Archer Windsor-Clive

Born – Hewell Grange, Redditch, 6th November 1890   

Died – Landrecies, France, 25th August 1914

Archer Windsor-Clive, a man tipped as a future Glamorgan captain, was amongst the first British officers to lose their life in the Great War, with the third son of the Earl of Plymouth, killed during the Battle of Mons in August 1914.

With his family based at St. Fagans Castle, young Archer and his brothers Other and Ivor appeared for the local team and were coached by the various professional who the Earl employed to tend the Club’s wicket and work as gardeners on his spacious estate to the west of Cardiff. Archer attended Eton  and made his debut for their XI in 1907, before the following year making  a handsome 105 in the annual match against Winchester. This century, together with some other decent innings for St. Fagans led to his selection in the Glamorgan side which met Monmouthshire at Cardiff Arms Park in early August 1908. Further promising performances for Eton in 1909 saw Archer win selection again for Glamorgan against Cornwall at Swansea and against Nottinghamshire 2nd XI at the Arms Park.

During the Autumn of 1909, Archer went up to Cambridge and the following summer appeared in the Freshman’s Match where he took 7/49 with his left-arm medium-pace bowling, besides making 33 and 110 for the Perambulators against the Etceteras. He duly made his first-class debut for the University in early May against Essex, making 13 and 15. He met with more success on the cricket field in 1912 appearing, in all, in four further matches for the University.

Lady luck was also not on his side when he appeared again for Glamorgan in August 1912 at the Arms Park against Surrey 2nd XI. His call-up followed a decent series of scores for both St. Fagans and I Zingari, but after taking a wicket and making a catch, he did not get the chance to display his batting skills as rain washed out the remainder of the game. The following month Archer commenced his military career with the Coldstream Guards, serving as a Second-Lieutenant.

On August 12th, 1914 he was amongst the first wave of British troops to head across to Channel to fight on foreign soil. As a Lieutenant in Number 2 Company of the 3rd  Battalion he left Chelsea Barracks and travelled with the other Guardsmen on the SS Cawdor Castle before proceeding on to Harveng on 23rd August. The following day, other troops in the BEF began their retreat from Mons, so half of Archer’s battalion were instructed to head to Landrecies where they were positioned in a bid to delay the advancing Germans. Around dusk, a column was seen heading up the Le Quesnoy road, and an officer then appeared in French uniform, and speaking in French he announced that a large body of French troops were approaching, and added that he had come in advance to alert the 600 or so Coldstream Guards so that they did not fire on their allies by mistake.

Sadly, it was a cruel trick as shortly afterwards, the column duly appeared, singing French songs and those at the front wearing French and Belgian uniforms. But at the back were German troops, who opened fire on the Coldstream Guards. Archer was struck by a shell, and never recovered from the awful wounds he sustained.