Major Bramwell Henry Withers O.B.E

Major Henry Withers O.B.E

The following are extracts taken form

Major Bramwell Henry WITHERS. O.B.E. (1888 Sydney, NSW-1968)

The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, late Camel Corps, 11th Sudanese Battalion,Egyptian Army

Bramwell Henry WITHERS was born on the 4th October 1888 at Sydney, NSW, Australia.  The family moved back to the United Kingdom while Bramwell was still at an early age.


* O.B.E. 2nd Type Breast Badge, awarded 1928, Sudan Defence Force.

* 1914-15 Star, named, Lieut. B.H. WITHERS

* British War Medal, named, Major B.H. WITHERS.

* Victory Medal, named, Major B.H. WITHERS.

* General Service Medal, clasp PALESTINE, with (MID) oakleaf, named,

Major B.H. WITHERS. O.B.E. Loyal R.

* WWII Defence Medal, un-named as issued.

* 1935 Silver Jubilee Medal, un-named as issued.

* Egypt, Order of the Nile 4th Class Breast Badge, silver and enamel.

WITHERS first saw active service during World War One when entering East Africa in November 1914.

2nd Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, WWI.

* August 1914: in Bangalore, India.

* Moved to Tanga, German East Africa, landing 3rd November 1914 with the

27th Indian Brigade.

* Moved to Mombasa on 7th November and commenced operations in East Africa.

* Moved in May 1916 to South Africa, to allow for recovery from mass ill-health.

* Moved to Egypt, landing at Suez on 18th January 1917.

* 14th April 1917: attached to 232nd Brigade, 75th Division.

* The Battalion was moved in rapid succession to the 233rd and 234th

Brigades of the same Division, and detached as a result of a medical board on 9 August 1917.

* Proceeded to Sidi Bashr and then placed onto Lines of Communication at Gaza.

* Moved to France, landing at Marseilles 27th May 1918.

* 4th June 1918: attached to 94th Brigade, 31st Division.

* 28th June 1918: transferred to 101st Brigade, 34th Division.

Adjt 2nd Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 19th November 1915.

Still Adjt on 28th June 1917. From, Adjt, to Temp Major September 1918 and

Assistant Commandant Prisoner of War Camp.

Egyptian Army Service.

Seconded for service with the Egyptian Army from 4th November 1918 till 16th January 1925 when he transferred to the newly formed Sudan Defence Force (17th January 1925).

He was in Darfur, being one of the officers who joined GRIGG’s patrol (#99) sent out in January 1922 to arrest the dozen surviving leaders of the Fiki Abdullahi Suheina uprising. The patrol was sent out at the end of January, just after the closure of the award period for the Nyala clasp (The Darfur 1921 clasp had expired on 22nd November 1921). WITHERS is not on the roll for either clasp.

Officer Commanding the 11th Sudanese Battalion at the time of it’s Mutiny at Khartoum in 1924.

Discontent among Egyptian Officers which infected a minority of the Sudanese soldiers flared into outright mutiny in 1900. WINGATE, who had recently succeeded KITCHENER as Sirdar and Governor-General of the Sudan, was able to suppress this outbreak without bloodshed, but 24 years later his successor, El Ferik, Sir. Lee STACK Pasha was assassinated by Egyptian Terrorists in Cairo in November 1924. This outrage led to a number of demands and penalties upon the Egyptian Government by the British High Commissioner, ALLENBY. This included the withdrawal of all Egyptian Troops from the Sudan and sparked aseries of disturbances within the Egyptian Army, the most serious of which was at Khartoum.

[“Pasha” is an honorific or honorary title for officers in the rank of commander in chief, Lieutenant General and Major General, also the honorary title of “Bey” was given to officers of the ranks of Brigadier, Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel.]

The Egyptian Troops themselves presented little problem, but on the 27th November 1924 a small number of Sudanese Officers and men of the 11th Sudanese Battalion seized the Military Hospital compound and having killed a British Doctor and an N.C.O. barricaded themselves in the Officers Mess. Here they held out for many hours against elements of two British Battalions and a Field-Gun, inflicting a number of casualties on the British. Eventually, however, their stronghold was reduced to rubble and most of the mutineers were killed or wounded. Four of the ringleaders were court-martialled and executed.

Egyptian nationalist influence upon the Sudanese troops had long been a cause for concern to the British Authorities and plans for the separation of the Sudanese element of the Egyptian Army and the formation of an all Sudanese Force under British Officers had been under consideration for some time. These plans were now brought forward and the Sudan Defence Force under El Lewa HUDDLESTON Pasha as its first Qaid el Am (G.O.C.) was formed on 17th January 1925.

Sudan Defence Force.

In January 1925, the Sudan Defence Force (also known as the SDF) was formed and about one hundred and forty British officers were transferred to it from the Egyptian Army under the first Kaid (GOC), Lewa HUDDLESTON Pasha, who had been Acting Sirdar of the Egyptian Army following the assassination of STACK (see above). A small number of British officers under an Inspector-General, Lewa SPINKS Pasha, remained with the Egyptian Army in a largely supervisory role until 1936.

The old numbered Sudanese battalions were phased out, the last, the 9th, being disbanded in 1930 when its Colours and other regalia were handed over for afe-keeping to the Cameron Highlanders, the two regiments having enjoyed a close and friendly association since the 1880s. To-day they can be seen beautifully displayed in the museum at Fort George near Inverness.

The new Sudan Defence Force of approximately six thousand officers and men was made up of four principal corps, the Camel Corps, Eastern Arab Corps, Western Arab Corps and Equatorial Corps, all, with the exception of the Camel Corps, being recruited locally as their prefixes suggest. These were supported by artillery, engineer, armoured car and machine-gun units, medical, signals and transport services.

Captain WITHERS reverted back from secondment to his old Regiment the Loyal North Lancashire’s in 1928 who were at that time stationed at Secunderabad in India.

He was stationed at Fort William, Calcutta, November 1929 to October 1930

Loyal North Lancashire Regiment – the 42nd Commanding Officer: Lt Colonel BELL.  Adjutant: Captain KINGSBERRY Company Commander: Major Bramwell WITHERS.

Stationed during 1931 in Waziristan.

Stationed during 1932 at Cawnpore.

To Palestine with the Regiment in 1936.

The Loyal Regiment in Palestine 1936.

In the rewards for operations in Palestine a distinguished place is taken by the 1st Battalion The Loyal Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel, J.G. HALSTED, MC, who became temporary Colonel and A.Q.M.G. with Major’s B.H. WITHERS, O.B.E. and N. COLLINS as the next senior officers. The Battalion which received 16 awards, was engaged in the only action fought by the new Emergency Force, and assisted in beating off a raid at Mount Carmel.

The Battalion was in the last year of its tour abroad and was due at Tidworth on March 24th 1937. Since 1920 it had been in Malta, Tientsin and Pekin, Secunderbabad, Calcutta, Waziristan and Cawnpore. The Battalion left Bombay on February 12th and took up Palestine duty on February 22nd for one years normal garrison work, but was on active service continuously all the year. At Tidworth the Battalion was to take over barracks in the 7th Infantry Brigade vacated by the 2nd Battalion on October 1st on transfer to Shanghai.

From the London Gazette of 2nd April 1909, page 2592:

SPECIAL RESERVE. 3rd Battalion. The Hampshire Regiment,

The under-mentioned Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants. Dated 5.3.1909: Bramwell H. WITHERS.

From the London Gazette of 26th November 1914, page 9972:

The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment,

The under-mentioned Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants:

Bramwell H. WITHERS. Dated 9th November, 1914.

From the London Gazette of 3rd February 1916, page 1345:

The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Lieutenant Bramwell H. WITHERS to be Captain. Dated 19th November, 1915.

From the London Gazette of 11th October 1917, page 10477: N. Lancashire R. – Capt. B. H. WITHERS to be Adjt., vice Capt. (actg. Maj’.)

D.P.J. COLLAS. 28th June 1917.

From the London Gazette of 24th January 1919, page 1196: Capt. B.H. WITHERS, N. Lancashire R., from Adjt., to be temp. Maj’. whilst empld. as an Asst. Commandant. P. of W. Camp. 23rd Sept. 1918.

From the London Gazette of 3rd July 1923, page 4613:

Whitehall, July 2, 1923.

The KING has been pleased, by Warrants under His Majesty’s Royal Sign Manual, to grant unto the under-mentioned Officers permission to wear the Insignia of the Fourth Class of the Order of the Nile which Decoration has been conferred upon them by His Majesty the King of Egypt in recognition of good services rendered during the recent operations in Southern and Western Darfur:- Captain Bramwell Henry WITHERS, The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire),

Commanding 11th Sudanese, Egyptian Army.

From the London Gazette of 4th June 1928, page 3852:


St. James’s Palace, S.W. 1, 4th June, 1928.

The KING has been graciously pleased on the occasion of His Majesty’s Birthday, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most

Excellent Order of the British Empire: –

To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:

– Captain Bramwell Henry WITHERS, The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), attached Sudan Defence Force.

From the London Gazette of 13th November 1928, page 7389:

Loyal Regt. – Capt. B.H. WITHERS, O.B.E., is reinstated to the establishment.

14th Nov. 1928.

From the London Gazette of 9th December 1930, page 7890: Capt. B.H. WITHERS, O.B.E., to be Maj. 7th Dec 1930.

From the London Gazette of 15th January 1937, page 340: Loyal Regt B.H. WITHERS, O.B.E., retires on retired pay 6th Jan 1937.

From the London Gazette of 12th April 1938, page 2455: Loyal R – Maj. B.H. WITHERS, O.B.E., having attained the age limit of liability to recall, eases to belong to the Res. of Off. 10th April 1938.

Contingents came from Australia, South Africa, Jamaica, Ceylon, Gibraltar, Malta, India and New Zealand.

Various Dominions and Colonies sent representatives who were unable to send any boys. Barbados was represented by the Bishop of Barbados, Egypt by Col. G .G.EWER, Mesopotamia by Capt. CORRY (of the Indian Army) and the Sudan by Capt. B.H. WITHERS, Assistant Commissioner.

All the Overseas Contingents were later inspected by the King and Queen, Princess Mary and the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace on August 10th.

Their Majesties were received with a Royal salute and a Scout bugle call. The lads from overseas were ‘arranged in column formation facing the King’s door.

The Chief Scout was present, together with a number of the principal Scout officers from various colonies and foreign countries.

The History of the 1st Winchester Scout Group:

Shortly after Robert BADEN-POWELL’S experimental camp on Brownsea Island, in Dorset, Scouting in Winchester was started with the formation the first Winchester Scout Group which was known as ‘WITHERS Own’, after their leader, an army officer called Bramwell WITHERS.  After some years, more scout groups were formed in Winchester and the group, by then known as the 1st ‘WITHERS Own’ Scout Troop, ceased to meet.

West Herts District Scouts:

Some of our local units go right back to the opening months of the organisation with 1st Kings Langley Scout group being one of the oldest.

County archivist Frank BRITTAIN tells us: “1st Kings Langley was almost certainly the first troop in Hemel Hempstead, but not in Hertfordshire.

“There is evidence that it was formed on October 20, 1909 and was started by then Lt Bramwell Henry WITHERS, who also founded troops in India, Sudan and Ireland.

He also ran the 1st Langleybury Troop that was formed the same year. Lack of leadership forced this troop to close and the boys amalgamated with 1st Kings Langley.”

Bramwell married Lillian Julia BIBBY on the 11th March 1930, (They had no children).

The Scouts:

WITHERS was one of the founding members of the Scout movement and in 1920 was present representing the Sudan at the 1st World Jamboree at Olympia, London.