Bruce, George James

Captain / Royal Irish Rifles

1880 - 1918

He was the son of Samuel Bruce Esq., J.P., and Julia, daughter of Sir George Colthurst of Norton Hall, Campden, Gloucestershire and came to Winchester from Fonthill School. He was Commoner Prefect and a member of Sixth Book, and played in Lords in 1898 and 1899. In the latter year he was elected to a Scholarship at New College, Oxford, taking his degree in Natural Science in 1903. He afterwards became Managing Director of the Comber Distilleries Company, Ltd., of which his father was chairman.

In August 1914 he volunteered for service and obtained a commission in the 13th Royal Irish Rifles (Ulster Division). He proceeded to France with his battalion in October 1915, and in the following January was promoted to be General Staff Officer on the staff of the Ulster Division. He was mentioned in Despatches in July of that year, received the M.C. in June 1917, a Bar in November 1917 after the Battle of Cambrai, and was awarded the D.S.O. for gallantry during the retreat of March 1918.    He is mentioned in  Cyril Falls' "History of the 36th (Ulster) Division (Linenhall Press, Belfast 1922) who describes in detail the chaotic events of the Retreat but that "the Brigade Major, Captain G J Bruce, rode forward, rallied the men, and galloped into the village at their head.  The Germans were driven out.   It was a wonderful example of the inspiration of personal gallantry and leadership upon weary and disheartened men".

He was killed in action at Molenhoek on October 2nd of that year while making his way forward through the barrage.

Captain Bruce married in 1907 Miss Hilda Blakiston-Houston and left four children.

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