Major Valentine George Whitla, OBE



Valentine George Whitla was born on 12 March 1863. He was appointed midshipman in the Royal Navy on 15 January 1876, serving during the Egyptian Expedition of 1882 and taking part in the bombardment of Alexandria and the landing with the Naval Brigade. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment on 20 July 1883 and transferred to the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) on 6 May 1885. He was promoted to captain on 9 December 1892. Whitla took part in the Expedition to Dongola in 1896 and was Mention in Despatches by Kitchener on 30 September that year. He served as adjutant of the 2nd Dragoon Guards from 1 November 1893 to 31 October 1897. On 15 October 1898 he transferred to the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars as a major and served with them in the Boer War, taking part in operations in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony from 1901 to 1902. Major Whitla retired on 6 June 1906 and spent some time hunting in Kenya.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he was posted to the 9th Reserve Cavalry Regiment. In June 1916, he was appointed second-in-command of the newly-formed 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, joining the regiment in France on 4 July.

Whitla is mentioned in the 2nd Regiment's war diary on numerous occasions over the next year.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was disbanded and the men absorbed into the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Major Whitla was posted to the battalion on 23 September, joining it in the field a week later. However he left on 24 October 1917 to join the 11th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He subsequently served in appointments as an Aide-de-Camp from 23 May 1918, which he finally relinquished on 17 April 1919.

At some stage during the war he was Mentioned in Despatches, and on 3 June 1919 was awarded an OBE (Military).

Major Whitla died in Buckinghamshire in 1943, aged 80.


The image above, showing Whitla in 1897 in the uniform of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, is sourced from The British Empire website.