Capt Raymond Leopold Grieg Heath
(1885-1915)

Born: 1885 and was killed in action 1915 in France.
Son of: Arthur Raymond Heath (1854-1943) and  Flora Jean Baxter.
Brother of:
1. Violet Mary Heath (1882-1904).
2. Lt Col Frederick Dunbar Heath (1889-1954) who married Dorothy Jane Nairne Spencer (1892-1975).

 

Capt Raymond Leopold Grieg Heath: An Overview

We have the following references to Raymond:
1. Entry in the book "Records of the Heath Family Vol 1" by George Heath, 1913. 
2. Entry in the book "Records of the Heath Family Vol 2" by George Heath, 1920.

Records of the Heath Family Vol 1, page 101, reads as follows:

Raymond Leopold Greig, born at Farmington Lodge, North Leach, Glos., Feb. 14, 1885.  Educated at Marlborough College.  Lieut. 2nd Batt. Queen's Royal West Surrey Regt.

Records of the Heath Family Vol 2, page 31, reads as follows:

CAPT. RAYMOND LEOPOLD GREIG HEATH.
QUEEN'S ROYAL WEST SURREY.

Educated at Hawtrey's, Westgate, and at Marlborough College, Preshute House.  Passed into Sandhurst, and while waiting to be gazetted, he went to Russia to learn the language, where he was very kindly received by his mother's second cousins Prince Oakhtomsky and Countess Ferser Stenbock. He was gazetted to the Royal West Surrey, Dec. 14th, 1913, and obtained his Captaincy, Nov. 1st, 1914. After a short time at Shorncliffe he went to India, where his battalion, then commanded by Colonel Pink, obtained the Kitchener price for efficiency. In India he was quartered successively at Sialkote and Agra. While at Sialkote he made a shooting trip into the Pamirs and got some good Ibex and Amiel.

From India he went to Aden, and while there got his second star. The battalion was then ordered home, but at Gibraltar as junior lieutenant he was transferred to 2nd battalion at that section. Here he did a deal of hunting with the Cape hounds and won several races at the local meetings on a very good pony he had named Smoke, riding in the family colours, black and red stripe. From Gibraltar he went to Bermuda and then to South Africa. He always had a rather a turn of mechanics, and taking a great interest in machine guns he was put in charge of the battalion machine guns (at that time two per battalion were considered sufficient). He ran this little command very well, and even made a small invention for sighting at night, which was favourably considered at Headquarters.

On the breaking out of the war the battalion was ordered home, and was for a short time in camp at Lyndhurst. It went straight from there as a unit of the 22nd Brigade, 7th Division, to Zeebrugge, where they landed 12 moon 7/10/14. After much marching and countermarching they took part in the struggle  on the 19th October, 1914, for the Menim road. Near Ypres, Raymond was badly wounded on October 23rd by a bullet which passed upwards form the groin and eventually lodged in the stomach. He was knocked over and left behind in the retreat, but managed to pick himself up and hobble toward the British lines, even rounding up stragglers on the way. He was brought home to Mrs.R.Lindsay's Hospital in her London House, where he was treated with every possible kindness. In due course the bullet was extracted from the stomach, where it was lying loose (the case is said to be unprecedented). He convalesced for a short time at home, but made such a rapid recovery that by November, 1914, he was passed for light duty abroad, and left England to join the Battalion on 23rd, Dec., 1914, only three months after being wounded.

On arriving in France, being only fit as yet for light duty, he was detached to command the guard at Chen Sir D. Haig's H.Q., who then commanded the first Army Corps. After a little time Raymond was made Camp Commandant, which post he filled until May, when he was able to do what he had long been most anxious to do, that is, rejoin the battalion in the fighting line. On the 7th May he was finally released from the post of Camp Commandant, and after a short period with the 1st battalion, rejoined the 2nd battalion "Queen's," taking command of "D" company.

In the course of June he was selected by General Lawford, the Brigadier, to join his staff in the responsible position of Brigade Machine Gun Officer. He was, however, very anxious to get back to the battalion, where he felt his duty lay, and where, owing to the heavy casualties, there was a desperate want of experienced officers, and on June 10th the general very reluctantly consented to his throwing up his post on the Brigade Staff and rejoining his battalion.

The battalion was now commanded by M. G. Heath, D.S.O. (no relation of our family). Capt. F.C. Longbourne was second in command. Captain P.C. Esdaile, next in seniority, was not with the regiment. Capt. R.L.G. Heath was, therefore, practically senior Captain.

When the battalion embarked for  France in August, 1914, M.G. Heath was a junior Captain, F.C. Longbourne, P.C. Esdaile and R.L.G. Heath being practically contemporaries, and all at Sandhurst together, were rather junior lieutenants.

The battalion was severeal times engagd in minor affairs, and  constantly, with short respites, under fire until the battle of Loos. The following were the orders as explained to the Company Commanders of 2nd Battalion on 18th September.

9th Division to attack Auchy.
7th Division on the right.
20th Brigade on right.
22nd Brigade (including "Queen's") on left.
21st Brigade Divisional Reserve Brigade
22nd was disposed as follows:-
South Staffordshire on the right as far as Hulluch Road,
Warwicks on the left as far as Borders Lane
Royal Welsh Fusiliers in support in Sidings and keeps along Hulloch Railway.
"Queen's" in reserve Lancaster lines.
Royal Welsh Fusiliers to go into front line as soon as attackers have left, but will be used to cover and support left flank and they will attack towards Haisnes,
"Queen's" move into front line as soon as it is clear, but do not move out until told to.

On the 25th September, the day of the battle of Loos, the battalion moved out from Vermelles towards Hulluch early, "D" company under R.L.G. Heath, attacking towards Cite St. Elie. Early in the attack, Sergeant Park, of  "D" company, who before he enlisted as gardener at Kitlands, became a casualty, wounded in both legs. This was about 9.a.m., and at that time he saw Raymond running forward, leading "D" company at the double. They went on and occupied at trench just opposite City St. Elie, a mining village north of Lens and near Hulluch. The last report from Raymond received by the second in command, Capt. Longbourne, was as follows.

"'D' Company and about 50 or 60 men of  'C' Company, some Warwicks and men of  R.W.F. are in trench G6DS.2-G.6 BS2 between City St. Elie and Haisnes. We are on the right of 9th Division. I am not advancing till I receive orders."

This was received at 11.20 a.m., and the following is an extract from a letter from one of his subalterns:  "at this time (about 11 a.m.) he (R.L.G.H.) received no orders and no support, and could get no connection with the battalion on his right. We stayed there (in above trench) until early in the afternoon, when we attacked City St. Elie, but were shelled by our own artillery, and had to go back to the trench. It was soon after this, 3 p.m., that your son was hit (by a bullet from a sniper thought the temple). The Germans then got behind us and the battalion on our left became demoralised and went back, compelling us to do the same, 4 p.m. (They fell back to the quarries where the writer of the above was wounded and the Colonel killed). This is all I can tell you, but before closing should like to say what admiration I felt for the way in which Capt Heath led us all day and by his coolness and personal example made us all feel anything he told us too do would without doubt turn out well, and I am sure I am voicing the feelings of the Company in saying this."

As Major (now Brigadier-General) Longbourne wrote at the time: "R.L.G. Heath was killed, shot through the head, after he had successfully led his Company and gained the most forward position occupied by the Brigade that day."

The date was Sept. 25th, 1915, the day on which the Allies made their great attack on the German lines."

A memorial service was held at Coldharbour Church on Tuesday, Oct 5th, 1915. The service was mainly choral, concluding with "The Last Post," beautifully rendered on the bugle by Sergt. Major Calper, "The Queen's," who had served in Capt Heath's company, and the March in "Scipio" on the organ. It was largely attended by relations, friends and neighbours.

 

If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me on jj@jjhc.info

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