From The Daily Telegraph 17 May.
Major General Mark Bond, who has died aged 94, lost his family estate by a strange twist of fate through the actions of the Service to which he devoted more than 30 years of his life.
The historic Tudor manor house, village and agricultural estate in the beautiful Tyneham valley in Dorset had been in the ownership of the Bond family for more than 300 years when, in 1943, it was requisitioned by the Army for a tank firing range.
The letter from the War Office explained: “The Government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make, but they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.” Bond had been in a PoW camp in Germany for two years and when he returned home he was not aware of the compulsory evacuation order.
He arrived at Wareham station at three o’clock in the morning and slept on the table in the waiting room until dawn when his father came to collect him. In the car, he asked his father why they were going the wrong way and was astonished to be told that the family had moved away, as had more than 200 inhabitants of the village.
His father had been promised that the estate would be returned to the family when the war was over but many years later the Ministry of Defence won the case for its retention. Tyneham House and the village fell into ruin.
Henry Mark Garneys Bond was born on June 1 1922 at Chideock, Dorset. His father, Ralph Bond, was a former provincial governor in Sudan. Young Mark was educated at Eton and, in 1940, enlisted as a Rifleman in the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
He was given two shillings by the recruiting sergeant and made his way by train from Weymouth to a drill hall in Harrow where the battalion was billeted. It was two o’clock in the morning when he arrived to be challenged by the sentry on the gate.
The man demanded to know whether he could “blow smoke rings”. Bond assumed that he had been asked for a password and did not know how to reply, but after blowing several quite passable rings he was let in. A companion he had met on the train announced that he was Hitler and was admitted at once.
Bond served in the ranks for eight months before being commissioned. In June 1942 he was drafted to the Middle East and saw action in the North Africa Campaign with 1st (Motor) Battalion The Rifle Brigade (1 RB). He received a head wound at the Battle of El Alamein, but discharged himself from hospital and hitch-hiked to Tobruk to rejoin his machine gun platoon.
In 1943 he was captured near Naples while leading a reconnaissance patrol. He was put on a train for prisoners of war and escaped when it was strafed by American fighters. He was recaptured but the planes returned and he got away again.
He and a comrade jumped into a stream and crammed themselves into a small cavity in the mud bank. He pulled a blanket over his head and signalled to his friends to kick earth over him to hide him from the German sentry who had been standing a few yards away.
Bond headed eastwards for the coast. He exchanged his battle dress trousers for a shepherd’s canvas ones and scrounged what food he could find. In the snow-covered Abruzzo mountains, however, there was no food and, while raiding a German supply column, he was caught again and sent to a PoW camp, first in Czechoslovakia and then at Brunswick, Germany.
There he met officers who had been incarcerated since May 1940. Some of them, Bond said afterwards, had quite literally gone mad. After being liberated by the Americans in April 1945, he was flown back to London and rejoined 1 RB at Tidworth.
He served in BAOR for two years before being seconded to 3rd Parachute Regiment. In 1950 he was selected by Field Marshal Montgomery, Nato Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe at the time, as his ADC. Bond liked Monty and found him generally sympathetic to subordinates – not a universal view.
He served as brigade major with 147 Lorried Infantry Brigade (TA) and then rejoined 1 RB in Malaya. After instructing at Staff College he served with 3rd Green Jackets in BAOR and Cyprus. Following a staff appointment at the MoD, he commanded the Rifle Brigade in north Borneo during the “Confrontation” with Indonesia. He was mentioned in dispatches.
In 1967, Bond assumed command of 12th Infantry Brigade in BAOR. After a year at the Imperial Defence College, in 1970 he was posted to Hong Kong as Deputy Commander Land Forces.
He returned to the MoD in November 1970, as Director Operational Plans and, finally, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Ops) before retiring from the Army in June 1972.
Full obituary with photographs.
Full obituary with photographs.