The Prince at Dover
The headquarters of the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade marched from South Front Barracks at the Western Heights and Fort Burgoyne at Dover to Shorncliffe Camp on the 26th September 1871 headed by the band of the 67th Rifles.
The rest of the 67th departed the next day, along with the bulk of the 2nd Rifles a few days later. Replacing them at the Citadel was the 2nd Buffs who had to share with the 68th at the Western Outworks, the 68th were a rather exhausted regiment which had recently returned from India after 15 years with few rifles and very worn out equipment.
The Grand Shaft Barracks stood empty having been recently vacated in August by the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers. Moving into them was the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade under the command of Colonel Edmund M. Manningham-Buller, a total of 34 officers, 712 men and 6 horses.
Liverpool House was immediately established as the head-quarters of the battalion and remained so until early December when it was relocated to the barracks. Prince Arthur was at the time attached to the battalion as a Captain but was in Scotland when the battalion moved to Dover, he being due to follow on in October.
The Prince was to be temporarily given accommodation at the Lord Warden Hotel as more luxurious accommodation at 24 Waterloo Crescent on the seafront was made ready following the departure of Mr and Mrs Hugh Fortescue, the then occupants who voluntarily vacated it.
Waterloo Crescent was one of the most luxurious properties in Dover, built in 1834 it consisted of an arc of high-status apartments and regimental offices with a commanding view of the seafront. The Prince’s apartments had a sea-view balcony and marked the centre of the terrace.
Born on the 1st May 1850 as the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria, HRH Prince Arthur had a lifelong interest in pursuing a military career. He joined the military college at Woolwich at the age of 16 and following the completion of his studies was appointed a commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1868. He then transferred to the Royal Artillery at the end of the year. He remained with them until August 1869 when he moved to the Rifle Brigade, forging a distinguished service in Canada later that year and throughout 1870.
During his stay in Canada he met President Ulysses S. Grant in Washington and in May participated in repulsing an attack of 600 of the Fenian Brotherhood from the US at Frelighsburg, Quebec. Arthur had assisted in leading the counterattack by Canadian militia units at the Battle of Eccles Hill forcing the Fenians to retreat. Arthur was subsequently promoted to the rank of Captain on the 14th June 1871 and became Honorary Colonel of the London Irish Volunteers and a member of the Privy Council.
Arthur arrived in Dover on the 27th October and was given a series of rooms at the Lord Warden Hotel. On the 7th December he agreed to attend the annual celebration of the Dover National Sailor’s Home at the Hotel and chair the evening with a rousing speech following dinner. Later in December he moved to 24 Waterloo Crescent as planned and established an office and reception rooms, and even advertised his address for correspondence in the local papers.
His next public appearance was at the Admiralty Pier on the 30th December when he met his sister Princess Louise and her party and accompanied them to Calais on the French mail packet Petrel. Sadly he was prevented from attending the switch-on of the new electric light at South Foreland Lighthouse on New Years Day due to a double-engagement. On Monday 15th January the Prince left Dover to head to Ostend en route for Berlin on leave accompanied by Major Pickard and Sir Howard Elphinstone on a steam yacht.
Following his arrival at Berlin he was appointed as a Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle and entitled Prince Arthur of England, Field Marshall Herwart and General Mannteuffel were similarly invested. Arthur rejoined his regiment at Dover on Wednesday 14th February via the steam paddle yacht Enchantress under the command of Captain Carr. He then rode in his carriage to Waterloo Crescent where he stayed for a few days before departing for London.
He consented to preside at the annual meeting of Palestine Exploration Fund to be held at Dover College Hall on the 4th March. At the meeting Captain Wilson RE who was the officer in charge of the Ordnance Survey of Sinai and Jerusalem, and Walter Morrison MP, gave descriptions of the Society, presented illustrations and displayed relics brought back from the Holy Land. On March 13th at the Garrison Instructors class-room at the Grand Shaft Barracks he presented a lecture entitled ‘The Game of War’ he had written on current military strategy to the Dover Association for the Discussion of Military Subjects, mostly consisting of senior military officers.
Prince Arthur next patronised the Dover Concert on Saturday 16th April at the Wellington Hall. HRH the Duchess of Cambridge landed at Dover on the 18th March 1872 on the steam packet Wave having travelled from Germany via Calais. The weather had been foul and on her arrival it was clear that the Duchess was suffering from sea-sickness and would be unable to continue on her journey to London that night. A Guard of Honour of the Buffs was assembled on the Admiralty Pier and Prince Arthur, resplendent in his green Rifle Brigade uniform stepped on board to escort the nauseous Princess to a carriage where she was driven to the Lord Warden Hotel.
She was greeted by the senior commanding officers of the garrison there and stayed the night, departing the following afternoon under a Guard of Honour of the Buffs commanded by the Prince and the train departing under a Royal Salute of guns from the Castle. The 20th March saw the Prince preside over the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles and Volunteer Ball at the Town Hall, a prestigious event attended by the Mayor and senior officers of the Garrison.
He left Dover on Good Friday for Brighton to greet Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar and open the new fresh water fish aquarium, under a Guard of Honour of the 1st Sussex Artillery and the band of the 19th Sussex Rifle Volunteers. He remained at Brighton for the Easter Monday Review in which a strong army had supposedly landed between Brighton and Shoreham and were opposed by a strong force of defenders. Arthur was an observer throughout the mock battle which involved thousands of skirmishers, infantry, cavalry and artillery across the Downs. On his return to Dover he continued to be very much involved in local affairs in addition to his daily military and Royal duties.
On the 10th April the Grocer’s Company presented him with the freedom of their order at their hall at Princes Street. The next day he cut the first sod in the construction of the new branch of South-Eastern Railway between Hythe and Sandgate. Five days later a delegation of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club met him at his residence to propose he should accept the first Commodoreship of the Club, this was an offer he eagerly accepted.
The 19th saw him preside over the 17th Annual Dinner of the St. John’s Foundation School for Sons of Poor Clergy in St. James’s Street. Prince Arthur was proving a very popular person in Dover and it was the opinion of the council and the public in general that the town was fortunate to have such an enthusiastic patron. For his continual services in supporting Dover, its societies, charities and in local matters, Mayor Dickeson then conveyed a special meeting for the public to attend on the 22nd April to discuss how the Prince’s 22nd birthday on the 1st May should be celebrated.
At the meeting a committee was formed principally consisting of councillors, magistrates, clergy and notable persons to organise events. Within a few days it was resolved to decorate the sea front with flags draped on Venetian masts, to actively involve the local school children and end on a grand firework display. Music was to be provided by the Dover Volunteer Cadet Band on its first outing, and various school drum and fife bands heading a procession through the centre of the town.
Upon learning of preparations at Dover, the Prince abandoned his plans to spend the day at Windsor and elected to remain. In the event, the gala was a resounding success. The band of the Rifle Brigade assembled on the seafront outside 24 Waterloo Crescent with a 60-strong choir and every street was bedecked with flags, banners and streamers. Following a reception at the Town Hall, 3,000 schoolchildren assembled on the seafront centred on his residence and together sung the National Anthem as the Prince acknowledged the crowds from his balcony and bowed to the band and conductor.
In the evening a Ball was held at the Apollonian Hall and a gigantic bonfire fuelled by twenty barrels of tar was lit at the Water Works on Castle Hill, it was so massive it continued to burn for a couple of days afterwards. Following the day Queen Victoria wrote of her gratification at the demonstrations made by the inhabitants of Dover. The next day, the 2nd May, saw the Empress of Germany arrive on the Maid of Kent steamer.
The 1st Rifle Brigade, along with Prince Arthur, and the other local regiments, lined the pier from the landing stage to the Lord Warden Hotel. She was received by Lord Sydney, Viscount Torrington and other senior staff of the South Eastern district. Salutes were fired from the Castle and Western Heights and the national Anthem was played. She was then driven by carriage to a Royal train and, accompanied by Prince Arthur, made her way to Windsor.
The 13th saw the string section of the band of the Rifle Brigade play a concert at the Wellington Hall again under the patronage of Prince Arthur. A trip to Liverpool came next on the 17th where he opened a new hospital before returning a few days later. A military inspection of all the troops of the Dover Garrison took place on the 25th May by HRH the Duke of Cambridge with the Rifle Brigade, Buffs, 38th Regiment, 17th Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles all assembled on a flat field just outside Dover Castle.
The Duke rode through the assembled columns as the military bands played followed by a demonstration of artillery practice. That evening the Duke stayed with the Prince at his sea-front residence. The 1st June was a long day for the Prince. He had been present at a Ball at the Castle until the early hours of the morning the previous night, but had to get up a few hours later to meet the Prince and Princess of Wales at the Pier and then be on duty with the regiment at 9am, commanding his Company in a march-past. In the afternoon he travelled to London and dined with Gladstone at a meal celebrating the Queen’s birthday and afterwards had to attend a formal reception.
He returned to Dover the following night. The next weekend, on the 9th, the Prince travelled to Chatham in his yacht Rosebud in rough weather to inspect the Garrison before returning to his Regiment. The next event was the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club regatta on the 22nd consisting of boat displays and races off the harbour. The Prince took out Rosebud for much of the day accompanied by Colonel Manningham-Buller, Lieutenant Fitzgerald and several officers of the Rifle Brigade.
In the evening he distributed prizes to the winners at the Club House. The 20th July saw a brief departure from the Regiment to London to chair a conference at the Society of Arts, this was followed by a presentation of medals for academic achievement at Dover College on the 30th, the band of the Rifles playing in the College grounds on his arrival. The next day he departed on Rosebud to London and on to Osbourne, prior to taking part in the autumn manoeuvres at Aldershot.
Although he was not present, Dover and Cinque Ports Regatta under the patronage of the Prince was held on Bank Holiday Monday 5th August 1872 and included sailing competitions, a race of coast guard boats and many other competitions culminating in a grand firework display. He returned to Dover and rejoined the Rifle Brigade on the 17th October following the conclusion of the army exercises and a tour of the country as far as Scotland.
He was temporarily accommodated at Lord Warden Hotel again as Waterloo Crescent was occupied and would not be ready until early November. During the first week of November the Rifle Brigade performed three public concerts including overtures, selections, clarinet and choral pieces and all were attended by Arthur. On the 11th November he took part in a somewhat less formal gathering, he drew a prize at the private house in Bench Street of Mr Austin, local resident Mr Smith, the winner, receiving an oil painting entitled ‘The Charge of Balaklava’.
The 27th November Colonel Manningham-Buller hosted a Ball at the Grand Shaft Barracks and attended by Prince Arthur, and officers of the Buffs, the 38th, the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery as well as many of the wealthier residents of the town.
The following week he departed Dover for Sandringham to visit the Prince of Wales, returning on the 2nd December. The week before Christmas saw the Prince attend further military lectures at the Lord Warden Hotel and attend another Ball as Guest of Honour, this time hosted by his neighbour, a Mr Beaumont of Number 25 Waterloo Crescent. He departed Dover again for Christmas and returned on the 31st, just in time to attend the New Year’s Ball at the Apollonian Hall.
The officers of the 1st Rifle Brigade hosted another Ball on the 10th January at the Barracks and although invited, neither the Prince nor Major Dickson attended due to news of the death of Napoleon III the evening before. Accompanied by Lieutenants Lane and Hartopp, the Prince left Dover again on the 10th, this time bound for Germany and Italy on goodwill visits. During his trip he visited Rome, met the Pope, toured Naples and elsewhere before returning to his regiment on the 16th March. Following his tour of the Vatican, his next public engagement was somewhat less auspicious, that of formerly opening the Dover Poultry, Pigeon and Cat show on the 22nd at the Wellington Hall.
The Prince was then given a tour around a room full of chickens, pigeons, ducks and tabby cats. The Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Dover on the 6th April en route to France and the Prince greeted him on the Admiralty Pier prior to his departure.
In the meantime discussions were taking place as how to celebrate the Prince’s birthday as per the previous year but Sir Howard Elphinstone informed the committee by letter that the Prince would be absent this year. Instead he, and the officers of the Rifle Brigade, were invited to a Ball at the Town Hall on the 21st . The annual Military Review took place on Easter Monday, April 14th. This involved thousands of regular and volunteer soldiers arriving at Dover to stage a huge mock battle to give the volunteers training and their commanding officers practice in commanding large bodies of men in the field.
Umpires kept score and ammunition was powder only; nonetheless they were not only extremely useful exercises but a huge tourist draw; thousands of people arrived in Dover to watch the troops manoeuver and the shop keepers made a roaring trade. The 1873 review took place on the fields and slopes in the direction of Deal on the approach to Dover Castle, also involving artillery at Fort Burgoyne.
The operations were devised by Major-General Sir Alfred Horsford, KCB, with the concept of an invading force landing at Deal and marching on Dover with the intent of seizing the Castle and Burgoyne. The forces were split into two, the attacking force advancing from the Deal direction consisting of the Royal Marines and field artillery pieces from Walmer under the command of Colonel Rodney.
The defenders, stationed at the fort, Castle and plains in front consisted of cavalry of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, field artillery and infantry of the 2nd Buffs, 3rd 60th Rifles, 1st The Rifle Brigade, 38th Regiment and 17th Royal Artillery under the command of Colonel Macdonald and many Volunteer Rifle and Artillery units under Colonel Gall. Approximately 15,000 public turned up and lined the roads to watch the spectacle.
Prince Arthur attended as aide-de-camp to Colonel Macdonald throughout the day, riding a light bay horse and wearing the dark green uniform of his regiment. At the signal of the start of the review the Rifles despatched a few hundred skirmishers and a small force of cavalry in the Deal direction who fanned out over a wide area to look for the enemy whose exact approach direction was uncertain.
Soon the enemy was spotted advancing across open land, three columns of Marines flanked on the left with field artillery. One column of Marines was deployed in skirmishing order which was met by a mass volley from the front rank of the Rifles. As the exchange of fire took place, a single artillery piece from the Castle opened fire on the attackers. The attackers then took command of the road towards Guston and attempted to engage the out-lying defenders.
The enemy now sent two columns straight into the defenders towards the Castle forcing the Rifles to fall back towards the regular infantry whilst whilst keeping up a steady fire. Both parties disappeared into a grassy hollow, but after much exchanging of volleys, the Marines began to fall back to the cover of their artillery. There was no pursuit as the defenders had suffered enough imaginary casualties.
The Marines then engaged the Rifle Volunteers towards Burgoyne, forcing them to retire to the fort. The defenders then deployed their cavalry to harass the Marines who adopted defensive square formations, as they galloped around them, they were marked as suffering from high casualties due to volley fire. As this was happening, the attack from the Guston Road towards Burgoyne took place but was successfully repulsed by the main body of Rifle Volunteers supported by artillery from the fort. A reserve of defending artillery was brought up forcing the attackers to begin a general retreat. A cessation of hostilities was then called and the defenders declared victorious.
The entire force then drew up for inspection and a march past as the regimental bands played on. On the 23rd April the Prince inspected the station of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, of which the Queen was patron. Colonel Fitzroy Clayton explained how the boat carriage worked and the Prince agreeing to go aboard wearing a cork life jacket. The boat bobbed about in the harbour for an hour as Clayton explained rescue procedures and demonstrating discharge valves in the hull should the boat become swamped. The Prince was reportedly very impressed and gratified by the demonstration.
A visit to Austria followed at the end of April. The Prince had missed an unusual event in his absence, the annual training on the 17th of the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, of which the Prince was Honorary Colonel. The training fell under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Commandant the Earl of Mountcharles of the 1st Lifeguards. The various troops gathered in a field at Ewell near the railway station, were inspected by the Earl, and headed by the Volunteer band, marched into Dover.
Despite inclement weather the roads were lined with spectators. Special entertainments were laid on and concerts in the halls for the men over the next couple of days. The Prince returned to Dover on the 20th May onboard the Maid of Kent steamer from Calais and was greeted by a Guard of Honour of a hundred men of the Rifles, the usual entourage of senior officers and dignitaries, a band and a 21 gun salute from the Castle.
The 1st Rifle Brigade left Dover on the 5th June 1873 for Aldershot, Colonel Manningham-Buller hosting a farewell dinner at the Grand Shaft Barracks. The barracks were taken over by the 38th Regiment which united there, having transferred from the Fort Burgoyne and South Front Barracks. The Prince remained as Commodore of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club and paid numerous visits to Dover over the rest of his military career. The Prince was appointed a Royal Peer on 13th March 1874 and was formerly titled the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. He was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade in 1876 and Colonel in 1880.
Waterloo Crescent Dover
24 Waterloo Road
Prince Arthur`s Balcony