Lieutenant Richard Apjohn FITZGIBBON
128th Pioneers, Indian Army
Date of birth: 5 July 1888
Date of death: 4 February 1915
Died of wounds received in action aged 26
Buried at the Ismailia Cemetery
Richard Apjohn was born in Dublin, the only son of Capt. Henry Macaulay FitzGibbon, barrister, and his wife Helen Rebecca Barton. His maternal grandparents were Dr John Kellock Barton, and Mary Ap John, daughter of Professor James Ap John of Trinity College, Dublin.
He was educated in Dublin at Strangeway’s School, and, then, in England, at Lickey Hills Preparatory School, Barnet Green, and Radley. He twice coxed the Radley boat at the Henley Regatta. He came up to Christ Church in 1908 where for a time he coxed the Christ Church boat and, latterly, was stroke of the second boat. He was a member of Leander Club. After taking his BA in 1911, he was appointed to the Unattached list for the Indian Army at the beginning of 1912.
He served for a year with the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers in India and was then appointed a double company officer in the 128th Pioneers. In April 1913, he was appointed a Lieutenant and was in charge of the escort to the Artillery Regiment near Toussoum on the Suez Canal on 3 February 1915, when the Turks attempted to cross the Canal. He was wounded early in the fight, but, after a short retirement, returned to direct his men. Some two hours later it was necessary to convey a message to the commander of the Artillery. Lieutenant Fitzgibbon undertook to take it across an open area of some quarter of a mile whilst under heavy fire. Only then did he mention that he was wounded. He was taken to the Signal House at Tussoura Ferry where his wounds were found to be serious and he died on the following day.
He was buried with full military honours in the Ismailia Cemetery, the New Zealanders providing the firing party.
He was Mentioned in Gen. Sir John Maxwell’s Despatches of 16 February.
He is commemorated in St Mary’s Church, Pune [Poonah] North India.
Crossing the Canal
A decisive Turkish move was made at 0330 hours on 3rd February when several pontoons and rafts were launched 1,500 metres south of Toussom. Heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the 62nd Punjabis supported by excellent gunnery from the 5th Battery, Egyptian Artillery, decimated the attackers. But at least two pontoons reached the west bank. The Turks who had crossed the Canal could make no headway against determined British counter-attacks and the survivors hid along the edge of the Canal. This action was not without British loss as the Turkish covering fire was effective, Mulazzim Awaal Effendi Helmi of the 5th Battery, Egyptian Artillery being killed whilst gallantly fighting his gun under heavy fire at short range. Lieutenant R A Fitzgibbon, 128th Pioneers, who commanded the protection party for the Egyptian battery died of wounds after counter-attacking Turks on the west bank. http://www.trenchfighter.com/188001/279622.html.