Sir Eric Bonham Bt CVO


Jack Cusack MM Jack Cusack was a Glaswegian soldier who served in the ranks of the Scots Greys in the early years of the 20th century. He wrote his autobiography called Scarlet Fever, a Lifetime with Horses by John Cusack and Ivor Herbert. He was born on 5 July 1893 and at first joined the Highland Light Infantry at the age of 14 although the recruiting sergeant insisted that he was 17. He marched off without telling his mother where he had gone, leaving behind him a life of abject poverty. Several months later he was ordered to go home with his mother but he ran away again after 3 weeks and at the age of 15 joined the Scots Greys. He was sent to London and went on to Tidworth. He found the Greys had more esprit de corps than the HLI and enjoyed working with horses. The training was all on foot at first, they did not start riding until they had been there 3 months. He was taught by the Rough-riding Sergeant, Sgt-Major Tommy Trainer. He went out to India with the regiment and later to South Africa in 1913. He trained as a scout while there and remained a scout for the rest of his cavalry service. They returned to England when war was declared, and he went on leave back home to Glasgow. They then went to Flanders with the horses and he saw action, first at a village called St Pieter where he was sent forward as a scout.

He was transferred to the 1st Royal Dragoons later and remained with them for several months before transferring again to the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. He wrote much of an officer of the Royals, Captain Julian Grenfell with whom he went on patrol, and saw him shot dead. He was awarded the Military Medal for his work, scouting almost single-handed on behalf of the Third Cavalry Division in August 1918. He as sent on ahead by the commander of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade to reconnoitre the village of Beaumont. He takes the opportunity in the book to complain about the lack of a pension from the medal when those that received it after the war received sixpence a day. By the end of the war he was a Rough-rider and PT sergeant instructor. He served as a Military Policeman in Cologne, and on leaving the army lived for some years in Canada. He returned to Britain and became a pensioner at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. The photo shows him in Pensioner dress uniform with his medals. The first medal is the Military Medal, known to soldiers from WW1 as the duckboard because of the red stripes.

Suggested Reading

Scarlet Fever by John Cusack MM and Ivor Herbert (Cassell 1972)


Regimental Details | Soldiers




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by Stephen Luscombe