On May 18, 1901, while engaged with his corps in fighting a
rear-guard action, Lieutenant Coulson, who had rallied his men
and saved a Maxim gun from falling into the enemy 's hands, saw
that the horse of Corporal Cranmer had been shot, leaving his
rider powerless to keep up with the rest of his troop, and in
imminent danger of being killed by the Boers, who were rapidly
approaching. Despite the heavy fire brought to bear upon him,
this young officer rode to his corporal, took him
upon his own horse and rode back towards his men. Hardly had
they succeeded in getting any distance before the horse was
shot, and, falling, threw both men to the ground, whereupon
Lieutenant Coulson ordered Cranmer to mount and ride for safety,
adding that he would look after himself and do the best he
could. Cranmer succeeded in mounting the horse, which had not
been so severely wounded as at first appeared, and reached the
column in safety. Lieutenant Coulson's position, however, was
momentarily becoming more serious ; seeing which, Corporal E.
Shaw, of the Lincolns (7th Mounted Infantry), rode back to him
and took him upon his horse, being himself almost at once shot
through the body, Lieutenant Coulson also being badly hit at the
same time. Their wounds caused both men to fall from the horse,
that of Lieutenant and Adjutant Coulson proving fatal. Though
this gallant young soldier never lived to wear the Victoria
Cross he had so nobly won, the decoration was handed to his
relatives after his death.
Coulson was the only son of H. J. W. Coulson, of Newbrough Hall,
Northumberland, and great-grandson of Colonel Blenkinsopp
Coulson, of Blenkinsopp Castle, Northumberland—one of a family
of distinguished soldiers. He was born at Wimbledon, Surrey, on
April I, 1879, educated at Winchester, and joined the 4th Batt.
(Princess of Wales') Yorkshire Regiment, but left it when twenty
years of age to enter the Scottish Borderers (July, 1899). In
the following January he proceeded on active service to South
Africa, gaining the medal and five clasps- and the D.S.O. On
many occasions (the Gazette States) he behaved with great
coolness and gallantry under fire, being mentioned in despatches
by both Lords Roberts and Kitchener. The act for which the
Victoria Cross was awarded him was performed under the immediate
command of Major F. C. Lloyd (of the Lincolns) and Colonel T. D.
Pilcher, C. B., A.D.C. (now 2nd Bedfordshire).