In the Attic, in a black metal container, the volunteers at Scotney Castle discovered what can only be described as ‘an exhibition in a box’. The box contained the First World War diaries of Brigadier General Arthur Hussey, who was third son of Edward Hussey III. Along with his diaries dating from 1914-1919, the box also contained letters, photos and medals, which have all been put on display in the exhibition ‘Arthur’s War’.
On Sunday 21th February 1915, Arthur Hussey wrote in his war diaries that he had “heard about my C.B.”, that he would receive the honour of becoming a Companion of The Order of the Bath. Later in the year, on Monday 12th July 1915 he “went to Buckingham Palace and was invested with the C.B. by His Majesty”.
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath was established by George I on the 18th May 1725 as a military order. This was a revived version of an older custom dating back to medieval times when part of the ceremony of knighthood included a ritual bath, with the earliest official document of the bathing and creation of a knight dating back to 1128. The revived order consisted of the Sovereign, a Great Master and 36 Knights Companions. In 1815 the Order was then enlarged to include three classes of knights: the Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander and Companions. Further changes included the addition of a civil section of Knights Commander and Companions in 1847 as well women being admitted to the Order in 1971.
The Order of Bath is mainly awarded to officers in the Armed Services, with numbers being increased in times of war or for recognition of services in military events. Brigadier General Arthur Hussey was awarded the position of Companion, which is for ranked officers who have been mentioned in despatches for distinction in a command position in a combat situation.
The military badge consists of a gold Maltese Cross, enamelled in white. Each of the eight points is decorated with a small gold ball, with a figure of a lion in between each arm of the cross. In the centre of the cross are three crowns which refers to the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland which is again emphasised on the obverse with the representation of a rose, a thistle and a shamrock issuing from a sceptre. The crowns and the symbols of these three countries are also highlighted in the motto written around the red circular ring: Tria Juncta in Uno-‘Three joined in One’.
As well as having Arthur’s Order of the Bath on display in the exhibition, we also have his miniature medals. Arthur Hussey was a seasoned soldier entering the First World War at the age of 51, his miniatures therefore show his previous military awards from various countries as well as those received for his efforts in the First World War.
From left to right we have: The Order of Bath; Order of St Michael and St George; South Africa Campaign Medal 1902; 1914 Star; British War Medal 1914-1920; Allied Victory Medal 1914-1919; Coronation Medal King George V 1911; Order of Prince Danilo I (Montenegro); and the Order of St Maurice and St Lazerus (Italy).
The exhibition Arthur’s War which shows a very personal viewpoint of one man’s experience of the First World War is running until the 22nd March 2015, and with more letters having only recently been discovered Brigadier General Arthur Hussey is sure to make reappearance at Scotney Castle. The exhibition like the motto on the medal Tria Juncto in Uno ‘Three joined in One’ has three perspectives to offer: the everyday factual diary of events from Arthur’s tour of duty; the personal letters written to his sister Gertrude and finally what is revealed about Arthur Hussey as a person- a distinguished soldier and loving brother.