Manuscripts and Special Collections
   
   
  

The sons of John Patricius Chaworth-Musters and their First World War service

Patricius ('Pat') George Chaworth-Musters (1888-1915), MC

Pat was born in Norway and educated at Rugby School. He was already a regular soldier at the outbreak of the First World War, having been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifles on 1 October 1907 (see ChM/C/3/13/1-2). He was wounded in September 1914 during the retreat from Mons (see his war diary, ChM/F/11) and recovered in Britain before being sent back to active service in France. He was hit by a shell in early January 1915 at La Bassée and severely injured. His right arm was amputated, but he died of blood poisoning a few days later, aged 26. He was buried at Béthune in France. He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross in 1916 for conspicuous gallantry.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Pat Chaworth-Musters (ChM/C/12/1-24).

John ('Jack') Neville Chaworth-Musters (1890-1970)

Jack was educated at Rugby School and the Royal Naval College, Osborne. When the First World War broke out, Jack got a commission into the South Nottinghamshire Hussars. The regiment was based in Norfolk for the first few months of the war, but was sent to Egypt in March 1915. He took part in the Gallipoli campaign at Suvla Bay in late 1915 and returned to Egypt and Palestine for most of the rest of the war. By 1918 he was with the Warwick and South Notts Hussars Machine Gun Battalion in France. He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1916.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Jack Chaworth-Musters (ChM/C/13/1-31).

Anthony ('Tony') Chaworth-Musters (1892-1987)

Tony was educated at Rugby School and was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery. In September 1914 he was digging a trench system on the Aisne, and went back to help his colleagues out of the trench following a German shell strike. Another shell landed and Tony sustained severe head wounds. Following his recovery, he was unable to take any further active service, though he did continue to work for the army in England during the war. He had been recommended for the Military Cross by his Battery Commander, but despite efforts by his mother, Tony did not receive the medal. Tony joined up again at the outbreak of the Second World War, despite his unfitness for service, and worked on anti-aircraft command.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Tony Chaworth-Musters, and letters relating to his First World War service (ChM/C/14/1-15).

Philip ('Phil') Mundy Chaworth-Musters (1895-1917), MC

Phil was educated at Rugby School. He joined the British Forces soon after war was declared, and was commissioned to 28 Brigade Royal Field Artillery in October 1914. Phil was posted to France in November 1914 and served continuously in France and Belgium for the next 33 months. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1916 and promoted to Captain. He was hit by a British shell near Hooge, Flanders, on 17 July 1917 and died instantly, aged 22. He was buried at Poperinghe, Belgium.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Phil Chaworth-Musters (ChM/C/15/1-159).

Robert ('Bob') Chaworth-Musters (1896-1918), MC

Bob was educated at Rugby School. He joined the British Forces at the age of 18 in 1914 and was commissioned into the King's Royal Rifle Corps, serving with the 12th Service Battalion. Bob saw action at the battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge in 1915 and was recommended for the Military Cross. The decoration was awarded to him following the battle of Loos, near Ypres, the following year. He suffered from various illnesses during his time in the trenches, including trench fever, laryngitis, diphtheria and pleurisy, and by July 1917 had been taken away from the front line to serve as an instructor in the 3rd Army Musketry Camp. His health was assessed in February 1918 at Cap St Martin, and soon afterwards he was posted to the Hythe School of Musketry in England. However, by May he was staying in a convalescent home, Langstone House in South Hayling. There, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which it was said he had had for five years. In August he was moved to Cosham Military Hospital. His health appeared to be improving, but in October he caught Spanish flu, and then pneumonia. He died on 10 October 1918, aged 22.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Bob Chaworth-Musters (ChM/C/16/1-154).

Douglas Chaworth-Musters (1898-1957), MC

Douglas was educated at Rugby School. He was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery on leaving school, and by July 1917 was in France with 504 Battery of 65 Brigade RFA. He was awarded the Military Cross in either 1917 or early 1918, and a second Bar in May 1918. Douglas stayed in the army after the war ended, and served in India and Ireland, but by the mid-1920s he had returned to England and began farming at Durnford Hall in Suffolk. He gave the farm up as a result of the Great Depression of the early 1930s. Douglas went back into the army in June 1939, into an anti-tank regiment, and worked as an instructor in Northern Ireland.

See the online catalogue for descriptions of the letters home from Douglas Chaworth-Musters during the First World War (ChM/C/17/1-113).

James Lawrence ('Jim') Chaworth-Musters (1901-1948)

Jim was educated at Rugby School and took geography at Cambridge University. He was too young to fight in the First World War. From 1920 until the outbreak of the Second World War, Jim travelled on various scientific expeditions, with a particular interest in mammals and birds. A collection of his drawings of whales and plants, executed mainly in Norway between 1921-1928, is part of the Chaworth-Musters collection (ChM/F/13/1-76). A new species of mouse, 'Musterii', was discovered by and named after him in Afghanistan. He joined the Royal Geographical Society in 1921. In the 1930s and 1940s he undertook voluntary work at the British Museum (now the Natural History Museum). In 1946 he was appointed as Assistant Keeper in the Department of Zoology.

In 1939 Jim was working as British vice-consul in Norway. He was fluent in Norwegian, as his parents had owned a house at Aarnes in Norway and the family took regular holidays there. Jim lived at Surnadal in Norway in the 1920s. He was recruited to the Special Operations Executive when the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, and was employed by the Norwegian Government in exile to interrogate escapees from Norway.

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