Lt John Somerset Osborne, 1st Field Company, Military Cross


On 23 May 1944, 1 Canadian Infantry Brigade were to attack the Adolf Hitler Line. Lieutenant John Somerset Osborne with his platoon of engineers was responsible for clearing a tank gap through the minefields in the vicinity of the road leading to Pontecorvo (Map Reference 7217). On the evening of 22 May 1944, previous to the attack, he led a mine-clearing party forward through heavy shelling and mortaring to clear mines from the road. So intense did the enemy mortaring become that this party was driven back. Showing complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Osborne then went forward alone and completed the task. When the attack was launched on the following day, word came back that a 15-hundredweight water truck had veered from the lane, struck a mine and was obstructing the gap he had produced the previous night. This officer led a small party forward again under the heaviest mortar fire. Soon his part was forced to withdraw due to heavy casualties. Again Lieutenant Osborne went forward alone to clear the obstacle. His efforts were finally successful and the supporting arms could again move forward. This officer's actions were largely responsible for enabling the tanks to move forward in close support of the assaulting infantry of 1 Canadian Infantry Brigade. His cool resolved manner and initiative set the highest standard of devotion to duty for all ranks.