THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO PRIVATE HERBERT COLUMBINE, MACHINE GUN CORPS, HAS BEEN LOANED TO THE ESSEX REGIMENT MUSEUM IN CHELMSFORD.
19 July 2013


( select to enlarge )
Private Herbert Columbine,
19th ( Queen Alexandra's Own Royal ) Hussars
att'd 9th Squadron, Machine Gun Corps

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )

The Victoria Cross awarded to Private Herbert Columbine, 9th Squadron, Machine Gun Corps, which is held by the Walton on the Naze Branch of the Royal British Legion, has now been loaned and is on display in the Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford, Essex.

In 1921 Herbert Columbine's mother gave his Victoria Cross to the Walton on the Naze Town Hall where it was placed on public display. When Walton and Frinton councils amalgamated in 1934 the VC was given to the Royal British Legion where it was displayed in the Legion's headquarters building. However, after a series of break-ins at the Legion club the Victoria Cross was then placed in a bank vault for its safety.


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 3 May 1918 ], Hervilly Wood, France, 22 March 1918, Private Herbert George Columbine, 9th Squadron, Machine Gun Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice displayed, when, owing to casualties, Private Columbine took over command of a gun and kept it firing from 9am. to 1pm. in an isolated position with no wire in front.

During this time wave after wave of the enemy failed to get up to him. Owing to his being attacked by a low-flying aeroplane the enemy at last gained a strong footing in the trench on either side. The position being untenable he ordered the two remaining men to get away, and though being bombed from either side, kept his gun firing and inflicting tremendous losses.

He was eventually killed by a bomb which blew him up along with his gun. He showed throughout the highest valour, determination and self-sacrifice.

Herbert Columbine's mother was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 22nd June 1918.


Herbert Columbine has no known grave. His name is engraved on the Pozieres Memorial, three miles North East of Albert, in France.

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Iain Stewart, 19 July 2013