Sir Henry Le Geyt Bruce KCB, a Victorian Knight of 1 East Cliff, Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on September 4, 2011

From left to right, an early morning view of 1 East Cliff and 2 East Cliff located near Henry VIII's Mote’s Bulwark on the White Cliffs of Dover below Dover Castle.

This post-sunrise photo, best viewed in a larger size, was taken from the seafront promenade above the pebble-strewn beach of Dover Harbour at 6.19 am on Monday, 22nd of August, 2011, while on my morning cycle ride (1).

East Cliff road (Marine Parade side) is on the far side of the iron railings. In the immediate foreground at bottom-left is the Townwall Street section of the A20 dual carraigeway that runs from the York Street Roundabout (out-of-shot to the left) to the Eastern Docks (the cross-channel ferry terminal, to the right).

The photo of Charles Lightoller of the RMS Titanic and 8 East Cliff was also taken on this day (Lightoller was the most senior officer to survive the 1912 iceberg disaster).

Number 1 East Cliff is a Georgian (2) house to which a Victorian 2-storey verandah has been added (along with a Victorian letter box set into the far side of the small garden area on the left).

This Grade II Dover Listed Building (see below) was once home to Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Le Geyt Bruce, a Knight Commander of the Bath, a British order of chivalry founded by George I on the 18th of May 1725.

Brief Biography (3) (4)

Henry Le Geyt Bruce was born in 1824, educated at King's School Canterbury, and entered the Bengal Artillery in 1842. He painted, "A distant view of Rawalpindi (Punjab)" c. 1846 (watercolour; photo not yet available - see later comments). Henry Le Geyt Bruce served in:

The Gwalior campaign, at Maharajpiu: in the Satlaj campaign, 1845-1846: at Badiwal, Aliwal, Sobraon: in the Panjab campaign, 1848-1849; at Sadulapur, Chilianwala, Gujarat : in the Indian mutiny (Indian rebellion) at the second relief of Lucknow, at Cawnpur and many engagements.

The War Office in Pall Mall announced in the Supplement to the London Gazette of March 24th, 1858 (5), that "Captain Henry Le Geyt Bruce, Bengal Artillery" had been promoted to Brevet Major as of that date; the listing was also published in The Edinburgh Gazette on March 26th, 1858.

According to the 1920 edition of "Who was who: a companion to Who's who", Henry Le Geyt Bruce married Alice, daughter of a certain Doctor Chalmers, in 1863.

By 1872, Henry Le Geyt Bruce was a Lieutenant-Colonel and had transferred to the Royal Artillery following the post-Indian Mutiny reorganisation of the Bengal Army. News of his promotion to full Colonel appeared in the The London Gazette on August 6th, 1872 (6):

ROYAL ARTILLERY

Lieutenant Colonels to be Colonels:

Brevet Colonel Henry Le Geyt Bruce (late Bengal). Dated 1st August, 1872.

A number of sources state that Henry Le Geyt Bruce became a Companion to the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 1874. However, it wasn't announced by the War Office in the Supplement to the London Gazette until Friday, May 28th, 1875 (7), taking effect the following day:

War Office, May 29th, 1875. The Queen (Queen Victoria) has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday (24th of May) to give orders for the following promotions in; and appointments to, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath:

...To be Ordinary Members of the Military Division of the Third Class, or Companions of the said Most Honourable Order; viz.:-

...Colonel Henry Le Geyt Bruce, Royal (late Bengal) Artillery.

In 1878, Henry Le Geyt Bruce, now a Major-General, retired from the British Army. The announcement appeared in the The London Gazette on January 14th, 1879 (8):

BREVET

The undermentioned Officers who retire upon full-pay pensions with extra annuities to have a step of honorary rank :-

To be Lieutenant-Generals:

...Major-General Henry Le Geyt Bruce C.B., Royal (late Bengal) Artillery. Dated 31st December, 1878.

The earliest internet entry yet found for Henry Le Geyt Bruce living at 1 East Cliff is listed in The Lifeboat journal of 1883 (9):

Lieut.-General Bruce, C.B., 1 East Cliff, Dover.

On the 22nd of June 1897, Henry Le Geyt Bruce's promotion to Knight Commander (K.C.B.) of the Order of the Bath was announced in the Diamond Jubilee Honours for the British Empire list (celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 20th June, 1897).

Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Le Geyt Bruce KCB, a member of the East India United Service Club (East India Club), died at 1 East Cliff on April 15th, 1899.

Remarks

Even though the foregoing only attempts to describe the bare outline of a life, I can't help feeling there's something important missing: why did Sir Henry receive such recognition? did social standing play a part? valour upon the field of battle? or was it sheer military professionalism? Unfortunately, I don't have the time to delve further - maybe the above will pique the interest of someone who has more time!

Finally, there is an entry on the Dover War Memorial for "Bruce, H. K." (First World War) (10):

Harry Kendall Walpole Bruce was an Indian Major, in the 2nd King Edward's Own Gurkha Rifles (Sirmoor Rifles). He was 37 when he died on 1st February 1917, and is buried at Amara in Iraq. He was the son of Lieutenant General Le Geyt Bruce, KCB, and Lady Bruce.

Notes

The King's School Canterbury

The King’s School Canterbury is a British co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils in the historic English cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group.

The school originated as a medieval cathedral school, and it is often claimed (e.g. by the historian Arthur Leach in a letter to The Times in 1896, and in the Guinness Book of Records) to have been founded in AD 597 by St. Augustine, therefore making it the world's oldest extant school. This is based on the fact that St. Augustine founded an abbey (within the current school's grounds) where it is known that teaching took place. When the dissolution of the monasteries occurred in the reign of Henry VIII, the school was refounded as The King's School, Canterbury.

Alumni (Old King’s Scholars (OKS)): Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (Egypt).

The Bengal Army

The Bengal Army was the army of the Presidency of Bengal, one of the three Presidencies of British India, in South Asia. Although based in Bengal in eastern India, the presidency stretched across northern India and the Himalayas all the way to the North West Frontier Province (now the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa). The Bengal Army included some of the most famous units in India: Skinner's Horse from Bengal, the Gurkhas from the Himalayas and the Corps of Guides on the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The Presidency armies, like the presidencies themselves, belonged to the East India Company until the Government of India Act 1858 (passed in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857) transferred all three presidencies to the direct authority of the British Crown.

The Bengali presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the 1857 rebellion.

In 1903 all three presidency armies were merged into the Indian Army.

The Bengal Artillery

The Bengal Artillery, part of the Bengal Army, consisted of:

Bengal Horse Artillery

Bengal European Foot Artillery

Bengal Native Foot Artillery

Punjab Horse Artillery, Punjab Irregular Force

The Bengal Artillery were the first artillery in India to be tractor drawn.

All sepoy artillery units were abolished after the Indian Mutiny and the European battalions became part of the Royal Artillery. In 1862 the Bengal Artillery was absorbed into the Royal Artillery as the 16th, 19th, 24th and 25th Brigades.

Indian Rebellion of 1857

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858.

Also see the captions to:

Indian Mutiny Memorial, Charles Dickens, Roman Empire, Dover

Victorian Norman Street and Dover College Medieval Refectory near Sunset, Dover

NB The rebellion is also known as India's First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion, and the Sepoy Mutiny.

Order of the Bath

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly The Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath.

George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not (as is often stated) revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently HRH The Prince of Wales), and three Classes of members.

Geology

The White Cliffs of Dover are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths. Flint and quartz are also found in the chalk.

The Georgian I East Cliff is a Grade II Listed Building group (11).

The following extracts are © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence (PSI licence number C2010002016):

List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

Name: No name for this Entry

List Entry Number: 1363215

Location

1, EAST CLIFF

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Dover

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Dover

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 28th of November, 1990

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 177855

Asset Groupings

This List entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List Entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The following buildings shall be added to the list:-

TR 3241 DOVER EAST CLIFF

1/96 No 1

GV II

House. Circa 1830-1840 with later C19 (19th Century) 2-storey verandah and bays to side elevation. Mainly yellow brick with some weatherboarding to rear and hipped slate roof. 3-storeys attic and semi-basement; 5 windows. Front elevation has 2 6-pane sash dormers 4 9-pane sashes to 2nd floor and French windows with marginal glazing. 1st floor has 4 full height 20-pane sashes and 1 French window with marginal glazing.

Ground floor has 2 12-pane sashes, 2 French windows with marginal glazing and a 4 panelled door 2-storey late C19 elaborate wooden balcony probably replacing an earlier one as first floor windows are full height. 1st floor of balcony has 3 segmental arched glazed units and 2 bays of sunray pattern with chinoiserie balcony. This pattern is repeated on the ground floor.

The left side elevation has a 4-light 2-storey canted bay. The rear elevation is cantilevered out of 6 iron posts to the ground floor. Above is C20 (20th Century) weatherboarding. Mainly 12-pane sashes but one is 6-pane. Ground floor has 2 12-pane sashes, 1 sash with verticals only and early C19 doorcase with semi-circular fanlight having decorative glazing, 2 panelled door and footscraper.

Listing NGR: TR3265941508

Selected Sources

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

National Grid Reference: TR 32659 41508

End of Listed Building Entry

(1) Two laps of Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard).

(2) From the wikipedia entry for Georgian architecture:

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover - George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United Kingdom, and George IV of the United Kingdom - who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. (Wikipedia)

(3) Dictionary of Indian Biography, by C. E. Buckland, C.I.E (Indian Civil Service, retired). First published in 1906.

(4) Who was who: a companion to Who’s who, containing the biographies of those who died during the period 1897-1916

(5) Supplement to the London Gazette , March 24th, 1858

(6) The London Gazette, August 6th, 1872

(7) Supplement to the London Gazette, Friday, May 28th, for Saturday, May 29th,1875 (1) and Supplement to the London Gazette, Friday, May 28th, for Saturday, May 29th,1875 (2)

(8) The London Gazette, January 14th, 1879

(9) The Life Boat, or journal of the National Lifeboat Institution (now Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RNLI)

(10) Dover War Memorial: World War I, Surnames B, Part 3

(11) Source: English Heritage. Designation: Grade II: buildings that are "nationally important and of special interest". Click to see photos of all Dover English Heritage sites.

A Dover British Army Royal Artillery history photo.

An Urban Dover and Dover Listed Building photo.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on February 16, 2013

Views of the road behind East Cliff Marine Parade can be seen at:

The Houses of East Cliff below Dover Castle

And:

The Houses of East Cliff below Dover Castle under Snow

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 28, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/22 06:19:15
    • Exposure: 0.006s (1/160)
    • Focal Length: 35.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/6.300
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: -0.30 EV
    • No flash

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