Viscount Ipswich, William FITZROY

Lieutenant, Viscount Ipswich, William Henry Alfred FITZROY
Aged 33

17 (Training) Squadron, Royal Air Force
formerly Lieutenant, 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards
formerly The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)
Died in Air Accident on Tuesday, 23rd April 1918

William Henry Alfred Fitzroy was born in London on 24th July 1884 (St George, Hanover Square Q4-1884 1A:486), baptised at All Saints, Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge 4th November 1884, son of Alfred Henry Maitland FITZROY, 8th Duke of Grafton and Lady Margaret Rose FITZROY (née SMITH).

1891 census...Aged 6, he was at Whittlebury Lodge, Church End, Whittlebury, Towcester with his father Alfred William M FITZROY [41] 8th Duke of Grafton, born Middlesex; sisters Lilian Rose [15] and Mary Margaret [13] both born in Middlesex. His mother was at Wakefield Lodge, Deanshanger, Northants.(They had two places called Wakefield Lodge), with his grandfather Augustus Fitzroy, 7th Duke of Grafton.

1901 census...Aged 16 he was at school in Harrow. His father was at Whittlebury with his sister Mary Margaret.

1911 census...Not found in this census but as a regular soldier he could be anywhere. His mother was at Whittlebury with his sister Mary Margaret. His father was at Wakefield Lodge, Stoney Stratford with his grandfather and brother Henry Earl of Euston..

He married Auriol Margaretta BROUGHAM in 1913 and had three children, John Charles William FITZROY (later 9th Duke of Grafton) (1914-1936 -died motor racing); Lady Margaret Jane (1916-before 1997) and Lady Mary Rose (1918-2010).
Probate was to his widow Viscountess Ipswich, Potterspury House, Stoney Stratford, Bucks.

His cousin, Edward Henry Fitzroy, had been killed in 1917 on HMS "Simoom" see here

He first enlisted in The Buffs, The Royal East Kent Regiment. Commissioned in the Coldstream Guards, he was in France/Flanders by the 11th November 1914 (no clasp claimed for the 1914 Star). He was wounded and eventually repatriated suffering from shell shock. It remains to be seen if his Army records are at Kew (His RAF Records are of course limited) to enlighten us on his Army career. Then, although over age for flying, he joined the Royal Flying Corps (perhaps some family influence at work here). Late in 1917 he had flown DH6 and RE8 on a course at Winchester. 22nd November 1917 he is recorded as passing as an Observer maybe considered later for pilot. On 1st February 1918 he was recorded a fit for Artillery Pilot. The Royal Air Force was formed on 1st April 1918 and on 20th April he was in 17 Training Squadron at RAF Yatesbury, near Calne, in Wiltshire . He appears to have been flying solo at the time of his crash, so it is assumed he had gained his "wings"

The RE8 (Reconnaissance Experimental 8) was an aircraft used by the Royal Air Force (which was formed on 1st April 1918). A slow, under powered aircraft with a tendency to stall easily, many crews died out of battle. The Casualty Card for Viscount Fitzroy says he went into a low vertical spin before crashing on (apparently) a solo flight at RAF Yatesbury in Wiltshire..

Brass plates in St Genevieve
Rest in Peace
William Henry Fitzroy
Viscount Ipswich
Born 1884 Died 1918

Died in the service of his
country in the Great War

William Fitzroy is buried in Euston (St Genevieve) Churchyard, south of church

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details