Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, Charles Julian

Born at Folkestone, he was the elder son of David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, of Rankeillor, , near Cupar, Fife, and Emily Maitland-Makgill-Crichton (daughter of Charles Drummond Bailey, of Charlton Musgrove, Somerset). He entered Mr. Bramston’s House from a preparatory school at St. Neots, reaching Sixth Book and becoming a House Prefect. After Winchester he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.

He served with the Hampshire Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War, and went on to be a Lieutenant in 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. He was gazetted to the regular army in 1901, but resigned his commission on succeeding to his father’s estates. He was a member of the Royal Company of Archers, the King’s Bodyguard for Scotland.

On February 15th 1902 he married Miss Sybil Twynihoe Erle, of Craigentor, Crieff, Perthshire, the daughter of Mr. Twynihoe William Erle (Coll.1840), formerly Master of the Supreme Court. He was therefore brother-in-law of Captain Christopher Erle (died on active service 10/2/1917 – see individual entry). The couple lived at Monzie Castle, Perthshire, and Lathrisk and Largo, Fife, and from 1910 at Ellwood Ranch, Santa Barbara, California. In January 1903 their son David was born, but he died a month later, and it was not until four years later that an heir was born. When he died, Maitland-Makgill-Crichton left two sons and a daughter: Mary Sylvia (July 2nd 1905); Charles Frederic Andrew (born April 3rd 1907, K1920-1925); and Douglas (born April 24th 1909, K1922-1927). A second daughter, Rosemary Julian Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, was born on December 5th 1915, after her father’s death.

On the outbreak of war he volunteered for service and on 20th September was gazetted Captain of 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, although the following March he briefly transferred, with the temporary rank of Major, to 11th Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He went to France, with the 10th Battalion, on 7th July 1915. He fell at Loos on 25th September 1915. At first he was posted missing, and one of his company commanders wrote: “I should like to say that Major Crichton, during the period that I was under his command, earned my everlasting admiration and gratitude for the help he was always ready to give me in my difficulties, and the tolerance with which he treated my far too frequent blunders. I shall await the news of him, which, I trust, we shall soon receive, as not merely of my trusted commander, but of my valued friend.” However, the news eventually received was not good. A German officer, who had searched Maitland-Makgill-Crichton’s body and removed photographs of his wife and children, sent them back to his widow with a covering letter: “In handing you the enclosed photos and papers which were found on the body of the late Major Crichton, I consider it but my duty to tell you that the Major fell as a hero at the head of his battalion, after having taken Hill 70, east of Loos, by assault. When the hill was retaken by us, his body and those of many of his comrades remained in our hands. From his wound, it appears that death was instantaneous, so that he has not suffered. We laid him at rest in a soldier’s grave.” This grave was never located, and Maitland-Makgill-Crichton is commemorated on panels 115 to 119 of the Loos Memorial.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Maitland-Makgill-Crichton
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Julian
  • House: H
  • Years in School: 1894-1899
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: Gordon Highlanders
  • Date of Birth: 5th September 1880
  • Date of Death: 25th September 1915
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer A2
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on Panels 115-119 of the LOOS MEMORIAL