b. 12/04/1834 Edinburgh, Scotland. d. 17/12/1909 Chelsea, London.
William Hope (1834-1909) was born on 12th April 1834 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the only surviving son of the Right Honourable John Hope, Lord Chief Justice Clerk of Scotland, and his wife, Jessie Scott Irving. William was educated at Hatfield Preparatory School, by private tutors and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Following his university education, he enlisted with the 7th Regiment, The Royal Fusiliers on 12th April 1855, on his 21st birthday.
He was soon posted to the Crimea with his Regiment, and would receive the Victoria Cross for his actions just over 2 months after arrival. On 18th June 1855, during the assault on the Redan, the 7th Regiment charged three times, and were so decimated that William Hope and 7 others were the only men who came back unwounded. Hope then heard that the Adjutant was missing, and instantly went out again to search for him under a heavy fire. He found the Adjutant severely wounded, and he feared moving him would increase his suffering. Hope then ran back to fetch a stretcher party to bring him in. Sadly, the Adjutant later died of his wounds.
Hope was awarded the Victoria Cross on 5th May 1857, and was present at the first investiture in Hyde Park the following month, on 26th June and was presented to the Queen. He had already received the Crimean Medal with one clasp and the Turkish Medal for his efforts in the Crimea. Just prior to the announcement of the Victoria Cross in April 1857, William had chosen to leave the Army on the occasion of his marriage to Margaret Jane Cunnighame Graham, and the couple went on to have six children: Adrian Charles Francis (who became Secretary of Great Ormond Street Hospital), John Archibald Graham, Charles Douglas (who became a Headmaster in South Africa), Jessie Margaret (who became a novelist), Laura Charlotte and Margaret Elizabeth Horatia. His wife was the daughter of Robert Cunningham Cunninghame Graham of Gartmore and aunt of the author, politician and traveller Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham. One of their eldest son's descendants, Lauretta Hope-Nicholson, was the second wife of the artist Jean Hugo.
After leaving the Army, William invented the shrapnel shell for rifled guns, and many other improvements. He commanded the 1st City of London Artillery Volunteers for several years. Hope lived in London for the majority of the rest of his life, and sadly just a week after his wife’s death, he passed away on 17th December 1909 at his nursing home in London, aged 75. He was buried in the family grave in Brompton Cemetery, and one of his pallbearers was Private Lewis, a Chelsea pensioner, who had served with him in the Crimea. Four of his grandsons attended the funeral, and would all later serve with distinction in the Great War. Hope’s medals are held by the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL FUSILIERS MUSEUM, TOWER OF LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BROMPTON CEMETERY, LONDON.
William Hope's medals including VC at the Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
COMPARTMENT E, 142' X 110'
William Hope VC by Louis Desanges
Parsloes Manor, Dagenham, Essex
Original medal (Paul Deeprose)