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Authority record

Bruce, Charles Granville (1866-1939), army officer and mountaineer

  • Person
  • 7 April 1866 - 12 July 1939

Brigadier General Charles G. Bruce was the leader of the 1922 and 1924 British Mount Everest Expeditions.

Charles Bruce was born in London on 7 April 1866, the youngest son of Henry Austin Bruce, first Baron Aberdare (1815–1895), politician, and his second wife, Nora Creina Blanche, youngest daughter of Lieutenant-General Sir William Napier. He had three brothers and eight sisters. They lived at Dyffryn, an estate in Glamorgan, and at Queen's Gate, London.

He was educated at Harrow School (1879–80) and Repton School (1881–4), and spent two years in the militia in York, where he was a noted wrestler and runner. He was commissioned in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire light infantry in 1887; and he served briefly with an Indian regiment in Madras and Burma before moving in 1889 to the 5th Gurkha Rifles, the regiment with which he served for most of his career. During the Tirah campaign Bruce cut the Gurkhas' tight-fitting breeches off above the knee, an improvisation that was once said to have introduced shorts into the Indian and British armies. In 1891 Bruce studied the equipment of Italian mountain troops in Turin, and he ran a training course for frontier scouts from 1891 to 1913. He taught staff college instructors in his training methods on the slopes of Snowdonia in 1910.

Bruce travelled widely in the Himalayas and organised porters for several important mountaineering expeditions. In 1907 and 1910 Bruce developed serious proposals for the ascent of Mount Everest that were abandoned for political reasons.

On 12 September 1894 he married Finetta Madeline Julia, daughter of Colonel Sir Edward Fitzgerald Campbell, second baronet; and their only child, a son, died in infancy in the Himalayas.

After being adjutant and second-in-command of the 5th Gurkha Rifles he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in May 1913, and in May 1914 he was appointed to command the 6th Gurkha Rifles. He went with them to Egypt for the defence of the Suez Canal at the outbreak of war in 1914. In Gallipoli he commanded the depleted battalions of the 29th Indian Brigade, including the 5th and 6th Gurkhas at Gurkha bluff, for which he was mentioned in dispatches three times and was promoted to Brevet Colonel in November 1915. Severely wounded in the leg, he was evacuated before the withdrawal, and on discharge from hospital was appointed general officer commanding the independent frontier brigade at Bannu, a position he held from 1916 to 1919. He commanded the North Waziristan field force in 1917, and served in the Third Anglo-Afghan War (May 1919). In these operations he was mentioned twice in dispatches. His health deteriorated in the heat, and he was invalided out of the service with the honorary rank of Brigadier-General in 1920.

When Tibet unexpectedly granted permission for a Mount Everest expedition, Bruce could not obtain leave to join the first reconnaissance in 1921, but he was appointed leader of the next expedition in 1922. He was too old to take part in the climbing, but his knowledge of Himalayan languages and military organisation, his cheerfulness and joviality, and the Gurkhas he brought to organise the porters all contributed to the expedition's success. Captain John Geoffrey Bruce (his cousin) and George Finch reached a record elevation of 27,300 ft using oxygen.

In 1924 Bruce was again appointed Everest leader, but contracted malaria on a tiger hunt immediately before the expedition. On the march to Everest he became seriously ill and turned the leadership over to Colonel E. F. Norton. Bruce became the model for later Everest leaders.

After his wife's death in 1932 he wrote his autobiography, Himalayan Wanderer (1934), and moved to 27 St Mary Abbot's Terrace, London, where he died on 12 July 1939.

Turner, Hugh Thackeray (1853-1937), architect and amateur china painter, father of Ruth Mallory

  • Person
  • 8 March 1853 - 11 December 1937

Hugh Thackeray Turner was born in Foxearth, Essex, the son of Rev. John Richard Turner (a Church of England vicar) and his wife Harriet.

After leaving Newbery Grammar School he was apprenticed to the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. In 1877 Turner began work on his own account. He was also employed by Scott's sons, John Oldrid and George Gilbert junior, becoming the latter's chief assistant.

Turner left Scott's office to become Secretary for The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (founded by William Morris in 1877). His job was to investigate, inspect and report on buildings at risk from insensitive restoration. He held the post until 1911.

On 19 July 1888 he married Mary Elizabeth (May) Powell (1854–1907). May became a leading member of the arts and crafts movement in her own right, exhibiting needlework and founding the Women's Guild of Arts with May Morris. The couple had three daughters, the second of whom, Ruth, married George Mallory in July 1914.

In 1898 Turner designed his own home Westbrook in Godalming, which with the assistance of Gertrude Jekyll's assistance was surrounded by a much admired garden.

After a long retirement he died of pyelonephritis on 11 December 1937 in London.

Williams, Basil (1867–1950), historian

  • Person
  • 4 April 1867 – 5 January 1950

Basil Williams was born in London on 4 April 1867, the only son of Frederick George Adolphus Williams, barrister, and his wife, Mary Katharine Lemon. He was educated at Marlborough College and New College, Oxford. He volunteered for service in the South African wars and then spent time working in the education department. After returning to England he dedicated himself to a career as an historian.

In 1905 he married Dorothy Caulfeild. They had two sons, one of whom (John) taught George Mallory to ski.

He died at 46 Amhurst Park, Stoke Newington, London, on 5 January 1950.

Platnauer, Maurice (1887-1974), principal of Brasenose College, Oxford

  • Person
  • 18 June 1887 - 19 December 1974

Maurice Platnauer was Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, from 1956 to 1960. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and New College, Oxford. A classicist, he was a master at Winchester College from 1910 to 1915. During World War One he was an officer with the Royal Garrison Artillery and met up with George Mallory. In 1922 he became a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. He was Vice-Principal of Brasenose from 1936 to 1956; and Editor of the Classical Quarterly from 1936 to 1947; and an Honorary Fellow of New College from 1957.

Fearon, William (1841-1924), Anglican Priest and Headmaster of Winchester College

  • Person
  • 4 February 1841 - 29 April 1924

Born in 1841 and educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, where he was a Fellow from 1864 to 1867 and president of the Oxford Union in 1864. He was ordained deacon in 1867 and priest the following year. He married Mary Freeman, the daughter of an Archdeacon of Exeter when he became Headmaster of Durham School. He was Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Newcastle from 1882 to 1884 when he returned to Winchester, where he was Headmaster until 1901. He was Archdeacon of Winchester from 1903 to 1920, Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Winchester from 1903 to 1915; and Canon of Winchester from 1906 until 1920.

Otter, Guy (1905-1996), biologist

  • Person
  • 1905-1996

Guy Walter Otter was born on 1 November 1905 at Slinfold, Horsham, Sussex. He matriculated on 22 October 1924 having been admitted to Magdalene College. He studied Geology, Botany and Zoology and Comparative Anatomy for Part I of the Natural Sciences Tripos, as the honours BA is known, and was awarded a third class pass in the examinations in Easter term 1927. He graduated BA on 21 June 1927 and MA on 18 November 1932. He was admitted as a Research Student in Michaelmas term 1934 and approved for the MSc degree on 25 February 1939 for a thesis entitled 'A study of the morphology of four species of Cecidomyid larvae - Diptera'. He graduated MSc on 25 February 1939 (source: UA Graduati 12, Exam.L.41).

In 1936 he married Peggy Leslie Dawson Waugh (1908-2004) in Westminster, London. Their daughter was Caroline Margaret Otter (1941-1993)

Benson, Edward Frederick (1867-1940), novelist and Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge

  • Person
  • 24 July 1867 - 29 February 1940

E. F. Benson Frederic was born at Wellington College. He was the third son of Edward White Benson (1829–1896), headmaster of Wellington College and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury, and his wife, Mary Sidgwick (1841–1918). He was a younger brother of A. C. Benson (Master of Magdalene College, 1915-1925), Mary Eleanor Benson (1863–1890), and Margaret Benson (1865–1916), and an elder brother of Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914). He was educated at Temple Grove School, Sheen, at Marlborough College, and at King's College, Cambridge, where he was exhibitioner (1888) and scholar (1890), and secured first classes in both parts of the classical tripos (1890, 1891).

Worked in Athens for the British School of Archaeology (1892–5) and in Egypt for the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (1895). His first novel, Dodo, was published in 1893. From 1895 to 1918 he lived in London and devoted himself to writing. From 1918 he lived for the greater part of each year at Lamb House, Rye, Sussex, which had been the home of Henry James.

He published at least ninety-three books, excluding collaborations. His writings fall into three groups: novels of social satire, reminiscences, and horror stories.

Benson never married and lived alone in Rye. He was mayor of Rye from 1934 to 1937 and a JP. He was elected an honorary fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1938 and was appointed OBE. He died in University College Hospital, London, on 29 February 1940, and was buried in the Rye cemetery after a funeral conducted by the bishop of Chichester.

The E. F. Benson Society was founded in London in 1984.

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