P. Vuccino & Co. - Photographer
Medow Street, Fort Bombay, India
The interesting thing about previously unresearched by identified period photographs is that one never know just how much
information one will turn up on the particular individual. Sometimes – and quite frustratingly – absolutely nothing can be found
even though quite of bit in initial information was written down on the image many years ago by its previous owner. There
have been cases when the soldier’s name, service number, company and battalion as well as a date are all there yet it leads
nowhere at all and others where the most basic of information leads to a remarkable wealth if personal history.
This photograph falls between those two extremes. The image taken at Bombay, India, depicts a young lieutenant of cavalry
and is identified on the reverse side – probably in the sitter’s own hand – as C. L. Bates. It is dated April 1885 with the
location of “R. Pindi” (Rawalpindi). Bates also added his regiment but other that the word “King’s” it is hard to make out. It
did not take long to determine that the photograph records the face of Lieutenant Charles Loftus Bates of the 1st King’s
Charles Loftus Bates was born on 2 August, 1863 at Aydon, Nothumberland the son of Thomas Bates and Matilda Jane
Harbin. Bates received his education at Eaton and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Northumberland Artillery
Militia on 19 January 1881. He was 17 years old. On 30 January, 1884 he was promoted Lieutenant and posted to the 1st
King’s Dragoon Guards.
While Bates would have a life long career in the military his years with the regulars would be somewhat short. Promoted
Captain on 18 June, 1890 he retired with gratuity on 11 March, 1896 and was appointed to the Reserve of Officers and
seeming took a commission with the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry. During his years with the 1st king’s Dragoons
Bates would see no active service in the field but spent years of garrison duty in India.
With the advent of the Anglo-Boer War members of the Northumberland Hussars were formed into No. 14 Company, 5th
Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry for field service in South Africa. Bates was severely wounded at Steenbokpan on 31 March,
1901. Bates was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order on 27 September, 1901 recognition of his service in
South Africa. He was apparently invalided home due to his wounds and was presented with his DSO by the King on 29
October, 1901. For service in South Africa Bates was entitled to the Queen’s South Africa Medal with the clasps “Cape
Colony”, “Orange Free State”, “Transvaal” and “South Africa – 1901”.
After the war Bates remained a member of the Northumberland Hussars. Promoted Major on 24 February, 1903 with the
promotion being antedated to 18 October, 1902 and then Lieutenant-Colonel on 25 March, 1905. He received an honorary
Colonelcy on 1 August, 1905. On 30 December, 1911 Bates was commissioned Deputy Lieutenant for the County of
Northumberland. Bates was placed on the retired list on 24 May, 1913 and granted the Honorary Colonelcy of the Regiment
– an honor he would hold until 1926.
With the outbreak of World War One Bates came out of his brief retirement and rejoining the Northumberland Yeomanry
seeming served in France/Belgium sometime in 1914 but apparently spent most of the war as Deputy Director of Remounts in
Egypt. He would be mentioned in Despatches four time and be further recognized for his war time services by being created a
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1916, a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1918 and a Knight
Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1919. He ended the war with the honorary rank of Brigadier
General. He would also be entitled to the 1914 Star and the British War and Victory Medals with the later bearing the oak
leaf MID device.
Charles Loftus Bates was married to Miss Katherine Mary Elizabeth Leadbitter in 1892 and the couple had at least two
children, a daughter Dorothy Mary who died in infancy on 20 November, 1892 and a son Edward Giles Bates who was born in
Bates was a noted and accomplished horseman his entire adult life and was heavily involved the sport of horse racing between
wars. An expertise in equestrian matters gained over a lifetime was one of the major reasons of his being posted as Deputy
Director of Remounts in Egypt. And he would serve as Chairman of the Race Course Owners’ Association for many years
after the end of World War One.
Brigadier General Charles Loftus Bates died at the family home in Northumberland in 1951.
|Left: The reverse side of the
photograph showing the inscription
in Bate's hand.