1900, Ladysmith

MASTERSON, JAMES EDWARD IGNATIUS, Lieutenant, was born on 20 June 1862. He was educated by the Marist Brothers, and entered the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1881. He served in Egypt in 1882, including Tel-el-Kebir, and received the Medal with clasp and the Khedive's Star. He was commissioned into the 2nd Devonshire Regiment in 1891. He served in Burmah from 1891 to 1902, and received the Burma Medal and clasp. He served on the North-West Frontier of India from 1897 to 1898, including operations in the Khankia Valley, the Battle of Gunda Kai and the action in the Sampagha Pass. For his services in this campaign he received the Medal with two clasps. He became Captain in 1900. He served in the Boer War of 1899-1902, and was present at the Battle of Elandslaagte and at the actions of Reitfontein and Lombard's Kop, and at the Defence of Ladysmith, including the action of Waggon Hill. During this campaign he was wounded, and was mentioned in Despatches three times. He received the Brevet of Major, the Queen's Medal with two clasps, and the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 4 June, 1901]: "James Masterson, Lieutenant, 1st Battalion The Devonshire Regiment. Date of Act of Bravery: 6 January 1900. During the action at Waggon Hill, on the 6th January 1900, Lieutenant Masterson commanded, with the greatest gallantry and dash, one of the three companies of his regiment which charged a ridge held by the enemy, and captured their position. The companies were then exposed to a most heavy and galling fire from the right and left front. Lieutenant Masterson undertook to give a message to the Imperial Light Horse, who were holding a ridge some hundred yards behind, to fire to the left front and endeavour to check the enemy's fire. In taking this message he crossed an open space of a hundred yards which was swept by a most heavy cross-fire, and, although badly wounded in both thighs, managed to crawl in and deliver his message before falling exhausted into the Imperial Light Horse trench. His unselfish heroism was undoubtedly the means of saving lives". In 1911 he was promoted Major into the King's Own Royal Lancashire Regiment , and in 1912 he was placed on retired pay. It was a Sergeant Patrick Masterson of the 87th who captured the first French Eagle taken during the Peninsular War, and Major Masterson, VC, played his namesake's part in the Army pageant of 1910 at Fulham Palace. He served in the European War in 1914 and 1915 as Transport Officer. His favourite recreation was golf. Masterson died at Waterlooville, Hampshire, on 24 December 1935. A tablet was placed in Exeter Cathedral in his memory.

VC, Egypt (1) Tel el Kebir, IGS 1854 (1) Burma 1889-92, IGS 1895 (2) PF, Tirah, QSA (2) Eland, DofL, Khedive Star.

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