Colin Bassett Wrong

Rank Lieutenant
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 28/12/1917
Age 21
Regiment/Service Royal Munster Fusiliers 6th Battalion
Cemetery Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel

 

Colin was born in Georgetown, British Guiana, in 1896, the son of Richard Bassett (1859-1938) and Lillian Sophia, nee Muss, Wrong. He had at least one brother, Reginald (1899-1981).

Colin arrived in Britain from South America, via New York, landing at Southampton on 6th January 1914. He enlisted in the Territorials on 14th September 1914, joining the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps, and gave his address as 191, Camden Road, Camden Town, London. He stated that he was a Presbyterian Christian.

On 8th December 1914 he wrote to the War Office from the Officers’ Training Corps at Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, asking for a temporary commission, saying that ‘Lt Colonel Evrington has not signed the formal recommendation at end of application form on account of my slight colonial accent. For, he says, on his signing the recommendation I would be gazetted to a general list and the Commanding Officer to whose battalion I was afterwards attached might take an objection to me, on hearing my accent. Lieutenant Colonel Evrington has, however, assured me that on the request of any Commanding Officer who did not object to my accent he would be pleased to give me the best recommendation possible.’ Later that month, he was commissioned into the 8th Battalion Cameron Highlanders at Inverness, as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant. He indicated that he was a legal student and his age was 19 years and 10 months. He gave his father as his next of kin with an address of 128 Fifth Street, Albertstown, Georgetown, British Guiana.  

Colin married Marjorie Kate Snell (b.1896) in 1915 in the Barnet area, with the marriage being registered in the last quarter of the year. Military records indicate that he embarked from the UK on 23rd September 1915 and was discharged at Salonica on 9th October 1915, so it is likely that the marriage took place just before he left the UK. Colin was now serving in the 6th Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, which was part of the 10th (Irish) Division. They were in Salonika in order to help the Serbs fight against Bulgarian aggression and were involved in various battles including: action at Kosturino in December 1915, at the capture of Karajakois (30th September – 2nd October 1916) and the capture of Yenikoi (3rd – 4th October 1916). However, Colin did not take part in the latter two actions as he was admitted to hospital on 27th September 1916 with malaria. He was discharged on 4th October 1916.

On 2nd June 1917 Colin engaged in an action for which he was awarded the Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He assisted in dragging a severely wounded man back a distance of 1,500 yards, under heavy fire. He displayed great courage and coolness throughout.'

On 17th June 1917 Colin was admitted to 42 General Hospital, Salonika, with ‘admitted debility’. He was promoted to temporary Lieutenant on 27th June 1917. Three days later was discharged from hospital and transferred to an officers’ convalescent home, from which he left on 14th July. On 18th August 1917, the Division was ordered to concentrate at the port of Salonika for embarkation. Early in September it moved to Egypt, completing assembly near Rafa by 16th October. The Division was involved in the Palestine campaign, which included the occupation of Jerusalem on 9th December. Colin was killed in action, on 28th December 1917, as his Division was attacking towards Ramallah.        

Colin died intestate so H H Wells & Sons, a firm of solicitors, were engaged. It appears there was some confusion or dispute as to his next of kin. One military document lists his father as next of kin with an address of 128 Fifth Street, Albertstown, Georgetown, British Guiana, but this is crossed out with an addition stating that his next of kin was ‘Mrs M K Wong (widow), Bampton, Etchingham Park Road’. This was almost certainly because a letter dated 11th January 1918 to his wife from the War Office stated that they did not know he was married and his father was listed as next of kin. On 10th January 1918 a fellow officer had called at the War Office to say that he was a married man.

Colin’s estate was valued at £204 1s 6d, which, in the end, went to his widow, who married Lewis Raphael Rickinson (1883-1945), an Engineer Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, in the second quarter of 1918. They lived at 14 Park Avenue, Finchley until and then moved to 85 Shirehall Park, Hendon, NW4. Both of their names appear in the 1929 electoral register for this address but only hers is listed from 1930. It would appear that this is the time when the marriage was dissolved as Lewis is listed in the 1930 electoral register as living at 6 Clarence Road, Wood Green. They had one son, Lewis Frank, who was born on 4th March 1919 and died in 1976. Marjorie married a third time in the first quarter of 1935. She and her new husband, Williamson C Lewis (1900-1943), lived in Harrow from 1936.