James Morris Colquhoun Colvin
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|James Morris Colquhoun Colvin|
|Born||26 August 1870
Bijnor, United Provinces, India
|Died||7 December 1945
Malakand Frontier War
Second Boer War
World War I
|Relations||Sir Noel Beresford-Peirse (son-in-law)|
James Morris Colquhoun Colvin VC (26 August 1870 – 7 December 1945) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Colvin was born in Bijnor, United Provinces, British India. His father was James Colquhoun Colvin of the Manor House, Sutton Veny, Wiltshire, and his mother was Camilla Fanny Marie Morris, eldest daughter of the Rev. Edward Morris. His father served with the Bengal Civil Service and was awarded the India Mutiny medal for his role in the defence of the House of Arrah. Their extended family was long established in the British East Indies as soldiers and administrators, and included Sir John Russell Colvin, Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces during the Indian Mutiny, his sons Sir Auckland, K.C.S.I. and Sir Elliot Graham, K.C.S.I., as well as their cousin, the writer and curator Sir Sidney Colvin.
He was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He was awarded the Pollock Gold Medal and Memoir as a Cadet Senior Under Officer for distinguished proficiency; the Regulation Sword for exemplary conduct; a travelling clock, aneroid barometer, thermometer and compass for maths and mechanics. These awards were presented to him by H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge after his inspection of cadets at RMA Woolwich, on 26 July 1889.
On the night of 16/17 September 1897, in the Mohmand Valley, North West British India, Lieutenant Colvin was with Lieutenant Thomas Colclough Watson who collected a party of volunteers and led them into the dark and burning village of Bilot, to try to dislodge the enemy who were inflicting losses on British Army troops. When his brother officer had been incapacitated by wounds, Lieutenant Colvin continued the fight and made two more attempts to clear the enemy from the village. He was conspicuous during the whole night for his devotion to his men, in the most exposed positions and under very heavy fire. See also James Smith
The award of the Victoria Cross was published in the London Gazette on 20 May 1898. The citation read;
Lieutenant James Morris Colquhoun Colvin, Lieut., Royal Engineers. On the same occasion, after Lieutenant Watson had been incapacitated by his wounds from further effort, Lieutenant Colvin continued the fight and persisted in two more attempts to clear the enemy out of the dark and still burning village. He was conspicuous during the whole night for his devotion to his men in the most exposed positions under a heavy fire from the enemy.
Colvin served with the Malakand Field Force, 1897–98, where he took part in operations in Bajaur, the Mohmand Country and in Bruner (mentioned-in-Despatches L.G. 11 January 1898).
He later served in South Africa 1901-02 during the Second Boer War as Special Service Officer. In May 1901 he was appointed an Aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-General Sir Bindon Blood, who was stationed in eastern Transvaal. He was again mentioned-in-Despatches (L.G. 22 August 1902), received the Brevet promotion to Major and his name was noted as qualified for Staff employment.
- Passed Staff College, Camberley, in 1909
- Appointed Staff Captain, Army Headquarters, Simla, India on 11 April 1903 to 15 March 1906
- General Staff Officer 2nd Grade, Quetta Division on 7 May 1911 to 2 November 1915
- Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on 18 January 1917
- Mentioned-in-Despatches (the Despatch, dated 20 August 1918, of Sir C.C. Munro) vide p. 13907 of London Gazette No. 31031, dated 26 November 1918.
- Appointed Commandant, 3rd Sappers and Miners, Kirkey, India
Orders and medals
- Victoria Cross
- India General Service Medal 1895 with clasps 'Relief of Chitral 1895', 'Punjab Frontier 1897–98'
- Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Transvaal', 'South Africa 1901', and 'South Africa 1902'
Colvin married Katharine, youngest daughter of Colonel George Augustus Way, CB and they had three children:
- Katharine Camilla (married Noel Beresford-Peirse)
- James Bazett
- John Alexander, born 9 July 1913
James Colvin died at Stanway, near Colchester on 7 December 1945, aged 75. He was cremated at Ipswich Crematorium on 11 December, and his ashes scattered in the Old Garden of Rest.
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- The Sapper VCs (Gerald Napier, 1998)
- Paul Woodness
- The Victoria Cross 1856–1920 (Hayward)
- The History of the Victoria Cross (Philip A. Wilkins)