BUCHER, Sir (Francis
Robert) Roy (1895-1980), General K.B.E., C.B., M.C., D.L.
World War I 1914-1918;
Commissioned 15th August 1914, placed on Unattached List
for Indian Army. Attached 4th Bn. Cameronians, 25th
August 1914, in UK until 29th April 1915. Attached 1st
Bn. Cameronians, 30th April 1915, in France until 7th
November 1915. Joined 55th Coke's Rifles Indian Army,
8th November 1915 boarded ship for India. Transferred
to 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers 11th
2nd Lt, (on Commissioning), 15th August 1914,
Substantive. Lt, 1st April 1915, Temporary. 2nd Lt, -
8th November 1915, on joining Indian Army Unit. Lt,
15th November 1916, Substantive. Capt, 23rd
May 1917, Acting, Substantive 15th August 1918.
After the War he served in Afghanistan and
Waziristan, for which he was awarded a Military Cross (M.C.) on 1st
(31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers (D.C.O.) Lancers
amalgamated with 32nd Lancers, in 1923, to form, (initially), 13th (D.C.O.)
Bombay Lancers, becoming 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers in
13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) War Dairy 5 August 1915 (Lt
Bucher on patrol)
Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) War Dairy 25 August 1915 (Lt F
R R Bucher wounded)
Military Staff College, Camberley,
England, 1st Jan 1926-21st Jan 1928:
Served as General Staff Officer, grade 2 (GSO 11), and Brigade Major,
4th Cavalry Bgde, Deccan District, 7 April 1929 to 31 May 1931.
D.A.A.G & acting A.A.G 1 June 1931 to 14 December 1932. 1932 to
1939, served as a Squadron Officer, Squadron Commander, 2nd-in-Command
and acting Commandant 13th D.C.O. Lancers and the last Commandant of
The Sam Browne's Cavalry before becoming Indian Cavalry Training
Lt. Col.: Commandant, ACTC, Lucknow 1940: Assistant Adjutant
General, General Headquarters 1941: Assistant Quartermaster General,
Iraq 1941: in charge of Administration, Southern Command, India
1942-1945: January 1945
General & O.B.E.: General Officer Commanding Bengal and Assam Area,
India 1946: General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command,
India 1946-1947: Chief of Staff, Army Headquarters, India 1947: June
To be an Ordinary Knight Commander of the Military Division of the
said Most Excellent Order: Lieutenant-General
Francis Robert Roy BUCHER, C.B., O.B.E., M.C., Special List (ex-Indian Army).
Commander-in-Chief and Chief of General Staff, Army of India
1948-1949: Indian Ministry of Defence 1949: October 1949
Maj.-Gen. Sir F. R. Roy BUCHER, K.B.E., C.B., M.C.
Special List (ex-Indian Army) retired, is
granted the honorary rank of General.
papers of A. F. Louis (Francis Albert Victor Nicholas) Mountbatten,
1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, include correspondence with General Sir
Francis Robert Roy Bucher and his daughter relating to Hyderabad, India 1948.
Major General F.F.R. Bucher
World War 1 - Medal Index Card
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
whose family was originally from Kashmir, was educated at Harrow and
Trinity College Cambridge and studied Law at the Inner Temple in
London. Returning to India in 1912 he married Kamala and their
daughter Indira was born in 1919. He was influenced by Mohandas
Gandhi and was repeatedly imprisoned by the British for civil
disobedience, he was Gandhi’s natural successor and played a central
role over India’s independence and became its first Prime Minister
which he held until his death in 1964.
implemented moderate socialist economic reforms and committed India to
a policy of industrialisation. Chandra Prakash, 1985: 64).
August 1947, India and Pakistan separated from the British Empire, and
this was met with violence and turmoil on both sides. The Indo-Pak
war of 1947- 48 was unique in modem military history because it is the
only war fought by two modem armies, which were both commanded by
British generals. The commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian army
was General Sir Roy Bucher, and his Pakistani counterpart was General
Douglas Gracey. All three services in India and Pakistan were
commanded by British officers.
My dear Lord Mountbatten,
I have to inform your
Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request
immediate assistance of your Government. As your Excellency is aware
the State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to the Dominion of
India or to Pakistan. If my State has to be saved immediate
assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. Vengalil Krishnan
Krishna Menon is fully aware of the situation and he will explain to
you, if further explanation is needed.
The Palace, Jammu, our
Maharajadhiraj of Jammu and Kashmir State.
26th October, 1947
The death of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
thousand soldiers, a thousand airmen, a thousand policemen and a
hundred sailors, in varied and vari-coloured uniforms and head-dress,
marched before and after the bier. Prominent among them were
mounted lancers bearing aloft red and white pennants — the body-guard
of Governor-General Lord Mountbatten. Armoured cars, police and
soldiers were present to maintain order.
In charge of the death
parade was Major-General Roy Bucher, an Englishman chosen by the
Indian government to be the first commander-in-chief of its army.
But by 1948, Nehru had
come around to the conclusion that this was not an immediately
feasible proposition. The C-in-C, General Bucher, advised him
that militarily it was not possible to establish control over the
entire territory of Jammu & Kashmir, with the British also supporting
Pakistan. Pakistan suspected the Maharaja wanted to accede to
India and tried to pre-empt his decision by forcibly seizing the
cabinet meeting was organised for September 12th to take a final
decision. Among those who attended were Prime Minister Nehru, Home
Minister Haribhai M Patel, Defence Minister Baldev Singh, Gopalswamy
Iyengar, General Bucher, Lt. Gen. (later first C-in-C, & Field
Marshal Indian Army) K M Cariappa and Air Marshal Sir Thomas W.
Elmhirst (C-in-C, IAF).
the decision was being finalised, Gen. Bucher stood up and said,
"Gentlemen, you have taken a decision in a difficult matter. I must
give you my warning. We are also committed in Kashmir. We cannot say
how long it will take so we will end up having two operations on our
hands. This is not advisable, so as your C-in-C, I ask you not to
start the operations." He further offered his resignation if his
advice was not heeded. There was a silence while a distressed and
worried Nehru looked around. Patel replied, "You may resign General
Bucher, but the police action will start tomorrow." An angry General
Bucher stormed out, and coincidentally the next few days saw a rise in
the Kashmir operations.
India's own first C-in-C in January 1949 was General Cariappa. One of
the things that greatly concerned the British at the closing stage of
this war was that General Cariappa was taking initiatives that General
Sir Roy Bucher could not control. The British did not want an
Indo-Pak war. They were conscious that hostilities would break out
and had issued secret orders to all British officers 'to stand down'
in the event of a war. These officers were told they could resign
their commission or function in an advisory capacity. The British
clearly did not want the whole of Jammu & Kashmir to go to India.
There was a widespread feeling in London that if India was in control
of areas contiguous to Pakistan, the latter would not survive.
top-secret cables exchanged between the British missions in India and
Pakistan, and Whitehall, tells the true story. The C-in-C was
receiving instructions from the British High Commission in New Delhi.
Nehru had decided to strike at the bases of the raiders in Pakistan
but Mountbatten opposed this.
the Indian Prime Minister Nehru manipulated by the British and made a
scapegoat for the timing of the 1st January 1949 ceasefire
when India was in an advantageous position. It has been implied that
General Roy Bucher kept the Kashmir war within "reasonable bounds" but
reasonable for whom? It is realistically clear that General Roy
Bucher "controlled" the progress of the Kashmir war ensured that India
did not succeed in driving Pakistan out of Kashmir fully.
policy decision may have been taken by the British Government in the
early days of the war. If the "credit" for the cease fire should go
to General Roy Bucher does this indicate that Bucher made the decision
and not Nehru when India was in an advantageous position?
who with his self-defeating kind of idealism was no match for the
persuasions of the British who were past masters of the art. Was
General Roy Bucher looking after, India or Pakistan interests or
both? He was politically shrewd, in the way he prevented the
"military situation from boiling over" in India's favour. He was
politically shrewder than the idealistic Pandit Nehru, whom he seems
to have manipulated quite skilfully. It appears that Nehru neither
understood nor was he interested in military affairs.
fact that Nehru asked British General Roy Bucher to stay on as C-in-C
of the Indian Army after Independence shows his uncertain mind. He
may not have believed or was skilfully made not to believe that there
was not any Indian officer capable of being the C-in-C at that point
of time. His dependence on Bucher made it easier for the latter to
present the Kashmir war situation in a manner that suited the British.
was thus fairly easy for Bucher to underplay India's victory’s and
overplay the calamity’s knowing Nehru's weakness for appearing as an
apostle of peace, like a latter-day Ashoka the Great. Bucher must
have dangled the bait for a cease fire and Nehru took it. The first
signal to be signed ordering the cease-fire on 1 January 1949
had been signed by Colonel Manekshaw (“one of Bucher’s men”,
India’s first & greatest Field Marshal) on behalf of C-in-C India,
General Roy Bucher carried out what appears to be the strategy of his
political masters with rare skill and handed over the reins to the
first Indian Chief of the Indian Army to General Kodandera Madappa
Cariappa (“another of Bucher’s men” and later Field Marshal) on
the first day of the ceasefire. This was the parting gift the British
administered to India.
General Sir Roy Bucher (the outgoing C-in-C) and Lady Bucher at
Government House, New Delhi, when they lunched
with his Excellency, Shri. C. Rajagopalachari, and
the new Commander-in-Chief, General K. M. Cariappa
August 1948 Independence Day Bombay (now Mumbai)
to L Nehru, C.O. Rajputana Rifles, Baldev Singh (turban),
Gen Sir Roy Bucher
confrontation with Pakistan in the 1965 war, a book by Kabul had
little to say about Choudhuri and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's
conduct during the 1965 war, he refers to them in the context of the
1948 Kashmir war, when General Sir Roy Bucher was the
commander-in-chief; Choudhuri his Director of Military Operations (D.M.O)
and Manekshaw the latter's staff officer. Kaul refers to them as
“Bucher's men and both served their master well” in key
appointments at army headquarters, running the Kashmir war between
April 1971, as India's Army Chief, Manekshaw refused to be rushed into
another war with Pakistan since the time wasn't right. Despite
pressure from the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her cabinet, he
stuck to his guns. The Indian Army launched the assault in December
that year and won the war that led to the birth of Bangladesh. The
military victory in East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh were
seen as Sam Manekshaw's success as much as then Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi's. He was at the peak of his fame. “The
Gandhi asked him if he was after her job, he is said to have replied;
you have a long nose and so do I, but I don’t poke my nose into other
people’s affairs!” he died in 2008.
Marshal Sam Manekshaw
Sir Roy Bucher made a visit to
India early in 1970, the guest of
of his men”
Field Marshal Manekshaw, in the chief of army staff's house in Delhi
for some a time and with government permission. Sir Roy and
Lady Bucher adored India, its people, culture and all it stood for.
General Sir Michael Carver, Chief of the Imperial General staff of the
British Army, invited Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw to visit him in the
United Kingdom. When asked for his preference of places to visit, Sam
mentioned first that he would like to meet General Sir Roy Bucher, the last
C-in-C in India and also visit the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots. He
also visited the Imperial Defence College and several other military
establishments in United Kingdom.
Awards: K.B.E.-C.B.-M.C.-Order of Star of Nepal 1st
Class;-Order of Polonia Restituta 2nd Class;
Deputy Lieutenant for the North Riding of Yorkshire,
Chairman the Royal British Legion. Chairman; Royal Society of
St. George, Chairman Anglo-Polish Society and Chairman Transport
User’s Consultative Committee, Yorkshire.
FRANCIS ROBERT ROY BUCHER
was born 31 August 1895 in North Leith, Edinburgh, and died at
Normanby 5 January 1980. The son of David
Smith Bucher (1868-died
& Spirit Merchant) and
Harriet Frederica Paterson (1869-died Malton
1953) (Family-Music Sellers) were
married Paisley, Scotland 1894.
Father: David Smith Bucher (Service No
9216) joined the 20th Company (Fife & Forfar) Imperial Yeomanry, part
of the 6th Bn, in 1899. He served in South Africa during the the Boer War
and returned to Scotland in June 1901.
Awarded: Queens South Africa
Medal, with 3 clasps, "Cape Colony", "Orange Free State", "Transvaal".
He re-enlisted June/July 1901 with 116th Company, Imperial Yeomanry,
and returned to South Africa, until the end of the war. He was discharged in the rank,
Africa Medal with 2 clasps, "South Africa 1901", and "South Africa
He re-enlisted voluntarily (over Age)
for W.W.1 Army Service Corps number R4/062810,
entered France 3 April 1915 and after the war discharged in he
rank of Corporal.
1914-15 Star; 1914-20 British War Medal and 1914-19 Victory Medal.
On the 8 January 1919 at the British Consulate,
Calais, France; he married secondly Frances Sidney Meredith Gibson she
36, he aged 50 and a contractor for the Actually R.A.S.C. Remounts.
Frances Sidney Meredith Gibson was born in Dublin in 1883. She was
awarded British War Medal and Mentioned in Dispatches for service to the Y.M.C.A in France. She
died in Dublin 13 January 1949.
Francis Bucher (1840-1902) (Glass
who married in 1867 Grace Webster Smith (1846-1937) daughter of David
merchant) and Mary Ann Moore.
Agnes Anderson they were married in 1839.
Robert Roy Bucher married first Edith Margaret Reid 08 November
1922 in Paisley Abbey, Renfrew, daughter of Alexander Reid (Dye
Merchants) and Margaret Stewart (family-Cloth Merchants).
She was born 27 May 1899 in Paisley, Renfrew, and died 04
December 1944 in Bangalore, India. Roy Bucher and Edith
Reid had a daughter Elizabeth Margaret she was born 13 November
Elizabeth Margaret Bucher
married Lt. (Evan) Michael (Pearce) Hardy 7 June 1951. He
was born 13 November 1927 and served in The Duke of Wellington's Regt.
retiring as a Colonel. He was also an international rugby
player, capped 3 times for England, at fly-half.
Secondly, Sir Roy Bucher married Maureen Helen Susan Gibson 1 February 1946 in
India, daughter of Captain Thomas George Gibson and Mary Creagh. She
was born 09 March 1909 in Indore, India, and died December 1978
in Normanby, Yorkshire.
Indian Baptism Maureen Helen Susan Gibson
Captain Thomas George Gibson
(1878-1955), married Mary Helen Creagh (1882-1960) daughter of
(1881-1917 served Boer War, K.I.A. France)
and Emma Barry (1858-1925), on 5 June 1907 in Tralee, Ireland.
Captain Gibson had also served in the Boer War 1899-1902 a 2nd
Lieutenant; 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons and afterwards returned with
the regiment to Ireland. Newly married in Tralee, Ireland they
moved with the regiment to India where Maureen Helen Susan Gibson
(1909-1978); was born at Indore.
resigns his commission to take over the management, from his father,
of the extensive family property portfolio on the 8 September 1909 and returns to
England with his family. The following year 1910 he his placed on
the Reserve of Officers list. The 1911 census finds the family
living with Thomas George’s father also a Thomas George (1831-1911)
in Lesbury, Northumberland aged 80 a retired prominent solicitor who
practiced on Tyneside.
After the death of his father the family moved to Welham Hall,
Malton. They had one son and two daughters, the only child named on
the 1911 census was Maureen Helen Susan, Captain Gibson held the
office of Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace.
In the early 1930’s Maureen made
a number of unaccompanied voyages to
Gibraltar probably in a British Red Cross roll. An entry in the
London Gazette 15 June, 1945, Miss Maureen Helen Susan Gibson,
recently Regional Director, British Red Cross Society, Syria and
Lebanon awarded a M.B.E.
cannot be established when and how Maureen arrived in India, only
that in April 1947 she made a voyage on board Steamship P&O Chitral
from Bombay to Southampton in the name of Maureen Bucher
accompanying the daughter of Francis Robert Roy Bucher.
entry in the London Gazette 2 January 1950, Most Excellent Order of
the British Empire: Maureen Helen Susan, Lady Bucher, M.B.E.,
President, Indian Forces Welfare Ladies Committee.
23 April 1976
from the U.S.S.R
to Gen. Sir Roy
Bucher K.B.E. C.B. M.C.
Letter’s written by General Sir Roy to
his daughter in the UK as to the situation in
are held at the The National Army Museum
Chelsea. Ref: 1979-01-87.
Lady Bucher at Normanby House c.1960
Sir Roy chairman British Legion
General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher K.B.E., C.B., M.C., D.L:
05 January 1980 in Normanby, North Yorkshire and buried alongside
Lady Bucher in St Andrews Church.
Early in 2006 I was saddened to learn of the Health & Safety issues
over the unstable gravestones in Normanby Churchyard a few had been
pushed over to reduce the risk. Out of respect for Sir Roy & Lady
Bucher (to who he owed so very much), a politically shrewd and
high-ranking leader who shaped the history of the British Empire and
India, I arranged to have them re-erected as a tribute to them both
St Andrews Church, Normanby 2006
General Sir Roy Bucher (top 3 rows
(father) Boer War & WW1
(4th row left 5 medals &
David Eric Bucher (brother) Lt. Gordon
(4th row right 2 WW1
Lady Bucher (bottom row O.B.E./WW2/Red
are held at;
National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 4HT
The future depends upon what we do in the present "