Charles Howard-Bury

BuryLieutenant Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury (1881-1963). Born at Charleville Castle, Tullamore, King’s County (Offaly) Howard-Bury was the son of Captain Kenneth Howard (1846-1885) and Lady Emily Bury (1856-1931), heiress to the estates of the Earl of Charleville at Charleville Forest, who met on a botanical expedition to Algeria. Captain Howard, who assumed the additional name of Bury after his marriage in 1881, died in 1885 and Lord Lansdowne, Viceroy of India and a cousin, was appointed to be Charles Howard-Bury’s guardian. He was educated privately at Charleville, at Eton College and at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, graduating as Captain in 1904. From there he joined 60th Rifles in 1904 and was posted to India. Resuming army duties in 1915 he commanded the 7th and 9th battalions of the Kings Royal Rifles.

During WWI Howard-Bury saw active service at Arras, the Somme, Passchendale and Ypres.  Only fifty members of the battalion survived the Somme. After Ypres Howard-Bury was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1918 and held at Furstenberg – having made a temporarily successful escape bid – until his release in 1919. He was mentioned in dispatches 7 times and was awarded the DSO in 1918.

His pre-War travels in the East, and his linguistic skills were vital to the success of the 1921 Royal Geographic Society expedition to Mount Everest, of which he was leader, and he published his account of it in  Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance (1922). He became a Member of Parliament in 1922 retiring in 1931 after inheriting the Charleville estate on the death of his mother.

He spent the last few years of his life at Belvedere House, Co Westmeath which he had inherited in 1912, and his villa Dar-al-Oued in Hammamet, Tunis. He died at Belvedere House on 20 September 1963 bequeathing Charleville Castle to a cousin and Belvedere House to his companion the actor Rex Beaumont (1914-1988), whom he had met in England during the Second World War and with whom he spent the remainder of his life.

The three manuscripts by Charles Howard-Bury in this project were purchased by the Library in 1995 along with miscellaneous other papers, including army circulars. Other Howard-Bury-related material in the Library includes a family bible (originally the property of H.C. Beaujolais in 1839); a register of eighteenth-century leases of the Moore family of Charleville Forest; William Charles Bury’s ledger of accounts of the estate, 1813-1831; an estate game-book from 1872-1873; a botanical sketchbook of Captain Kenneth Howard-Bury and his travel sketchbook depicting scenes of a voyage from Australia and South Pacific to Italy.