Captain Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse

1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders

11th December 1899
Captain Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse

    The first act of this brave officer for which he was mentioned in connexion with the award of the Victoria Cross, was at Magersfontein, December 11, 1899, when he heroically endeavoured, during the retirement, to carry out of action Colonel Downman, who had been mortally wounded. Being unable, however to accomplish this, he supported him until Colour-Sergeant Nelson and Lance-Corporal Hodgson came to his assistance. The second act was on April 30, 1900, on Mount Theba, where, with twelve men, he took his stand on a plateau which fully one hundred and fifty of the enemy were endeavouring to reach. Neither side seemed to have noticed the proximity of the other, until about one hundred yards apart. The Boers then dashed forward to within forty yards, calling on Captain Towse and his little party to surrender, to which the Highland officer replied by an order to his men to open fire, charging forward at the oncoming enemy, who were driven off, in spite of their very superior strength in numbers. Just at the last, this gallant officer was shot through both eyes, which entirely destroyed his sight.

    Captain Towse was born on Apr 23, 1864, and educated at Wellington College. Entered the Wilts Regiment December 16, 1885, and was posted to the Gordons January 2, 1886, with which splendid corps he served in the Relief of Chitral, 1895, and, two years later, on the Punjab Frontier. Promoted Captain 1896. He received the Victoria Cross from the hands of the late Queen Victoria, by whom, in 1900, he was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms. In 1902 he was reappointed Sergeant-at-Arms to H.M. the King, and in 1903 became one of the Hon. Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms.



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