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 James Osborne VC

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PostSubject: James Osborne VC   Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:03 pm

James Osborne  2nd Battalion, ( 58th ) The Northamptonshire Regiment.  Died on 1st February 1928 Buried St Bartholomew's Church, Wigginton.
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Served in South Africa during the Zulu War of 1877-79. Then in the First Boer War fighting against the newly declared Boer Republic, where he won his Victoria Cross at Wesselstroom in February 1881.
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PostSubject: James Osborne served with the 2nd Battalion, 58th The Northamptonshire Regiment,   Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:59 am

James Osborne served with the 2nd Battalion, 58th The Northamptonshire Regiment, in South Africa during the Zulu War of 1877-79. Then in the First Boer War fighting against the newly declared Boer Republic, where he won his Victoria Cross at Wesselstroom in February 1881.

James Osborne returned to Wigginton, Hertfordshire, at the end of the war and took a job on the vast Rothschild Estate, as a labourer,.where he worked for 26 years. In 1913 a stroke left him partially paralysed and he died on 1st February 1928, aged 71.
St Bartholomew's Church, Wigginton

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PostSubject: Re: James Osborne VC   Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:18 pm

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James Osborne was serving with the 2nd Battalion, ( 58th ) The Northamptonshire Regiment, in South Africa during the period of the Zulu War of 1877-79. Following on from this conflict James Osborne found himself involved in the 1st Boer War fighting against the newly declared Boer Republic, where he won his Victoria Cross at Wesselstroom in February 1881.

James Osborne returned to Wigginton, Hertfordshire, at the end of the war and took a job on the vast Rothschild Estate as a labourer. Unable to read or write, he worked there for 26 years. In 1913 a stroke left him partially paralysed and he died on 1st February 1928, aged 71. Following Osborne's funeral and burial in St Bartholomew's Cemetery, Wigginton, his daughter and son-in-law handed his Victoria Cross into the care of the Northamptonshire Regiment, receiving a handwritten receipt in return.

From 1936 to 1939 the 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment were stationed at Ballykinler, about thirty miles from Belfast and after mobilization, following the outbreak of the Second World War, the regiment moved back to England in the middle of October 1939. It is assumed that because there were no suitable local facilities at Ballykinler the regimental silver and Osborne's Victoria Cross were sent to Belfast and believed lodged in the Ulster Bank in York Street for safe keeping.

Over the period 7th / 8th April 1941 Belfast suffered a bombing attack on the city's shipyards by a squadron of German bombers and after returning home reported Belfast's defences as 'inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient'. As a result, on Easter Tuesday, 15th April 1941, 180 German bombers attacked Belfast and not only bombed the city's industrial heartland but also the housing and commercial sector.

The city sustained extensive damage, including the Ulster Bank where the regimental silver and Osborne's VC were lodged. The bank was severely damaged by fire and its contents, the Northamptonshire Regiment's silver and James Osborne's Victoria Cross and South Africa campaign medal were lost.

In 1964 the widow of James Osborne had become worried about her husband's Victoria Cross and received a letter in reply from the 2nd East Anglian Regiment informing her of its loss. The letter went on to explain that the VC had been packed with the mess silverware in order to move it from the regimental headquarters in Ballykinler to safe keeping in Belfast where a direct hit destroyed the valuable artefacts during an air raid in 1941.

It would appear that no replacement Victoria Cross was applied for by the Northamptonshire Regiment, probably owing to their involvement in the war, nor by the daughter of James Osborne who only learned of the demise of the VC in 1964.

At the end of the Zulu War of 1879, Britain's High Commissioner had failed to deliver the desired federal dominion of British colonies and Boer republics. Tension between the British and Boer farmers was mounting after the British government was not prepared to give back the Boer territory of the Transvaal which Britain had annexed, and Boer resentment was escalated further by the revenue-collecting activities of the Administrator of the Transvaal.

This, and allegations of undisciplined behaviour by British troops in the Transvaal garrisons, drove the Boers to boiling point, and on the 16th December 1880 they declared a republic.

[ London Gazette, 14 March 1882 ], Wesselstroom, 1st Boer War, South Africa, 22 February 1881, Private James Osborne, 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment.

For his gallant conduct at Wesselstroom, on the 22nd February 1881, in riding, under a heavy fire, towards a party of 42 Boers, picking up Private Mayes, who was lying wounded, and carrying him safely into camp.

James Osborne was invested with his Victoria Cross at Fort Napia, Natal, on the 26th April 1882. It is not known who made the presentation.
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PostSubject: Re: James Osborne VC   Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:11 pm

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PostSubject: James Osborne was serving with the 2nd Battalion, ( 58th )    Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:31 am

"VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO PRIVATE JAMES OSBORNE WAS DESTROYED IN AN AIR RAID ON BELFAST IN 1941.

"James Osborne was serving with the 2nd Battalion, ( 58th ) The Northamptonshire Regiment, in South Africa during the period of the Zulu War of 1877-79. Following on from this conflict James Osborne found himself involved in the 1st Boer War fighting against the newly declared Boer Republic, where he won his Victoria Cross at Wesselstroom in February 1881.
James Osborne returned to Wigginton, Hertfordshire, at the end of the war and took a job on the vast Rothschild Estate as a labourer. Unable to read or write, he worked there for 26 years. In 1913 a stroke left him partially paralysed and he died on 1st February 1928, aged 71. Following Osborne's funeral and burial in St Bartholomew's Cemetery, Wigginton, his daughter and son-in-law handed his Victoria Cross into the care of the Northamptonshire Regiment, receiving a handwritten receipt in return.


From 1936 to 1939 the 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment were stationed at Ballykinler, about thirty miles from Belfast and after mobilization, following the outbreak of the Second World War, the regiment moved back to England in the middle of October 1939. It is assumed that because there were no suitable local facilities at Ballykinler the regimental silver and Osborne's Victoria Cross were sent to Belfast and believed lodged in the Ulster Bank in York Street for safe keeping.

Over the period 7th / 8th April 1941 Belfast suffered a bombing attack on the city's shipyards by a squadron of German bombers and after returning home reported Belfast's defences as 'inferior in quality, scanty and insufficient'. As a result, on Easter Tuesday, 15th April 1941, 180 German bombers attacked Belfast and not only bombed the city's industrial heartland but also the housing and commercial sector.

The city sustained extensive damage, including the Ulster Bank where the regimental silver and Osborne's VC were lodged. The bank was severely damaged by fire and its contents, the Northamptonshire Regiment's silver and James Osborne's Victoria Cross and South Africa campaign medal were lost.

In 1964 the widow of James Osborne had become worried about her husband's Victoria Cross and received a letter in reply from the 2nd East Anglian Regiment informing her of its loss. The letter went on to explain that the VC had been packed with the mess silverware in order to move it from the regimental headquarters in Ballykinler to safe keeping in Belfast where a direct hit destroyed the valuable artefacts during an air raid in 1941.

It would appear that no replacement Victoria Cross was applied for by the Northamptonshire Regiment, probably owing to their involvement in the war, nor by the daughter of James Osborne who only learned of the demise of the VC in 1964.


At the end of the Zulu War of 1879, Britain's High Commissioner had failed to deliver the desired federal dominion of British colonies and Boer republics. Tension between the British and Boer farmers was mounting after the British government was not prepared to give back the Boer territory of the Transvaal which Britain had annexed, and Boer resentment was escalated further by the revenue-collecting activities of the Administrator of the Transvaal.

This, and allegations of undisciplined behaviour by British troops in the Transvaal garrisons, drove the Boers to boiling point, and on the 16th December 1880 they declared a republic.


[ London Gazette, 14 March 1882 ], Wesselstroom, 1st Boer War, South Africa, 22 February 1881, Private James Osborne, 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment.


For his gallant conduct at Wesselstroom, on the 22nd February 1881, in riding, under a heavy fire, towards a party of 42 Boers, picking up Private Mayes, who was lying wounded, and carrying him safely into camp.


James Osborne was invested with his Victoria Cross at Fort Napia, Natal, on the 26th April 1882. It is not known who made the presentation."


Source: victoriacross.org.uk
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PostSubject: Re: James Osborne VC   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:41 pm

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PostSubject: Re: James Osborne VC   Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:49 pm

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Original Headstone.


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St Bartholomew's Cemetery, Wigginton.

" PRIVATE JAMES OSBORNE VC - 2nd Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment
Headstone replaced in St Bartholomew's Churchyard, Wigginton, Hertfordshire
8th June 2008"



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PostSubject: Re: James Osborne VC   Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:07 am

"Published on 21/05/2008 11:13

During the Boer War a young Wigginton man risked his life by charging on horseback into heavy enemy gunfire to save a friend's life.

Private James Osborne's bravery was rewarded with the highest accolade a soldier can receive - the Victoria Cross (VC) in 1881.

Today he is one of only five VC winners buried in Hertfordshire.

However, over the years his gravestone in Saint Bartholomew's churchyard, Wigginton, has weathered and begun to deteriorate.

This prompted Berkhamsted Royal British Legion to launch a three-year fundraising campaign to replace it.

At the end of March the Legion reached its target of 2,000 and a specialist stonemason created a new headstone for the hero.

Also during the campaign, Private Osborne's granddaughter Rhoda Whitehouse, 76, who lives in Berkhamsted, was tracked down.

She said: "I remember my mother was very proud of her father and that he used to wear his Victoria Cross all the time."

"My mother also told me that when he came back from war he bought a monkey called Joko with him, but his mother told him straightaway it had to go, it was far too boisterous!"

Private Osborne was 23 when, on February 22, 1881, he rode, under extremely heavy fire, towards a party of more than 40 Boers.

He then picked up Private Mayes, who had been lying wounded, and carried him safely back into the camp at Wesselstroom, South Africa.

He was serving in the Northamptonshire regiment.

When he returned to Wigginton at the end of the war he took a job on the vast Rothschild Estate as a labourer.

Unable to read or write, he worked there for 26 years.

In 1913 a stroke left him partially paralysed and he died in 1928 at the age of 71.

Brian Davies, secretary of the Legion's Hertfordshire Group Five, said: "We all agreed that action needed to be taken urgently to restore the memorial for one of our national heroes to a dignified standard."

Although fundraising was not easy, a number of British Legion branches within Dacorum and Chesham held raise money.

Wigginton Parish Council also granted cash and various military associations gave their support to the cause.

The appeal was such a success that there are still surplus funds, which will be used to set up a trust, with the participation of Wigginton Church and Wigginton School, to maintain Private Osborne's headstone for the foreseeable future.

The Legion is holding a dedication ceremony in honour of Private Osborne at the Wigginton church, on Sunday, June 8, from 11am.

Mr Davies said: "We hope to involve the younger generation in order to keep the spirit of Remembrance alive."

The First Boer War: 16 December 1880 - 23 March 1881 begun after Sir Theophilus Shepstone annexed the Transvaal (the South African Republic) for the British in 1877 after the Anglo-Zulu War."
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