Lieutenant Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn

Royal Canadian Dragoons

7th November 1900
Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn VC

     On November 7, 1900, at Komati River, the guns were in great danger of being captured by the Boers, but Lieutenant Cockburn behaved with conspicuous coolness and bravery, and, with only a few men, held off the enemy long enough to enable the guns to be got successfully away to safety, not, however, without severe loss among his gallant followers, all of whom were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, he himself being wounded.

     Major Cockburn is the son of Mr. George Ralph Richardson Cockburn, now a Director of the Ontario Bank in Toronto, and for many years M.P. for that city, as well as Principal of Upper Canada College. Born on November 19, 1867, he was educated at Upper Canada College (Toronto), and Rugby School, England. On November 20, 1891, entered Governor-General's Body Guard as 2nd Lieutenant, and early in 1900 volunteered for service in South Africa, where, in addition to the Victoria Cross, he gained the Queen's Medal with clasps for Cape Colony, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, and Orange Free State, in all of which actions, and during the entire service (when the regiment marched 1,700 miles and took part in forty-five engagements), he commanded a troop. The officers under whose command the Victoria Cross was gained by him were Colonel Lessard, in command of unit, and Major-General Smith-Dorrien, G.O.C., and it was presented to him by H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall and York at Toronto on October 11, 1901, as was also, on the same occasion, a sword of honour voted to him by the council of that city. Major Cockburn possesses also the Royal Canadian Humane Society's medal for having, at great personal risk, saved the lives from drowning of two brothers, Robert and James Harris, in Lake Rosseau, on September 20, 1897.


Boer War VC index page

Site Home Page