Richard, the last child of William & Emma


Richard was born at Ooty in January 1860, the ninth child of William and Emma. The eldest child, Henry would have been 22 at the time and soon he would be married and have a son James just 12 years younger than Richard. James would go on to inherit the Ochterlony estate and eventually lose it but Richard would have to make his way in the Army.


Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Wapshare late of the Indian Cavalry, died at Cheltenham yesterday in his seventy-third year. After a long and distinguished career in the East he held several important commands during the Great War, and on active service so late as 1919.

 He was the younger son of Major W H Wapshare and was born onJanuary 6 1860. He received his early education in Germany and was prepared for the Army at Mr J Fleming’s of Tonbridge. In February, 1880, he was gazetted lieutenant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, but was transferred to the Indian service in November, 1882, being posted to the 14th Native Infantry of the Bombay Army. In 1884, however he passed to the Hyderabad Contingent, with which he was destined to complete his regimental service. At first he was attached to the infantry, but soon joined the 4th and then the 3rd Cavalry – later called Lancers – serving with this regiment in the Burmese War of 1885-88.

 It was years before he saw any more active service, but he soon gained a reputation as a smart and efficient cavalry officer. In 1899 he went to the 1st Lancers for a time as temporary commandant, getting his majority in the following February. In 1906 he was appointed Assistant Adjutant-General at Army Headquarters at Simla. Here he remained until 1910, when he was made first commandant of the newly established cavalry school at Saugor. In 1912 he was given the Secunderabad Cavalry Brigade and later in that year passed to the command of the Bangalore Brigade. Soon after the outbreak of the Great War he was selected to command the British forces in East Africa, where he remained until April 1915. This period, which followed upon the unsuccessful attempt to take Tanga, was largely devoted to reorganising and recuperation, and there were no important encounters with the enemy.

General Wapshare – he had been promoted major general in March after holding temporary rank from the beginning of the year- was next sent to Mesopotamia to command the 33rd Indian Infantry Brigade. In June 1915 he found himself in command of the troops assembled at Ahwas, in Arabistan, during the operations undertaken to ensure the safety of the oil supply, but he did not long remain in this theatre, leaving for India before the end of the year. There he commanded the Poona Brigade and the 6th (Poona) Divisional Area. He was appointed to the command of the 4th (Quetta) Division in December, 1916 and in March , 1918 was in military and political charge of the expeditionary force sent against the recalcitrant Marri and Ketran tribesmen. The operations lasted about three months and were completely successful. On the outbreak of the Third Afghan War in 1919 he was placed in command of the Baluchistan Force charged with the protection of the front as far as the ZhobValley.

Sir Richard Wapshare was a keen big-game hunter and had more than 50 tigers to his credit. He was also at one time Master of the Bangalore Foxhounds. On going to live in Cheltenham in 1925 he identified himself with the social and political life of the town, becoming a member of the town council and later of the Gloucester County Council. He married Ada Farqueharson, third daughter of Major General C F Hicks, of the Indian Army, and is survived by her and one daughter. He was made K.C.S.I. in 1921.



THE BATTLE OF TANGA, 2-3 November 1914

  1. Called the "Battle of the Bees" because of bees disturbed by the action, was the blundered attempt by the British Indian Army to capture German East Africa (present-day Tanzania) during World War I. It was the first major event in the war in Africa where a small German force managed to defeat a much larger British force. Tanga,is situated only 80km south of the Kenyan border on the coast, General Aitken was in command of the Indian Expeditionary Force B which landed on the beaches on 2 Nov 1914. Brig. General Richard Wapshare was in command of the 27th Bangalore Brigade which consisted of one British and three Indian Battalions. Sadly there had been no reconnaissance and the Naval support was too far off shore.

  2. The German force was under the command of Col. Paul von Lettow Vorbeck who was the son of a General. He had received a sound military education in Germany and he had also had a lot of experience. The British suffered 817 casualties before retreating and the German force only 148. The German Askaris had been better trained than the Indian troops and the only British officer with experience was the remarkable Richard Minerzhagen who was extremely capable and experienced in the African bush.

THE BATTLE OF JASSIN, 18 -19 January 1915

British Plans
The initial December 1914 British plans were created by Major-General Wapshare to alleviate the refugee problem that had been created by the German raids along the border. By the end of November it was estimated that there were more than 5000 refugees sheltered and fed by the British Colonial Office. To stabilize this situation, General Wapshare deloyed a force of 1800 soldiers, with six machineguns, under Brigadier General Tighe into the Umba area that included Jassin. This included a half battalion (two double companies) of the 101st Grenadiers, a half battalion of the Jind Imperial Service Infantry, the 2/Jammu and Kashmir Battalion, “B” and “D” Companies of the 3rd K.A.R., Wavell’s Arab Company, the Scouts Company composed of mixed Indians and Arabs, two machinegun sections, and the 28th R.A. Mountain Battery. Evidently the 2/Jammu and Kashmir Battalion had been refitted with a machinegun section to replace the machineguns abandoned earlier at Tanga.

These troops were deployed by 27 December in advanced posts on the south bank of the UmbaRiver with the largest concentrations at Jassin, Samanya, and Bwago Macho. General Tighe placed three companies at Jassin, four companies at Samanya, and four companies of the 101st Grenadiers, Wavell’s Arab Company, and a machinegun section at Bwago Macho. Lieutenant Jone’s Scout Company patrolled the upper Mwena. The main force was camped at Umba Camp as a “fire brigade” that could move rapidly to reinforce any of the posts should these be attacked and hopefully decide the action.

from the notes of Richard Meinertzhagen. ....(a kind of Great War Rambo)

General Aitken was replaced, although he was exonerated for the Tanga fiasco. His replacement General Wapshare ‘Wappy’, was a nice old boy but ‘devoid of military knowledge’ and also not in the same league as Von Lettow-Vorbeck, the German commander. General Wapshare proved to be a positive danger because he was so indecisive and downright useless as a commander. His pleasant nature saved him from outright rejection, but he was quickly replaced by General Tighe.

More notes at  War Diary

Lieutenant General Sir Richard Wapshare