1899, Magersfontein

TOWSE, ERNEST BEACHCROFT BECKWITH, Captain, was born 23 April 1864, and educated at Wellington College. He was gazetted to the Wiltshire Regiment 10 December 1885, and was posted to the Gordon Highlanders 2 January 1886. In 1892 Captain Towse married Gertrude, younger daughter of John Christie. He served with the Chitral Relief Force, 1805, including Malakand (Medal with clasp). He also served on the NW Frontier of India and at Tirah, 1897-98 (two clasps), and in South Africa, 1899-1900. In this campaign he was mentioned in Despatches twice, received the Queen's Medal with three clasps, and was dangerously wounded. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for the services described in the London Gazette, 6 July 1900: "Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse, Captain, Gordon Highlanders. Dates of Acts of Bravery: 11 December 1899; 30 April 1900. On the 11th December 1899, at the action of Magersfontein, Captain Towse was brought to notice by his commanding officer for his gallantry and devotion in assisting Colonel Downman, when mortally wounded, in the retirement, and endeavouring, when close up to the front of the firing-line, to carry Colonel Downman on his back; but finding this not possible, Captain Towse supported him till joined by Colour Sergeant Nelson and Lance Corporal Hodgson. On the 30th April, 1900, Captain Towse, with twelve men, took up a position on the top of Mount Thaba, far away from support. A force of about 150 Boers attempted to seize the same plateau, neither party appearing to see the other until they were but one hundred yards apart. Some of the Boers then got within forty yards of Captain Towse and his party, and called on him to surrender. He at once caused his men to open fire, and remained firing himself until severely wounded (both eyes shattered), thus succeeding in driving off the Boers. The gallantry of this officer in vigorously attacking the enemy (for he not only fired, but charged forward) saved the situation, notwithstanding the numerical superiority of the Boers". Captain Towse was decorated by Queen Victoria, by whom in 1900 he was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms. In 1902 he was reappointed Sergeant-at-Arms by King 1 Edward, and in 1903 became one of the Honorary Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms. He was Sergeant-at-Arms in Ordinary to His Majesty King George V, and was appointed to the Honorary Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms and served until 1939. Captain Towse was a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Captain Towse became an expert typist, and when the European War broke out he went to the front to type letters for wounded soldiers, and was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's Despatch in June 1916. In 1915 he was promoted Staff Captain of Base Hospitals without pay and allowances. Chairman of the Grand Council of the Comrades of the Great War. In 1921 he accompanied Field Marshal Earl Haig to South Africa to form an Empire League of ex-servicemen. Towse received the KCVO.

Sir Beachcroft Towse died at Goring-on-Thames, Berkshire, on 21 June 1948, at the age of 84.

VC, KCVO, CBE, IGS 1895 (1) Tirah 1897-8, QSA (3) MR, RofK, Paard, 1914-15 Star, BWM, VM, Knight of Grace of the Order of St John, 1911 Coronation Medal 1911, 1937 Coronation Medal.

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