World War II British Courier’s Passport – Charles Bonham-Carter

issued to Major D. R. H. Gwynne, Rifle Brigade, by H.M. Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta, signed ‘Charles Bonham-Carter’, and dated The Palace, Malta, 30 August 1939. A British Courier´s passport is one of the most rare documents a collector can find for his collection and this one is even more special as just issued one day before WWII.

uk-couriers-passport-1939

D. R. H. Gwynne, was educated at Eton and was Commissioned Second Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade, on 21 August 1918. He served during operations in Iraq in 1920 (entitled to General Service Medal with clasp for Iraq), and was promoted Lieutenant on 21 February 1920, and Captain on 1 November 1932. He was appointed Assistant Military Secretary, Malta, on 1 September 1935, and was promoted Major on 1 August 1938. He served with the Rifle Brigade during the Second World War, and was promoted temporary Lieutenant-Colonel on 3 June 1942.

Charles Bonham-Carter was born in Kensington, London, on 25 February 1876, and was educated at Cigton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment in 1896 and saw active service in the Boer War. He held a number of staff posts in France during the Great War, and was was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the French Legion of Honor, and the American Distinguished Service Medal, and was five times mentioned in Despatches. In 1919 he was created a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

After the Great War Bonham-Carter served in Turkey and India, and in 1927 became Director of Staff Duties. In 1931 he moved to become General Officer Commanding the 4th Division in Colchester. In 1933 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and became Director-General of the Territorial Army until 1936.

In 1936 Bonham-Carter was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta. He was a strong supporter of the need to defend the islands after War was declared in 1939, but by mid-1940 he had become ill, and had to resign his post on 11 October 1940. Created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1941, he died at home in Petersfield, Hampshire on 21 October 1955. His son, Victor, became a novelist of some renown, and his great-niece is Helena Bonham Carter, the actress.

-World War II British Courier’s Passport, Charles Bonham-Carter-