Partner Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener

Queer Places:
St Michael and All Angels, Borough Ln, Eastbourne BN20 8BA, Regno Unito

Col Oswald Arthur Gerald Fitzgerald, 18th King George's Own Lancers (1875 - June 5, 1916), was the son of Sir Charles Fitzgerald. On Monday 5th June 1916, about 1 to 1/2 miles off Marwick Head in Orkney, by 7.50 pm H.M.S. Hampshire had struck a German mine and sunk. According to an official MOD site the ships full compliment at the time of sailing was 655 men plus 7 passengers who were Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener and his staff.

‘Fitz’, a quiet, orderly man who was 25 years younger than Kitchener, provided the older man with companionship. Their shared interests included fine arts, and they became partners in East African estates and property enterprise. In 1916 ‘Fitz’ even shared Kitchener’s death.

The bodies of over 100 officers and men were recovered from the sea and were interred into one common grave where they now lay to rest at the Lyness Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney.

That is with the exception of Lieutenant MacPherson and Colonel Fitzgerald. Lieutenant MacPherson was on board the Hampshire in his capacity as a Russian translator and was buried in a separate gave in Lyness Cemetery. The body of Colonel Fitzgerald was taken to Inverness and then transferred to London for burial. Fitzgerald's body was not buried at Lyness on the island of Hoy, with others recovered from the sea, but was taken instead to Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne, Sussex, where his father was buried.

The body of Lord Kitchener was never recovered from the sea and only 12 men survived the sinking of the HMS Hampshire.

In The Kitchener Enigma (1985), Trevor Royle describes ‘Fitz’ as Kitchener’s ‘constant companion and paladin who put his chief ’s interests above all others. Many resented the aura of quarantine “Fitz” brought to Kitchener’s entourage.’

In 1970 H. Montgomery Hyde mentioned Kitchener in The Other Love, his survey of homosexuality in Britain. He also drew upon Kitchener’s 1958 biographer, Philip Magnus to highlight the devotion ‘Fitz’ had for the older man: ‘their intimate association was happy and fortunate. Fitzgerald, like Kitchener, was a bachelor and celibate; he devoted the whole of the rest of his life exclusively to Kitchener.’

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