John Bruce
Sarah Austin
Lieutenant Colonel William Francis Patrick Napier
Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare
Norah Creina Blanche Napier
Charles Granville Bruce


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Finetta Madelina Julia Campbell

Charles Granville Bruce 18,22,410

  • Born: 7 April 1866, Kensington, London
  • Marriage: Finetta Madelina Julia Campbell on 9 December 1894
  • Died: 12 July 1939, 27 St. Mary Abbot's Terrace, London aged 73 13

bullet  General Notes:

From The Times, July 13, 1939

Bridadier-General the Hon. Charles Granville Bruce, C.B., M.V.O., died
yesterday at St. Mary Abbot's Terrace, W.14, at the age of 73. He was
best known to popular fame as the leader of the expedition which
attempted the conquest of Mount Everest in 1922; but that was only the
culminating event of a lifelong devotion to soldiering and
mountaineering. As a climber and explorer he had unrivalled knowledge
of the Himalayas, under whose shadow practically the whole of his
military career was passed. It was not perhaps generally realized how
closely his reputation as a mountaineer was wrapped up with his
experience as a soldier, and how skilfully he utilized each in the
service of the other. In the Indian Army he will be remembered as the
originator and trainer of scout companies for hill warfare.
General Bruce was a son of the first Baron Aberdare by his second
marriage. On his mother's side he was a grandson of General Sir
William Napier, the historian of the Peninsular War. At the time of
his birth, on April 7, 1866, his father was still Mr. Henry Austin
Bruce, M.P., a Welsh landowner and a rising Liberal statesman, who was
shortly to become Home Secretary in Mr. Gladstone's first Cabinet.
"Charlie" Bruce, as he was known among his friends, had no political
amibitions, but there was developed in him very strongly the interest
in exploring enterprise and Imperial expansion. Educated for the
Army, he found a life exactly to his liking in the work and play of
soldiering on the Indian border. Soon after his appointment to the
Indian Army he was ordered to join the 1/5 th Gurkhas, and he remained
an officer of that battalion for over 20 years. In 1891, on his way
back from home leave, he stopped at Turin to study the equipment of
the Italian mountain troops, and subsequently obtained permission to
start a special course in training hill scouting for picked men in his
own regiment. Incidentally he instituted the Gurkha Brigade Hill
Race, an annual event which provoked keen competition. The value of
the scout training was put to the test in the Tirah Expedition of 1897
- 98. Just at first a little difficulty was experienced because the
Gurkhas, in their tight-fitting breeches, could not get over the steep
ground as quickly as the Afridis in their looser garments; but Bruce
soon overcame that drawback by bidding that Gurkhas cut their breeches
short above the knees - an improvisation out of which subsequently
developed the regulation "shorts". A scout company soon became a
recognized part of an Indian Army battalion, and the training camps
under Bruce were attended by officers and men from all parts. In
1910, when he was home on leave, he was invited by the War Office to
train a number of staff college and other officers in his methods on
the slopes of Snowdon. He was made M.V.O. in 1903.
From his boyhood days in Wales General Bruce took delight in mountain
climbing, and the Himalayas opened up to him an unending source of
pleasure. For the most part he did not aim at the ascent of
particularly big peaks. He was no record-breaking zealot; the topmost
heights were not always calling to him. Anything above 20,000ft. he
ranked as first class - and unpleasant! Above that height lay
achievement, but for enjoyment he preferred climbing among second and
third raters. So he used to say, and so perhaps it was; but he was
certainly not indifferent to the lure of "achievement". More than
once he went out of his way to secure a share in the attack on one of
the giant peaks. In 1892 he was associated with Sir Martin Conway's
expedition to the Karakoram Himalayas-the first purely climbing
expedition in the Himalayas which was fitted out on scientific
principles. The following year found him suggesting to Captain
(afterwards Sir Francis) Younhusband that they should organize an
expedition whose final objective would be the top of Mount Everest.
In 1895 he obtained special leave to join Mr. Mummery and Professor
Norman Collie in their expedition against Nanga Parbat, and took part
in their earlier climbs, though his leave expired before the mountain
claimed the lives of Mr. Mummery and a young Gurkha. Ten years later
he was in Nepal, trying to pave the way for an expedition through that
country to Mount Everest. Permission being withheld just as it seemed
within his grasp, he and his intended companions in the enterprise,
Dr. T.G. Longstaff and Mr. A.L. Mumm, went off in 1907 to Garhwal. He
himself was prevented by an abscess on the knee from taking part in
the final triumph, the ascent of Mount Trisul (23,360ft.), but one of
the Gurkhas whom he had trained was a member of the successful party.
These various expeditions, and his less ambitious tours when he was
not tackling "unpleasant" heights, took him into almost every main
section of the Himalayas, and gained for him in 1915 the Gill Memorial
Prize of the Royal Geographical Society.
When the War broke out Bruce was in command of the 1/6th Gurkhas. He
served with his regiment first in Egypt and then in Gallipoli, where
he was severely wounded in both legs. After 10 months in hospital he
returned to India, and in August, 1916, he was appointed to the
command of the independent Bannu Brigade. In 1917-18 he was G.O.C. of
the North Waziristan Field Force, and in the latter year was made C.B.
In 1919 he served with his brigade for the last time in the Afghan War
of that year. He retired in the following year and took up a post at
home as secretary to the Glamorganshire Territorial Association, just
before the persistency of Sir Francis Younghusband, then President of
the Royal Geographical Society, secured through the Government of
India the consent of the Tibetans to an expedition to Mount Everest.
The leadership of a preliminary expedition which was dispatched to
reconnoitre the approaches to Mount Everest in 1921 was entrusted to
Colonel Howard-Bury, but General Bruce obtained leave absence to
command the second expedition, which set out with the definite object
of climbing the mountain in 1922.
In spite of his years (he celebrated his fifty-sixth birthday while
the expedition was in progress), there was no question in the minds of
the Mount Everest Committee, which organized the expedition on behalf
of the Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club, that Bruce was
the man for the position. With him originated the idea of a corps of
porters specially enlisted from among the hardiest men on the
North-East Frontier for the purpose of carrying camps to high
altitudes. He himself superintended operations from the base camp at
the snout of the Rongbuk Glacier (16,500ft.), and, though he attempted
no "record" climbs, by common consent, he had his full share as leader
in the triumphs of the expedition, whose "assaulting" parties advanced
to 27,235ft., i.e., within 1,800ft. of the summit.
On his return home General Bruce resigned his Territorial appointment.
Mountaineers were keen to complete the conquest of the giant peak, and
Bruce was again the leader when an expedition went out to India and
Tibet to make the attempt in 1924. Again he threw all the ardour and
vigour of his personality into the local preparations, but on the way
to base camp he had a severe attack of malaria, and, acting on medical
advice, he handed over the command to Colonel Norton. He was elected
president of the Alpine Club, and it was in that capacity that he
shared in the welcome to the returning members of the expedition at a
great meeting in the Albert Hall in October, 1924-a welcome
overshadowed by the absence of Mallory and Irvine, who, after Norton
had reached 28,000ft., lost their lives in final assault on the
Whether or not they reached the top no one knew. For several years
the Tibetans were averse from another expedition, but the Mount
Everest Committee remained in existence, and when eventually in 1932
the ban was removed General Bruce took a prominent part in the
organization of an expedition to the climb Mount Everest in 1933. The
story of his mountaineering experiences is told in the books which he
published from time to time: "Twenty Years in the Himalaya" (1910);
"Kulu and Lahoul" (1914); "The Assault on Mount Everest" (1922, 1923);
and "Himalayan Wanderer" (1934).
Endowed with a jovial disposition and burly frame, General Bruce
possessed exceptional physical strength and powers of endurance. It
has been said of him that he climber from sheer exuberance of spirits.
Apart from his long and varied experience of Himalayan travel, he had
a wonderful knowledge of the chief languages spoken by the hill
tribes, and the qualities which enabled him to command the devotion of
his Gurkhas were no less successful in winning for him the good will
and loyal service of the peoples among whom his mountaineering
expeditions led him. He will be mourned not only by his friends of
his own race, but by the little brown soldiers among whom his name has
already become a tradition, and in many a village among the Himalayas
where he is remembered as "a Great Sahib".
He married in 1894 a daughter of the Colonel Sir E. F. Campbell. She
died in June, 1932. There was no issue of the marriage.
Educated at Harrow School and Repton School. 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. Mountaineer.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

1. He appeared on the census in 1871 in 1 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London.

2. Resided: 12 July 1939, 27 St. Mary Abbot's Terrace, London. 13

3. He had an estate probated on 13 September 1939 in London. 13


Charles married Finetta Madelina Julia Campbell, daughter of Sir Edward Fitzgerald Campbell and Unknown, on 9 December 1894. (Finetta Madelina Julia Campbell was born in 1866 and died on 16 June 1932 in St. Thomas Home, Westminster, London 13.)

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