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Remembered Today:

Francis James Cosmo Bonnyman - 24th Royal Fusiliers


ddycher

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All

 

Long shot but trying to find out more about the replacement of Francis Bonnyman as CO of the 24th Royal Fusilers on the 12th January 1916.

 

Can anyone help ?

 

Regards

Dave

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Suprisingly in the War Diary no mention is made of anyone taking over from 12 January. The WD is signed off by Major Cradock at the end of January, but on 1February Major Hamilton takes 10 days leave to England and on 12 February Colonel Hamilton returns from leave as OC 24 RF. Signs off February WD as H.A.C. Hamilton.

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Thanks Donald

 

I had Hamilton taking command from Bonnyman on the 12th. Bonnyman resigned his commission on the 12th on being replaced but I can find no detail. Bonnyman was then taken on as a temp. Major in the 1st Garrison Bn Manchester Regt on 12th February. He was not to command again until taking command of the 8th Reserve Bn in India the following year. 

 

Must be more to this.

 

Thanks JP

 

As Donald points out the dates dont match.

 

regards

Dave

Edited by ddycher
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Not sure if this is helpful, but Bonnyman took over from Paget while the battalion was still in England. It's probable that the plan had been for Paget to take the regiment over to France, just as his ex-CO Col. Maitland did with the 23rd Battalion, but Paget was invalided before that happened. Bonnyman had joined the 24th as a temporary Major in May 1915, and a month later was given control of the battalion (with a rank upgrade, presumably). The 24th completed training and went over to France in November of that year. Bonnyman fulfilled his responsibility of getting the battalion over to France and established at the Front. It's possible that Hamilton had been lined up to replace Bonnyman but was not available when the latter departed. The 24th did not see major action until July of 1916 (at the Battle of Delville Wood).

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The 99th Infantry Brigade  was split up in December 1915 with the 24th Royal Fusiliers going to the 5th Infantry Brigade - 'The History of the Second Division 1914-1918', pages 245-246. 

Bonnyman gets only one mention:

https://archive.org/stream/historyofsecondd01wyra#page/246/mode/2up/search/Bonnyman

 

JP

 

Edited by helpjpl
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WBremner

 

Thanks for that.

 

What intrigues me is he resigned his commission and left the regiment after his replacement. He commanded in France only 8 weeks as you say without any significant engagement. At 38 age should not have been a factor.

 

JP’s point on the move to the 5th Bde is interesting. Makes me wonder if he had a run in with Charles Corkran of the Grenadier Guards.

 

regards

Dave

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H.A.C. Hamilton was already a Major in the 24th RF prior to his taking leave on 1 February. Whether he had taken charge of the Battalion is unclear from the WD. All it says is that when he took leave Major Craddock was left in charge. Interestingly there is a note in the WD that says prior to the Battalion taking over the trenches at Festuburt the O.C and his company commanders did a recce of the trenches. Unfortunately no name is given for the OC.

The move to the 5th Brigade was a general one, where inexperienced Battalions were intermixed with experienced troops. It also involved the 17th RF, another former 99th Brigade Battalion. The 1st Royal Berks and the 1st KRRC went the opposite way to the 99th Brigade from the 5th Brigade.

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Merry Christmas to you.

There was also an Alan Pipon who went on to command the 24th Battalion he shows up throughout the war diary.

Regards 

Andy

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This from the Sportsman's Gazette, dated May 14th, 1915:

 

"Major F. J. C. Bonnyman, late 11th (S.) Battn., South Lancashire Regiment, has been appointed Second-in-Command 24th (S.) Battn. Royal Fusiliers, commencing his duties on the 3rd inst. Major Bonnyman is taking a deep interest in the junior N.C.O.'s, which is much appreciated, and within a week of his arrival a Corporals' Mess was inaugurated, and is now in full swing."

 

And from the same publication, dated June 25th, 1915:

 

"Colonel A. de B. V. Paget has relinquished his command of the 2nd Battalion, Major F. J. C. Bonnyman having taken over the duties from June 18th."

Edited by wbremner
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It is rather intriguing to note that Bonnyman's MRIC record has him going over to France on August 15th 1915, i.e. 3 months before the 24th RF went over, and just after the battalion had been relocated to Candahar Barracks, in Tidworth. The CO of the 23rd, Col Viscount Maitland, went over with his battalion on November 16th, according to his MRIC. I don't have any record of someone in 23RF or 24RF going over to France earlier than November 1915, so I am now wondering whether Bonnyman had left the 24th by August, in which case, who replaced him? And, why is his replacement not noted until 1916?

 

Bit of a mystery here...

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wbremner

 

Many thanks for that. More and more intrigueing. Must be more to this. He was placed as 2nd I/C in the 1st GB Manchesters and still a tmp. Maj on 12th Feb 1916 on their departure for India. Hard to think this was anything less than him be shuffled out of the way.

 

There is a history of the 1st GB Manchesters recently printed but I have yet to get a copy.

 

1st Garrison Battalion The Manchester Regiment, India, Singapore, Hong Kong & Siberia by Robert Bonner_ISBN 978-1-873907-37-5

 

Maybe something in that...

 

Regards

Dave

 

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I suppose it is possible that Bonnyman was not "officially" replaced by Hamilton as CO of 24RF until the latter was promoted to Lt-Col in January 1916. Hamilton (or someone else) could have been the temporary CO until January. But it's odd to think that a battalion would be without a full-time CO for almost 5 months, with two of those at the Front Line.

 

Summary of Bonnyman's service (incomplete):

  • Major, 11th (S.) Battn., South Lancashire Regiment, until May 3rd, 1915
  • Major and 2nd I/C, the 24th Royal Fusiliers, from May 3rd, 1915 until June 25th, 1915
  • Major (later Lt-Col?) and OC, 24th Royal Fusiliers, from June 25th, 1915 until ?? (to be confirmed, but January 12th, 1916 according to various records)
  • According to MRIC, to France on August 15th, 1915, with ?? Battalion (assumed not 24th RF, they went over on November 16th, 1915)
  • Major and 2nd I/C, the 1st Garrison Bn Manchester Regt on 12th February 1916.
  • He was not to command again until taking command of the 8th Reserve Bn in India the following year (Lt/Col according to MRIC)
  • London Gazette, March 13th 1918: "Temp. Maj. F. J. C. Bonnyman, from a Garr. Bn., Manch. R., to be temp. Maj. 12' May 1917, with seniority 8 Oct. 1914."
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  • 1 month later...

wbremner

 

Got a copy of the 1st GB Manchester Regt in India, Singapore, Hong Kong & Siberia. Unfortunately its a brief overview without too much detail. Bonnyman is not mentioned at all. So none the wiser there.

 

Keep looking I guess.

 

Regards

Dave

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