Osmaston, Robert Shirley


He was the son of Francis Plumtre Osmaston (C, 1872-1876), of Hawkhurst Court, Sussex, and came to Winchester from Earleywood School near Ascot. He won the Gold Medal for gymnastics in 1911 and several diving prizes. On leaving school he underwent a short course of instruction in agriculture and at the outbreak of war immediately enlisted in the Public Schools Battalion, obtaining a commission in the 3rd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment in May 1915.

He went to the front the following December, and early in 1916 was appointed Lewis gun instructor and then acting Adjutant of his battalion. He was subsequently attached to Brigade Headquarters to obtain experience of staff work. He was awarded the M.C. in April 1916 for planning and executing a successful raid.

In July 1916 he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer, and made a reputation for skill in handling his guns. He was killed on September 24th 1916, while engaged in an offensive patrol at some distance beyond the German lines: the aircraft in which he was acting as observer was suddenly attacked by an enemy biplane at close quarters and before he had time to fire the rear gun he fell, shot through the head. His aeroplane, an FE2c, flown by Second Lieutenant J C Griffiths, was damaged but landed safely; the pilot was uninjured.

He is incorrectly listed as “Shipley” Osmaston on the Limpsfield Memorial Stores Memorial.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Osmaston
  • Forenames or initials: Robert Shirley
  • House: K
  • Years in School: 1909-1913
  • Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Royal Flying Corps
  • Date of Birth: 17th November 1894
  • Date of Death: 24th September 1916
  • How Died: Killed in action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer F2
  • Decoration: M.C.
  • Burial Site: BEAUVAL COMMUNAL CEMETERY: Grave A.18