Lieutenant-Colonel John Windham-Wright OBE

Researched and written by Jenny Mukerji

In the St Andrew’s area (Plot 76) in Brookwood Cemetery there is a memorial to Wietty Windham-Wright who died on 1 June 1960: ‘Lovely Gentle and Gracious, Deeply Mourned’.

Wietty, whose name was Louise Theresia Windham-Wright, was born in 1913 and was originally Dutch. Her death was announced in The Times on 3 June 1960. She had died in the Middlesex Hospital in London, aged 47 years and was the wife of Patrick Joseph Stewart Windham-Wright of Nairobi. Her funeral took place at Brookwood Cemetery at 11:30 on Saturday 4 June 1960 with flowers and enquiries to be sent to Harrods Chapel, 239 Brompton Road, SW3. Despite having an international background, her husband’s parents were John and Violet Agnes (nee Smijeth-Windham) Windham-Wright who had married at St Peter’s Church, Wrecclesham, Farnham, on 15 August 1912. The couple were soon on a trip to America, sailing on the Carmania and arriving in New York on 27 October 1912.

During the First World War, Wietty’s father-in-law, Lieutenant-Colonel John Windham-Wright OBE, served in the 5th Battalion The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and was attached to the 11th Battalion when he died on 14 February 1919, aged 35. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists him as a Major, but elsewhere he was known as Lieutenant-Colonel. He died on active service in Germany and his grave is in Cologne Southern Cemetery. When probate was granted to the Public Trustee his address was given as the Parsonage House, Witley, Surrey. His estate was valued at £14,695 19s 5d. Witley had been given as his address when he married in 1912, however, his father, John Whitaker-Wright was deceased at the time.

Wietty’s mother-in-law, Violet, was the daughter of Major Joseph Charles Smijth-Windham (1838-1915), of Ridgeway House, Farnham, and his second wife Frances Helen (nee Currey and formerly Fordati) (1846-1921). Violet died on 14 January 1959 in the Maria Stiching Hospital, Bloemendaal, in the Netherlands although she lived in St Leonards-on-Sea. Obviously, the links with Wietty’s country were still strong.

Wietty’s husband, Patrick Joseph Stewart Windham-Wright, had been born in the Ticehurst area in 1916 and whilst serving in the Royal Regiment of Artillery in the Second World War was awarded the Military Cross with Bar and was wounded in 1942. The couple were quietly married in The Hague on 30 August 1945 and when their son, Michael was born in Amsterdam in 1952, Patrick was attached to the East Africa High Commission in Nairobi. He later retired and was a farmer by the time of his mother’s death in 1959.

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