Regiment Royal Field Artillery
Bonamy Dobrée was born on the 2nd February 1891 in London, the son of Bonamy Dobrée (Snr). Bonamy Snr had been born in 1862 and married Violet Gordon Chase. He had two daughters before his son was born, before he died at St. Moritz of tuberculosis on 30 August 1891. Bonamy (Jnr) was born into a banking family and ancestors on both his Bonamy and Dobrée families had been bankers, with his grandfather (also called Bonamy Dobrée being the Governor of the Bank of England from 1859 to 1861. Bonamy (b. 1891) declared himself a Channel Islander, and was rather proud that both his Bonamy and Dobrée ancestors, bankers, had been mentioned by Thackeray.
After Haileybury and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Dobrée was commissioned in the Royal Field Artillery in 1910 but resigned in 1913.
On 21 November 1913, Bonamy Dobrée married Gladys May Mabel Brooke-Pechell (after her marriage called Valentine Dobrée (~1893 – 14 May 1974), the daughter of Sir Alexander Brooke-Pechell, the 7th Baronet.
On the outbreak of war, Bonamy rejoined the Royal Artillery and served in France and the Middle East. However we have not yet identified the exact unit.
In 1921 he gained a BA from Christ's College, Cambridge, and an MA in 1924. In 1925 he was appointed lecturer in London, and in 1926 Professor of English at the Egyptian University, Cairo, where he remained until 1929.
In 1930 Bonamy had a daughter Georgina who went on to become a well-known clarinetist (1930-2008).
In 1936 Bonamy was appointed Professor of English Literature at the University of Leeds, where he remained until his retirement.
It was during this period that Dobrée moved to Collingham appearing on the electoral rolls at Southbank, Collingham from 1938 to 1951.
During World War II Dobrée served as a lieutenant-colonel in the Army Bureau of Current Affairs (ABCA) organisation. ABCA was an organisation within the British Army during World War II to promote discussion among soldiers about current events, citizenship, and post-war reconstruction. The ABCA was a programme of general education for citizenship for servicemen and women: officers attended courses on conducting discussions groups, and these were started as hourly sessions each week.
After World War 2, Bonamy Dobree continued his work at the University of Leeds as Professor of English Literature. He delivered the Clark Lectures at Cambridge in 1953, and was an Honorary Doctor of the University of Dijon. After retiring from Leeds he edited the Writers and their Work series of pamphlets for the British Council and the National Book League, and himself authored a pamphlet on Rudyard Kipling. He also lectured as Professor of Literature at Gresham College. He was the Lord Northcliffe Memorial Lecturer in 1963.
Bonamy Dobrée died at his home in Blackheath on the 3rd September 1974.
Biography last updated 25 March 2022 17:36:18.
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
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