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de Rougemont, Harold Wake (1877-1900) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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de Rougemont, Harold Wake (1877-1900)

South African War Memorial, Sherborne School, Sherborne, Dorset, UK.


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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.


Captain Harold Wake de Rougemont (1877-1900), South African Light Horse. Died on 24 January 1900, aged 22, at Chieveley, South Africa from wounds he received in action the previous day at Spion Kop, South Africa.


Buried at Chieveley War Cemetery


Commemorated at:

All Saints Church, Ladysmith.

Memorial window, St Peter & St Paul church, Broadwell, West Oxfordshire:

Sherborne School chapel.


Harold Wake de Rougemont (1877-1900) was born on 12 July 1877 at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, the son of Commander Frank de Rougemont (Royal Navy) (1842-1882) and Norna Frances Clementina de Rougemont (née Smith), of Bradwell, Oxfordshire, later of Merby, Bournemouth.

He attended Ascham School, Bournemouth.

He then went on to attend Sherborne School (Abbeylands), May 1891-August 1896 as a Scholar. During his time at Sherborne he became a member of the sixth form, a School Prefect, Head of House, a colour-sergeant in the Cadet Corps, and in 1896 was a member of the 1st XI cricket team (described as 'A lively hitter without defence. Bowls a simple ball with a puzzling action.'). In 1899, he donated to Sherborne School library a copy of Euripidies's Tragoediae (Venice apud Aldum, 1503) (C7/4).

He went on to University College, Oxford University, and worked in the Government Forest Department, Cape Colony.


Obituary in Western Chronicle, 9 March 1900:


The following is an extract from the Globe: A trooper of the South African Horse, with Buller’s force, wrote as follows from Chieveley Camp in January: “On Monday, about 80 of our men, 100 Hussars, and Bethune’s Mounted Infantry, with about 500 Infantry, went out again. We, with the Hussars, did the scouting; of course, we had two naval guns in the rear and some other artillery. Nearly the same thing happened as on Friday, the only difference being that our naval guns did a good deal of damage, shells bursting among them and killing a good many of them. We lost altogether about 25 men, one of whom was Captain De Rougemont, who was very badly wounded, and died the day after. When Capt. De Rougemont was shot, a doctor of the Hussars named Renton got off his horse to attend to him. While thus engaged, with the Red Cross flag flying over him, the Boers approached to within 100 yards, and fired a volley, shooting the doctor through the stomach. The Boers then took everything of value off both the doctor and De Rougemont, including the former’s silver spur and then went away bidding the doctor “good bye.” These two poor fellows were left out on the veldt in a bitterly cold night. The doctor crawled or walked for about a mile with a bullet through his stomach, and sought shelter in a Kaffir but, where our picket found him next morning. The ambulance was fetched, and he, together with De Rougemont, was taken into camp where the latter died. Deeds like this make our men feel very bitter, and it will go hard with the Boers when our soldiers get among them.” Captain De Rougemont is an Old Shirburnian, and it was at Sherborne School that he received his military training. While here he was a much respected colour-sergeant in the Cadet Corps, and was a very good shot. He was a fine cricketer, having gained his colours in the School, and was a favourite with both masters and boys.


Obituary in 'The Shirburnian', March 1901:

We have received the following from a trooper of the I.L.H., giving further details of the death of Captain H.W. de Rougemont, of the South African Light Horse: “Right up to his death he showed himself an officer of great promise. A trooper of the S.A.L.I told me at first they thought him effeminate, but they soon found how mistaken they were. When shot, two scouts wished to bring him back. Had he consented he would undoubtedly have lived, but he refused, telling them to save themselves; and although they persisted, he, as he lay wounded ordered them to leave him. They found him some time after. General Buller, when he heard of de Rougemont’s death, ordered a fatigue party to fetch his remains, and had them buried next to Lord Roberts’ son, and when all was over he said ‘A fit place for such a man.’”


Extracts from a speech given by the Headmaster of Sherborne School, F.B. Westcott, following the unveiling of the South African War Memorial in the Sherborne School Chapel on 30 January 1901 ('The Shirburnian', March 1904, pp.189-192):

'After the service a gathering was held in the Big Schoolroom, where speeches were to be made. After the singing of the new School song ‘Adsum,’ the Headmaster [F.B. Westcott] rose, and after a few introductory remarks upon the unpropitious weather, said that though he seemed to have been at Sherborne quite a long time, yet only two of those whose memories they were commemorating that day were in the School in his time. They were Harold de Rougemont, who, he believed, was buried close to Lord Roberts’ son, and his young friend Close, who, with many other young Englishmen, volunteered for service at the front when but a boy. Every house in the School was represented in the list he had read out. None of the lads had climbed very high in military service, yet two at least, Lewis and Lovett, were brevet-majors, and brevet-majors at a very early stage of their service. They, as a school, as well as their friends, had paid a very heavy price in the loss of their lives. Yet, at the same time, he was sure all of them would feel that these brave lives were not given for nothing, but were given for England, for our country, and for our King, and in the great cause of the British Empire. Moreover, the hope of all was that the work done in South Africa had been finished once and for all. God grant it might be so, and that the blood of those brave soldiers, and the blood of our enemies too, would cement a lasting peace. After extending a hearty welcome to Lord Methuen, the Headmaster called on his lordship to address the School.'


Poem by H.W. de Rougemont, published in The Shirburnian, December 1898:


Oh! For the clang of the early bell,

And the scurry of hurrying feet,

As we rush galore

For the Chapel door,

With our toilets not quite complete!

Oh for the chimes of the dear old clock,

High up in the Abbey tower,

And the laggard file

That march up the aisle,

On the very last stroke of the hour!


Oh! For a sight of a the classroom walls

And the benches, we once thought so hard!

For the look of surprise,

In the Master’s eyes,

When we loiter outside in the yard!

Oh for the sound of the clock striking “One,”

And the bath with its waters so cool,

Which St Aldhelm of old,

-As I’ve often been told, -

-Laid out for the good of the School!


Oh! For the green of the cricket field,

And the whiz of the hard hit ball;

Or the mournful grimace,

On old Bowley’s face,

When our wickets begin to fall!

Oh! For the feel of the willowy bat,

When it meets with its leathern foe,

The delights of a drive,

For which we run “five”

Or “six” with an overthrow!


Oh! For the days of our boyhood gone past,

With their moments of sorrow and joy;

Oh! For a glimpse of the School that we love,

For the life of a Sherborne boy.'

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Uploaded on November 3, 2016