When Edward Pickard died in 1928 at the age of 56 he had given 36 years of his life to the Green Howards. Most of the town of Richmond turned out to his funeral on Friday July 21st with the mourners being headed by General Sir Edwin Bulfin, Colonel of the Regiment from 1914 to 1939.
Edward Pickard enlisted as a Green Howard in 1891, and rapidly rose through the ranks. He was one of very few officers to fight with his unit throughout the First World War, during which he served as Quarter Master to the 2nd Battalion. Pickard was the first Green Howard to fire at the enemy in the First World War – shooting two Uhlans (German mounted lancers) while trying to allocate billets to his men in Ypres! His ‘batman’ or servant, Charles Porteous Hellings who was with Pickard for a total of 14 years survived the war and is pictured here with Pickard in the grounds of the Depot in Richmond.
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Lieutenant Thomas Ginger. Signals Officer. 4th Battalion. Thomas Ginger was awarded the Military Cross as a result of his bravery during the German ‘Spring Offensive’ of March 1918. In the citation for his award it describes how ‘On the first day his senior Officers were killed and in numerous rear-guard actions he found himself in command of considerable bodies of men’. One such example is during the retreat across the River Somme near Brie, when Ginger was ordered to take his men and cover the retreat of the remains of the 50th Division. He took his tired men to the far bank and took up positions to hold the advancing Germans back. At the same Lt George Begg, 239/Field Company was wiring the bridge that the retreating men were crossing. As German troops started to appear on the horizon and the last of the Durham Light Infantry crossed the bridge, Begg primed the detonator and pressed the plunger home. Nothing happened. This was repreated three times. When the bridge did blow, Begg looked across the river to see Ginger and his men still focusing fire on their foe. Eventually Ginger managed to construct a rudimentary footbridge, allowing his men to cross to safety.
John Malcolm Osborne, submitter Jackie Wilson’s father, was born on 14th October 1888 to Frederick Osborne and Lydia Lindridge in Goudhurst Kent, having 7 siblings. In 1911 he was living at home in Goudhurst, Kent working as a motor mechanic. During the First World War he joined the Royal Naval Air Service on the 22nd October 1915 with the service numbers of 208815 and F 8815, before the creation of the Royal Air Force by the merger of the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps on 1 April 1918. His papers record that he was five feet seven and a half inches tall, had brown hair and grey eyes, with a fresh complexion. He was stationed at President II, a shore based depot at White City, London. When called to a Zeppelin crash site, John removed the propeller as a souvenir. At a later date the propeller was fashioned into a walking stick. A clock was also made from the remains of the propeller, owned by Jackie’s Godfather. John Osborne was transferred to the reserve in April 1919 and discharged April 1920. John married Florence Huddlestone in Shepherd’s Bush, London, 3rd March 1918. In the 1930s he lived in Hammersmith with his wife before they moved to Cambridge. He died on the 4th February 1953 at Chesterton Hospital, Cambridge, leaving effects of £224 14s 6d to his widow Florence Maud Osborne.
Mary Wilkinson (née Marshall and usually known as Molly) died in Winchester in 1983 at the age of 90. Mary had originally enlisted in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in 1912. On the outbreak of the First World War she was initially refused permission by the British Authorities to go to Belgium and so it was under the jurisdiction of the Belgian Government that she made her way across the Channel. Her medals, testament to her work during the war, are displayed in the museum’s Medal Room alongside those of her husband, Captain Wilkinson. Few FANYs, let alone women, were decorated with the Military Medal, an award earned while she was based at the hospital at Marquise in the grounds of the 1st Aeroplane Supply Depot. This location saw the most devastating German aerial attack of the war on an aviation facility. The citation for her Military Medal states “For gallantry and coolness during a bombing raid by hostile aircraft….she displayed the utmost disregard of danger, attending many serious wound cases which required skilful and immediate assistance.”