Bosvile, Thomas James Bolle

Thomas James Bolle Bosvile (G 1910-1914), was born on 19th September 1897, the elder surviving son of Thomas Bolle Bosvile (G 1872-1877) of Ravenfield Park, Rotherham, Yorkshire and Blanche Harriet Bosvile, daughter of James Bevan Bowen of Llwyngwair, Pembrokeshire.   He came to Winchester from Aysgarth School in 1910.  His grandfather, Thomas Bosvile Lee was elder brother of the Reverend Godfrey Bolles Lee (Warden of Winchester College from 1861 to 1903), and a grandson of the Reverend Joseph Warton (Headmaster 1766-1793).   He took the name of Bosvile on inheriting the Ravenfield estates.

James was an athlete and was in the Commoner VI team in 1914 and the previous year had helped win Toye Cup for his House.  He entered Sandhurst in January 1915, and when barely 18 years old was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade.  After a few months with the 6th Battalion on the Island of Sheppey, in June 1916 he joined the 11th Battalion in France, serving there until the end of the war.  He was promoted to captain, winning the MC and was mentioned in Despatches.  In 1919 he joined the 1st Battalion and the following year was General Staff Officer 3 in Mesopotamia.  He was promoted to Major in 1936.

On the outbreak of the Second World War he formed and trained the 2nd Motorised Transport Battalion of the Rifle Brigade and after Calais was given the task of reforming the 1st Battalion.

In the summer of 1941 he was posted to the Middle East, arriving at Suez in November. In May 1942 his battalion took part in the fighting around the Knightsbridge “defensive box” where his services were rewarded with a D.S.O. and the Command of a Brigade, which afterwards took a prominent part in the operations between El Alamein and Tunisia.   At Alamein his brigade formed part of 1st Armoured Division, and consisted of 2KRRC, 2RB, and 7RB. 2RB fought the famous ‘Snipe’ action (also known as ‘Kidney Ridge’), where on October 26th/27th 1942 2RB broke a German armoured counter-attack, knocking out fifty-seven enemy tanks and self-propelled guns.

He received a Bar to his D.S.O. in January 1943.  In May, after the fall of Tunis, he presided at a victory dinner for Rifle Brigade officers in Tunis, with 64 officers from four battalions attending.  However, shortly afterwards he had to fly home for an operation.  After a good recovery he was employed for a few months at the War Office and was afterwards given an important post with the S.H.A.E.F. (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force).  In May 1945 he was awarded the C.B.E. for his Staff work but very soon after he was invalided home and died in St Thomas Hospital, London on 5th July 1945.   Shortly before his death, General Eisenhower sent three Generals to decorate him as an Officer of the Legion of Merit.

He had married in 1927 Crystal Guina Lucy Jervis, the twenty-one year old daughter of the Hon. St Leger Henry Jervis DSO.  He left a son, Thomas Jervis Bosvile, who went into his father’s old house in 1946 but died in an accident in Germany on 23rd August 1956 while serving with the 12th Lancers.

He was cremated and his ashes are buried in the churchyard of St Mary and St Andrew at Pitminster in Somerset.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Bosvile
  • Forenames or initials: Thomas James Bolle
  • House: G
  • Years in School: 1910-1914
  • Rank: Brigadier
  • Regiment: General Staff (Rifle Brigade)
  • Date of Birth: 19th September 1897
  • Date of Death: 5th July 1945
  • How Died: Died of Illness
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner D1
  • Decoration: MC, CBE, DSO & Bar, Croix de Guerre, Legion d'Honneur, US Legion of Merit
  • Burial Site: NA