Lieutenant Colonel Crofton Bury Vandeleur

Crofton Bury Vandeleur was born in 1867 in India, where his Army Captain father was stationed. Following the family military tradition, Vandeleur joined The Cameronians in 1886. After training at Sandhurst Military College he served in India, where he loved hunting and was known as an excellent shot. The outbreak of the Boer War in 1899 gave the young soldier his first taste of active service. Returning to London after the war, he married Evelyn Mary Hamilton. In 1914, he went to France as a Major of the 1st Battalion, taking part in fighting at Mons and on the Marne, and was then appointed Lieutenant Colonel. Towards the end that year, Vandeleur was wounded and taken prisoner whilst in command of the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment. He was held in Krefeld, close to the Dutch border, but managed to escape after only six weeks, and made his way back towards allied forces. Vandeleur had spent time in Germany as a young boy and spoke the language fluently, which proved to be of great help. He was the first British officer to escape from the Germans during the First World War.

On his return to Britain, Vandeleur was invited to meet King George V, to tell the story of his capture and ill-treatment. Although he returned to active duty with the 2nd Battalion in France in 1915, Vandeleur was wounded at the Battle of Festubert. The serious wounds to his hip led to arthritis, which troubled him for the rest of his life. Following a long period in hospital, Vandeleur returned to command the Regimental Depot in Hamilton. For his gallant and distinguished service in France, Vandeleur was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ and received the Distinguished Service Order in 1919. On retiring in 1922, he spent much time developing the Regimental Association and also founded the Memorial Club in Glasgow. Vandeleur lived in Bothwell during his retirement and died on September 26th 1947. He is buried at St Bride's Parish Church in Bothwell.

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Lieutenant Colonel Crofton Bury Vandeleur

Lieutenant Colonel C.B. Vandeleur D.S.O. wearing the coat in which he escaped from Prisoner of War Camp on December 18th 1914.

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Vandeleur as Cadet 1886

Vandeleur as a cadet at Sandhurst Military Training College in 1886.

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Vandeleur Aldershot 1893

Vandeleur at Aldershot, 1893, from a group photograph of 2nd Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

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Vandeleur caricature 1892

Caricature of Vandeleur, made by ‘Marcel Pic’ at Aldershot in 1892.

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Vandeleur France 1914

Soldiers of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) resting at a French farm during the First World War (24th August 1914). Vandeleur is on the left, using binoculars.