstone . Their address was 14 Fern shaw Road, London SW10. Oddly the birth was not registered until Jul 6, nearly 6 months later.

1936 Jul. Forde again applies for admission to Queen Alexandra Military Hospital

1938 May 19 Departed for Beira on RMS Dunbar Castle with wife and son. He is a Civil Servant, aged 40, his wife is 34 and their son 2, P H Forde. Their UK address was given as East Walworth, Wareham, Devon. Their intended country of residence is given as South Africa. And they are travelling Tourist Class (die below 1st or 2nd class)

1938 to 1941 He lived on his sisters's farm called Virginia Waters near Tarantellas. Marooned (known as Tarantellas until 1982) is a town in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe, located about 72 km east of Harare; population 39,384 (Central Statistical Office, Zimbabwe. Census of Population, 1992. The population was estimated at 46,000 in 2002. Harare: Government Printer). One of the earliest centres of white settlement in the former colony of Southern Rhodesia, Marooned was one of the centres of Zimbabwe's large forestry and farming district and markets timber, tobacco, corn (maize), beef, and dairy products until the seizure of white-owned farms and redistribution of land began in 2000. They later ran a poultry farm there,

1941 May 18. Died in Southern Rhodesia, Captain Frederick Henry Forde M.C., beloved elder and only surviving son of Mrs H.M.S. Morris and the late Colonel Lionel Forde C. M.G., R.A.

He went out to Rhodesia to join his sister Blanche Forde & her husband (Captain Ussher Stanley) who had gone there in 1935. He is buried in the cemetery in Tarantellas. His son, Patrick, died many years ago but left 5 children including one son.

Alan Harris from South Africa sent we this the grave of F Forde in the Tarantellas old graveyard always intrigued me. I responded to an appeal by a Mr Mallory about twelve years ago and we exchanged a few letters. Efforts to locate anybody in the Tarantellas, They don and Mach eke areas who could recall Forde came to naught. I am grateful to Alan Harris for the photo of F H Forde's grave there.

1952 Jun 24. His mother dies in Epsom

1967 His son married in 1967 in London

1971 Feb 11. His wife Emily Forde dies in Cambridge age 70


Kilmichael Ambush