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Generals' Nicknames

No.19: 'Fanny' Fanshawe

Major-General Sir Robert Fanshawe (1863-1946) commanded 48th (South Midland) Division on the Western Front and in Italy from 1915 until he was ‘degummed’ in June 1918. ‘Fanny’ was a nickname used by officers. To the men, Fanshawe was known as ‘The Chocolate Soldier’ from his habit of handing out chocolate to troops coming out of the line.


John Bourne

Francis E. Smith writes: 

I was interested in your comments about Sir Robert's nickname. My father served as the General's driver in France and in Italy and greatly admired him. My father, an ex-Corporal RASC and a motor mechanic in civil life, took his family to visit Sir Robert at his home in Oxfordshire on several occasions between the wars. One of my earliest memories was of being carried by Sir Robert to his stables to see his horses. When Sir Robert died after a fall from his favourite horse in 1946 my father and I attended his funeral. I remember that Sir Robert's son, a Brigadier, British Army, making his way through the mourners to thank my father for attending. 

You mention that the officers referred to the General as "Fanny", according to my father the soldiers did also.

My father also recounted how the General would visit the Divisional positions and when leaving the car would say, "Bring your rifle Corporal", and Dad would spend some uncomfortable hours following Sir Robert about "No Man's Land" while he reconnoitred. My uncle, an infantryman of 1/7th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment, also seemed to regard the General very highly.


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