LIEUTENANT DUDLEY GERALD MEIN MC
DUKE OF CONNAUGHT'S OWN LANCERS
26TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: BEIRUT WAR CEMETERY, LEBANON
Dudley Mein's father, Colonel Alexander Lechmere Mein, chose his son's inscription. It raises an interesting question. Who is actually speaking here? The voice is obviously meant to be that of the son, Dudley Mein, but the words were chosen by the father. Do the words express the father's sentiments or the son's. We're not going to know.
All the voices in these inscriptions are the voices of the bereaved. Occasionally quotation marks indicate that the dead person is being quoted but even then the choice has been made by the next of kin, the bereaved. And whether they are grief stricken, angry, proud or loving they have had to make a decision on what to say, and they have had to limit it to 66 characters whereas there were probably a million things they could have said. Some people will have said what they thought they should say, some people will have said what people conventionally say and some people will have wanted to say something that brought them comfort. The ones I admire are the ones that say something totally original - 'He would give his dinner to a hungry dog and go without himself', Love and kisses from Mother, Yes my love the same your wife, Ethel'. I suspect I would have said something deeply conventional.
Dudley Mein was born in India in 1898 and educated at Junior King's School Canterbury and Kelly College. After school he entered the Wellington Cadet College, Madras and in April 1916 took a commission in the 31st Duke of Connaught's Lancers. He served in Egypt, Palestine and on the North West Frontier before returning to Palestine in April 1918 attached to the Mysore Lancers.
His Military Cross was awarded for an action on 23 September when he captured two guns and 110 prisoners. He was killed on 26 October in an event described in General Allenby's dispatch:
"Early on the morning of October 26th the armoured cars and the 15th Cavalry Brigade, moving round the west side of the town, followed the enemy along the Aleppo-Katma road and gained touch with him south-east of Haritan. The Turkish rearguard consisted of some 2,500 infantry, 150 cavalry, and eight guns. The Mysore Lancers and two squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers attacked the enemy's left; covered by the fire of the armoured cars, the Machine Gun Squadron and two dismounted squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers. The Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers charged most gallantly. A number of Turks were speared, and many threw down their arms, only to pick them up again when the cavalry had passed through, and their weakness had become apparent. The squadrons were not strong enough to complete the victory, and were withdrawn till a larger force could be assembled."
Much of this information comes from The King's School Canterbury Roll of Honour website.