Captain Robert Crooks Gilchrist the youngest son of Brigadier-General Robert Alexander Gilchrist, Indian Army, was born in Aurungabad, Deccau, India on 24 June 1878. Robert educated at Dover College and the Royal Military Acadamy Sandhurst where he passed with honours. Gazzetted to 2nd Lieut Indian Army in 1897 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1897 and Captain in 1906. At first appointed to the 33rd Punjabis and then the 46th Punjabis. He went on to serve five years with the Burmah Military Police and took part in two frontier expeditions. He was awarded the kings Police Medal for his service in the Burmah-Chinese Boundary Limitation Commission. At the outbreak of the war, he was attached to the 59th Scinde Rifles and was killed in action at la Bassee on the 19th December 191. De Ruvigny’s state ” while leading a storming party up a German Sap under heavy fire.” De Ruvigny’s also quote from a letter sent by Major TL Leeds, who probably wrote the extract from the 59th Scinde Rifles reproduced below the photograph. The letter from TL Leeds reads
“Your son was killed yesterday morning while leading a storming party in a night attack on the German trenches. He was was most gallantly leading a storming party up a German sap under heavy fire when he was hit in the head by a rifle bullet and killed at once.” Roberts former commander also sent a letter of condolence to the family in which he sid, “I have never heard anything but the most kindly mention…” (quoted in De Ruvigny’s)Capt Robert Crooks Gilchrist’s memorial on his father’s grave in Folkestone Old Cemetery.
From the 59th Scinde Rifles WarDiary for the 19th December 1914
“…Capt Gilchrist went forward too and very shortly came back and asked for support which I sent up. later I heard both had been hit and the people up front hard pressed. I went up the communication trench and found Lieut Scolie who was making must plucky efforts to remove Capt Lee who was dead and Capt Gilchrist who was still alive. They were in a bit of German communication trench from the sap to their main trench. The parapet was not bullet proof and they were being fired on from three sides. Hav. Abdul Wahab with some men was plucky holding the head of the communication trench very close to the Germans. Lieut Kisch RB selecting a plan for a sandbag barricade. He showed me the place he considered best, which I told him to prepare. I told Lieut Scolie to get back Capt Gilchrist who I saw was alive, and to have Capt Lee who I saw was dead, and other bodies, I thought it best to risk no further lives. Capt Gilchrist was got behind the barricade with great difficulty but died soon after. …”