Alfred Clulow Fitzgerald  Garnett-Botfield

Alfred Clulow Fitzgerald Garnett-Botfield

Male 1892 - 1915  (22 years)    Has 62 ancestors but no descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name Alfred Clulow Fitzgerald Garnett-Botfield 
    Relationshipwith Adam
    Born 16 Jun 1892  The Hut, Bishop's Castle, Shropshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 May 1915  Richebourg L'Avoue, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I270132  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 12 Aug 2001 

    Father William Egerton Garnett-Botfield,   b. 16 Aug 1849, Findon, Sussex Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Apr 1906, The Hut, Bishop's Castle, Shropshire Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Clulow Howard-Mclean,   b. Abt 1862, Lak Motherwell, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jan 1921, Vaynor Park, Berriew, Montgomeryshire Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 59 years) 
    Married 24 Feb 1881  Shifnal, Shropshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Siblings 2 siblings 
    Family ID F109200  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 



    • Alfred Clulow Fitzgerald Garnett-Botfield was the youngest and the most talented of three children born to William Egerton Garnett-Botfield, squire of the Hut at Bishop's Castle, and of his wife, Elizabeth Clulow Howard-McLean of Aston Hall, Salop.

      He was born on June 16, 1892 and probably derived his first name from his late uncle, Alfred Stanton Garnett-Botfield [who had died a bachelor the year before], and his second name from his mother's grandfather, Aaron Clulow. Where his third name came from , we can't say---perhaps the namesake of a
      godfather or friend of the family.

      Clulow, as he was known to family and friends, grew up in the lap of luxury. When his grandfather, William Bishton Garnett-Botfield died in January, 1903, the family moved into the great mansion house at Decker Hill, Shifnal, where a household staff of nine live-in servants catered to the family's every need.

      Clulow had an ear for music, and played a number of musical instru-ments with great proficiency and talent. An inventory of the music room at Decker Hill , taken in 1922 shows many of Clulow's musical belongings still there, including music stands, music cabinets and volumes of sheet music as well as a harmonium, organ, harp, banjo and guitar.

      In January of 1906, at age 14, Clulow followed his brother Billie up to Eton , residing there as an inmate of Churchill House. He stayed on at Eton until term end at Christmas 1911.

      With Eton behind him, Clulow proceeded straightway on to Trinity College, Cambridge---again following in the footsteps of his brother---where he intended to pursue a career in engineering.

      Like many Garnetts before and after him at university, Clulow had a special affinity for athletics as well as for scholarship. This manifested itself particularly in a keen interest in rowing.

      In each of his first two years at Cambridge, Clulow stroked the winning boat in the Varsity Trial Eights. Though rowing became his chief recreation and enjoyment, he took part as well in most other outdoor
      sports.

      The great powder keg of war in Europe brought an abrupt end to the tranquil life of Cambridge.

      On the very first day of the war, 22-year old Clulow along with a handful of other classmates marched down to the Army office and signed up for a front line seat to the Great -War-to-end-all-Wars.

      He didn't know what he was getting into. For him, it was all just one big lark...a sophomoric act of daring do...another chance to prove his metal.

      He never thought of being killed. If you asked him, he imagined that he'd come home and tell every one about it. It never entered his mind
      that he might not come back again.

      All he could think of was that he had his ticket to the big show---a ring side seat, at that. Better get a move on. Act quickly, or it might all be over before we get there.

      But the battlefields of France were a far cry from the polite playing fields of Eton and the jolly regattas of Cambridge. There, in the muddy trenches of La Bassee, Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle and Richebourge-l'Avoue, the innocents met the unspeakable dragon face-to-face.

      He was first assigned as second lieutenant to the Rifle Brigade, training with them at Sheerness until the unit shipped out to France in November, 1914.

      But not long after arriving at the front line, Clulow was attached as a full lieutenant with the lst South Wales Borderers. It was a jolly fine troop, populated with many of his fellow west country men---the early recruits from Shropshire, Cheshire and Lancashire.

      Whatever objective the maneuvre actually had was lost in the inner-most minds of the allied generals.

      In truth, it served no great purpose at all. No strategic or tactical goal could possibly have been achieved. It was intended simply to smooth out a kink in the long line of trenches that meandered haphazardly across the map. A deadly game of cat and mouse, check and mate.

      It is now the Spring of 1915... bringing a hoped for thaw in the stalemate that freezes the western front in terminal rigor mortis. The opposing armies stand astride an endless string of insignificant villages dotting Flanders---La Bassee, Neuve Chapelle, Armentieres, Estaire...marching all the way to Richebourge-l'Avoue.

      In the background, the guns roar on without interruption---the sound of ten thousand thunders. Several guns blast away close by, with violent repurcussions. Every detonation possesses a resounding tail as the
      missile tears through the air, passing right overhead and carrying on to its destination. It is like a shrill scream of anquish and despair circling the world with lightning speed, whizzing only a few yards above the
      soil. A hurricane of death and destruction.

      We make our way across the shapeless country; no road remains, no fields, no vegetation, no form, no colour, only enormous holes and hollows, slopes and trenches dug out by the fury of shell fire.

      Nearly all the trees are stipped horizontally as if they had been touched by a red-hot gridiron...

      It is astonishing and unbelievable what one sees on a battlefield after an action in which the enemy has been destroyed and when the hurricane has passed...every kind of object, no matter how opposite in nature,
      is mixed together. Books, easy chairs, half buried in the earth, broken bayonets, stockings, tin receptacles of every description, German caps trodden under foot, empty bottles by the hundred...and then cartridges--
      -hundreds and thousands of them. All mixed up by the shells that fall over and over again on the same spot, all again unburied and shot into the air, refalling and covering other things that were to suffer the same
      fate, mixed and remixed with the earth, under the constant torture of the inexorable explosives

      [Correspondent F. Matania, eye-witness to the battle at Neuve Chapelle, April, 1915 as reported in The Sphere, May 15, 1915]

      By a small miracle, Lieut. Garnett-Botfield survived the assault on Neuve Chapelle and sloshed on with his platoon through the muddy ooze, across the desolate landscape to Richebourge-l'Avoue.

      There, outside the town, they find more trenches, threading like animal runs between the craters. Outside the main line of British trenches is No Man's Land and beyond that the German rat holes.

      All the while, overhead, the terrible breath of the dragon rumbles on, clanging and banging like a demon at the door.

      The tremendous whistle arrives as if from the gigantic throat of a monster with the deafening vibration of a thousand iron plates...

      In two seconds it becomes the falling of heaven itself, the end of the world, that freezes one's marrow, annihilates and destroys ...

      Nearer and nearer it comes---on us, in us, and there on the top of the dug-out it resolves itself into a detonation which seems to strike every single particle of the body.

      The soil shakes with a sinister concussion. An immense cloud of black smoke tears itself upwards and disappears, while a shower of formless black fragments falls on us.

      The old trench lies in front of the platoon, writhing like a devious underground snake slithering away from the breastwork of the main British fortifications. They have been ordered to move down the snake's back, out onto No Man's Land toward the German lines.

      Over the din of death, Lieut. Garnett-Botfield hears himself shouting something to his men. It sounds far away---another man's voice, not his: "Well, boys, I'm going...Who is going to follow?"

      Then he climbs up over the lip of the trench, arching his rifle back then forward in a long graceful sweep, like an arpeggio hanging frozen in mid air.

      The bullet mades a soft splatter---the sound of a plug pushed through a pumpkin. It races painlessly through Bach's Fugue in A Minor... past the feel of sunshine on a rower's shoulder blades...tearing into the
      fragile cellular memory of rolling Shropshire hills...

      And then, all at once, he is dead.

      [Lt. Alfred Clulow FitzGerald GARNETT-BOTFIELD of the South Wales Borderers Regiment, was killed in action on May 9, 1915 at Richebourg L'Avoue, France. Source: Army Officers Records of War Deaths 1914-1920]

      GARNETT-BOTFIELD, Alfred Clulow Fitzgerald
      [1892-1915]
      Alfred Clulow Fitzgera ld Garnett-Botfield was the youngest and the most
      talented of three children born to William Egerton Garnett-Botfield,
      squire of the Hut at Bishop's Cas tle, and of his wife, Elizabeth Clulow
      Howard-McLean of Aston Hall, Salop.
      He was born on June 16, 1892 and probably derived his first name from his
      lat e uncle, Alfred Stanton Garnett-Botfield [who had died a bachelor
      the year before], and his second name from his mother's grandfather,
      Aaron Clulow. W here his third name came from , we can't say---perhaps
      the namesake of a
      go dfather or friend of the family.
      Clulow, as he was known to family and friend s, grew up in the lap of
      luxury. When his grandfather, William Bishton Garne tt-Botfield died in
      January, 1903, the family moved into the great mansion house at Decker
      Hill, Shifnal, where a household staff of nine live-in servan ts catered
      to the family's every need.
      Clulow had an ear for music, and played a number of musical instru-ments
      with great proficiency and talent. A n inventory of the music room at
      Decker Hill , taken in 1922 shows many of Cl ulow's musical belongings
      still there, including music stands, music cabinets and volumes of sheet
      music as well as a harmonium, organ, harp, banjo and gu itar.
      In January of 1906, at age 14, Clulow followed his brother Billie up t o
      Eton , residing there as an inmate of Churchill House. He stayed on at
      Eton until term end at Christmas 1911.
      With Eton behind him, Clulow proceeded straightway on to Trinity College,
      Cambridge---again following in the footst eps of his brother---where he
      intended to pursue a career in engineering.
      L ike many Garnetts before and after him at university, Clulow had a
      special a ffinity for athletics as well as for scholarship. This
      manifested itself par ticularly in a keen interest in rowing.
      In each of his first two years at Cam bridge, Clulow stroked the winning
      boat in the Varsity Trial Eights. Though rowing became his chief
      recreation and enjoyment, he took part as well in mo st other outdoor
      sports.
      The great powder keg of war in Europe brought an abrupt end to the
      tranquil life of Cambridge.
      On the very first day of the war, 22-year old Clulow along with a
      handful of other classmates marched do wn to the Army office and signed up
      for a front line seat to the Great -War-t o-end-all-Wars.
      He didn't know what he was getting into. For him, it was a ll just one
      big lark...a sophomoric act of daring do...another chance to prov e his
      metal.
      He never thought of being killed. If you asked him, he imagin ed that
      he'd come home and tell every one about it. It never entered his min d
      that he might not come back again. All he could think of was that he had
      his ticket to the big show---a ring side seat, at that. Better get a
      move on . Act quickly, or it might all be over before we get there.
      But the battlefi elds of France were a far cry from the polite playing
      fields of Eton and the jolly regattas of Cambridge. There, in the muddy
      trenches of La Bassee, Giv enchy, Neuve Chapelle and Richebourge-l'Avoue,
      the innocents met the unspeaka ble dragon face-to-face.
      He was first assigned as second lieutenant to the Ri fle Brigade, training
      with them at Sheerness until the unit shipped out to Fr ance in November,
      1914.
      But not long after arriving at the front line, Cl ulow was attached as a
      full lieutenant with the lst South Wales Borderers. It was a jolly fine
      troop, populated with many of his fellow west country me n---the early
      recruits from Shropshire, Cheshire and Lancashire.
      Whatever o bjective the maneuvre actually had was lost in the inner-most
      minds of the al lied generals.
      In truth, it served no great purpose at all. No strategic o r tactical
      goal could possibly have been achieved. It was intended simply to smooth
      out a kink in the long line of trenches


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