Regiment : 10th (Stockbrokers) Battalion Royal Fusiliers
Service number : 781
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : Killed in action aged 26 on 4th May 1916
Buried : Berles-Au-Bois Churchyard Extension, France, Grave E. 6.
Birthplace : Born Chipping Campden, resident Blockley, enlisted London
Relatives : Son of Francis Bazley Osborne and Mary A. Osborne, of Malvern Hpuse, Blockley, Worcestershire
Memorial : Blockley War Memorial
Also appears on : Blockley St Peter and St Paul's Church WW1 Memorial. Blockley St Peter and St Paul's Church Osborne Memorial.
Credits : All research courtesy of the researcher of the casualties on the Blockley War Memorials.
Francis Osborne was born in 1890 in Campden, one of two sons (among 5 children) of Francis Bazley Osborne, headmaster of Campden Grammar School. He spent his early years living at the school but by 1911 he had left home and was boarding at Ludlow, Shropshire, working as a bank clerk with a joint stock bank. His parents moved to Blockley around 1914.
Francis served in World War 1. Unfortunately his personal documents have not survived but there are others available. He volunteered and served with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment) with whom he enlisted in London, reaching the rank of sergeant. He went to France in October 1915 and lost his life in action in May of the following year. His parents had moved to Blockley by January 1915 when his brother Alec enlisted (see below).
There are two unusual points in the records relating to Francis Osborne. On his medal index card there is a note stating that in October 1920 the Officer in Charge of Records, London Regiment, asked for authority re disposal of the 1914-15 Star. Such notes usually imply failure to deliver for whatever reason (though there is no such comment relating to the two medals). Possessions and medals would usually be sent to next of kin, in this case the father, whose address the authorities had.
The second unusual fact concerns his effects (arrears of pay and any other money owed to him, including the War Gratuity). These are also normally passed to the next of kin, in the case of unmarried men, the parent. Although Francis’ father was still alive, his effects were passed to his sister Helen J. at the request of their brother, Alec. Helen Julia was the eldest child of the family, last seen in 1911 in Ealing, Middlesex, an assistant mistress at a girl’s school. Alec was Francis’s younger and only brother, who had followed him into the Royal Fusiliers. He had been badly wounded only two months after Francis’s death and was discharged early from the services the following year. These two events, concerning the only two sons, must have affected the family.
From the Medal Index Card:
Francis R. Osborne, 10 Royal Fusiliers, Sgt, Stk/781. Awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star. Entered the theatre of war in France on 13th October 1915. Killed in action 4th May 1916.
Oi/c (Officer in Charge) Inf Rec (Infantry Records) (Lond Regt) asks for authority re disposal of 1914-15 Stars, 20th October 1920.
From Soldiers’ Effects:
Francis Raywood Osborne, 1 Battalion Royal Fusiliers, Sergeant, 781, died 4/5/16 in action,, France and Belgium, 2 pounds 19s 11d plus 10 pounds 10s 0d War Gratuity to sister Helen J. at the request of brother Alec.
A Summary of Francis’ brother, Alec William Osborne.
The death of Francis followed only a few weeks later by his only brother being wounded severely enough to be withdrawn from the Front and discharged early are part of the story affecting the Osborne family. The following is a brief statement of the experiences of brother Alec.
Alec followed his brother into the 10th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and was sent to France. He was wounded in the neck in July 1916 (gunshot wounds) and returned to the England. This occurred just nine weeks after the death of his brother Francis. There is no information about hospital treatment that must have taken place over the next year, but during the period Alec was on the strength first of the sixth battalion of his regiment, a training battalion based in the England. Later, possibly because the 6th would be going to Ireland, he was transferred to the 1st (Home Service) Garrison Battalion of the East Kent Regiment (the Buffs), again an English based battalion. Finally he was discharged with a pension. He resumed his calling as a bank clerk in London in 1925 and later in Kent. Alec possibly married Millicent R. Robinson in 1937 in the Bromley Registration District, Kent and he died in the Tunbridge Wells area, Kent in 1967 aged 71.
His medal index card confirms the award of the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1915 Star. There is also an entry in the Silver War Badge listing.