The Great War
- Outbreak of hostilities sent him back to his regiment, the King’s Royal Rifles, which he re-joined in 1915.
- Rising to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel, he led his men at Arras, the Somme, Passchendaele and Ypres.
- At the Somme he was ordered to cut a communication trench to Devil’s Wood, having to dig through mounds of corpses, “heads, arms and legs crawling with maggots.”
- Mentioned in dispatches and received the DSO.
- Taken prisoner at Ypres; successfully escaping from Furstenburg POW Camp before being captured 9 days later near the Danish Frontier.
- Recaptured and imprisoned in Clausthal Prison, 2,000 feet up in the Hartz Mountains
Released in May 1919
- “The troops of a Forward Zone or Outposts, or whatever you
wish to call those in front of the main line of defence, may
accomplish their task in one of two ways.
- They may fall back fighting, in which they are certain to
mask the fire of the troops behind them, a very serious matter
in these days of complicated artillery barrages; or they may
stick it out to the last man.
- Now, no-one will deny that there are occasions when
one part of a force must be sacrificed to the save the rest,
when troops must be expected to stick it out until the last man;
but is it wise to make it a matter of routine?” (Charles
Tarantasses stop at ceremonial Kazak tombs,
taken by Charles Howard-Bury:
Nomad women setting up their ‘auls’,
taken by Charles Howard Bury:
A ferry across the busy ‘Ili river’,
taken by Charles Howard-Bury:
Tibetan visa issued to Colonel Charles Howard-Bury
1921 Everest Reconnaissance team
Picture © Royal Geographic Society
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The 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition:
- Sent to Tibet on behalf of the RGS and the Alpine Club to superintend the complex diplomatic negotiations necessary for a British climbing team to enter the Himalayas
- Elected as expeditionary leader upon his return to London
Climbing team included Raeburn, Kellas, Bullock and Mallory;
- Expedition team included Wollaston, Heron, Morshead and Wheeler
Adopted a casual leadership style – much to the frustration of Mallory
Various geological, climatic and mapping surveys were carried out and a route for future attacks on the summit planned
- Among the botanical specimens brought back to Kew Gardens was a white primula name ‘Primula Buryana’ after the Colonel.
Mallory and the climbing team reached 27,000 feet on the North Col.
- Due to Howard-Bury wonderfully written dispatches to The Times, the team returned to Britain as national heroes
- “Considering the great extent of unknown territory that was
mapped, considering that 50 per cent of the climbing personnel
collapsed before the expedition was under way; considering that
most of the Tibetans they dealt with had never seen a European
before, the remarkable thing about the 1921 venture is that it
was so successful.” (T.S. Blakely, President of the Alpine Club,