b. 31/08/1829 London. d. 07/06/1895 Sloane Street, London.
Sir Charles Craufurd Fraser (1829-1895) was born in Dublin, Ireland on 31st August 1829, the third son of Sir James Fraser, 3rd Baronet of Leadclune and lieutenant-colonel of the 7th Hussars. He was commissioned by purchase in 1847 as a cornet into his father’s old regiment. He was then promoted to lieutenant in 1850 and captain in 1854. On 5 January 1858 he became Orderly Officer for Brigadier Campbell at Munseata near Allahabad and was promoted to major on 20 July 1858.
On 31st December 1858, the 7th were positioned on the Nepalese border and received information that Nana Sahib and his rebel army were only 25 miles away. They caught up with the rebels attempted to cross a ford on the River Raptee. The river was tricky to cross with a number of tree branches, quick sands and rocks. The 7th saw that the rebels were struggling to cross and they charged. They soon found themselves in trouble with a number of men and horses swept away. The regiment’s commander, lieutenant-colonel Sir William Russell, ordered a halt before there were more losses. It was then noticed that Captain Stisted and three other ranks were stranded on a small sand bank in the middle of the river; none of them could swim and were under fire from the rebels.
Charles Fraser, despite being wounded, volunteered to swim across. Under heavy enemy fire, he swam across and reached them despite the strong current. He managed to swim back with each of the men in turn, a monumental feat with a partially disabled right hand. His act of gallantry was published in the London Gazette on 8th November 1860 and he received his medal the following day from the Queen at Windsor Castle. The Royal Humane Society also awarded him their Silver Medal on 11th January 1860. He was one of only three VCs to receive both medals for the same act.
Leaving India in 1859, he purchased his majority and transferred to the 11th Hussars. In 1860, he obtained the rank of lieutenant-colonel through purchase. He served in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868 and that same year became Colonel of the 8th Hussars. He was promoted to major-general in 1870 and appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry in Ireland.
He retired as lieutenant-general in 1886 and entered politics. He was MP for Lambeth North from 1885-1892, and died at his home in London on 7th June 1895. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery. His medals are not publicly held though a replica is displayed at the Queen’s Own Hussars Museum, Warwick.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: BROMPTON CEMETERY, LONDON.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
COMPARTMENT 2 EAST,59' X 20'
Replicas of Sir Charles Fraser's medals at the Queens Own Hussars Museum, Warwick (July 2015)
Eton College Memorial
Aldershot Garrison Church