|Bonham||Walter Floyd||Captain||BONHAM, WALTER FLOYD, Captain, was born 3 January 1869, eldest son of Edward Bonham. He was educated at Charterhouse, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; graduated 1899, and was gazetted to the Essex Regiment 24 April, 1889, becoming Lieutenant 16 September 1891. He served in South Africa, 1899-1902. On attachment to the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment he had fought at the battle of Colenso, 12 December 1899. Cut-off in a donga close to the abandoned guns of the 66th Battery with his commanding officer, some gunners and other Devons during the heavy fighting, he was taken prisoner-of-war by the Boers. He was imprisoned in the State Model School, Pretoria, along with other captured officers (including Winston Churchill). After his release he was appointed Assistant Provost Marshal, Pretoria, in July 1900, serving under the Military Governor, General Maxwell and Provost Marshal , Major R M Poore, DSO. Twice mentioned in despatches, he was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 26 June, 1902]: "Walter Floyd Bonham, Captain, Essex Regiment. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa". The Insignia were presented to Captain Bonham by the King 18 December 1902. He served as Assistant Provost Marshal at Pretoria, 1900-02, and was involved the raising of the National Scouts and Bushveldt Carbineers and also the investigations into Lieutenants ‘Breaker' Morant and Peter Handcock in 1901 which led to their court-martials and executions. When the Somaliland Burgher Corps was raised by Lieutenant-Colonel Kenna, VC, Captain Bonham became the Commanding Officer and in August 1903 was awarded the brevet of Major. Bonham was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in July 1904 and appointed Militatry Attache at the British Embassy in Paris. However, his promising diplomatic career was cut short when he died at Argeles in the Pyrenees on 15 May 1905.|
DSO VR, QSA (4) CC OFS RofL Tr (Capt, Essex Rgt), KSA (2) (Cpt, DSO, Essex Rgt), AGS (1) Somaliland 1902-4 (Bt Major, DSO, Essex Regt). City Coins Jun 04 R65,000. DNW Sep 06 £5,500.
Major Walter Floyd Bonham was awarded the DSO for his service as the Assistant Provost Marshal at Pretoria 1900-2. duties which involved the raising of the National Scouts and Bushveldt Carbineers, and also the investigations into Lieutenants "Breaker" Morant. and Peter Handcock in 1901 that led to their court-martials and executions. DSO LG 26 Feb 1902. MID 8 Feb 1901 and 10 Sep 1901. In 1903, he commanded with distinction the Boer Contingent in the Somaliland Campaign - the Somaliland Burgher Corps, a hybrid mix of former National Scouls, Boers who had signed the oath of allegiance and some British, some serving under assumed names. Already a DSO. and in the pre-WW1 days before it was possible to get a bar lo the DSO, he was awarded the Brevet of Major and MID for his services in Somaliland (Bt Major dated 8 Aug 1904, MID LG 2 Sep 1904. Bonham was born in 1869. the son of the British Consul at Calais, and educated at Charterhouse School. He was commissioned into the Essex Regiment in April 1889. promoted to Lieutenant in September 1891 and Captain in January 1900. Obviously destined for great things, he attended and passed Staff College in 1899. He was also one of the few Army officers who qualified as both French and German interpreter. At the beginning of the Boer War he was attached to the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment and fought at the Battle of Colenso on 12 December 1899. Cut-off in a donga close to the abandoned guns of the 66th Battery with his Commanding Officer, some gunners and other Devons during the heavy fighting, he was taken POW by the Boers. He was imprisoned in the State Model School, Pretoria, along with other captured officers, including Winston Churchill. After his release, he was appointed Assistant Provost Marshal, Pretoria, in July 1900, serving under the Military Governor Pretoria, General Maxwell, and the Provost Marshal, the renowned Major R M Poore DSO. This was a tense time for the newly-captured capital, and the Provost Marshal's office was soon involved in the Cordua plot. When Lord Kitchener took over command from Lord Roberts, the Provost Marshal's department became part of his staff. As is well recorded (not least in Bill Woolmore's recent "The Bushveldt Carbineers") the Provost Marshals department was very involved in the raising of the Bushveldt Carbineers for service in the Northern Transvaal. It was also involved in the raising of the National Scouts. It was also heavily involved in the investigations into the Bushveldt Carbineers that led to the arrests and trials of the officers. Captain Bonham took the depositions of the troopers who took part in the actions resulting in the deaths of Rev Heese, Visser, the 'Eight' and 'Three' Boers (see Arthur Davey, Breaker Morant and the Bushveldt Carbineers). When the Somaliland Burgher Corps was raised by Lt Col Kenna, VC, Captain Bonham became the Commanding Officer. The late Don Forsyth wrote a fascinating article on this first South African unit to fight overseas in the "Journal of the Military Medal Society of South Africa ". Bonham was promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 13 July 1904 and appointed Military Attached at the British Embassy in Paris. However, his promising career was cut short when he died at Argeles in the Pyrenees on 15 May 1905.
Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book)