b. 1861 Waterford, Ireland. d. 26/03/1926 Colchester, Essex.
Edmund John Fowler (1861-1926) was born in 1861 at Waterford, Ireland, the son of John and Bridget Fowler. He joined the 2nd Battalion, The Scottish Rifles, and served in the Zulu Campaign. On the 28th March 1879, Sir Evelyn Wood VC had ordered an assault on Inhlobane Mountain, where the Zulus were strongly posted in strong, natural caves.
Following a delay in the execution of the orders issued, Captain Ronald Campbell of the Coldstream Guards, followed by Lieutenant Lysons and Private Fowler, ran forward and advanced over a mass of fallen boulders and between walls of rock, which led to a cave where the enemy was hidden. The gap was so narrow, they had to move in single file, with Campbell leading. When they reached the mouth of the cave, Campbell was immediately killed. Lysons and Fowler charged into the cave and forced the occupants out of the cave. Lysons then remained at the mouth of the cave, during which Campbell’s body was carried down the slope. Evelyn Wood VC later described their actions as “the greatest deed I ever saw performed in my life.”
Fowler, like Lysons, was recommended for, and awarded the Victoria Cross (gazetted on 7th April 1882). Fowler received his medal less than week later, on 13th April 1882 from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Later that year, Fowler was involved in an incident which led to him being court-martialled. The sentence of the court-martial decreed that he should surrender all of his medals and decorations including his recently awarded Victoria Cross. On hearing this, Queen Victoria declined to approve the loss and as a result they were restored to him.
Fowler went on to serve in the Sudan Campaign of 1884-1885, and was promoted to Colour Sergeant. Colour Sergeant Fowler then married Mary Maguire who hailed from County Donegal, Ireland. He ended his Army career as a Colour Sergeant, and lived in retirement in Essex. He died on 26th March 1926, aged 64 at Brerechurch Road, St Giles, Colchester, Essex. He was buried in Colchester Cemetery. His medals are held at the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Regimental Museum, Hamilton, Scotland.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CAMERONIANS MUSEUM, HAMILTON, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: COLCHESTER CEMETERY, COLCHESTER, ESSEX.
SECTION Q, GRAVE 12-42
Kevin Brazier – Fowler VC Grave and Cemetery Plan from Colchester Cemetery.
Thomas Stewart – Fowler VC Medal Group at the Cameronians Museum, Hamilton.