Banbury, W E (1863–1927) Brigadier-General
GOC Infantry Brigade CMG
Indian Army

sherwood foresters regtWalter Edward Banbury had ceased to be employed by the Indian Army on 1 February 1914 and was out of a job. He was 50. But the outbreak of the European War brought about a dramatic change in his professional fortunes. The New Armies rallying to Kitchener's call to arms desperately needed officers, from whatever source. Banbury offered his services and by the beginning of September found himself CO 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.

As an Indian Army officer and a 'dugout' Banbury was labouring under two disadvantages that, singly, usually proved fatal to professional advancement in the BEF. But Banbury bucked the trend. He commanded 10th Sherwoods, in 51st Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division, until July 1916, when he was given a brigade. He commanded 61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division, until March 1918, serving under two able and demanding divisional commanders, William Douglas Smith and Torquhil Matheson.

By the spring of 1918 he was 55 and had been a brigade commander for nearly two years. The recently appointed CIGS, Sir Henry Wilson, had a deliberate policy of replacing older officers and Banbury went the way of many others at this time. Even so, his had been a surprising and unusual career.

Dr John Bourne

 

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