7th Hussars

Regimental Sergeant-Major A L Bone

RSM Bone was the principal Warrant Officer around 1911. It is not clear when he was appointed to the position and when he retired. There is a story that he told of a detail that he was part of in Mashonaland in 1897. He was a corporal at the time and was on a wagon that had picked up supplies from Hartley Fort. The other men on the wagon were Private Platt, Sergeant Shannon and Sergeant-Major Handsley. As the wagon was coming through a forest, S-M Handsley suddenly jumped off and disappeared into the bush. They stopped and waited but he did not return. They tried to find him but failed, so they continued back to their squadron. A party was sent back that night to search for the missing man, volleys were fired and rockets sent up but to no avail.

The next few days were spent in an attack on Mashongombi's stronghold so it was not until after that that a proper daylight search could be conducted to find Handsley. Sergeant Surrett, Corporal Bone and 4 privates hurried back to Hartley Fort to retrace the route and search the area where he had disappeared to find any clues. They also had a scout called John Dusselboom who was able to track Handsley's progress as far as the river. They went back to the Fort for the night and returned to the squadron the next day. The day after that the whole squadron under Major Carew scoured the countryside but had to return to camp and ponder on the fate of Sergaent-Major Handsley. Most thought he had been attacked and eaten by lions. At this point, who should walk in but Handsley himself, "absolutely worn out, and off his head. He was hatless, boots worn out, carried in his hand a broken bottle with water, and tucked in his shirt were a few wood-apples." He could not explain why he had got lost but said he took a wrong turn when he tried to return to the wagon.

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by Stephen Luscombe