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Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880–1962)

by A. J. Sweeting

This article was published:

Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880-1962), by unknown photographer, c1920

Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880-1962), by unknown photographer, c1920

Australian War Memorial, A04423

Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880-1962), army officer, was born on 17 February 1880 in Hobart, son of Edward Arthur Egerton Wylly, an Indian Army officer, and his wife Henrietta Mary, née Clerk. As an infant Guy went to India with his parents. In 1885 the family settled at Sandy Bay, Hobart, where he attended The Hutchins School before completing his education at the Collegiate School of St Peter, Adelaide.

On 26 April 1900 Wylly embarked from Hobart as a lieutenant with the 3rd (1st Tasmanian Imperial) Contingent. After its arrival in South Africa, the unit was absorbed into the 4th Imperial Bushmen which by August was constantly under enemy fire in small engagements. On 1 September he had command of a troop of bushmen escorting a foraging party near Warmbad, Transvaal. Scouting ahead, he and seven others rode into an ambush in a narrow gorge: six men were wounded, including Wylly. Corporal E. S. Brown was hit in the leg and unhorsed. Wylly went to his aid, gave him his horse, then opened fire from behind a rock, enabling Brown and other men to withdraw, before he made his own escape. For his gallantry Wylly was awarded the Victoria Cross. Trooper J. H. Bisdee won the V.C. during the same action.

Transferring to the British Army on 5 December 1900, Wylly was gazetted second lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment and joined its 2nd Battalion in India. On 1 October 1902 he obtained a transfer to the Indian Army, serving in the 46th Punjabis (1902-04) and the Queen's Own Corps of Guides, infantry (1904-06); he then joined the cavalry in the Q.O.C.G. From January 1906 to September 1909 he was aide-de-camp to Lord Kitchener, the commander-in-chief, East Indies.

Having qualified at the Staff College, Quetta, on 14 December 1914 Wylly was posted as staff captain in the Mhow Cavalry Brigade, serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Wounded in action in August 1915, he returned to his unit as brigade major following his promotion on 1 September. In June 1916 he was posted briefly to the staff of the British 4th Division and next month joined the staff of the 3rd Australian Division which was forming in England. From 24 February to 26 July 1917 he was on the staff of I Anzac Corps, his final appointment before returning to India. For his service in France and Belgium he was thrice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in January 1918.

Between 1919 and 1933 Wylly took part in several operations on the North-West Frontier, earning four further mentions in dispatches. A lieutenant-colonel from 26 April 1926, he was given command of the 6th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers. Promotion to colonel followed in April 1930. He was also an aide-de-camp to King George V in 1926-33. Appointed C.B. in 1933, he retired to Camberley, Surrey, England, where he died, unmarried, on 9 January 1962 and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • Australian Defence Department, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, P. L. Murray ed (Melb, 1911)
  • L. Wigmore (ed), They Dared Mightily (Canb, 1963)
  • R. L. Wallace, The Australians at the Boer War (Canb, 1976)
  • records (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

A. J. Sweeting, 'Wylly, Guy George Egerton (1880–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 5 March 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880-1962), by unknown photographer, c1920

Guy George Egerton Wylly (1880-1962), by unknown photographer, c1920

Australian War Memorial, A04423