Richard Irving DacreLieutenant R. Irving Dacre R.A.M.C.The Best Man

The Best Man - found after more than 85 years ... a triumph for GOOGLE and the Internet ...

Pictures scanned and compiled from originals courtesy of John Dacre and David Ord

Original contact ... message extract

Lieutenant R. Irving Dacre was the best man at the wedding of Henry James Drew Smythe in 1914 ... wondering whether he may have been related to you?

Reply from John Dacre ...

Lt. Richard Irving Dacre was indeed my father. He was born in 1889 and died in 1947. He lived with my mother, myself and his father and mother at 14, Eaton Crescent, Clifton, Bristol - next door to the Drew-Smythe family at 15, Eaton Crescent.

My grandfather, also John Dacre, was a family doctor and a specialist in women's and children's diseases. My father was a family doctor, and the two of them practiced from 14, Eaton Crescent. I always knew of our next door neighbour's relationship - best man. Cartoon from Bristol Evening Gazette Friday 14th February 1936 - The Man Who ...

My father was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps when he retired and he had a special career note as having served as a Medical Officer in every unit of the British Army during that time of service!

I was born in 1926 in Eaton Crescent and lived there until 1947. I am not sure if I visited next door much. I was away at school and the war was a bad time for us all. I left Bristol for University in London. After various appointments, I became a Consultant in Psychiatry. In 1965, I was sent to Barbados to run the Mental Health Services.

In 1970 I moved to Canada where I worked for 21 years as a Forensic Consultant in the courts and prison service of Canada and Ontario.

My son, Roger, is also a doctor and has a family practice in Toronto.

My father wore very light slingback frames until he used pince-nez, and then as he aged he gave up using glasses at all. - John Dacre

An article accompanying this cartoon of Richard Irving Dacre reads ...

'R. Irving Dacre - the man who ... in 32 years has served in every branch of the British Army
- started as a drummer in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion East Surrey Regiment
- is now Lieutenant-Colonel R.A.M.C., T.A. attached to 6th Gloucesters
- holds 1914-15 Star, General Service and Allied Victory Medals, Territorial Decoration and Territorial Efficiency Medal - mentioned in despatches 1918
- is Clifton born, educated at Epsom College and Bristol University
- has been awarded Bristol and Clifton Philatelic Society's bronze medal for an exhibition of war stamps.'
And he was a man who, like H. J. Drew Smythe, enjoyed the 'roar of the grease paint' ..

H. J. D. Smythe RAMC

c. 1915

'John writes - 'In the 1912 section of my father's pre-war album I found a cast photo of the 1912 Bristol Medical Amateur Dramatic Society's performance - my father in the back row with two lovely ladies arm in arm - in evening dress of course - and in the front on the floor H. J. Smythe as (left) Pierot/clown.'

Amongst many war and family photographs, I found some of my father with "his babies". This is the traditional record of the midwifery doctors with their midwife nurses showing off their delivery. The second doctor is currently unidentified.' Photograph c. 1920/21 - John Dacre


Hand tinted photograph from web original pre-1914 wedding group. R.I. Dacre (group right).

His 1914 diary extract about the wedding ... Jimmy Smythe, who was one of my brother officers, came down from Chelmsford to get married to Enid Cloutman and asked me to be his best man. I was only too glad and "Smythie" stayed the night with me.

Everything went well. James and I arrived at the Church - St. Mary Redcliffe - and, due to the minute, the bride arrived, but there was no parson.

Minutes, like hours, kept passing by and I became thoroughly upset and frightened. Lots of thoughts passed through my mind. Was I to blame? Should I have ordered a parson. No. What should I do? Should I dash out and try and find one? Where should I go and where was the nearest cab-rank? The bride began to weep and I was beside myself. Something must be done, I said to myself -when the parson arrived ten minutes late. I looked at my watch; would there be time before three for them to be married? However they were married and they duly went off to their honeymoon; but that wedding took years off my life. (Courtesy John Dacre.)

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