Macnamara, Charles Carroll

He was the son of Charles Nottidge Macnamara, F.R.C.S. of Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire, and came to Winchester from Mr. E.D. Mansfield’s school at Bracknell. He was a House Prefect, shot for two years in Wimbledon VIII and rowed in School IV.

After leaving school he served with the Militia and passed into the Regular Army (1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles) in 1896. He served for a time as A.D.C. to Lord Milner in South Africa, and a year on the staff at Bombay, went in 1905 to China, where he was appointed Captain of the Chinese Regiment of Infantry at Wei-hai-Wei. Whilst there he qualified as an interpreter in Chinese. The regiment was disbanded in November 1906, and he returned to regimental duty at Meerut. However, he was then hospitalized with severe anaemia and was not fit for duty until May 1907. In 1909 he was seconded to the Egyptian Army and undertook the task of raising and training the Equatorial Battalion.

He was in command of his battalion when war broke out and for his services during the first year received the Order of the Nile. In August 1915, he left Egypt for Gallipoli, where he served as Brigade-Major.   He was wounded in the leg by a rifle bullet and evacuated to Alexandria where he was also found to be suffering from dysentry.  He was invalided home in late November.  He served for a short time as Commandant of Royal Irish Rifles Depot in Belfast and then became Brigade Major of 203 Brigade in Bedford.

On recovering his health in May 1916, he asked to rejoin his old battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles in France as commanding officer, arriving there on 25th May and led them into action on July 1st 1916, the first morning of the Battle of the Somme. As the British troops advanced they were annihilated by German machine gun fire, although D Company did manage to reach the German trenches where they fought hand to hand before being forced to retire. A and B Companies were heavily shelled and were down to about 50 men when they reached the front line trenches. It was immediately after this shelling that Macnamara fell mortally wounded. He was evacuated to No 24 General Hospital, Etaples, severely injured with left eye, left arm and ankle injuries. He was transferred to Fishmonger’s Hall Hospital in London but died there on 15th July.

In a letter to Macnamara’s family, Captain Gartlan of A Company wrote: “Nobody seems to know where he was hit at first, but he fell down and would not allow anyone to dress his wounds. His whole thought was to “go on, go on.” He must have been hit once if not more, either lying on the ground or getting back to our trench, which he did shortly afterwards. Our Medical Officer, as soon as he heard that the CO was hit, came up and managed to get him down to the dressing station. The Colonel’s whole anxiety, when he had sufficiently recovered to talk, was how the battalion had got on. Our doctor told me his courage was extraordinary. He never said a word about being in pain, but was full of enquiries for everyone else.” His name had appeared twice in Despatches.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Macnamara
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Carroll
  • House: C
  • Years in School: 188901893
  • Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Regiment: Royal Irish Rifles
  • Date of Birth: 23rd May 1875
  • Date of Death: 15th July 1916
  • How Died: Died of wounds
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer H5
  • Decoration: Order of the Nile