Nathaniel Godolphin Burslem VC

b. 02/02/1837 Limerick, Ireland. d. 14/07/1865 Waihou, New Zealand.

Nathaniel Godolphin Burslem (1837-1865) was born on 2nd February 1837 in Limerick, Ireland. He was the son of George James Burslem of the 94th Regiment of Foot and Susan (née Vokes), of Limerick (married Dublin 15 March 1836). His father was English, and traced his family back to the town of Burslem in Staffordshire. His grandfather was Colonel Nathaniel Godolphin Burslem who was awarded the Gold Medal – the forerunner of the VC Medal. Little is known of his early life prior to his enlistment in the 67th Regiment of Foot (later Hampshire Regiment) as an ensign on 12th February 1858. He would serve throughout the China Campaign, including the storming of the Taku Fort, being likely to be the first Englishman to enter the fort. He was badly wounded in three places, and was mentioned in despatches. He was also present at the surrender of Peking. For his services in this campaign he received the Medal and clasp.

Nathaniel G Burslem VC

He would be recommended for the VC (London Gazette 13th August 1861) for his actions at the Taku Fort on 21st August 1860, when he as a then Lieutenant swam the ditches of the North Taku Fort, and persevered in attempting during the assault to enlarge a hole in the outer wall, through which he managed to get through alongside Private Lane, and in doing so, they both were severely wounded.

After he recuperated from his wounds, Burslem was transferred as a Captain into the 60th Rifles. He received his VC from GOC Canada, Major-General Sir W Williams, in Montreal, Canada in September 1862. He remained in the Army until 1864, when he retired by selling his commission, and emigrated to New Zealand. Tragically, just a year later, at the age of just 28, he drowned in a boating accident on 14th July 1865. His body was not recovered from the Thames River, near Auckland, New Zealand, therefore he sadly has no known grave. His medals are held by the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, Winchester.