F. H. W. Guard
C.M.G. London Gazette 1 January 1919.
C.B.E. London Gazette 28 December 1922.
D.S.O. London Gazette 1 January 1918.
Mention in despatches London Gazette 11 December 1917 (France) and16 January 1919 (North Russia).
Frederick Henry Wickham Guard was born in March 1889 and was educated at Handle College. Having travelled in Canada, where he worked variously as a fruit grower and as a branch manager of a refrigeration company, he returned to the U.K. in 1910. Guard next found employment in London on The TImes, but fell in with ‘bad company’ and was in ‘very poor shape indeed’ by the time his father bailed him out. He subsequently found employment on the West African Railways in Sierra Leone, and obtained a commission in the West African Field Force soon after the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.
Invalided home from West Africa, he obtained a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment in February 1915, but is believed to have first gone to France with the Staffordshire Regiment. Then in July 1917 he transferred to the Royal Scots, with an appointment as C.O. of 15th Battalion, which unit became quickly embroiled in the bloody fighting at Harigcourt in the following month, not least in an attack launched against the enemy on the 26th. Almost certainly Guard’s subsequent award of the D.S.O. stemmed from his leadership on this occasion, when the Battalion sustained around 200 casualties, ‘casualties that were not out of proportion to the tactical advantage gained’, namely new positions which enabled direct observation over the Hindenburg Line. Guard was still in command during the German “Spring Offensive” in 1918 and, in all probability, it was during this period that a gas shell landed in his dug-
‘The Royal Scots were near the end of their tether, and when the Bosches swarmed down upon them from Croisilles, they began to betray signs of unsteadiness. The breaking-
In the summer of 1918, Guard went out to North Russia, in which theatre of war he served with distinction, initially as C.O. of Force ‘A’ on the Vologda railway, one of his objectives being to push back local Bolshevik forces with an armoured train, work that found him working in close liaison with the French (and later the Americans). The officer who was placed in direct charge of the train later described how effective and influential Guard’s command had been, describing him as a ‘born guerilla leader’. Certainly Guard was blessed with the necessary diplomatic skills to bring together a multi-
Guard was subsequently recommended for the C.M.G., an old handwritten document included in the Lot citing the following deeds:
‘This officer has commanded Force ‘A’ on the Vologda railway since the advance from Isaka Gorka south began. His courage and energy has carried the small force over many a difficulty in the face of the enemy. His tact in organizing his Russian workmen, and with the many nationalities of which his force is composed, has carried him over the rest. The work and anxiety imposed upon him through the superior numbers of the enemy, the vulnerability of his lines of communication through a country which cannot be described as friendly, and numerous difficulties presented by the forest, bogs, rivers and lakes his force has had to traverse, was enormous. The strain on him has been enough to break-
Guard was also the recipient of a French Brigade Order citation (North Russia), dated 30 January 1919, which cited his courage and leadership in the period August-
Interestingly, Lord Rawlinson, on being appointed C.-
Instead, as verified by the following testimonial, he was ‘specially employed’ as 2nd in command of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary 1920-
Guard next transferred to the Royal Air Force in the rank of Squadron Leader, and in 1922 went to Iraq with the first detachment of R.A.F. armoured cars, commanding the Basrah section until 1925 -