Queen’s South Africa, bar Cape Colony, Lieut Cecil Bennett Rose-Innes, Prince Alfred’s Volunteer Guard.
Naming officially engraved in Officer style: “Lieut C. Rose-Innes. Prince Alf: V. Gd.”
His family had a storied history in South Africa. Cecil was born on 2nd November 1869, son of James Rose Innes CMG and Mary Ann Fleischer.
Cecil died at the age of 88 on 23rd June 1958 having worked as a Chief Clerk with the Civil Service, in Wynberg, having been living in Kenilworth.
Confirmed on the medal roll as earning his medal and bar as Lieut with the Prince Alfred’s Volunteer Guard, which refers to him as previously Private 1514 of Prince Alfred’s Guard Mounted Infantry
His father was the Cape Colony’s Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, named after his father, James Rose-Innes, who had emigrated from Scotland in 1822 as an “1820 Settler” and rose to be the very first Superintendent General of Education.
Cecil’s eldest Brother, born during 1855, 14 years his senior, was Sir James Rose Innes KCMG PC KC, Chief Justice of South Africa and viewed by many as “It’s greatest ever Judge.”
Cecil was married twice throughout his life and had one child, Margaret Louw (Rose-Innes). His brother Sir James had one child, Dorothy Rose-Innes, born 1884, who moved to Germany and married Count Helmuth Adolf Von Moltke.
One of her children was Helmuth James von Motlke, 11th March 1907 – 23rd January 1945. He was a lawyer who was quite successful, He declined the opportunity to become a judge in 1935 as this meant a pledge of allegiance to the Nazi Party. He instead opened a law practice in Berlin, specialising in helping victims of Hitler’s regime, he travelled and learning English Law in London and Oxford.
When the war broke out he was drafted by the Abwehr, the German Intelligence service as he was an expert in Martial Law and International Public Law. Even though he was an Officer of the Third Reich, he refused to wear a uniform.
In his travels through German-Occupied Europe he noted down human rights abuses which were too many to count, as the Germans laughed at his legal requests to follow the Geneva Convention.
He and his anti-Nazi friends, ended up forming the “Kreisau Circle” which he lead for a few years, it comprised of about 25 German dissidents who would meet at his rural estate in Kreisau, Silesia, these men did what they could to end the war, they negotiated with Allied Governments, and plotted a peaceful way to dethrone Hitler.
After the “July Plot” also known as Operation Valkyrie, an assassination attempt on Hitler’s Life, this led to the perfect opportunity to eliminate any opposition, they rounded up the men of the Kreisau Circle and executed them. Helmuth himself was not involved in the plot, but he was still charged with treason for not reporting the activities of his associates.
Following Helmuth’s execution, his wife Freya von Moltke fled the country with her children, she moved to South African and was greeted by her old uncle Cecil upon her arrival, her father James had died in 1942, and Cecil was tasked with handling the estate as one of the youngest family members, he was about 76 at the time.
The Book Freya von Moltke, Ein Jahrhundertleben 1911-2010, speaks of her arrival in South Africa and meeting her “Alter Onkel” Cecil:
“On their arrival in Cape Town they were met by a family friend, Sir Patrick Duncan, an influential South African politician, a supporter of Lionel Curtis and, like him, a member of the British South African Establishment.
There was also an old relative, Uncle Cecil Rose Innes, and an employee of the Syfrets Trust who administered the grandparents’ inheritance.”