Lt-Colonel Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-BrownAlan Roderick Haig-Brown was the youngest son of the late Canon Haig-Brown, Master of Charterhouse and late Head Master of Charterhouse School, and of Mrs Haig-Brown. Born  in 1877, he came to the Dragon in 1888 as a boarder in School House. He left in 1890. At the Dragon he showed us that he would become famous as an athlete. In 1889 he tied with Charles Fisher in throwing the cricket ball and won the Long Jump. In 1890 he was in the XV, the XI, the Hockey XI and was best at the Association game. He also won the Senior Gymnasium Cup, was second in the open mile and won the single-stick competition in an encounter with Wilfrid Johnson. He was elected to the eighth Scholarship at Charterhouse in 1890 and (two years later) to a Senior Scholarship. He was the first Old Dragon to go to Cambridge, where he entered Pembroke College. He was in his College Cricket XI, and President of his College Athletics. He got honours in the Classical Tripos in 1900 and on taking his degree became an Assistant-Master at Lancing.

He married Violet Mary in 1907, whom he leaves with a son and two daughters.

He was a keen angler, game shot and rider. He was the author of Sporting Sonnets. Also of My Game Book and The  O.T .C. and the Great War and had contributed over a thousand poems and articles to The Times and other papers.

For nearly nine years he commanded the Lancing College O.T.C., which is believed to be the only corps in the country to have enlisted every member of the school on a voluntary basis before the war. His cadets won the Schools Rapid Firing at Eisley, the Cadets’ Trophy twice and the bronze medals in the Ashburton Shield competition twice. He assisted in the training of twelve battalions of the New Army before becoming second in command of a Service Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. In 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and awarded the D.S.O. He was twice wounded and fell in action at Bienvilliers on the 25th March 1918.

Alan Haig-BrownHis first Adjutant says: ‘Never was a C.O. so entirely loved by all who knew him; he made the Battalion what it was – keen and contented. By his personal example he instilled courage and efficiency in those with him.’

The Assistant Chaplain-General says: ‘From what I hear he gave his life in seeing that others got clean away, and died, as he had lived, for the men he commanded.’

His love of animals showed itself at a very early age; he was the originator of ‘pets’ at the Dragon School, and the goat which trotted about with him was the forerunner of many and various kinds of two-, four-, and even no-legged successors: ducks, hens, kittens, snakes, tortoises, rats, mice, parrots, macaws, cardinals, cut-throats, budgerigars, et hoc genus omne, may all claim to owe their appearance among us to Alan. Some of us may remember his introduction of a huge snake into the drawing-room of 28 Norham Road and the ensuing hysterics of a parent. I have a charming photograph of Alan with his goat, surrounded by Tankred Behrens and Jumma and Inglis and Kelly Purnell, all with their arms full of kittens and bunnies. His one school prize at the Dragon School on record (there may well have been others) is for an English Essay on ‘The Treatment of Animals’.

Alan is buried in Achiet-Le-Grand Communal Cemetery, south of Arras, France.