Cyril Ward

The connections to Kenya

The Hon. Cyril Augustus Ward

The connections of the Parker expedition to Kenya centre on Cyril Augustus Ward. He was a member of the expedition party in 1909.

He was also a gambler and a gambler and a poor one; by 1914 he was between £15,000 and £16,000 in debt. This amount is the equivalent of £1.7 million in 2021. It was an extraordinary achievement to have built up such a level of debt given his family situation. His father was extremely wealthy and Cyril Ward reputedly received £100,000 in the will. However, Ward found many occasions to lose money. In 1914, he lost £825 playing the card game chemin-de-fer. Fortunately his wife, formerly Baroness Irene, came from a wealthy background and reputedly had an income of £5,000 a year herself. She paid off his debts and took control of his income. Ward assigned all his future earnings to his wife and she gave him an allowance of £500 a year.

After the First World War he returned to his losing ways. Ward had to file for bankruptcy and appeared at the London Bankruptcy Court in November 1923. He had assets of £57 and debts of £3,367. Ward informed the court his debts were due to ‘losses by gambling and speculations on the Stock Exchange and to having lived beyond his means.’ Ward added that he was without funds as his wife had stopped his allowance and he was living on the charity of his brother-in-law. It was a humiliating downfall for the brother of a wealthy earl. Soon after he left for Africa and settled in Kenya. He lived the classic expatriate lifestyle there. Ward joined the Rift Valley Sports Club, was a well-known golfer at Njoro and was one of the first regular customers of the Kenya Brewery.

A document from the Rift Valley Sports Club records the following mundane interactions:

13 Apr 1928 – ‘On this day we the undersigned took the liberty of taking a table from the dining room to the verandah for our lunch. We found this to be most comfortable cool and quiet. We realise that this is not possible every day owing to climatic conditions but we do urge that when possible a certain number of tables should be provided on the verandah for lunch or any other meals which may be suitable. The accoustics in the dining room are so bad that it is a great relief to be able to have meals in quietude.’ [signed by Cyril A. Ward, V.F.C. Peto, R.S. Muttlebury & unknown]’

17 Mar 1928 – ‘This morning I tried to get on by telephone to the Club for half an hour with no result. I suggest that either the telephone be moved or an extension bell be fitted to where it can be heard.’ [supported by C.B.P. Fitzgerald & D.C. Venning]

Cyril Ward died on 11 Jan 1930 in Nakuru in Kenya.

 

King Edward VII’s connections to the Parker expedition

1901 Portrait of King Edward VII

King Edward VII was neither a participant nor investor in the Parker expedition but he did know most of the British members of the expedition very well. Many of the British members of the expedition were married but three were married. These were Gordon Wilson, Robin Duff and Cyril Ward. Edward attended two of the three weddings and might well have attended the third if it had not been scaled down to a small family affair due to bereavements in the family.

The first wedding he attended was Gordon Wilson’s marriage to Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill in November 1891. The wedding was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prince of Wales, as he then was, was foremost amongst the guests. He was not the only royal in attendance; the Duke of Cambridge, a cousin of Queen Victoria and at that time Commander-in-Chief of the Army attended as did his wife the Duchess of Teck and their daughter Princess Victoria of Teck who later married the future King George V.

As ever the Prince of Wales complicated love life intersected with the family. He had a brief affair with Jennie Jerome the future wife of Lord Randolph Churchill, Lady Sarah’s brother.

In June 1903 Robin Duff married Lady Juliet Lowther. Her stepfather was Lord de Grey, who was the Treasurer of the household of Queen Alexandra, Edward VII’s consort. Lady Juliet was a favourite of the royal family. King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria all attended the wedding at St. Peter’s, Eaton Square, London. The Press Association reported that

‘on the marriage yesterday of Lady Juliet to Mr Robert Duff, Count von Bernstorff, Councillor and First Secretary to the German Embassy, conveyed to the bride the sincere congratulations of His Majesty the German Emperor, and presented her with a bouquet on behalf of the Emperor. The King and Queen, with Princess Victoria, were present at the ceremony at St. Peter’s, Eaton Square, London.’

Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1902

Lady Juliet and Robin Duff had two children, a boy and a girl. Princess Mary of Teck, the future Queen Mary, was godmother to their son. Princess Victoria was godmother to their daughter.

Robin Duff was an officer in the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry and was at one point was Silver Stick in Waiting to Edward VII. In 1902 before his marriage to Lady Juliet he was involved in an episode of bullying of a fellow officer. He and several other junior officers stripped 2nd Lieutenant, Charles Dalton Gregson and auctioned off his clothes. They emptied horse manure over him, rolled him in mud, ducked him in a water trough then threw his furniture out of his room. Finally, they made him run around the green outside the mess dressed only in his boots and underwear. They were punished by having their leave cancelled for six months. King Edward VII thought even these sanctions were too harsh. The victim arguably suffered a worse punishment; Gregson was transferred out of one of the most prestigious regiments in the British army and posted to the Indian army.

The third married member of the expedition was Cyril Augustus Ward. He was the fifth son of the Earl of Dudley and in April 1904 when he married Baroness Irene de Brienen, the daughter of a wealthy Dutch aristocrat. The families of both the bride and groom were in mourning so the wedding at St. Peter’s, Eaton Square was a small family one with few guests. However, King Edward VII would likely have attended the marriage in different circumstances as he attended weddings of several of Cyril’s brothers and had invested Cyril with the Royal Victorian Order.

Once again the Prince of Wales love life played a role in the close connections. He also had a very close personal relationship with Cyril’s aunt Lady Harriet Mordaunt. She had been one of Edward VII’s many mistresses and also one of the most notorious. Her husband divorced her for adultery, a highly unusual move in Victorian England. He did this after Lady Mordaunt told her husband she was pregnant and the baby was not his. The Prince of Wales paid regular visits to Lady Mordaunt at her home. In court, Sir Charles Mordaunt as good as accused the heir to the throne of adultery with his wife. The Prince of Wales felt obliged to give evidence. It is hard to overemphasise how scandalous it was for the heir to appear in court to deny he had committed adultery with a married woman. At the end of the case, Sir Charles gained his divorce. Lady Mordaunt was conveniently found to be insane and committed to an institution, away from public view.

Cyril Foley was another member of the expedition who knew King Edward VII both when he was sovereign and when he was the Prince of Wales. Foley was a very keen sportsman and shot regularly including with the German and British royal families. In his autobiography he recounted an incident in which both royal families were shooting at Sandringham. They had hoped to be hunting but there was a hard frost so they had to shoot hares instead. Some of the German party became overcome with enthusiasm and instead of staying in their places pursued the hares. During this period one of them accidentally shot King Edward VII. He received a pellet in the nose before lunch. Foley recounted how

‘and with his abundant good nature, which was one of his chief characteristics, merely shook his head and said, ‘Very dangerous, very dangerous,’

Foley added reassuringly that no one was killed that day!

Clarence Wilson who provided the largest amount of funding to the Parker expedition was a keen sailor and a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. At the time the Commodore was King Edward VII. This period was considered the golden age of the R.Y.S. At the meeting in which Clarence Wilson was elected an active member of the R.Y.S., he was one of three new members. One of the two others was the Prince of Wales, the future King George V.

The connections to the Netherlands

Two Dutch Baronesses

Baroness Irene

There were very limited connections of the Parker expedition to the Netherlands. The main one was a link to Cyril Augustus Ward

Cyril Augustus Ward in Jerusalem

Cyril Augustus Ward was the fifth son of the 1st Earl of Morley. He served as an officer in the Royal Navy and in April 1904 he married Baroness Irene de Brienen. She was the daughter of a wealthy Dutch aristocrat, Baron Arnoud Nicolaas Justinus van Brienen. Irene was born in the magnificent manor house of Huys Clingendael in Wassenaar a suburb of the Hague on 5 November 1883. Irene had one sister Marguerite who was generally known as  Daisy.

Marriage Certificate

Irene’s marriage to Cyril Ward was a difficult one. He was a gambler and a poor one; by 1914 he was between £15,000 and £16,000 in debt. This amount is the equivalent of £1.7 million in 2021. It was an extraordinary achievement to have built up such a level of debt given his family situation. His father was extremely wealthy and Cyril Ward reputedly received £100,000 in the will. However, Ward found many occasions to lose money. In 1914, he lost £825 playing the card game chemin-de-fer. Fortunately his wife, formerly Baroness Irene, came from a wealthy background and reputedly had an income of £5,000 a year herself. She paid off his debts and took control of his income. Ward assigned all his future earnings to his wife and she gave him an allowance of £500 a year.

After the First World War he returned to his losing ways. Ward had to file for bankruptcy and appeared at the London Bankruptcy Court in November 1923. He had assets of £57 and debts of £3,367. Ward informed the court his debts were due to ‘losses by gambling and speculations on the Stock Exchange and to having lived beyond his means.’ Ward added that he was without funds as his wife had stopped his allowance and he was living on the charity of his brother-in-law. It was a humiliating downfall for the brother of a wealthy earl. Soon after he left for Africa and settled in Kenya where he died in 1930.

In 1934 Baroness Irene remarried another naval officer, but a slightly more senior one; Vice-Admiral Hon. Arthur Charles Strutt. They did not have any children. Baroness Irene lived an extremely long life. She was born on 5 November 1883 and died on 21 April 1974.

Baroness Daisy

Baroness Irene’s father did not have any sons and bequeathed the manor house and estate to whichever of his daughters did not marry.  This was Irene’s sister Daisy and she laid out beautiful Japanese gardens on the estate.

Daisy spent a great deal of time in England and, perhaps, helped by her sister’s connections mixed in high society. She was friends with Lady Sackville-West and her daughter Vita and Alice Keppel, the former mistress of King Edward VII. During the First World War she did a great deal to help British soldiers who were interned in the Netherlands, which was neutral. She opened her estate and housed many wounded British soldiers there.

Unfortunately through these friendships and actions she became caught up in a bizarre libel case in 1918 in the United Kingdom. A right-wing English MP named Noel Pemberton-Billing was sued for criminal libel in a complicated case involving the dancer Maud Allan, homosexuality and the Germans blackmailing what Pemberton-Billing described as ‘47,000 highly placed British perverts’. In her evidence in the case Maud Allan was asked whether she mixed in the highest social circles and she said that she had danced for the King and Queen at Lord and Lady Dudley’s. This would actually be the Earl of Dudley, Cyril Ward’s elder brother and Baroness van Brienen’s brother-in-law.

The evidence later went on to hear claims that Alice Keppel was in the Netherlands during the war acting as a go-between with the Germans and that in the Netherlands she met ‘a certain Baroness’. This is assumed to be Daisy van Brienen. The entire case is a truly bizarre one.

Maud Allan performing Salome

 

The connections to Ireland

In the 19th century Ireland was not separated politically. It was a single country ruled from London. The major Irish connection is with a part of Ireland which is still part of the United Kingdom. So the map does not reflect this and refers to the Republic of Ireland.

An Irish emigrant and an aide to the viceroy

Samuel Wilson

Samuel Wilson, was born in County Antrim in Ireland. He was the sixth son of a farmer. In 1838, when criminals were still being transported, two of Samuel’s elder brothers emigrated to Australia. The brothers had read about the healthy climate and opportunities in the new colony for settlers with capital. Despite stiff opposition from their parents, the brothers sailed to Australia. A third brother joined them a few years later and together they bought a farm north of Melbourne. Their decision to leave Ireland was probably a good one. In the 1840s, Ireland suffered its worst-ever natural disaster, the Great Famine. Around one million people died of starvation and associated diseases during this period and another one million emigrated from Ireland.

Samuel Wilson was still a child at this point but when he was 22 he sailed to Australia at the height of the Australian gold rush. He made a fortune in Australia through sheep farming. In 1874 his annual income was estimated as almost £100,000 and came back to the northern hemisphere a very wealthy man. In 1881 he contested the Londonderry county as a Conservative candidate. He was unsuccessful but was later elected an M.P. for Portsmouth.

Cyril Augustus Ward

Cyril was born in 1876, the fifth son of the 1st Earl of Dudley. His elder brother became the 2nd Earl of Dudley on his father’s death. He became a Conservative politician and served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1902. He makes a small appearance in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

2nd Earl of Dudley

Cyril Ward served as an aide to his brother during his time in Ireland.

Other geographical connections