Bruce Shand

Bruce Shand

Major Bruce Middleton Hope Shand MC and bar (22 January 1917 – 11 June 2006) was an officer in the British Army. He is best known as the father of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales.

Early life

Shand born in London, the son of Philip Morton Shand (1888-1960), an architectural writer and critic who was a close friend of Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier and whose company, "Finmar", imported furniture by Alvar Aalto into the United Kingdom. His mother was Edith Marguerite Harrington (1893-1981), later Mrs. Charles Tippett. Bruce Shand's parents divorced when he was three years old. His father went on to remarry three times, but he did not see his father again until he was 18. One of his two half-sisters is Baroness Howe of Idlicote, wife of Geoffrey Howe.

His mother re-married to Herbert Charles Tippett, a golf course manager. Contrary to some newspaper reports, young Bruce was not abandoned by his mother and step-father but taken to live with them in Long Island, New York in 1921, a passage of his life which he rather curiously chose to emit from his autobiography. When he returned to the UK it was to begin his education, organised and paid for by his grand-parents.

Shand was educated at Rugby and Sandhurst Military Academy, and was commissioned in the 12th Lancers as a second lieutenant in 1937. He became a troop leader in "A" Squadron. His interests included fox hunting and polo.

econd World War

In the Second World War, he served in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The 12th Lancers were equipped with lightly-armed Morris armoured cars in a reconnaissance role. The regiment spent six months at Foncquevillers during the Phoney War, then advanced to the River Dyle and retreated in the face of the German blitzkrieg. Shand won his first MC in 1940, covering the withdrawal to Dunkirk, from where he was evacuated back to England, arriving back in Margate on 31 May 1940.

After a period with the regiment in Poole and in Reigate, and an interlude training the North Irish Horse in Northern Ireland, Shand was sent with the regiment to North Africa in September 1941 as part of the 7th Armoured Division, where he was promoted to Captain. He won his second MC in January 1942, covering the withdrawal of armoured cars of the 6th Rajputana Rifles in the face of a strong counterattack by the Afrika Corps. He met Winston Churchill shortly before the Second Battle of El Alamein. On 6 November 1942, on a probe towards Marsa Matruh, his vehicle was surrounded and destroyed. Shand's two crewmen were killed, and he was wounded. He was captured and taken to Greece as a prisoner of war. After treatment in Athens, he was held at Oflag IX A in Spangenberg Castle, near Spangenberg, for the duration.

Later life

Shand returned to England in 1945, declining an opportunity to continue service in the Army. On 2 January 1946, he married the Hon Rosalind Maud Cubitt, daughter of the 3rd Baron Ashcombe and the former Sonia Keppel. They had two daughters, Camilla and Annabel, and a son, Mark. He had many business interests, but was most notably a partner in "Block, Grey and Block", a firm of wine merchants in South Audley Street, Mayfair, later joining "Ellis, Son and Vidler" of Hastings and London. He kept a house in Kensington and a second in Plumpton in Sussex, but later moved to Dorset.

Shand was a Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex, and Vice-Lieutenant of East Sussex from 1974 until 1992. He remained passionate about fox hunting, and was Master of Southdown Fox Hounds from 1956 to 1975. He was Exon and later Adjutant and Clerk of the Cheque of the Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard. He wrote a memoir of his war entitled "Previous Engagements", and was a reviewer of military books for "Country Life".

Shand maintained a public silence throughout his daughter's relationship with the Prince of Wales, particularly after the relationship became public knowledge.

His wife, the Hon Rosalind Shand, died 14 July 1994 aged 72, having long suffered from osteoporosis. He died from cancer in 2006, aged 89 at his home in Stourpaine, Dorset, with his family at his bedside. After a funeral service at the Holy Trinity Church in Stourpaine on 16 June, Shand's body was cremated.

References

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5052478.stm Obituary] , BBC News, 11 June 2006
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/12/db1201.xml Obituary] , "The Daily Telegraph", 12 June 2006
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-2221293.html Obituary] , "The Times", 12 June 2006
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1803069,00.html Obituary] , "The Guardian", 22 June 2006
* [http://members.cox.net/ghgraham/bruceshand1917.html Maj. Bruce Middleton Hope Shand, M.C.]


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