Lieutenant Edward Browne VC

Edward Stevenson Browne was born in Cambridge on 23rd Dec 1852, and at the age of 18 joined the 24th Regiment, on 23rd Sep 1871. In 1877 he was serving in Southern Africa with the 1st Battalion and he volunteered to join the Corps of Mounted Infantry which had been raised using men from several British regiments. The detachment of the 24th consisted of around 25 men, 2 sergeants, a bugler and 2 officers. One of the officers, Lt Carrington was in command until Nov 1877 when he was posted elsewhere, leaving Lt Browne in charge of of the detachment, plus men of the Buffs, and the 80th Regiment. They were involved in the quelling of disturbances in Griqualand West and fought in several actions including Galetza Heights in October 1878.

In the Zulu War, Major Russell of the 12th Lancers was put in command of the Mounted Infantry and they fought at Sirayo's Kraal. Part of the MI squadron (28 men) was wiped out at Isandhlwana but Browne was with Russell and 80 mounted men, accompanying Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Glyn's force, so avoiding the catastrophe. They were reinforced by men of the 4th Kings Own and in March 1879 joined Sir Evelyn Wood in the north of Zululand. There was a battle at Inhlobani on 28th March 1879 and on the 29th the MI fought on foot during the Zulu attack at Kambula Hill. When the attack was repulsed the men mounted up and pursued the Zulus but something went wrong during the chase and the mounted men found themselves being driven in. It was while Browne's men were being pursued that a man fell from his wounded horse and would have been killed, but Browne dashed back under fire, and rescued him. The same thing happened to another man a few minutes later and Browne repeated his brave action. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross and presented with it at Pinetown Camp on 22nd Aug 1879.

His troop continued to serve in Evelyn Wood's column, being reinforced by 20 men from the 1st battalion 24th. They took part in the reconnaissance in force on 3rd July 1879 and the battle of Ulundi and subsequent movements. He was mentioned in despatches after Ulundi and given a medal and clasp for operations against Sekukuni. Browne was promoted to captain in May 1880 and major in Nov 1885. Later he served in India and was appointed deputy assistant adjutant general for musketry in Bengal, later reaching the rank of Brigadier-General and awarded a CB. He died in Montreux, Switzerland on 16th July 1907, aged 56.

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by Stephen Luscombe