Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Courtenay Brabazon Throckmorton, known as Courtenay, was killed at the Battle of Sannaiyat, Mesopotamia (now Iraq) on 9th April 1916. He was aged 49 and was the eldest son of Captain Richard Acton Throckmorton, whose brother was Sir William Throckmorton of Coughton Court, Warwickshire, 9th Baronet. Courtenay was the heir presumptive to his uncle’s estates.
The local link is that he was a member of the North Warwickshire Hunt, which was based in Meriden.
Courtenay was born in London on 22nd December 1866 and joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers from Sandhurst on 24th August 1887 after previously serving in the Militia. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1890, Captain in 1896, and Major in August 1905. He served in Malta 1894-1896, Aden 1896-7, and South Africa 1899-1902.
In 1905, he married Lilian, daughter of Colonel Langford Brooke of Mere Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire, and they had three children: Elizabeth Ursula Arienwen (1906-1970), who was known as Betty, and who married Birmingham surgeon Professor Alphonsus d’Abreu (known as Pon) in 1935 ; Robert George Maxwell (1908-1989), who became the 11th Baronet in 1927; and Ann Barbara (1911-2007), who married Ludwig, Baron von Twickel in June 1939 and lived in Germany during the Second World War. In 1911, Courtenay Throckmorton and his family were living at Weatheroak, Alvechurch, although they had moved to Coughton Court by 1914.
Courtenay retired from the Army in January 1907, with the rank of Major, but rejoined his regiment on 27th August 1914 after the outbreak of war. He was Second in Command of the 8th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusilier, and served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli from 6th August 1915. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on 19th November 1915 when he was appointed temporarily to command the 5th Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment. He went with the regiment to Mesopotamia in March 1916 and was killed in action on 9th April 1916. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial. He is also commemorated at home on the war memorial of Sambourne village, about 1.5 miles from Coughton, as well as on an individual plaque in St Peter’s Church, Coughton.
After the death in 1919 of the 81-year-old Sir William Throckmorton, the 9th Baronet, the title passed to Sir William’s brother and Courtenay’s father, Sir Richard Throckmorton, 10th Baronet. He died in 1927, aged 88, and Courtenay’s 19-year-old son, Robert, became the 11th Baronet. When Sir Robert died in 1989, his cousin Anthony became the 12th Baronet. As there were no male heirs in the Throckmorton line, the baronetcy became extinct on the death of Sir Anthony in 1994.
The family seat, Coughton Court in Warwickshire, still exists and is owned by the National Trust. Courtenay Throckmorton’s widow, Lilian, tried to carry on running the estate using her own money but death duties, post-war taxes and the economic depression meant she was unable to continue. In 1946, having been granted power of attorney over the estate while her son, Sir Robert, was serving with the Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War, she gave the estate to the National Trust. In exchange, the Trust gave the family a 300-year lease and Lady Lilian continued to manage and live at Coughton Court until her death in 1955. The estate was subsequently run by her grandaughter, Clare McLaren Throckmorton, and great-grandaughter, Christina Williams.
Coughton Court has a portrait of Richard Courtenay Brabazon Throckmorton, pained in 1916 by John St-Helier Lander.
If you have any further information on the family and the links with the North Warwickshire Hunt, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977