Canadian Virtual War Memorial
John Robert Osborn
In memory of
Warrant Officer Class II
John Robert Osborn
December 19, 1941
- Service Number:
- Winnipeg Grenadiers, R.C.I.C.
- The citation in the London Gazette of 1st April, 1946 :
At Hong Kong, on 19th December, 1941, a company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers became divided in an attack on Mount Butler. A part of the company led by C.S.M. Osborn captured the hill at bayonet point, but after three hours owing to the superior numbers of the enemy the position became untenable. C.S.M. Osborn and a small group covered the withdrawal and when their turn came to fall back he single-handed engaged the enemy, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire to cover their retirement. Later the Company was cut off and completely surrounded. Several enemy grenades were thrown which C.S.M. Osborn picked up and threw back. When one landed in a position where it was impossible to pick it up, he threw himself upon it and was instantly killed. His self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades. C.S.M. Osborn was an inspiring example to all throughout the defence, and in his death he displayed the highest qualities of heroism and self-sacrifice.
- Honours and Awards:
- January 2, 1899 Foulden, Norfolk, United Kingdom
- September 4, 1939 Winnipeg, Manitoba
Son of John Robert and Harriet Sussana Osborn. Husband of Margaret Elizabeth Osborn, of St. Vital, Manitoba. He served in the First World War as a seaman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and saw action at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916. At the end of the war he moved to Saskatchewan where he farmed for two years at Wapella. He then worked with the maintenance division of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Manitoba where he married and had five children. He joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers in 1933 and was called to active duty on the 3rd of September 1939. At forty-two years of age he was the second oldest VC recipient in the Second World War. There is no known grave but his name appears on the Sai Wan Memorial in Hong Kong. His medal is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
John Robert Osborn is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients
- SAI WAN MEMORIAL ; Victoria, Hong Kong
- Grave Reference:
- Column 25.
- This SAI WAN MEMORIAL honours over 2000 men of the land forces of the British Commonwealth and Empire who died in the defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War. The SAI WAN MEMORIAL is in the form of a shelter building 24 metres long and 5.5 metres wide. It stands at the entrance to Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery, outside Victoria, the capital of Hong Kong. From the semi-circular forecourt, two wide openings lead to the interior of the building. The names are inscribed on panels of Portland stone. The dedicatory inscription reads:
1939 - 1945 The officers and men whose memory is honoured here died in the defence of Hong Kong in December 1941 and in the ensuing years of captivity and have no known grave The northern side of the Memorial is open and four granite piers support the copper roof. From a commanding position 305 metres above sea level, it looks out over the War Cemetery where some 1,500 men lie buried, and across the water to Mainland China - a magnificent view of sea and mountains. The Cape Collinson area has many cemeteries. Walking up this narrow one-way traffic road, one will pass the Catholic Cemetery situated on the hillside to the left of the road, and the Hong Kong Military Cemetery on the right. Sai Wan War Cemetery is about half way up Cape Collinson Road and faces the Muslim and Buddhist cemeteries. One can also get a taxi from Chai Wan Terminus and follow the same route. Alternatively, one can board a public light bus, Route No.16M, which runs from Chai Wan MTR Terminus to Stanley. En route to Stanley the minibus will pass Saiwan War Cemetery.
Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Digital CollectionSend us your images
Learn more about the Canadian Virtual Memorial
- Date modified: