FoB154 Taking The Fight To The Enemy
CSM John Osborn V.C. leads 3 of his Winnipeg Grenadiers into battle. In one hand he holds his ‘Tommy-Gun’, in the other a grenade.
All 3 infantrymen carry the standard British .303 Lee Enfield Rifle.
During the Second World War, the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong was destined to be the first place the Canadian Army fought a land battle against the Axis powers. There are many tales of bravery and gallantry among the beleaguered and besieged defenders of the small British Colony but one in particular is remembered in this set.
On 19 December, the second day of fighting after the Japanese had landed on Hong Kong Island, soldiers of “A” Company, Winnipeg Grenadiers were holding defensive positions in the centre of the Island. Japanese troops had surrounded the ‘Winnipeggers’ and were lobbing grenades into the Canadian position. On numerous occasions, Company Sergeant Major John Osborn, a WW1 veteran, picked them up and threw them back at the enemy. When one fell where Osborn could not reach it in time, he shouted a warning to his men and threw himself onto the grenade smothering the explosion. He was killed instantly but his sacrifice saved the lives of many of his men.
CSM Osborn was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military award for bravery in the field.