Edward Bamford

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Edward Bamford
VCEdwardBamford.jpg
Born (1887-05-28)28 May 1887
Highgate, England
Died 30 September 1928(1928-09-30) (aged 41)
On board HMS Cumberland
Buried Shanghai, China
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch RoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines
Years of service 1905–1928
Rank Major
Unit Royal Marine Light Infantry
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Distinguished Service Order
Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
Order of St Anna (Russia)

Major Edward Bamford VC, DSO (28 May 1887 – 30 September 1928) 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 military forces.

Edward Bamford was also awarded the DSO for his gallantry aboard HMS Chester at the Battle of Jutland, the ship that also was the scene for the actions of Boy 1st Class John Cornwell who, posthumously, became a recipient of the VC at the age of sixteen.

Early life and career[edit]

Edward Bamford was born on 28 May 1887 to the Rev. Robert Bamford, Chaplain to the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne[1] (died 9 November 1898, aged 44), and Blanch Edith Bamford (later Mrs E.B. Bamford, 89, Bloomfield Avenue, Bath). The family lived at Lynton House (now known as Abbot's Litten), Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset.

Edward was educated at Sherborne Preparatory School, and later at Sherborne School, which he attended as a day boy from September 1900 until April 1902. His two brothers, Robert Bamford (1883-1942) who was one of the founders of Aston Martin and Arthur Bamford (1889-1915) were also educated as day boys at Sherborne School. Arthur, who became a Private in the Grenadier Guards, was killed near Loos on 11 October 1915 and is commemorated at St Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery, Haisnes, IX.D.13., and on the Sherborne School War Memorial and Sherborne School Book of Remembrance

In September 1905, Edward joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry[2] and served at various times in H.M.S. Bulwark, Magnificent, Britannia, Chester, Royal Sovereign, and Highflyer.[3]

VC action[edit]

Memorial to Bamford and Norman Augustus Finch in Zeebrugge Churchyard

Bamford was 30 years old, and a captain in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Marines during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

Captain Edward Bamford's Victoria Cross citation was published in the London Gazette, 23 July 1918:

For conspicuous gallantry at Zeebrugge. April 1918. This officer landed on the Mole from "Vindictive" with Nos. 5, 7 & 8 platoons of the Marine Storming Force in the face of great difficulties. When on the Mole under heavy fire, he displayed the greatest initiative in the command of his company, and by his total disregard of danger, showed a magnificent example to his men. He first established a strong point on the right of the disembarkation, and when that was safe, led an assault on a battery to the left with the utmost coolness and valour. Captain Bamford was selected by the officers of the R.M.A & R.M.L.I detachments to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated 26 January 1856.[4]

As with several World War I actions where so many officers and ranks distinguished themselves, such as "The Six VCs Before Breakfast" won by the Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli, the Royal Marines Zeebrugge VCs were awarded by ballot, whereby those involved in the action voted for whom they deemed to merit the award. He later achieved the rank of Major.

Death[edit]

Bamford died of pneumonia on 30 September 1928 aboard the HMS Cumberland en route to Hong Kong, where he held the appointment of Instructor of Small Arms and Musketry Officer at Hong Kong.[5] He was buried in the Bubbling Well Road Cemetery in Shanghai. A 1930s photograph in the RM Museum shows a picture of his grave and headstone. All remaining cemeteries containing "foreigners" were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Bubbling Well Road Cemetery is now Jing'an Park.

Memorials to Edward Bamford are in the Depot Church in Deal and there is a Bamford House in the RM Barrack at Eastney. On 3 April 2004, the Royal Marines presented a plaque in his memory to the Officials of Zeebrugge. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea, England.

An obituary for Major Edward Bamford, V.C. appeared in The Shirburnian, the Sherborne School magazine, December 1928: Major Bamford, the son of the late Rev. Robert Bamford, was born in 1887, and was a day-boy at Sherborne from 1900 to 1902. He joined the R.M.L.I in 1905, and served at various times in H.M.S. Bulwark, Magnificent, Britannia, Chester, Royal Sovereign, and High Flyer. He was gazetted Captain in 1916, and awarded the D.S.O. for his services at the Battle of Jutland. He won his V.C. as a leader of the landing party from the Vindictive on the Zeebrugge Mole on St. George's Day, 1918, and he will always be remembered as one of the outstanding heroes of that most gallant adventure. He died of pneumonia on September 30th, in China, where he held the appointment of Instructor of Small Arms and Musketry Officer at Hong Kong. In him Sherborne mourns one of her most distinguished sons.[6]

Honours and awards[edit]

Apart from the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Service Order, Bamford also received the Russian Order of St. Anna, 3rd Class with Swords on 5 June 1917, French Legion of Honour on 23 May 1919, Japanese Order of the Rising Sun 4th Class in August 1921, 1914/15 Star (MID), British War Medal and Victory Medal.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Susan Penn and Ray Peen, A History of Long Street, Sherborne (Sherborne Museum, 2008)
  2. ^ "NEdward Bamford - WW1 memorial and Life Story". Imperial War Museum & D C Thompson. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Obituary for Major Edward Bamford, V.C., The Shirburnian, December 1928.
  4. ^ "No. 30807". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1918. p. 8586. 
  5. ^ Obituary for Major Edward Bamford, V.C., The Shirburnian, December 1928.
  6. ^ Obituary for Major Edward Bamford, V.C., The Shirburnian, December 1928.
  7. ^ "Bamford VC". modern-day-commando.com. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 

External links[edit]