b. 28/05/1887 Highgate, London. d. 30/09/1928 HMS Cumberland.
Edward Bamford (1887-1928) was born at 34 Langdon Park Road, Highgate, London, on 28th May 1887, the second of three sons to the Reverend Robert and Blanche Edith Bamford, of Elmtree, St Marychurch, Torquay, Devon. Educated at Sherborne School and Malvern House in Kearnsey, near Dover, he entered the Royal Marines on 1st September 1905 as Second Lieutenant and attended the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, before joining the Portsmouth Division, Royal Marine Light Infantry, on 1st July 1907. A noted student, he shared in the award of the King George Prize Scholarship and was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st July 1906. It would be 10 years before his next promotion, during which time his appointment were mostly sea-going posts in either the Home or Grand Fleets.
His first ship was HMS Bulwark of the Channel Squadron, which he joined on 5th December 1908. Having passed a course in physical training, he later moved to HMS Magnificent on 18th March 1910, before joining HMS Britannia, after a few months on shore duty, on 5th September 1911. He served on Britannia until November 1915, and was aboard when she ran aground near Inch Keith, on her way to support Beatty’s battlecruisers in the action fought off the Dogger Bank the previous January. Returning to the Portsmouth Division, he attended a musketry course at Hythe in January 1916, gaining a first class certificate and was posted to the Western Front, on brief attachment to the Guards Brigade, then manning the lines in the Ypres Salient.
He was then posted back to sea, and was promoted to Temporary Captain on 2nd May 1916, and appointed to the newly commissioned light cruiser HMS Chester, as officer commanding the Royal Marine contingent. He was then involved in the Chester’s narrow escape at the Battle of Jutland. He commanded two guns manned by his marines. Wounded and slightly burned about the face when his after control station was blown to pieces by a shell burst. He later helped extinguish a cordite fire, and he was awarded the DSO (LG, 15th September 1916) and the Order of St Anne, 3rd Class (with Swords), which was awarded by the Russian Government.
Bamford’s injuries healed quickly and he returned to the Chester, and was promoted to Captain on 1st September. He remained with the Chester until February 1918, when he was appointed to command a company of the specially formed 4th Royal Marines for the duration of the Zeebrugge operations. On 22nd/23rd April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, Captain Bamford landed on the Mole from HMS Vindictive with three platoons of the Royal Marines storming force in the face of great difficulties. When on the Mole and under heavy fire, he commanded his company with total disregard of personal danger and he showed a magnificent example to his men. He first established a strong point on the right of the disembarkation and when satisfied that it was safe, led an assault on the battery to the left. When they returned to Deal, the survivors were paraded and instructed to elect a representative to receive the VC. Bamford was chosen.
His award was gazetted on 23rd July 1918, and it was presented to him 8 days later at Buckingham Palace by King George V with the other 5 Zeebrugge VCs. His gallantry was also marked by promotion to Brevet Major and the award of the French Legion of Honour. He then served on HMS Royal Sovereign until March 1919. He then joined HMS Highflyer bound for the East Indies. He returned to the Division in May 1921 where he spent three months at the Deal Depot. He was attached to the entourage of the Crown Prince of Japan, and was awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun.
In September 1924, he set off on his last sea-going appointment on HMS Curacao, operating in the Atlantic. Two years later, after a short spell with the Plymouth Division, he set off for the Far East to take up an appointment as small arms instructor in Hong Kong. He was promoted Major on 1st March 1928, but in September, during a stay at Wei Hai Wei, China, he contracted a mystery illness. In urgent need of a hospital, he was taken on HMS Cumberland on 28th September, bound for Hong Kong. Sadly, on the 30th September 1928, 10 miles from Shanghai, Bamford passed away.
Bamford was buried in Bubbling Well Road (English) Cemetery, Shanghai. A headstone marked the grave until the cemetery was levelled for a new shopping development. His medals are held by the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea, Hampshire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM, SOUTHSEA, HAMPSHIRE.
BUBBLING WELLS CEMETERY, SHANGHAI, CHINA. (NOW A SHOPPING CENTRE)
Thomas Stewart – for images of the Sherborne School Memorial and his medal group at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea.