MAJOR J. S. CAWLEY
JOHN STEPHEN CAWLEY was the third son of Sir Frederick Cawley, Bart., M.P., of Berrington Hall, Leominster.
He entered the School in 1894, and passed on to the R.M.C., Sandhurst, in 1897, where he was in the Football XV and the Shooting VIII. He joined the 20th Hussars at Mhow, India, in 1898, was promoted Lieutenant in 1900, and obtained his troop in 1906. He served in the South African War from 1901, being present at operations in Orange River Colony and Cape Colony, and for his services received the Queen’s Medal with four Clasps. Subsequently he qualified as Second Class Interpreter in French, and served in Egypt, where he became Adjutant of his Regiment.
Major Cawley played for his Regiment at Polo when they won the Inter- regimental Cup in India (Meerut) in 1901, the Clements Polo Cup in South Africa (Pretoria) in 1903, and the Inter-regimental Cup (Hurlingham) in 1906 and 1907. He won the Officers’ Riding and Jumping Prize at the Royal Military Tournament in 1905.
He passed through the Staff College and became Instructor at the Cavalry School at Netheravon in 1911, and in 1912 was appointed General Staff Officer at the War Office. In 1913 he was appointed Brigade-Major of the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot, and accompanied it to France at the beginning of the War.
He was killed in action at Nery, in the Retreat from Mons, on September 1st, 1914. Age 34. He was mentioned in Despatches of Oct. 8th, 1914. A brother Officer gave the following account of his death:-
“Our Brigade was attacked soon after dawn by a force double our num- ber-a Cavalry Division with twelve guns. Owing to a thick mist they managed to get within 600 yards of us; 350 horses of the Bays stampeded, and their men went after them, and the ‘L’ Battery, R.H.A., was cut to pieces. The occasion was one which called for personal example, and Major Cawley, by permission of the General, went to help to restore order and get the broken remnants into their places. The situation being met, and everyone being in his place, he joined the advanced line, and was almost immediately killed by a piece of shell. The splendid manner in which he met his death in deliberately facing the awful fire in order to help, when he really need not have done so, is only what his whole life has told us to expect.”
His elder brother, Captain H. T. Cawley (O.R.), was killed in action at the Dardanelles on September 23rd, 1915.
Source : Memorials Of Rugbeians Who Fell In The Great War Vol 1
CAWLEY, JOHN STEPHEN, Major, 20th Hussars, and Brigade-Major, 1st Cavalry Brigade, 3rd s. of Sir Frederick Cawley, 1st Bart., M.P. ; b. Crumpsall, co. Lancaster, 27 Oct. 1879 ; educ. Lockers Park, Rugby and Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and obtained his commission in the 20th Hussars, 3 Aug. 1898, joining them at Mhow, India. He became Lieut. 8 Jan. 1900, and obtained his troop, 12 Oct. 1906. He served in the South African War, going to the Cape in 1901 ; was signalling officer to General Lowe’s Column, being present at the operations in the Orange Free State and Cape Colony, for which he received the Queen’s medal with four clasps. He subsequently served in Egypt, and was Adjutant of his regt. 7 Nov. 1903 to 6 May, 1907: and after passing through the Staff College, he became instructor at the Cavalry School at Netheravon, 8 Aug. 1910, and the following year (12 Aug. 1911) was appointed General Staff Officer at the War Office, an appointment he held till 15 April, 1913. On 16 April, 1913, he was made Brigade Major of the 1st Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot, and on the outbreak of war accompanied it to France. He was killed in action at Nery during the retreat from Mons, 1 Sept. 1914 ; was buried there ; unm. A brother officer gave the following account of his death : ” Our brigade was attacked soon after dawn at Nery by a force double our number—a cavalry division with 12 guns. Owing to thick mist they managed to get within 600 yards of us ; 350 horses of the ‘ Bays ‘ stampeded and their men went after them, and the L Battery was cut to pieces. The occasion was one which called for personal example, and Major Cawley, by permission of the General, went to help to restore order and get the i broken remnants in their places. The situation being met and every one being in his place, he joined the advance line and was almost immediately killed by a piece of shell. The splendid manner in which he met his death in deliberately facing the awful fire to help others where he really need not have done so, is only what his whole life has led us to expect.” And a well-known cavalry officer, in a letter to ” The Times,” said : ” We had billeted in a village, and when day broke there was a thick mist. Our patrol came back saying that a German force was close by. My regt. got the warning first, and we had time to get our men into position behind some thick walls ; but the Artillery and the ‘ Bays,’ who had picketed their horses in the open, were too late and were caught by a terrific fire. All the officers of the battery were killed or wounded, and the ‘ Bays’ had nine casualties amongst their officers. They were very hard pressed, and Cawley, who was in the village, ran out into the open to try and collect some men and take them up into support. Just then a shell burst, and he was hit in the head. He was unconscious from the moment he was hit, and died in about a quarter of an hour.” General Briggs, commanding the Brigade, wrote of him : ” He has been a true friend and always a conscientious staff officer to me for nearly two years, and it is needless to say how much I feel his death. He proved himself to be a real fighter in war, and was always cool and collected.” Major Cawley was a good all round sportsman. He was in the Rugby football team and shooting eight at Sandhurst, and in the hockey team, and was whip to the Drag at the Staff College ; played for his regt. at polo when they von the Inter-Regimental Cup in India (Meerut), 1901 ; the Clements Polo Cup in South Africa (Pretoria), 1903 ; and the Inter-Regimental Cup (Hurlingham), 1906 and 1907. He won the Officers’ Riding and Jumping prize at the Royal Military Tournament in 1905, and was well known with the North Hereford and Whaddon Chase Hunts.
Source : De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour Vol 1