NameCol. Algernon Essex CAPELL D.S.O. C.B.E. , 1C2R
Birth1 Nov 1869, Tettenhall Wood, Wolverhampton, Stafford, England
Death23 Feb 1952, Salisbury (Harare), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
FatherRev. Horatio Bladen CAPEL (1839-1933)
MotherAda Augusta HOWKINS (~1842-1916)
Birth1877, Daglingworth, Gloucestershire
Baptism24 Aug 1877
Death22 Apr 1944
FatherWilliam SLATTER (~1838-<1901)
MotherEllen Anne (~1842-)
Marriage3 Mar 1903
ChildrenAlgernon Arthur (1903-1950)
 Joan Lois (1905-1986)
 Robert Devereux (1909-1936)
Notes for Col. Algernon Essex CAPELL D.S.O. C.B.E.
In the October to December 1869 birth index, Algernon Essex Capel, Wolverhampton, volume 6b page 425

In the 1871 census Somerset Lodge (Knowles) Newton Abbot, Devon, civil parish of Highweek.
Head Theophilus Howkins, age 69, Gentleman, born Surrey.
Wife Marian Howkins, age 59, born on the sea.
Daughter Annie Gibson Henry Howkins, unmarried, age 25, born Harbury, Warwickshire.
Daughter Emily Howkins, age 22, born Harrow, Middlesex.
Grandson Horace Chas. Geo. Arthur Cappel, age 2, born Newton Burket, Devonshire.
Grandson Algernon Essex Cappel, age 1, born Tettenhall Wood, Staffordshire.
3 servants
The previous address in the census was Leman Cottages and the address following was Knowles Castle.

In the 1881 census listed at Felsted Endowed Grammar School, Felsted, Essex, England

from A Rhodesia heraldic arts web site, which is now a broken link

Algernon Essex Capell, CBE, DSO, Col. 2nd Rhodesia Regiment, Commissioner of Police and Commandant-General, Southern Rhodesia. Inspector South African Constabulary and Chief of Police, Grenada. Born 1/11/1869 and died 23/2/1952 in Salisbury (Harare). Son of the Rev. Horatio Bladen Capell and grandson of the Hon. Adolphus Frederick Charles Molyneux Capell, brother of the 6th Earl of Essex.

On the 8th February 1902, a line of posts held by the C Division, South African Constabulary, near Van Tenders Hoek, in the Transvaal, was to be moved forward, as a force of Boers was known to be at that place.  At 3.30 am a reconnoitring party, consisting of 130 mounted men, under Captain Capell, moved out and took up a position overlooking Van Tenders Hoek.  At daybreak Captain Capell found himself within 400 yards of the Boer laager, and opened a heavy fire on it.  The Boers were in strong force, replied by a determined attack on his front and left flank, and succeeded in rushing that flank, having come close up under cover of a donga in superior numbers.  Captain Capell withdrew a portion of his centre to a second position, whence he was able to cover the retirement of his left flank.  Seeing that he was largely outnumbered by the enemy, he endeavoured to withdraw his extreme right flank, which, under Lieutenant Swinburne, was holding a strong position, but the orderly conveying the message was shot while on his way, so that it never reached Lieutenant Swinburne, and consequently he did not leave his post.  The Boers attacked him in a determined way, but he drove them off with loss.  They then sent him a message advising him to surrender, otherwise they would give him no quarter; this he declined, and held his post the whole day, up to night fall, and then withdrew his party safely in the dark.  Captain Capell, meanwhile, being pressed by overwhelming numbers of Boers, withdrew the remainder of his force with great skill and coolness, and retired, contesting the ground, back to his line of block-houses, some seven miles distant.  Captain Capell says, in his report: "I cannot speak too highly of every officer and man, the latter being cool and splendid while in the firing line.  Cases of gallantry were numerous; Captain Leake, Medical Officer, was wounded in three places while attending Lieutenant Abraham under murderous fire; Sergeant Hoffe and 2nd Class Trooper Marks distinguished themselves by their good work with Lieutenant Swinburne; Corporal Reeves, No 4 Troop, during the retirement rode back under heavy fire, picking up a man whose horse had been shot, and was riding away with him when his own horse was shot dead; he and the other man were captured, resisting to the end; Hospital Orderly Odell, No 5 Troop, did good service in carrying a message to Lieutenant Swinburne while under fire.  Our losses were heavy, viz.: 2 officers and 6 men killed; 1 officer and 10 men wounded; 24 horses killed and missing.  The Boers admit they were 800 strong, and had 12 casualties.  I deeply regret the loss that the Corps has sustained in the death of Lieutenant D O P Abraham, Lieutenant A C Blackett, Sergeant G Robinson, 1st Class Trooper M H Hutchins, Trooper McLarity, Trooper A E Scott, Trooper C Morton, Trooper A Pearl.  But by their gallant self-sacrifice they have added another honour to the many which the South African Constabulary has gained for itself.  I am highly pleased with the gallant and steady conduct of all ranks in this particularly trying engagement, especially as a large number of them were under fire for the first time, and I congratulate them all upon their very complete vindication of their action.  The gallant conduct of Leake in tending wounded under murderous fire, and that of Corporal Reeves, in going back under heavy fire to rescue a comrade, will be the subject of special report to the Commander-in-Chief".  Surgeon-Captain A M Leake's name appeared in the War Office list of Casualties of 12 February' 1902, as "Severely wounded, right arm and left thigh".  His wounds necessitated his return to England, where his right arm was very successfully operated on by Sir Victor Horsley.  On 13 May, 1902, the following notice appeared in the London Gazette: "The King has been graciously pleased to signify His intention to confer the Decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officer, whose claims have been submitted for His Majesty's approval, for his conspicuous bravery in South Africa, as stated against his name: Arthur Martin-Leake, Surgeon-Captain, South African Constabulary.  For great devotion to duty and self-sacrifice at Vlakfontein, 8 February 1902, when he went out into the firing-line to dress a wounded man under very heavy fire from about forty Boers only 100 yards off.  When he had done all he could for him, he went over to a badly wounded officer, and while trying to place him in a more comfortable position he was shot three times.  He only gave up when thoroughly exhausted, and then he refused water until other wounded men had been served".  The Victoria Cross was presented to Surgeon-Captain Leake by King Edward VII at St James's Palace on 2 June, 1902. 

UK Incoming Passenger Lists
Departed Capetown arrived Southampton, England December 23, 1902 of the Para, Major Capell, age 31

From the Evening Post 28th August, 1908 [This may be from a New Zealand paper as it is from a New Zealand on line archive.]
The turn which events have taken in the Transvaal is one of the causes of the unpopularity of the present Liberal Government at Home. The Boer Government, which came into office on the granting of a constitution, has now made a plain avowal of its intention to retrench British Officials out of the country. The dismissal of Major A. E, Capell, D.S.O. from the Commissioner of Police was so flagrant that the Boer Government was forced to enunciate its policy. General Botha asked his interrogator if he thought the Government would put in men who were of the anti-National Party. Major Capell belonged to a military force, and the Government wished to put an end to the military force. They wanted the police to become more into line with the old Free State Police, and the Government was determined to undertake, when necessary, the unpleasant task of replacing. The Attorney-General went further still. The South African Constabulary, he said, was as foreign a force as when it in came into the country six years ago, and the military air would stick to it as long as Major Capell was at the head. In spite of what anyone said, the Government would appoint a man who knew the country and was in sympathy with the people. As a matter of fact, Major Capell has been in the South African Police for twenty years, and he knows the country thoroughly, and speaks both languages. It is believed that the prime cause of his offending is that he was decorated for his services in the war.


Early in August, 1914, a small force of the B.S.A. Police and Northern Rhodesia Police, under the command of Major A. Essex Capell, D.S.O., left Victoria Falls with orders to capture Schuckmannsburg, a small German outpost in the Caprivi Zipfel, together with adjacent territory, and this was accomplished without resistance on September 21, 1914. This was one of the first German posts to surrender and the captured enemy flag is now in the Regimental Sergeant's Mess at the Police Depot, Salisbury. The 2nd Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment, was formed in November, 1914, and two months later Major Essex Capell was appointed as its Commanding Officer. A number of other Police officers as well as other ranks were seconded to the Regiment which left for active service in East Africa in March, 1915. The Police suffered many casualties before the remnants of the Regiment returned to Salisbury after two years of hard campaigning.

excerpts from The Despatch of Sir Sydney Charles, 1st Earl Buxton, the High Commissioner for South Africa. Printed in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette of 13 July 1917, this Despatch covers military affairs in Rhodesia.
In September, 1914, it was decided, with a view to allaying apprehension among the native tribes in adjoining British territory, and to safeguarding trade routes on the Zambesi, to occupy Schuckmannsburg, a German post in the eastern extremity of the Caprivi Zipfel. The occupation was effected on September 21st by a detachment of police under Major A. E. Capell, D.S.O. No resistance was offered, and the German Resident and his European Police Subordinate were made prisoners of war. British authority in the Caprivi Strip has since been exercised through a Special Commissioner appointed from the Bechuanaland Protectorate Service, and directly responsible to the High Commissioner.

Shortly after the departure on active service of the First Rhodesia Regiment, a further contingent was accepted for Imperial Service, and the Second Rhodesia Regiment was formed. The strength of this Regiment was originally 475, but was afterwards raised to 800, of whom 167 were recruited in the Union and the remainder in Rhodesia. Training was carried on under difficulties, due to the paucity of experienced officers and also to the heavy rains, but keenness and esprit de corps prevailed, and it was a fine body of men that sailed in the following March under Major A. E. Capell, D.S.O., for German East Africa. There the Regiment has rendered splendid service, and is still serving.

British South Africa Police Commissioner 1 February 1923 to 11 February 1926

In the February 6, 1901, London Gazette
Bethune's Mounted Infantry.
Lieut.-Colonel E. C. Bethune, 16th Lancers, raised this regiment and commanded it most efficiently throughout the campaign. I strongly recommend him to your favourable consideration.
The following Officers and nonofficers are brought to notice:—
Captain A. E. Capell,
all mentioned as having distinguished themselves on more than one occasion

In the 19 April 1901 London Gazette
To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order :
Captain A. E. Capell, Bethune's Mounted Infantry.

Named in the April 19,1901 London Gazette
Captain A. E. Capell.

Named in the London Gazette July 29, 1902
Captain A. E. Capell, D.S.O.

from the London Gazette published on 3 January 1911
Downing Street, January 2, 1911.
The KING has been pleased to give directions for the appointment of Major Algernon Essex Capell, D.S.O. (Chief of Police), to be
an Official Member of the Legislative 'Council of the Island of Grenada.

from the Supplement to the London Gazette published on 11 May 1915
Major Algernon Essex Capell, 2nd Rhodesian Regiment, to be temporary Lieutenant- Colonel. Dated 14th May, 1915. CAVALRY.

from the London Gazette published on 31 August 1917
Groix de Guerre.
Lieutenant-Colonel Essex Algernon Capell, D.S.O., Rhodesian Regiment. Captain (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel)

from the London Gazette published on 30 May 1924
St. James's Palace, 8.W. 1, 3rd June, 1924.
The KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
To be Commanders of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order:
Colonel Algernon Essex Capell, D.S.O., Commissioner, British South Africa Police, Southern Rhodesia.

Note: the British South Africa Police were the Police force for the British South Africa Company until 1923.

UK Outward Passenger Lists
Departed London November 11, 1907 contracted to land at Cape Ton the Ship Johannesburg, own
J. L. Capell, age 2
A. A. Capell, age 4
L. E. Capell, age 30
A. E. Capell, soldier, age 37

Listed as a first class passenger on the Oruba (Royal Mail Steam Packet Company) arrived Southampton July 7, 1913, departed Trinidad,
Algernon Essex Capell, army age 43,
Lois Ethel Capell age 34,
Algernon Capell age 9,
Joan Capell age 7,
Robert Capell age 4.
Permanent address Grenada. They seem to be accompanied by a governess.

Listed as first class passengers on the Llandovery Castle (Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co Ltd) arrived 20 September 1932 Southampton, departed Capetown, Algernon Essex Capell, High Commissioner for S.A. ??,House Aldrych? London, retired, age 63 and Lois Ethel Capell age 55, permanent residence Rhodesia.

The Edgar Rice Burroughs book Tarzan the Untamed has several scenes where Col. Capell of the 2nd Rhodesians and Tarzan meet.
The book is summarized at

Some of his sketches, known as the Zambesi sketches have been published.

Obituary from the Outpost, April 1952.

Colonel,A.Essex-Capell, C.B.E, D.S.O.
The death occurred at Salisbury on 24th February, 1952, of Colonel A. Essex Capell, C.B.E., D.S.O., Who was Commissioner of Police and Commandant General of the military forces of Southern Rhodesia 30 years ago. Born in 1869 near Wolverhampton, Colonel Capell was educated at Felsted School. He was intended for the Army but owing to an eye injury during a fencing bout, he was rejected on medical grounds. Determined on an active life, he signed on at Cardiff as a member of the crew of a windjammer, at the age of 17, and sailed round the Horn to the west coast of South America. On returning to England he was accepted for service in the Cape Mounted Rifles and was sent to Kingswilliamstown. He served for nine years in that famous corps and on the outbreak of the South African War was commissioned in Bethune's Horse, taking part in the battles of Colenso, Spion Kop, Vaal Kranz, the relief of Ladysmith, and the action at Scheeper's Nek. During a rearguard action he was taken prisoner whilst trying to get a wounded man away and was confined in Barberton gaol for four months before his release by British troops. For his services in the war he received the Queen's Medal (four clasps), King's Medal (two clasps), and the D.S.O.
He was then appointed to the South African Constabulary and served as Chief Staff Officer in Johannesburg, later transferring to the Orange River Colony as Divisional Commandant. In 1906 he went to East Africa (Kenya) as an Assistant District Commissioner. A year or two later he was appointed Commandant of the Colonial Forces and Chief of Police at Grenada in the West Indies, and in 1913 returned to Africa to become Assistant Commissioner of the British South Africa Police.
On the outbreak of the 1914 war he commanded the B.S.A.P. column which took possession of Schuckmansburg in the Caprivi Strip, then under German rule. It was here that the first German flag to be hauled down upon surrender during that war came into possession of the B.S.A.P. On his return, he was appointed to command the 2nd Battalion of the Rhodesia Regiment and he served as the C.O. throughout the East Africa campaign. When the regiment was reduced by battle and sickness to a handful of men, he went to the West Indies for a short time to reorganize a West Indian Regiment which had fought in East Africa. At the end of the war he was appointed Commissioner of Police and Commandant General in Southern Rhodesia, on the retirement of General Edwards, a post he held until he retired in 1926. For his services in East Africa he received the Croix de Guerre and in 1924 was made a C.B.E. A strict disciplinarian, who set an example of hard and simple living to his men, he was at heart a kind man. He was a keen member of the Prisoner's Aid Society, of which he was president for several years, and a determined opponent of capital punishment. Whilst he was a noted shot and big game hunter, he was firmly opposed to the useless destruction of game and for many years was president of Wild Life Protection Society and a member of the S.P.C.A. He was also a writer and artist of no mean merit, having written ,.the history of the 2nd Rhodesians Association and was president of the Rhodesian Society of Arts. His wife, Lois Ethel and his two sons pre deceased him, but his daughter Joan Lois is the wife of Mr. W. J. Evans who is farming in the Bindura district. They have two sons and a daughter. Colonel Capell was buried oft 25th February at the Salisbury Cemetery, when military honours were accorded him. The Commissioner of Police, Brigadier J. Appleby, and the Commander Military Forces, Brigadier S. Garlake, were in attendance in addition to other Police officers. Also present were Mr. Justice W. E. Thomas, chairman of the 2nd Rhodesians Association and representatives of the other associations in which he had held office. .The bearer party consisted of N.C.O.s of the B.S.A. Police, The service, which was held at the Anglican Cathedral, was conducted by Father Victor, C.R.  African Trumpeters of the B.S.A. Police sounded the" Last Post" and the cavalry "Rouse" at the conclusion of an impressive service.

Capell, Algernon Essex
CAPELL, ALGERNON ESSEX, Captain, was born at Tottehall [Tettenhall], near Wolverhampton, 1 November 1869 (a member of the Essex family of Capell, direct line), and was educated at Felsted School.  He joined the Cape Mounted Rifles as a trooper in 1889, and remained in the corps till 1899, when he joined Bethune's Mounted Infantry as Lieutenant, having served through Pondoland at the annexation.  He served in the South African War, 1899-1902, and was promoted to Captain in 1900 "for gallantry in the field" at Scheeper's Nek.  He joined the SAC in 1900, and was promoted to Major in 1902; was mentioned in Despatches (twice by General Buller and once each by Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener), and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 19 April, 1901]: "Algernon Essex Capel, Captain, Bethune's Mounted Infantry.  In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa".  The Insignia, etc, were sent, to the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, and presented by the Duke of Cornwall and York 14 August 1901.  Major Capell was "ejected from the SAC by the Boer Government of 1908".  He was appointed Assistant District Commissioner, Dagoretti, British East Africa; Chief of Police, Grenada, 1910-12 (awarded King's Police Medal), and Assistant Commissioner, British South Africa Police, in Southern Rhodesia, since 1913.  He served in the European War from 1914; commanded a column to German South-West Africa; captured Shuckmansburg, the capital of Caprivi Zippel strip of German territory; given command in December 1914, of the 2nd Rhodesian Regiment, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; was mentioned in Despatches by General Smuts, and received the Croix de Guerre.  Major Capell has "devoted most of his life to big game and other shooting when on leave".  He married, in 1903, Lois Ethel, daughter of W Slatter, of Stratton, Cirencester, and they had one son and one daughter.
Notes for Lois Ethel (Spouse 1)
listed in July to September 1877 birth index Lois Ethel Slatter Cirencester, Gloustershire and Wiltshire volume 6a page 367

Gloucestershire Baptisms Parish of Daglingworth
August 24, 1877 baptism Lois Ethel Slatter, parents William Slatter and Ellen Anne Slatter, above Daglingworth, father is a gentleman ceremony performed by Henry Charles Raymond Barker, Rector

In the 1881 census 6 Cricklade? St, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
William Slatter, age 43, wine merchant, born Stratton, Gloucestershire.
Wife Ellen Ann Slatter, age 39, born Coggs, Oxfordshire.
Son William W. Slatter, age 11, born Daglingworth, Gloucestershire.
Daughter Mabel Slatter, age 9, born Daglingworth, Gloucestershire.
Son Arthur A. Slatter, age 7, born Daglingworth, Gloucestershire.
Daughter Lois Ethel Slatter, age 3, born Daglingworth, Gloucestershire.
Son Gerald F. Slatter, age 1, born Daglingworth, Gloucestershire.
Plus a governess and 3 servants.

marriage listed in the 1903 marriage index for January to March volume 11b, page 701, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire

Daughter of William Slatter, of Stratton, co. Gloucester
Last Modified 28 Jun 2015Created 4 Aug 2017 using Reunion 10 for Macintosh