George Vivian, 4th Baron Vivian

George Crespigny Brabazon Vivian, 4th Baron Vivian DSO TD DL (21 January 1878 – 28 December 1940) was a British soldier from the Vivian family who served with distinction in both the Second Anglo-Boer War and World War I.

Early lifeEdit

He was born at Connaught Place, London, on 21 January 1878 to Hussey Vivian, 3rd Baron Vivian and Louisa Duff.

He was educated at Eton College where he rowed in the VIII and was elected into Pop. Succeeding to the title in October 1893, at the age of 15, he took his seat in the House of Lords in February 1900.[1] He subsequently joined the British Army and was commissioned a cavalry officer as second lieutenant in the 17th Lancers on 14 March 1900.[2]

Military careerEdit

Lord Vivian served with considerable distinction in the Second Anglo-Boer War.[3]

Battle of Elands RiverEdit

On 17 September 1901, Smuts' commando encountered the 17th Lancers in the vicinity of Tarkastad. Smuts realised that the Lancers' camp was their one opportunity to re-equip themselves with horses, food and clothing. A fierce fight, subsequently to be known as the Battle of Elands River took place with the Lancers being caught in a cross-fire and suffering heavy casualties. Stunned by the onslaught, the remaining Lancers put up a white flag. Deneys Reitz, a younger commando member, encountered Captain Victor Sandeman, the Lancers' commander, and Vivian, who was his lieutenant, among the wounded.[4]

In his book Commando, Deneys Reitz, one of the Boers, recounts how Vivian pointed out his bivouac tent and told him it would be worth his while to take a look at it. Soon, Reitz, who had been wearing a grain-bag and using an old Mauser rifle with only two rounds of ammunition left, was dressed in a cavalry tunic and riding breeches and armed with a Lee-Metford sporting rifle.[5] Reitz reports that he met Lord Vivian again in London in 1935, on excellent terms.[6]

Thomas Pakenham, in his introduction to the 1983 Jonathan Ball edition of Commando, reports a more elaborate story. In this touching account, Vivian overcomes Reitz's reluctance to take Vivian's possessions, and presents Reitz's original rifle to him in London in 1943.[7] As Vivian died in 1940 this is impossible.[8]

Later military serviceEdit

Recovering from wounds received in the battle, Vivian returned to the United Kingdom in December 1901.[9]

He later served in the First World War, being appointed to the Distinguished Service Order in 1918.[10]

Among his medals were the Distinguished Service Order, the Legion of Honour, and the Croix de Guerre. He was appointed aide-de-camp to King Albert I of Belgium.[3] He was also awarded the Ordre de Leopold avec Palme, Officier.[11][12]

Family lifeEdit

On 1 August 1903 Vivian married Barbara Cicely Fanning. They had a daughter, Daphne Winifred Louise who was born on 11 Jul 1904 and a son, Anthony Crespigny Claude Vivian, 5th Baron Vivian, born on 4 March 1906. They divorced in 1907. The co-respondent was Alfred Curphey.[13] He then married Nancy Lycett Green (died 6 May 1970) on 5 January 1911.[citation needed] A daughter, Ursula Vanda Maud, was born on 16 June 1912 and a son, Douglas David Edward, on 16 January 1915.[citation needed]

He died on 28 December 1940, aged 62.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Parliament - House of Lords". The Times (36061). London. 9 February 1900. p. 7.
  2. ^ "No. 27173". The London Gazette. 13 March 1900. p. 1711.
  3. ^ a b "GEORGE CRESPIGNY BRABAZON". Brabazon Archive. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  4. ^ Reitz, Deneys; JC Smuts (2005). Commando: A Boer Journal of the Boer War. Kessinger Publishing. p. 336. ISBN 1-4179-2584-1.
  5. ^ Commando. Deneys Reitz. London 1929. No ISBN
  6. ^ No Outspan. Deneys Reitz. Faber and Faber, London, 1943. No ISBN.
  7. ^ Shearing, Taffy; David Shearing (2000). General Smuts and his long ride. Sedgefield: Anglo-Boer War Commemoration Cape Commando Series No 3. p. 248. ISBN 0-620-26750-X.
  8. ^ Smith, RW (June 2004). "Modderfontein 17 September 1901". Military History Journal. Johannesburg: South African Military History Society. 13 (1). SA. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  9. ^ "The War - Return of Troops". The Times (36649). London. 27 December 1901. p. 8.
  10. ^ "No. 30716". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 May 1918. p. 6460.
  11. ^ "No. 31514". The London Gazette. 19 August 1919. p. 10603.
  12. ^ "No. 31560". The London Gazette. 20 September 1919. p. 11760.
  13. ^ "Divorce Court File: 8023". The National Archives. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hussey Vivian
Baron Vivian
Succeeded by
Anthony Vivian