b. 20/09/1875 Gibraltar. d. 25/03/1953 Cobham, Surrey.
Wallace Duffield Wright (1875-1953) was born on 20th September 1875 in Gibraltar, the son of Mr James Sykes Wright. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Royal West Surrey Regiment (The Queen's) on 9th December 1896 and served with the Malakand Field Force and the Tirah Expeditionary Force 1897-1898. He was awarded the Indian Frontier Medal with clasps for the Punjab Frontier and Tirah. He was promoted to Lieutenant in September 1898.
From 1901 to 1904, he was employed with the West African Frontier Force, under the Colonial Office, in Northern Nigeria. He was again wounded, received the African General Service Medal, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for services performed under the command of Colonel Morland CB, DSO. (London Gazette, 11th September 1903).
On 26th February 1903 in Nigeria, Lieutenant Wright, with only one other officer and 44 men sustained the determined charges of 1,000 horse and 2,000 foot for two hours and when the enemy, after heavy losses, fell back in good order, Lieutenant Wright continued to follow them until they were in full retreat. The personal example of this officer, as well as his skilful leadership, contributed largely to the brilliant success of the affair.
He was decorated with the Victoria Cross by HM King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 5th November 1903. He passed through Staff College and was GSO III at the War Office from 2nd April 1909 to 15th August 1911, from 16th August 1911 to 1st April 1913 he was Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade, Aldershot. On 28th January 1914 he was GSO II and employed with the West African Frontier Force, serving in the Cameroons. He served on the Western Front 1916-1919 with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, and then as GSO II 55th Division; GSO I 18th Division; Brigadier-General Staff of the 17th Army Corps and Brigadier-General in command of the 8th Infantry Brigade.
He was awarded the CMG in 1916, and the DSO in 1918, during the Great War. On the 9th August 1919, he married in Paris, to Flora MacDonald Bewick, daughter of Richard Berry Bewick, who hailed from Atlanta, Georgia. He was a member of HM's Body Guard of Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms from 1932-1950.
He retired from the Army in September 1940, and was at one time a Member of Parliament. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard. He died at Westways Farm, Cobham, Surrey, on 25th March 1953, aged 78. He was buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, and in 2015, his grave was renovated by the Victoria Cross Trust. His medals are held by the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment, whose museum at Clandon Park near Guildford, Surrey was sadly destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, his medals were held in a safe and not on display.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL SURREY REGIMENTAL MUSEUM, CLANDON PARK, SURREY.
BURIAL PLACE: BROOKWOOD CEMETERY, BROOKWOOD, SURREY.
Wallace Duffield Wright's medal collection at the Royal Surrey Regimental Museum, Clandon Park, Guildford, Surrey.
Wallace Wright's renovated grave courtesy of the VC Trust in March 2015 (Kevin Brazier).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT 9, GRAVE 215534
War Illustrated, 11th December 1915