History of War


It would be true to say that gallantry in the service of crown and country ran through the very DNA of the Congreve family. From the Civil War through to the Spanish War of Succession and the American War of Independence, Congreves served with honour and distinction. Then, in the Second Boer War, Walter Norris Congreve (later General) earned the VC for courageous action at Colenso. For his son, William La Touche Congreve, born in 1891 and known as ‘Billy’, the die was set; after education at Eton he followed his father into the army, joining the same regiment, the Rifle Brigade.

A lieutenant at the outbreak of the First World War, Billy Congreve was sent to France with an almost immediate appointment to divisional staff. Notwithstanding this, however, he found himself very much in the thick of action – a feature of his time in France right up until his eventual death in 1916. Meanwhile, but then in another sector of the front, Billy’s father was also still

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