b. 01/04/1879 Wimbledon, London. d. 18/05/1901 Lambrechtfontein, South Africa.
Gustavus Hamilton Blenkinsopp Coulson (1879-1901) was born in Wimbledon, Surrey, on 1st April 1879, the only son of H.J.W. Coulson, of Newbrough Hall, Northumberland, and Caroline Unwin, daughter of Henry Unwin of the Bengal Civil Service. He was a great grandson of Colonel Blenkinsopp Coulson, of Blenkinsopp Castle, Northumberland, a family of distinguished soldiers. He joined the 4th Battalion (Princess of Wales’ Own) Yorkshire Regiment, but left it in his 21st year to join the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in July 1899.
In January 1900, he went on active service to South Africa, and for his service he was mentioned in despatches by Lords Roberts VC and Kitchener, received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with five clasps, and the DSO. He was also awarded the Victoria Cross after his death at the action at Lambrechtfontein, with a family member collecting the medal on his behalf before its gazetting on 8th August 1902.
During a rear-guard action, near Lambrechtfontein, on the 18th of May, 1901, seeing Corporal Cranmer, 7th Mounted Infantry, dismounted, his horse having been shot, remained behind and took him up on his own horse. He rode a short distance, when the horse was shot, and both Lieutenant Coulson and the Corporal were brought to the ground. Lieutenant Coulson told Corporal Cranmer to get along with the wounded horse as best he could, and he would look after himself. Corporal Cranmer got on the horse and rode away to the column. No. 4792 Corporal Shaw (Lincolns), 7th Mounted Infantry, seeing Lieutenant Coulson's position of danger, rode back through the rear-guard, and took him up on his horse. A few minutes later Corporal Shaw was shot through the body, and there is reason to believe that Lieutenant Coulson was wounded also, as he fell off his horse. Corporal Shaw fell off a few minutes later. This Officer on many occasions throughout the Campaign displayed great coolness and gallantry under fire.
Coulson was buried near to the place that he fell at Lambrechtfontein though the grave was unmarked for 102 years until 2003 when a headstone was placed there. His medals are held by the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Museum, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
LOCATION OF MEDAL:KING'S OWN BORDERERS MUSEUM, BERWICK UPON TWEED.
BURIAL PLACE: LAMBBRECHTFONTEIN CEMETERY, SOUTH AFRICA.
Gustavus Coulson's medals including VC and DSO on display at the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Museum, Berwick
(Picture: Andrew Swan).
Winchester College Memorial
Exeter Cathedral (courtesy of Steve Lee and Memorials to Valour)