b. 01/07/1873 Bloomsbury, London. d. 24/10/1946 Bristol.
Daniel Burges (1873-1946) was born in Bloomsbury, London on 1st July 1873, the son of Daniel Travers Burges, Town Clerk of Bristol, and Alice Sarah, eldest daughter of Benjamin Travers of Cape Colony. The family home was the Council House, Corn Street, Bristol, and Daniel had three younger brothers. Daniel was educated at Winchester and, deciding to make the Army a career, he attended the Royal Military Academy, Camberley amd passed out into the Army on 21st October 1893 when commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
He was posted to the Gloucestershire Regiment on 24th November 1894. On 8th July 1897 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He took part in the Boer War in 1899-1902, serving with the 6th Division under General Kelly-Kenny, up until the occupation of Bloemfontein. He commanded the Mounted Signallers Company, Army HQ, until 31st July 1900, and was signalling officer successively to Colonel Hickman’s Column, General Plumer’s Column, Chief Staff Officer to Colonel Viall’s Column and, finally, signalling officer to General W Kitchener until the end of the war.
Burges was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps, and the King’s South Africa Medal with two clasps. He was promoted to Captain on 25th October 1903. Two years later he married Katherine Blanche, second daughter of Captain Edmund Fortescue, Rifle Brigade, at St Bartholomew’s, Southsea, on 5th October 1905. He joined the 1st Glosters two months later on 4th December, remaining with the Battalion until 1908 when he served with the Punjab Volunteer Rifles until 1913. He then returned to the 1st Glosters for a few months as a staff officer.
When stationed in England, he commanded the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment at Bristol on the outbreak of the Great War, and subsequently served as a company commander in the 2nd Battalion in Flanders until wounded during the Second Battle of Ypres, 9th May 1915. His name was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette on 12th June 1915 and he was promoted to Major on 1st September 1915.
He was later appointed CO of the 10th (S) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment in Egypt, and also when they were in France from 9th November 1915 to 30th June 1916. Four months later, he was made instructor at the Senior Officers’ School at Aldershot, a post he held until March 1917, when he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, with whom he served in Macedonia on the Struma Front in July and August 1917. He was mentioned in French General Orders, Salonika, November 1917.
On 18th September 1917 he was given the rank of Temporary Lieutenant Colonel and took command of the 7th (S) Battalion South Wales Borderers on the Doiran Front, which he held for a year until 18th September 1918. During this period he was created a DSO announced in the London Gazette on 3rd June 1918.
On 18th September 1918 at Jumeaux, in the Balkans, valuable reconnaissance of the enemy front line trenches enabled Lieutenant Colonel Burges to bring his battalion, without casualties, to the assembly point, but later while some distance from the objective they came under severe machine-gun fire. Although he himself was wounded the colonel continued to lead his men with skill and courage until he was hit again twice and fell unconscious. He was taken prisoner by the Bulgarians, but was abandoned in a dug-out with one of his legs shattered.
After the announcement of his VC on 14th December 1918, he was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 21st December along with his DSO. He was mentioned in despatches three times in all, and was awarded the brevet of Lieutenant Colonel on 1st January 1919. He was to remain in hospital until February 1919 due to his VC injuries. In June 1920 he attended the VC Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and the Cenotaph and Unknown Warrior services on 11th November the same year. In 1923 he was living in the Tower of London.
After going on retired pay he was appointed Major of the Tower and Resident Governor. In November 1929 he attended the VC Dinner at the House of Lords. His first wife, Katherine, died in 1931, and the following year, he married Mrs Florence Wray Taylor on 1st January 1932 at St James’, Piccadilly. Through this marriage, he gained a step son. After holding his post at the Tower of London for ten years, he retired with his new wife to Bristol and fully entered into the life of the city; in 1933 he was made President of the Society of Bristolians and in 1936 master of the Society of Merchant Venturers in Bristol. He also became Director of the Gloucestershire Branch of the Red Cross.
Daniel Burges died at his home, Hyde Lodge, in Bristol on 24th October 1946, aged 73, and was cremated five days later at the Arnos Vale Crematorium, Bristol, where a plaque in his memory was placed in 2006. His medals including the VC, DSO, Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps, King’s South Africa Medal with two clasps, French Croix de Guerre with oak leaves, Greek Military Cross (2nd Class), 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 with Mentioned in Despatches oak leaf, and King George VI Coronation Medal 1937 are not publicly held. A replica group are displayed at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Regimental Museum, Gloucester Docks.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: ARNOS VALE CEMETERY, BRISTOL, AVON. ASHES INTERRED
Daniel Burge's plaque in Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol.
Burges' medal collection including his VC and DSO which on display at Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
Daniel Burges VC's photograph (top), signature on a cigarette case (middle) and watch with leather case (bottom) at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, May 2015
Castle Park, Bristol (Steve Lee)