John Francis Innes Hay Doyle

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
John Francis Innes Hay Doyle

John Francis Innes Hay Doyle aka Innes / Duff (31 march 1873 - 19 february 1919) was the 7th child of Charles Altamont Doyle and Mary Josephine Foley, and the only brother (among 5 sisters) of Arthur Conan Doyle.

He married Clara Schwensen in 1893, and had two sons: John Reinhold Innes Doyle in 1913 and Francis Kingsley Doyle in 1917.

For his service, Innes received among others:

Distinguished Service Order (1916) Order of St. Michael and St. George Légion d'Honneur (1918)


Arthur Conan Doyle about Innes

In his autobiography Memories and Adventures (1923), Arthur Conan Doyle mentioned his brother :

« The girls were already governessing or preparing to do so, but there was my little brother Innes It would relieve my mother and yet help me if he could join me. So it was arranged, and one happy evening the little knicker-bockered fellow, just ten years old, joined me as my comrade. No man could have had a merrier and brighter one. In a few weeks we had settled down to a routine life, I having found a good day-school for him. The soldiers of Portsmouth were already a great joy to him, and his future career was marked out by his natural tastes, for he was a born leader and administrator. Little did I foresee that he would win distinction in the greatest of all wars, and die in the prime of his manhood—but not before he knew that complete victory had been attained. Even then our thoughts were very military, and I remember how we waited together outside the office of the local paper that we might learn the result of the bombardment of Alexandria. »
« For some time Innes and I lived entirely alone, doing the household tasks between us, and going long walks in the evening to keep ourselves fit. »
« My brother Innes, he who had shared my first days in Southsea, had since passed through Richmond Public School, and afterwards the Woolwich Academy, so that he was now just emerging as a subaltern. As I needed some companion, and as I thought that the change would do him good, I asked him to come with me to the States. We crossed on the ill-fated German liner Elbe [..]. I remember that on some fête day on board, the saloon was thickly decorated with German and American flags without one single British one, though a fair proportion of the passengers were British. Innes and I then and there drew a Union Jack and stuck it up aloft, where its isolation drew attention to our grievance. »
« ... the same cursed plague carried off my soldier brother Innes, he who had shared my humble strivings at Southsea so many years ago. A career lay before him, for he was only forty and already Adjutant-General of a corps, with the Legion of Honour, and a great record of service. But he was called and he went like the hero he was. "You do not complain at all, sir," said the orderly. "I am a soldier," said the dying General. »
« I had the great joy that night of seeing my brother Innes, who had been promoted to Colonel, and was acting as Assistant Adjutant-General of the 24th Division, the Head-quarters of which were at Bailleul, where I dined at mess and occupied a small lodging in the town, which was about six miles from the front... »
« "I am a spirit. I am Innes. I am your brother." » — see also Innes messages in Pheneas Speaks.


John Francis Innes Hay Doyle, 7th child of Charles Altamont Doyle and Mary Josephine Foley, was born at 3 Sciennes Hill Place, Edinburgh, on 31 march 1873.

Innes studied at Woolwich and obtained his commission with the Royal Field Artillery in 1893. He left England for India.

In april 1899, he was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain before proceeding to China in 1900 with the 12th Battery of the Royal Artillery. He returned to India in late 1901 before moving on to the Boer War in South Africa in january 1902. He returned to England on leave in november 1902 but remained stationed in South Africa until March 1904.

On 2 august 1911, Innes married to Ida Claudia Clara Schwensen at Holmens Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark. His brother, Arthur Conan Doyle was best man. After the wedding, Innes and Clara left for a short honeymoon at Elsimore, Sjaelland, Denmark.

During World War I, he was in command of the artillery for the Northern Territorial district. He then was D.A.A.G. (Deputy Assistant Adjutant General) to the 24th Division and later promoted to D.A.G (Deputy Adjutant General) of the Third Corps. Innes was awarded the DSO on 8 April 1916, became a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) in 1918 and he became a Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur. He attained the ranks of 2nd Lieutenant (1893), Captain (1900), Major (1910), Lieutenant-Colonel (1915), acting Brigadier-General (1917) and brevet Colonel (1919).

He died from influenza shortly after the war and is buried in Halle Community Cemetery, Halle, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium in grave number A58.


Letters written by Arthur Conan Doyle to his brother Innes:


Cricket matches played with Arthur Conan Doyle: