1890 Nov 10. Born Cheltenham
1901 Census at Abbeyholme, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
1906 Jan. He attended Cheltenham College from January 1906 to December 1908 where he played on the Football XV in 1908.
1908 Dec He left Cheltenham College
1910 Apr 20. The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets, from The Royal Military College, to be Second Lieutenants. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, Ewen Cameron Bruce, vice C. A. Macalister, seconded
1910 Oct 26. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, Second Lieutenant Ewen C. Bruce resigns his Commission.
1910 Nov 25. Sails from UK to Colombo, Ceylon on SS MIYAZAKI MARU
1911 census presumably in Ceylon. I cannot find him
1914 Aug . Ewen Cameron Bruce enlisted in the North Somerset Yeomanry, and was commissioned in September 1914.
1915 Mar 25. Obtains a pilot's licence.
1915 Feb 20. Cheltenham Looker. February 16th, at the Chapel Royal, Savoy, Ewan Cameron Bruce, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, attached Royal Flying Corps, youngest son of the late Alan Cameron Bruce-Pryce, formerly of Duffryn, St Nicholas, Glamorganshire, and of Abbeyholme, Cheltenham, to Eugenie Mary Alice, elder daughter of the late Guy Francis Thomas Power, I.C.S, and of Mrs Power, of 1, Delabere, Cheltenham.
He went to France with the Tank Corps in 1916, and was awarded the M.C. at Messines in 1917.
He was wounded five times, and lost his left arm in July 1917 in France?
1917 May 25 MID Gazetted
1917 Sep T./Lt. Ewen Cameron Bruce, M.G. Corps. Awarded Military Cross. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in salving tanks under heavy shell fire. He repaired and brought in two tanks which had been abandoned in full view of the enemy. By his energy, resource and courage he has salved many other apparently hopeless tanks, to the value of many thousands of pounds, and his personal example under shell fire and under most difficult conditions has raised the standard of salvage to a very high pitch.
1917 Nov 17 . Tank Corps. The undermentioned to be temp. Capt. Temp. Lt. E. C. Bruce, M.C.
1917 Nov 15. Temp. Lt. E. C. Bruce, M.C., to be actg. Maj. while comdg. a Salvage Co.
1918 He was gassed in 1918
1918 Oct 19. The undermentioned to be temp. Majs.: Temp. Capt. (actg. Maj.) E. C. Bruce, M.C
1918 Nov 19 E C Bruce, a 28 year old army officer arrives in Victoria, Vancouver, Canada from Yokohama, Japan on SS Empress of Japan
1919. May. Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class. Temporary Major Ewen Cameron Bruce, M C., Tank Corps. He received the order of the Rising Sun for military work in Japan, presumably in autumn 1918
1919 May 2. Tank Corps. Temp. Maj. E. C. Bruce, M.C., to be an Instr. 2 May 1919
1919 May. A single British manned tank under Major Bruce achieved the capture of Tsaritsin, later called Stalingrad, now known as Volgograd. He was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir and the Cross of St. George for conspicuous conduct in Russia. He was reported to have been mentioned three times in dispatches. Again neither verified
The Tanks, The History of the Royal Tank Regiment and its predecessors Heavy Branch Machine-Gun Corps, Tank Corps & Royal Tank Corps 1914-1945, Volume One 1914-1919"; by Captain B.H. Liddell Hart.
Three small tank detachments were dispatched to aid the 'White' Russian forces that were trying, very ineffectually, to overthrow the Bolshevik regime. Machines were available, but the difficulty was to find men for them, as the call was confined to those who volunteered. The first detachment was sent to join General Dennison's forces in South Russia. Major N. Comming with ten other officers and fifty-five other ranks sailed from France in March and disembarked at Batum, on the Black Sea, on April 13. A shipment of six Mark V and six Whippet tanks followed, under Captain R. W. Walsh. The combined detachment, under Major E. M. Bruce, was then moved to Katherine, in the Kuban peninsula, where it established a school and started to train Russian personnel - a heart-breaking attempt, as the latter showed little mechanical sense and even less will to fight. Their opponents were not much better, however, and the advent of a handful of tanks had a terrific effect. When a few of them first went into action, on May 8 and 10, the mere sight of the tanks threw the enemy's ranks into confusion and he fled, panic-stricken, abandoning rifles, ammunition, and clothing.
Dennison's placed a force of thirty cavalry regiments under General Wrangle for an advance on Tsaritsin. After being twice repulsed, Wrangle decided to wait for reinforcements. An infantry division was sent up, and also six tanks - three Mark Vs and three Whippets. One of the Mark Vs was manned by a British crew, under Captain Walsh - this was done on Bruce's initiative, contrary to War Office instructions that the British personnel were only to train Russians, and not to take part in fighting.
1919 Jun 29. The third advance on Tsaritsin was launched. It opened with the advance of the tanks - now reduced to four by the breakdown of two of the Russian-manned ones. The remaining two Mark Vs burst through the wire entanglements and crossed the outer trench line, whereupon the defenders bolted. Walsh's Mark V, after sweeping a wide stretch of the line, drove north to the edge of the inner trench line - while three Russian-manned machines cruised in the offing, and the Russian cavalry came forward to occupy the conquered ground. As no petrol had come up, there was now a pause. Two days later, sufficient petrol was collected to fill the one British-manned tank. Bruce took command of it himself, and drove into Tsaritsin, the defenders surrendering or fleeing northward. The Russian cavalry were useful in rounding up the prisoners - of whom, according to Wrangle, a total of 40,000 were taken. But the fall of that now historic city was due to the determined advance of seven Britons in one tank. It may well rank as one of the most remarkable feats in the whole story of the Tank Corps.
1919 Jun 29 (Gazetted 1920 Apr 23) His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the following immediate awards for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in South Russia: Distinguished Service Order. T./Ma. Ewen Cameron Bruce, M.C., Tank Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 29th June, 1919, when in command of a British Tank Corps Detachment operating against Tsaritsin. He went up in an aeroplane for reconnaissance purposes in connection with operations to be undertaken next day and shot down an enemy observation balloon, thereby preventing the discovery of the Tank Concentration by the enemy. On the 30th June he led his Tank Detachment with skill and gallantry under heavy fire, and later, when he found that the enemy were counter-attacking the right flank, he personally led three tanks into action and destroyed the counter-attack. He was largely responsible for the success of the operation, and his gallant conduct was an excellent example to the British and to the Russian Tank Corps.
1919 Aug 24. His appointment as an instructor in Tank Corps ends. I take this to mean he returns from Russia
1919 Dec 12. He was invalided out of the Service as unfit. Temp. Maj. E. C. Bruce, M.C., relinquishes his commission on account of illhealth contracted on active service, and retains the rank of Maj.
1920 Aug 3. Major E.C. Bruce was accepted into the ADRIC with Auxiliary No. 154 and R.I.C. No. 72351. He was appointed Platoon Commander of No. 3 Platoon in "A" Company, at the Curragh Army Camp in Co. Kildare. In September 1920, he moved with "A" Company when it was posted to Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny and took over Woodstock House as their Headquarters.
1920 Sep11. Bruce takes part in the Kilkenny Mail Bag robbery, and "official" raid under Major Tottenham, chief ADRIC Intelligence Officer at that time. In his second appeal against his conviction for theft he said "I believe that Mr Tottenham had worked on the fears of the authorities by saying that I had told him that "it seemed a damned dirty game" when I found him writing "Censored by IRA" on the envelopes [picked up in Kilkenny mail robbery by Auxiliaries] and his pointing out that I left the force a few days later and was the only person outside the force who knew the story of the raid. Now it is romoured that a large sum of money, between £700 and £1100 was missing when the mailbags were returned and I knew in whose hands they were in from the time the seals were broken until they were returned" Crozier was later to clam that this raid was not sanctioned by either him nor the A Coy commander, Col Kirkwood. A party of ADRIC disguised themselves as IRA Volunteers, bound and gagged the sorters, and took the mail bags back to A Coy base at Innistiogue for examination. An unknown amount of money appears to have ben stolen and some mail returned and some dumped in a river. Leeson in "Black & Tans" notes that Tottenham was ADRIC Chief Intelligence Officer at that time.
Shortly afterwards Major E.C. Bruce was accused of assaulting a civilian and forced to resign. According to Brig. General Crozier, the Commanding Officer of the Auxiliary Division, " I dismissed him as unsuitable for the Auxiliary Division, for striking a civilian without cause".
A witness Statement from Tim Hennessy Battalion Comdt Witness Statment 1614, shows that certainly he was assaulted by Bruce, but in the context of what was happening everyday in Ireland, this was not out of the ordinary
Bruce apparently was accompanied by a Major Alexander on the day that the beating took place, and Alexander sent Bruce away, warned Hennessy and released him. I have to establish who this Major Alexander actually was. From his questioning of Hennessy he seems to be army rather than ADRIC.
1920 Oct 10. He and his nephew Temp. Cadet A E T Bruce, hired a car and drove to Thomastown then on to a creamery where they, in the company of a Lt Cooper and Sgt Blake of the Devonshire Regt, proceeded to rob the creamery at gunpoint at Kells and got away with £75 pounds.
The two of them went inside the Creamery when they arrived, held up the manager John Power, and robbed he safe. The other two remained outside.
1920 Oct 19 Bruce flees Ireland
1920 Oct 21. Major Bruce was arrested Cheltenham. Convicted of robbing £75 from a creamery and imprisoned.The two soldiers had nothing to do with the robbery and gave evidence in the trial.
1920 Nov 11. Questions asked in Parliament about military censorship of the trial.
1920 Dec 22. Court martialed at Waterford.
At the trial the Creamery manager Power admitted to an alarming array of deficiencies with his book keeping - he deposited his own money in the safe, he made cash advances to customers that were not on the books, he in fact also admitted that he borrowed money himself from the safe, and further admitted that he did not know how much money there actually was in the safe the day of the robbery.
The two Devonshire soldiers Lt Cooper and Sgt Blake testified that Bruce organised what they knew in advance was a raid, but that Bruce told them he was "secret service" to entice him to take part. However Cooper later admitted under cross examination that it was not Bruce who had told him this but Major MacFie (Adjutant at that time of ADRIC) . Macfie was summoned to testify but his car apparently broke down three times on the way to Waterford, and he did not put in a court appearance. Bruce later wrote as part of his appeal the Macfie would have testified that he, Macfie, never told Cooper that Bruce was Secret Service..
He was given a year in jail and his nephew three months. He was sent to Mountjoy Jail, Dublin and transferred to Liverpool post truce. He made several appeals to the courts to no avail. (14 Feb 1921, 10 Mar 1921)
In his appeals he stated that he had been staying with Lt Cooper and asked to be included in any raids (Bruce had left ADRIC by now). Bruce claimed that it was Cooper who had organised the Creamery raid, but had no car, and only one man, his Sergeant Blake, who he could trust. So Cooper asked Bruce to get a car and a man he could trust. Bruce said when they got to the Creamery he and his nephew had found nothing and taken nothing. He claimed Cooper and Blake entered the Creamery after he left and carried out the robbery then.
Bruce also pointed out his war record in which he handled large sums of money in Japan and Russia without any going missing. He also stated that when he was in the ADRIC there, that he was in command in many raids where much money had passed through his hands and there were never any complaints that any was missing. He accused Power, the Creamery manager, of embezzling the money.
His second Appeal in March attacked the credibility of Power and Lt Cooper. His appeal also says he had "discovered and obtained proof that these proceedings were taken by the authorities because I knew the whole story of the raid on the Kilkenny mails, having been on the raid myself". It was apparently rumoured that £700 to £1100 was missing from the mailbags and that he, Bruce, knew who had taken the money. The Kilkenny mail raid was an odd affair in which Auxiliaries dressed up as IRA men in order to get hold of the mailbags.
Leeson in "Black and Tans" covers this story in some details, and ends up dismissing Bruce's conspiracy theory, but concedes that there is a small chance that it might be true.
1921 Jan 16. Maj. E. C. Bruce, D.S.O., M.C. (late temp. Maj., Tank Corps) is deprived of the rank of Maj. on conviction by a General Court Martial.
1921 Mar 9. Major Bruce's second appeal against his conviction for theft said "I believe that Mr Tottenham had worked on the fears of the authorities by saying that I had told him that "it seemed a damned dirty game" when I found him writing "Censored by IRA" on the envelopes [picked up in Kilkenny mail train robbery by Auxiliaries] and his pointing out that I left the force a few days later and was the only person outside the force who knew the story of the raid. Now it is romoured that a large sum of money, between £700 and £1100 was missing when the mailbags were returned and I knew in whose hands they were in from the time the seals were broken until they were returned" Crozier was later to clam that this raid was not sanctioned by either him nor the A Coy commander, Col Kirkwood. A party of ADRIC disguised themselves as IRA Volunteers, bound and gagged the sorters, and took the mail bags back to A Coy base at Innistiogue for examination. An unknown amount of money appears to have ben stolen and some mail returned and some dumped in a river. Leeson in "Black & Tans" notes that Tottenham was ADRIC Chief Intelligence Officer at that time. Bruce carried out the Creamery raid on 10 Oct 1920, so the mail raid must have been before this.
1921 Jul 30. Forfeits his MC and DSO
1925 Apr 16. The Echo, Friday, April 17, 1925 has under Deaths "Died of double pneumonia, at Abbeyholme, Cheltenham, Ewen Cameron youngest son of the late Alan Cameron Bruce Pryce, of Monknash, Glamorganshire, and of Mrs Bruce, Abbeyholme, Cheltenham aged 34 years - Funeral at Christ Church, Saturday, at 3.30."
I checked St Mary parish church Cheltenham for the burial of Ewen Cameron BRUCE, circa April 1925, but unfortunately all burials ceased prior to this date and were transfered to Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) Cemetery. There is NO record of Ewen's burial there. I did find a BRUCE burial though which will probably be of interest:- Alan George Cameron BRUCE was buried at CBC Cemetery 17th January 1929, aged 54. If you can obtain a copy of Ewen's death certificate to find out in which parish he died I'll have another go at tracing his burial.
ADRIC in Ireland