Sir Gilbert Mackereth KCMG MC
17th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers
Sir Gilbert Mackereth KCMG MC
as a 2nd Lt
The story of Sir Gilbert Mackereth, former Commanding Officer of the 17th Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers continues. Sir Gilbert, as you will remember from the national papers, was evicted from his grave in 2009, by the authorities in San Sebastian due to unpaid taxes. Following a considerable amount of footwork by Terry Dean of the Western Front Association and Friend of the Fusilier Museum, the remains of Sir Gilbert have been returned to this country and will be interred in the refurbished Gallipoli Garden.
Sir Gilbert's story is fascinating and combines two of the regiments that were to become the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He was born in Salford in 1892 and was educated at Keswick Grammar School and then Manchester University. It was from the University that in 1914 he joined the 21st Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which was part of the University and Public Schools' Brigade. He travelled to France in November 1915, spending three months in the trenches east of Bethune. It is of significance that the Colour of the 21st Battalion still survives and is currently part of the Royal Fusilier Collection in the Tower of London.
In 1916 Sir Gilberth was selected to become an officer
and on completion of his training in Oxford, he joined the 17th Battalion
the Lancashire Fusiliers in France, east of Arras. It was during the action
by the 17th Battalion to capture Gricourt in April 1917, that Sir Gilbert
saved a patrol that had been cut off by a German machine gun post. He
was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery. In August he was seriously
wounded near Cambria and was hospitalised in Manchester for several of
months. He returned to France in July 1918 and took command of the 17th
Battalion in October remaining in post throughout the final British offensive
of the Great War.
Following his released from the army in April 1919,
Sir Gilbert joined the Diplomatic Service, during which time he was knighted.
Following his distinguished service he retired to Spain and died in San
Sebastian, in 1962. His final resting place will be the refurbished Gallipoli
garden that will contain a permanent memorial to a gallant Lancashire
This was taken from theWestern Front Association
Sir Gilbert Mackereth KCMG MC (19 October 1892 11 January 1962) was a decorated British Army officer of the First World War who subsequently served as a British diplomat, most notably as Ambassador to Colombia from 1947 to 1953.
Published: 10 May 2010
THE grave of a British war hero has been saved by The Sun.
The last resting place of Military Cross winner Sir
Gilbert Mackereth was in danger of being dug up because of unpaid taxes.
At peace ... Sir Gilbert's grave
Thankful ... cousin John, 84
After her death taxes due on the cemetery plot piled
up and authorities, who could not trace any relatives, served notice they
planned to exhume Sir Gilbert.
A former British diplomat, whose only remaining relative lives near Solihull, hired a hit-man to kill Arab rebels and organised the burglaries of their homes in a James Bond-style espionage campaign in Syria during the late 1930s. Lieutenant Colonel Sir Gilbert Mackereth MC, whose cousin John Sloan resides in Knowle, was Britain's consul in Damascus. The Post reported earlier this month that Mackereth's body was to be repatriated from Spain, where he retired, after a row over the cost of tending his grave.
Now a new book recounts the tale of how Mackereth took clandestine action when it became clear that Arab rebels, who were then trying to overthrow British rule in neighbouring Palestine, were using Syria as a safe haven. The country was ruled by the French, but when they refused to help Mackereth, the British diplomat took matters into his own hands and become a real-life 007. A diary belonging to a senior British policeman who knew Mackereth, which was found by historian James Barr in Oxford University's Middle East Centre Archive, shed light on the decidedly undiplomatic tactics that Britain's man in Damascus then used. Barr recounts how Mackereth hired a hit man to intercept parties of rebels as they crossed the border into Palestine. In one of these operations the sniper killed three gun-runners, and captured nearly 40 weapons and two boxes of dynamite. Mackereth also organised burglaries at the homes of leading rebels, including Nebih al Asmah, whose brother was the Syrian minister of the interior.
A coded diary was hidden in Al-Asmah's house and Mackereth
was able to decrypt and reveal that Arab officials had sanctioned the
killing of a senior British official in Nazareth weeks earlier.