Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 19/10/1906 Grimsby, Lincolnshire. d. 02/04/1942 Malta.

 

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 11/1941 - 01/04/1942 Malta.

 

Albert Matthew “Matt” Osborne (1906-1942) was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire on 19th October 1906, the only son of Albert Edward and Annie Margaret Osborne (nee Matthews). His mother originally came from Cleethorpes. His father was a fisherman until a bad accident at sea, saw him decide to buy and run a teashop in Cleethorpes. He later moved the family to Blackpool, Lancashire, where he ran a nightclub. It is believed that Matt, as he became known, went to boarding school there.

 

Little is known of Matt’s working life following schooling until he enlisted with the Royal Air Force in July 1940. Following his basic training he became a Leading Aircraftman, and was posted to Malta. What is unusual about Matt’s actions which led to the award of the George Cross is the number of separate incidents which were included in his citation.

 

During the period of November 1941 to the 1st April 1942, during a long period of air attacks on the island of Malta, he was always at first hand to deal with emergencies. The following are examples of his bravery: (a) put out a burning aircraft during a heavy bombing raid, (b) attempted to save a burning aircraft, (c) assisted in saving a burning aircraft and putting out the fire, (d) saved an aircraft from destruction fby fire and (e) attempted for 6 hours to extricate airmen from a bombed shelter, despite continued bombing and falling stonework. On one day alone, he fought fires in two aircraft, saving one of them; he freed the parachute of a burning flare that was caught on the aircraft, enabling the pilot to taxi clear, and he checked the fire in a burning aircraft.

 

On 1st April 1942 he was leafing a party to extinguish the flames of a burning aircraft when one of the petrol tanks exploded, injuring him. On recovering, he returned to fight the fire and was killed by the the explosion of an air vessel while attempting to pour water over two torpedoes that were in danger of exploding.

 

Matt’s body was recovered and he was laid to rest in Capuccini Naval Cemetery, Malta in the Protestant Section. On 7th July 1942, the London Gazette published the detailed citation of a posthumous George Cross for Matt Osborne. His name is on the Cleethorpes War Memorial and he is also on the RAF Memorial in St Clement Danes Church in Aldwych, London. His medal group is privately held.

 

LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.

BURIAL PLACE: CAPUCCINI NAVAL CEMETERY, KALKARA, MALTA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Matthew Osborne GC

OSBORNE OSBORNE GRAVE

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to:-

 

1058637 Leading Aircraftman Albert Matthew Osborne, Royal Air Force.

 

During a period of fierce enemy air attacks on Malta, Leading Aircraftman Osborne has displayed unsurpassed courage and devotion to duty. In circumstances of the greatest danger he was always first at hand to deal with emergencies, whether in fire fighting operations or in rescue work. The following are examples of his promptitude and gallantry: -

 

¬Rendered safe the torpedo of a burning torpedo aircraft, working 3 feet from the main petrol tank for ten minutes.

Extinguished a burning aircraft during a heavy bombing attack.

Attempted to save a burning aircraft and subsequently removed torpedoes from the vicinity.

Assisted in saving the pilot of a burning aircraft and extinguishing the fire.

Saved an aircraft from destruction by fire.

Attempted for six hours to extricate airmen from a bombed shelter, despite con¬tinued heavy bombing and danger from falling stone-work.

Fought fires in two aircraft, his efforts resulting in the saving of one.

Freed the parachute of a burning flare caught in an aircraft, enabling the pilot to taxy (sic) clear.

Checked the fire in a burning aircraft, the greater part of which was undamaged.

 

The last three incidents occurred on the same day. Leading Aircraftman Osborne was un¬fortunately killed on 2nd April, 1942. During an intense, air attack he led a party to extinguish the flames of a burning air¬craft. A petrol tank exploded and he was injured and affected by the flames. On recovery, he returned to fight the fire and was killed by the explosion of an air vessel while attempting to pour water over torpedoes which were in danger of exploding. This airman's fearless courage and great leadership on all occasions have been beyond praise. The Air Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Mediterranean, has stated that he was “one of the bravest airmen it has been my privilege to meet".”

10th July 1942

transcribed by Terry Hissey