2ND AUGUST 1917 AGE 34


Wilfred Dashwood was the fourth of Sir George Dashwood's seven sons - three of whom were killed in the war. From his inscription you can see that he had a fairly unorthodox military career: first a private, then a captain and finally a lieutenant. But you can also see that the fact of him having been a private was something his father was proud to record in his inscription.
Dashwood was, of course, no ordinary private but rather he was one in the Public School Corps.
On 26 August 1914 The Times published a letter signed 'The eight unattached', eight men who had tried but failed to get commissions.

"We are between thirty and thirty-five, absolutely fit and game for active service ... We have applied for commissions in the new Regulars but find we are too old. We have offered our services as musketry instructors, and we are informed we are too young ..."

The men's solution was to join the ranks but with this suggestion:

"Many advantages would result if we all joined the same regiment and all public school men of similar age and qualifications are invited to attend a formal meeting on Thursday next ..."

The meeting was convened at Claridges Hotel, which tells you something about the sort of men who planned to meet there. But as The Spectator tried to protest:

"There is no suggestion that the public school men are better than others, but it is natural to wish to spend possibly many weary months or years with people of one's own upbringing."

The months or years weren't necessarily to be spent fighting the war but waiting for a commission. Dashwood, having joined as a private, was obviously fairly quickly promoted to Captain but when in September 1916 he eventually got a commission in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards it was as a lieutenant.
On 31 July 1917, Dashwood led his company in a mopping up exercise just behind the first wave of attackers. He was wounded within the first two hours of the attack and died two days later. His elder brother, Ernest, aged 35, had been killed in 1915, as had his younger brother Lionel, aged 27. At one time the family had lived at Kirtlington Park in Oxfordshire but Sir George Dashwood, the boys' father, sold it in 1908.