Queen Elizabeth’s World War I family loss was new information to me. With the approach of the centenary, there is renewed interested in family members who served in World War I.
Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the maternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, fell at the Battle of Loos in northern France in 1915. Bowes-Lyon was 26 at his death, a Captain in the Black Watch who died “leading an attack on the German lines at the heavily fortified Hohenzollern Redoubt.” Queen Elizabeth’s World War I family loss is documented in this article in the Guardian about her visit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
His death, followed by their inability to find out where his remains lay, hit the Queen Mother and her family hard. In 2011 Captain Bowes-Lyon’s grandson, James Joicey-Cecil, 59, with the help of his second cousin, the Prince of Wales, and historian Christopher Bailey, helped trace where he was buried in a mass grave in a quarry….
The Queen spoke of detective work to track down his suspected mass grave in 2011 as she met Ministry of Defence officials who help families find the bodies of their loved ones.
They told her that their workload has kept increasing amid growing interest in family history and the increasing ability of people to research the lives of their ancestors online.
Queen Elizabeth’s World War I family loss is notable. And so is your World War I family history research. If you are researching a Commonwealth ancestor who was a casualty of World War I, click here to search the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.