We were very saddened to hear that former Bursar Donald Richard Mantell (33-42) passed away on 14th January 2017. 

Donald was born in Egypt in 1923 and was ‘sent home’ to join his older brother Bruce (32-38), starting at Bedford on his tenth birthday. He left School in 1942, where he had been Deputy Head of School, Head of Pemberley and Captain of Boats. After a short war-time course at Queen’s University, Belfast, he entered into the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. 

Donald went on to be commissioned into the East Riding Yeomanry, an armoured regiment, and after arduous training in ‘swimming’ DD tanks he landed with them on the morning of D-Day itself, 6th June 1944, as a 20-year-old Second Lieutenant. He fought with his unit through North West Europe, being Mentioned in Despatches, and having fought their way across France, Holland and Belgium, the regiment took part in crossing of the Rhine and were already in Northern Germany by the end of the war. In recognition of the part that he played in the Liberation of France during the Second World War, Donald had recently been awarded the prestigious Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur by the French Ambassador in London.

After the war Donald received a Regular Commission in the 16th/5th Queen’s Royal Lancers and served in Egypt, Libya, Singapore and the UK. In 1970, he became Bursar of Bedford School and was in post during, and after, the Great Hall Fire of Saturday 3rd March, 1979- when, lessons took place in a variety of spaces and temporary classrooms were quickly procured ensuring life went on as normal at the School. After fifteen years of loyal service to the School, Donald retired in 1985.

His brother, Bruce Mantell had also been Captain of Boats and also served in a Yeomanry Regiment, the County of London, with whom he fought in North Africa before also taking part in the invasion of Normandy. Bruce sadly passed away in 1989.

Donald made a great contribution as both a boy and man at Bedford School, and we extend our most sincere condolences to his widow, Trish, his three children, Jeremy (63-70) Susan and Sarah and his extended family.

Details of funeral arrangements will be circulated at a later date, but the family have informed us that any member of the school ‘family’ who knew Donald would be most welcome to attend.

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