James earns V.C in India

Colvin_James_VC_plaqueColchester man earns his V.C serving in India

This wall plaque located at 6 Berechurch Road is where Colchester’s second Victoria Cross holder lived from 1921 to 1945. His name was James Morris Colquhoun Colvin (1870 – 1945) and this is the story of how James earned his V.C.

In 1897 when James was 27 years old, he was serving in the British Army as a Lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers during the Mohmand Campaign in India.

On the night of 16/17th September 1897, in the Mohmand Valley in North West British India, Lieutenant Colvin was with Lieutenant Thomas Colclough Watson who collected a party of volunteers and led them into the dark and burning village of Bilot, to try to dislodge the enemy who were inflicting losses on British Army troops. When his brother officer had been incapacitated by wounds, Lieutenant Colvin continued the fight and made two more attempts to clear the enemy from the village. He was conspicuous during the whole night for his devotion to his men, in the most exposed positions and under very heavy fire.

For his actions that day both he and Thomas were awarded the V.C. James died at Stanway on 7th December 1945, aged 75 and was cremated at Ipswich Crematorium four days later.

He was a very brave man and his actions should not be forgotten by us today.

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