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Major-General Sir Gerard Moore Heath (1863-1929)

Born: at Anstie Grange, Holmwood, Surrey, 7 June 1863.  Died 1929.

Youngest son of: Admiral Sir Leopold Heath KCB RN and Lady Mary Emma Heath (nee Marsh).

Brother of:

  1. Arthur Raymond Heath (1854-1943) who married Flora Jean Baxter.
  2. Marion Emma Crofton (nee Heath, 1856-1949) who married Maj Alfred Fox Cotton and then Richard Martin Crofton.
  3. Maj Gen Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell (1858-1945) who married Constance Mary Helsham Helsham-Jones (1869-1957).
  4. Cuthbert Eden Heath (1859-1939) who married Sarah Caroline Gore Gambier (1859-1944).
  5. Ada Randolf Broadwood (nee Heath, 1860-1957) who married HJT Broadwood (1856-1911).
  6. Admiral Sir Herbert Leopold Heath (1861-1954) who married Elizabeth Catherine Simson.

Gerard married: Mary Egerton (18??-1954).
Gerard and Mary had issue:

  1. Mary Moore Marjoribanks Hall (nee Heath, 1894-19??) who married 1st Maj James MacNeece (18??-1916) and 2nd Col Robert Lionel Hall (1898-19??).
  2. Maj Gen Gerard William "Bill" Heath (1897-1980) who married 1st Hilda Holdsworth (1899-19??) and 2nd Gwendda Evans.

We know about Gerard from the following sources:

  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.

Maj Gen Sir Gerard Moore Heath: An Overview 

The entry in Records of the Heath Family Vol 1, page 97, reads as follows:

Gerard Moore, born at Anstie Grange, Holmwood, June 7th, 1863.  Joined the army as Lieut. Royal Engineers from Woolwich,, Feb. 22nd, 1882. After being under instruction for two years at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham he joined the Telegraph Battalion, early in 1885 he went to South Africa for the Bechuana Land Expedition under Sir Chas. Warren., returning at the end of that year to Aldershot. In 1887 he was ordered to India, to join the Bengal Sappers and Miners. He joined the Staff College early in 1890, passing out at the end of 1892, and returned to the Sappers and Miners in 1893.

In 1895 he joined the Chitral Expedition in command of a pontoon train, and for his work there was commended by the Government of India, receiving a medal with clasp. He returned to England in the spring of 1896, to command the balloon section at Aldershot, and in the autumn of 1899 took his command to South Africa for the war against the Dutch Republics. Being ordered, on the outbreak of the war, to join Sir George White's command at Ladysmith, he was present with the balloon at the battle of Lombard's Kop, after which he was shut up in that town during its siege by the Boers. For his services he was mentioned in Sir GT. White's despatches. After the relief of Ladysmith in Feb., 1900, Major Heath, having no further use of the balloons, obtained permission to convert the section into a troop of mounted sappers, for work with Lord Dundonald's mounted brigade under Sir Redvers Buller.

Advancing with that force through Natal and the Transvaal, he was present at the action of Laings Nek and round Belfast, and at many minor skirmishes, being mentioned in despatches by Sir R.Buller, and being awarded the Dist. Service Order. At the close of 1900 he joined gen. Alderson's Mounted Infantry, and in 1901 became Intelligence Officer to Gen. Gilbert Hamilton's Cavalry Brigade, being subsequently appointed D.A.A. Gen. to that column, an appointment which he held towards the end of the war in June, 1902. In August of the same year he was promoted a Brevet Lieut.-Colonel for his services, and received the Queen's medal with 5 clasps and the King's medal with 2 clasps. In June, 1902, he received the appointment of Instructor of Field Fortification at the School of Engineering, Chatham, a post which he retained till 1906. After a short period as commanding Royal Engineers, London district, he was ordered to India to command the 1st (P.W.).) Sappers and Miners, and in 1910 was selected for the appointment of General Staff Officer to the Burma division. Early in 1912 he was appointed Brigadier-general of the General Staff in South Africa, under General Sir Reginald hart, V.C., K.C.B., which appointment he still retains.

He became Lieutenant. R.E., Feb, 1882

Captain, R.E., 1890

Major, R.E., 1899

Brev. Lieut.-Col.,Aug., 1902

Colonel, 1907

Colonel, R.E., 1911

Temporary Brig-General, March 1912

He married Aug. 15th, 1893, at Odd Road, Cheshire, Mary, daughter of Philip Egerton, Esq., L.C.S., of Gresford, North Wales, by whom he has issue,

Mary Marjoribanks.

Gerard William Egerton.


The entry in Records of the Heath Family Vol 2, page 16, reads as follows:


On the outbreak of war, I was on leave in South Africa, where I had held the appointment of Brigadier General, General Staff, under Sir Reginald Hall. Soon after the declaration of war, I became an Inspector of Recruiting in England, in connection with the raising of Kitchener's Armies, and subsequently Inspector of Royal Engineers in England. In May, 1915, I went to France as Chief Engineer of the 2nd corps under Sir Chas. Ferguson; we were then strictly on the "defensive;" trench warfare prevailed, and my duties were almost entirely devoted to supervising the construction of lines of defence and their maintenance. My beat extended at one time from Armentieres to Ypres.

In October - November, 1915, I was appointed Chief Engineer to the 1st Army, then under Sir Douglas Haig, afterwards under Sir Chas. Monro, and finally under Sir Henry Horne. My duties were mainly "defence," upkeep of roads, providing water supply, etc., over an extending area from Arras to Armentieres, and for an army of about 300,000 men.

At the end of 1916 we began preparations for an "offensive," the 1st Army's task being the capture of the "Vimy Ridge." This involved new roads, gun positions, infantry positions, the laying of 40 miles of pipe line for the supply of water for 30,000 horses, etc.

The attack of the Canadians, in conjunction with the 3rd Army on their right, took place on April 9th, 1917, and was entirely successful.

Then came consolidation of the positions won, and much work on defences and communications. In October, 1917, I was appointed Engineer-in-Chief at General Head Quarters, and as such was advisor to Sir Douglas Haig on matters of engineering. I remained in this appointment till the end of the war. My duties were chiefly administrative, but entailed much travelling about on inspection work. Before and after the great German offensive of March 21st, 1918, my work was chiefly bound up with the construction of lines of defence, by Armies, Corps and Divisions. After our retreat to the line Amiens-Ypres, we constructed 5000 miles of defence between us. After that came our advance; road making, bridging, water supply became the order, and my chief duty was to see that everyone got what they wanted, to enable them to make a rapid advance. I was slightly wounded by shell in 1917 whilst inspecting defences.

Honours: C.B.

Promoted Major-General for distinguished service in the field.


Mentioned six times in despatches.

Order of St.Stanislaus 1st Class.

Croix de guere (avec palmes).

I retired from the Army, December 4th, 1919.