The End of an Era

20th February 2016

Sandown Park, on the last weekend of February, was blessed with fine weather. The band of HM Scots Guards performed in front of an enormous crowd. King George V had motored down on the Friday and was attended by Lord Marcus Beresford, Sir Colin Keppel and Sir Frederick Ponsonby amongst many others. The Cavalry Club, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers and the Greenjackets generously shared their hospitality. It was an idyllic scene... but it was an end of an era.

The occasion was the Grand Military Gold Cup; the last before the outbreak of the Great War. The next Grand Military meeting would be held in 1920 and by then the chief protagonists of 1914 would have been awarded at least one VC, two DSOs and two MCs. Most of them would have been wounded; two of them would have been taken prisoner of war; five would be killed.

Fourteen runners, all but three owner-ridden, came under orders. Punters could not decide who to make favourite. The hat trick seeking Another Delight partnered as usual by Captain Wyndham was set to carry 13st which deterred most backers. Jack Symonds came in for some support from those who thought he could step up from his 1912 Grand Military Handicap success. Father Roche had his supporters but many would-be backers were put off by his 5lb penalty for a recent bloodless success. At the "Off", one time Grand National hope Rathnally and talented but dodgy jumper Ragtime King ended up heading the market.

Rathnally cut out the early pace clear of Carmeen, Ballincarroona, Dutch Pennant, Ragtime King, Father Roche, Another Delight and Jack Symons, with Dark Collar in the rear. King of Meath was an early casualty and Ragtime King moved up into second place in front of Don Hussar, Father Roche, Dutch Pennant, Another Delight, Ballincarroona, Jack Symons and Ballymadun. On passing the stands, Father Roche headed Rathnally for the lead, the pair being pursued by Don Hussar, Ragtime King, Dutch Pennant and Ballincarroona. At the next fence, both Ragtime King and Don Hussar took off too soon, struck the top of the obstacle, and turned over on landing. Father Roche and Ballincarroona were then left in command in front of Jack Symons, Dutch Pennant, Durrain, Another Delight, Rathnally and Dark Collar who pecked at the water jump. Shortly after, Father Roche took the lead, and going so easily, seemed to have the race won. Two fences from home, however, he began to tire, and though landing almost in line with Ballincarroona and Jack Symons over the last fence, he faded. In a desperate finish Captain Paynter, described in the Times as "an indefatigably vigorous and determined rider", got Jack Symonds in front by a neck, with Dark Collar three lengths away third.

Jack Symons' victory was a fine performance. Paynter was winning his second Grand Military Gold Cup having also been successful on Mount Prospects Fortune in 1908. Mr W Beckwith Smith was possibly an unlucky loser. The Coldstream Guards' officer, on his horse Dark Collar, not only survived two bad blunders, but at the water jump second time round lost a stirrup altogether, yet still managed a close up third place.

Sandown 27th February The Grand Military Gold Cup of £100 & £300 winner, second £70, third £30 3 miles

Betting: 5/1 Rathnally & Ragtime King, 6/1 Father Roche, 7/1 Dutch Pennant, 8/1 Merena, 10/1 Ballincarroona, Ballymadun & Jack Symonds, 100/8 Dark Collar & Another Delight, 100/6 Bar. Winning distances: neck & 3 lengths.

1 Capt Paynter's JACK SYMONDS a- 13– 00 Capt Paynter
2 Mr Ian Straker's BALLINCARROONA 6- 13 -05 Mr Ian Straker
3 Mr M Beckwith Smith's DARK COLLAR a- 11– 00 Mr M Beckwith Smith
4 Mr D'Arcy Edwardes's MARENA 6-11-07 Capt O'Brien Butler
5 Mr FL Harvey's DURRAIN a- 12– 00 Mr FL Harvey
6 Capt M Crawshay's DUTCH PENNANT a- 12– 00 Capt M Crawshay
7 Capt D McCalmont's FATHER ROCHE 5-11-10 Capt D McCalmont
8 Mr R Wyndham Quin BALLYMADUN a-11-10 Mr R Wyndham Quin
0 Mr P Wyndham's RATHNALLY a- 12– 00 Mr P Wyndham
0 Capt EH Wyndham's ANOTHER DELIGHT a - 13-00 Capt EH Wyndham
PU Mr A Eyre's CARMEEN a-11-10 Hon E Bingham
F Mr Joynson's KING OF MEATH 5 – 12-00 Mr Ainsworth
F Sir JD Tichborne's DON HUSSAR 6-10-09 Sir JD Tichborne
F Mr H Misa's RAGTIME KING 5-10-10 Mr H Misa
Time: 6min 42.6 secs. Winner trained by: W Taylor at Eaton, Leics

At the last

At the Last

Capt Paynter became Brigadier General Sir George Camborne Beauclerk Paynter, DSO & Bar, Scots Guards. He was in the thick of the action for most of the war. His DSO was gained on "the night of October 24 (1914), when, while in command of the battalion, he fought the trenches all night against repeated attacks from front and rear." A Bar was awarded to his DSO, in October 1918, "for fine leadership and gallantry while commanding his brigade in an attack... where he displayed great courage and initiative." On 4 October he was wounded in action around Cambrai but quickly returned to the fray.

Mr Ian Straker as Lt Ian Straker, 9th Lancers, saw much fighting and received two severe wounds in his back requiring operations. Whilst convalescing he was well enough to partner Ballincarroona again, this time to victory in the Norbiton Chase at Kempton (30/1/15). Before the end of the year, the Sporting Life (23/11/15) recorded his promotion to captain.

Mr M Beckwith Smith Lt Merton Beckwith Smith was awarded the DSO and the MC, and in 1917, the Croix de Guerre. He was mentioned in dispatches three times. The Coldstream Guards officer won his DSO after crossing the hundred yards of No Man's Land near Longueval, whilst under fire, and rushing an enemy trench with his bayonet.

He died during the Second World War, 11 November 1942, when a prisoner of war in the Far East.

Mr D'Arcy Edwardes Major G D'Arcy Edwardes's of Royal Dragoons died of his wounds on 10 July, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was buried at Danzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz.

Capt O'Brien Butler Capt Charles Paget O'Brien Butler RAMC attached to 5th Royal Irish Lancers was 'one of the best of the present-day gentleman riders'. On 12 October, 1914, "during the race to the sea", his Regiment encountered fierce fighting on the Franco-Belgian border. The 1st Battle of Ypres had begun on the 19 October and the Germans were pressing. The Lancers were forced to make a fighting retreat in the face of overwhelming numbers of German infantry. Eventually the line was steadied but Paget O'Brien Butler had become one of the victims - killed by a shell blast whilst looking after the wounded, on 31 October, aged 33. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery.

Mr FL Harvey originally reported as missing in action, Lt. Frank Lennox-Harvey (9th Lancers) died of his wounds 30October, 1914, age 23. He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Capt Crawshay Captain Mervyn Crawshay (5th Dragoon Guards), who had served in the South African War, was killed in action 31 October, 1914, during the fierce fighting around Ypres.

Capt McCalmont The Sporting Life (13/10/15) reported that Capt Dermont McCalmont had been appointed ADC to Sir General Horace Smith-Dorrien and had gone to the front with the 7th Hussars. The owner of The Tetrarch lent Arrowe Hall, near Birkenhead, to the government for use as a military hospital. He also placed his villa at Beaulieu at the disposal of the French government. At the end of the war Major McCalmont MC was serving in East Africa on the staff of General Smuts.

Mr R Wyndham Quin as Capt Wyndham-Quin he was wounded soon after the outbreak of war. In 1915, he was in England for some time on sick leave. He rode a winner at Cork (Sporting Life 8/6/15) and, in August, he announced his engagement to Miss Helen Lindsay Swire. Towards the end of his convalescence he rode Ruddygore to win the Prince of Wales Plate at Punchestown.

Mr P Wyndham wasLtPercy Lyulph Wyndham (Coldstream Guards) and part of the British Expeditionary Force. He died of his wounds on 14 September during the Battle of the Marne. He was 26.

Capt EH Wyndham wason active service within a week of the declaration of war (Sporting Life 11/8/14). After the peace, Colonel the Hon EH Wyndham became a member of the National Hunt Committee. He died 3 November, 1970, aged 81.

Hon E Bingham becameRear Admiral The Honourable Edward Barry Stewart Bingham VC, OBE. He was also mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Order of St Stanislaus. Barry Bingham was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Jutland, the pivotal sea battle on 31 May 1916. Bingham captained the destroyer HMS Nestor, and had also under his command, HMS Nicator and HMS Nomad. These and nine other destroyers were ordered to attack the German battlecruiser squadron commanded by Admiral von Hipper. Bingham led the Nestor and the Nicator to within 3,000 yards, but the overwhelming firepower of heavier German ships was too much for Bingham's lighter force. His ship was seriously damaged. A circling German destroyer, set on sinking the Nestor, closed in only to come under fire. Bingham had enough time to carry out drills for sinking ships: destroying charts and confidential papers, and launching lifeboats. Many of the crew survived and with Bingham were picked up by the German destroyer S-15. Bingham spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in Germany. He retired from the Royal Navy in 1932 and died in 1939.

Mr Joynson Capt R Joynson, KO Scottish Borderers, was a POW not returning home until the end of the war. His name was "brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War... for gallant conduct and determination displayed in 'escaping or attempting to escape from captivity." (London Gazette, Jan 1920)

Mr Ainsworth was Lieutenant John Sterling Ainsworth 11th Hussars. He was killed in action on 14 October, 1914, and buried at Meteren Military Cemetery, 10 miles south of Ypres. He was 24.

Sir JD Tichborne Sir Joseph Doughty Tichborne served with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars throughout the war and was mentioned in despatches.

Mr H Misa Capt H Misa was wounded more than once. The Sporting Life (24/5/15) reported that "a bullet carried away a portion of his cheek bone and came out behind his ear. He is recovering well and has been visited by H Escott." Attached to the Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) he was seen "wearing the MC and Mons Ribbon when at Newmarket on leave" towards the end of the war. (Sporting Life 2/10/18)

By Tony Lake
Thanks to John Pinfold for his help with this blog.