Charles Bonham-Carter

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Sir Charles Bonham-Carter
Born (1876-02-25)25 February 1876
Kensington, London, England
Died 21 October 1955(1955-10-21) (aged 79)
Petersfield, Hampshire, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1896–1940
Rank General
Unit Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Commands held Territorial Army (1933–36)
4th Infantry Division (1931–33)
129th Infantry Brigade (1921–24)
2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers (1919–21)
Battles/wars Second Boer War
First World War
Second World War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
Legion of Honour (France)
Other work Governor of Malta (1936–40)

General Sir Charles Bonham-Carter, GCB, CMG, DSO (25 February 1876 – 21 October 1955) was a British Army officer and later Governor of Malta.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bonham-Carter was born on 25 February 1876 in Kensington, London, the ninth of eleven children of Henry and Sibella Charlotte Bonham-Carter. His father was a director of an insurance company. He was educated at Clifton College[2] near Bristol and then the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[1]


Bonham-Carter joined the British Army in 1896 and saw active service in the Second Boer War. He went to the British Army Staff College in Camberley and joined the British Expeditionary Force to France as a regimental officer. He held a number of staff posts in France and between 1917 and 1918 he was Brigadier General Staff (Training) at the General Headquarters, despite opposition he started programmes to train the men in general and vocational subjects. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the American Distinguished Service Medal for his work and was mentioned in dispatches five times.[1]

After the First World 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.[1]


In 1936 Bonham-Carter was appointed Governor and Commander in Chief of Malta following the death of General Sir David Campbell. It was a time of political unrest on the island and a constitutional body was formed to find a more representative form of self-government, the earlier constitution having been suspended. The subsequent changes overseen by Bonham-Carter was to create something more representative and acceptable to the population. Although a strong supporter of the need to defend the islands after war was declared in 1939, by October 1940 he had become ill and had to resign his post, effective 11 October 1940.[1][3]

He was appointed Colonel of The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment in 1936, a post he held until 1946.[4]


Bonham-Carter took a number of posts in retirement including chairman of the Royal School, Bath, chairman of the Royal School for Soldier's Daughters in Hampstead. He was also a governor of his old school Clifton College. He died at home in Petersfield, Hampshire, on 21 October 1955.[1]


Bonham-Carter married first, at Drogheda on 22 February 1902, Gladys Beryl Coddington, daughter of Colonel Arthur Blayney Coddington, and they had two sons. Following a divorce in 1909 he married Gabrielle Madge Jeanette Fisher in 1911 and they had a son, Victor Bonham-Carter.[1][5] His brothers included Sir Edgar Bonham Carter and Sir Maurice Bonham Carter, the latter of whom is the grandfather of actress Helena Bonham Carter.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Sir Charles Bonham-Carter Former Governor Of Malta". Obituaries. The Times (53558). London. 22 October 1955. col A, p. 9. 
  2. ^ "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p156: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  3. ^ "No. 34968". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 October 1940. p. 5993. 
  4. ^ "The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2018. 
  5. ^ Obituary of Victor Bonham Carter, The Independent, 28 March 2007. Retrieved on 14 April 2011.
  6. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette 17 July 1917 page 1365
  7. ^ "No. 31451". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 July 1919. p. 8937. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Archibald Cameron
GOC 4th Division
Succeeded by
John Brind
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir David Campbell
Governor-General of Malta
Succeeded by
Sir William Dobbie