Tag Archives: Sergeant

Sergeants Eric and Ronald Osgood

Out of the blue I received an email the other day from a gentleman who had noticed an unusual gravestone in Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth. It commemorates two brothers serving in the RAF who were killed on the same day in 1940, and are buried in a joint grave.

Sergeant Eric Edwin Heaton Osgood (20) and Sergeant Ronald Arthur Osgood (22) both died on 17 July 1940. Their parents were Albert and Elizabeth Osgood, of Widley.

The ever-reliable Gerry at the Portsmouth Cemeteries Office informs me that the two brothers were killed in an air crash at RAF Sealand, a training and maintenance base in Scotland. And according to the burial registers their parents were living at Beaconsfield Road in Cosham.

I have emailed the RAF Museum, who hold records of all RAF aircraft crashes. Hopefully we can find out a bit more about the Osgood brothers. I must confess I had no idea about them, although I have previously written about the Venables brothers who were also killed in the same air crash in September 1945.

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Filed under portsmouth heroes, Royal Air Force, Uncategorized

Lieutenant-Colonel Dick Worrall DSO and Bar MC and Bar

I think I may well have found Portsmouth’s most highly decorated twentieth century serviceman. And his story is quite a tale.

Richard ‘Dick’ Worrall was born in 1890, in Woolwich, the son of Richard and Annie Worrall. At some point between then and 1914 he ended up in Canada, for his wife was Lorraine Mae Worrall of Crescent Street, Montreal. We next find him as a Sergeant in the 14th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry, being awarded the Cross of St George fourth class, a Russian decoration. Secondary evidence has confirmed that was indeed commissioned from the ranks.

By January 1917 he had evidently been promoted, as the London Gazette referred to him as a Captain. In June 1918 he was a temporary Major and an acting Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding a Battalion – at the age of 27. I know that he was awarded both of his DSO‘s during the last few months of the war, commanding the 14th Canadian Infantry on the Western Front. The second DSO in particular has a fascinating citation:

On 1st September, 1918, for conspicuous gallantry during the attack on the Crow’s Nest and  Hendecourt Chateau Woods while in command of his battalion. He advanced his line half a mile, and under heavy fire maintained his position all day. The following day, though his left was exposed to withering machine-gun and artillery fire, he captured a village, taking prisoners a whole battalion. Still pushing on, he took the final objective, and established his position, having advanced some 5,000 yards from the jumping off line. He displayed fine courage and leadership.

Such a citation is unusually detailed for the First World War. During the war Worrall was also mentioned in despatches. He was decorated a remarkble total of six times, excluding campaign medals.

Sadly, Worrall died on 15 February 1920. He was just 29. He is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.

And so, I enter the unknown world of emigration records, and Canadian Genealogy!

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Filed under Army, portsmouth heroes, western front, World War One