William John Vousden VC CB

b. 20/09/1845 Perth, Scotland. d. 12/11/1902 Lahore, Pakistan.

William John Vousden (1845-1902) was born on 20th September 1845 in Perth, Scotland, the only son of Captain Vousden, of the 51st Fusiliers. He was educated at Dr Hill’s Establishment at Woolwich, and King’s School, Canterbury. He entered the Army in 1864, and was gazetted in January of that year as an Ensign in the 35th Regiment of Foot. In October 1867, he was promoted to Lieutenant, and transferred to the 5th Punjab Cavalry, and in due course was entered into the Bengal Staff Corps.

William J Vousden VC CB

He was then commissioned as a Captain in 1876. He served in both the Afridi Campaigns on the Staff, and in both phases of the Afghan War he participated with his regiment in the arduous and important work which they had to do. Besides being involved in several minor operations, he was present in the Khort Valley Expedition in January 1879, including the action at Matun. He took part in the second campaign in the advance of the Division under the command of Sir Frederick Roberts VC on Kabul. He was then involved in actions at Karatiga (where his horse was shot from under him), Charasiah and finally the advance on Kabul itself.

On 14th December 1879, on the Koh Asmai Heights, near to Kabul, Vousden charged, with a small party of men, into the centre of the line of the retreating Kohistani force. They were greatly outnumbered and at risk of being surrounded. Vousden rapidly charged back and forwards through the enemy several times, before moving off to join the rest of the troop.

He was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 18th October 1881, and received his medal on 24th May 1882 from the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, the Honourable A R Thompson. His subsequent service was in the Miranzai Expedition, Tochi Field Force and Tirah Campaign, and in the fighting in the North West Frontier between 1897-1898. In every one of those campaigns, he was mentioned in despatches, and three times in the Afghan War.

In 1891, he married the daughter of Major-General Drummond, whilst still serving in India. In 1901, the now Major-General Vousden VC, CB was given command of the Punjab Frontier Force and District. Vousden died suddenly on 12th November 1902, aged 57 in Lahore (then India, now Pakistan). He was buried in Lahore Cemetery. He is named on his parents grave in Rye, East Sussex. His medals are not publicly held.