Military Wiki
James Edward Ignatius Masterson
Born (1862-06-20)June 20, 1862
Died December 24, 1935(1935-12-24) (aged 73)
Place of birth Ireland
Place of death Waterlooville, Hampshire
Buried at Hulbert Road Cemetery, Waterlooville
Allegiance  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1881 - 1912, 1914 - 1915
Rank Major
Unit Royal Irish Fusiliers
Devonshire Regiment
King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
Battles/wars 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War
Tirah Campaign
Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

Major James Edward Ignatius Masterson VC (20 June 1862 – 24 December 1935) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early career[]

Masterson entered the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1881. He served in the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War, including the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. He was commissioned into the 2nd Devonshire Regiment in 1891. He served in Burma from 1891 to 1902 and the North-West Frontier of India from 1897 to 1898, He became captain in 1900.

Victoria Cross[]

Masterson was 37 years old, and a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment, British Army during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place on 6 January 1900, at Wagon Hill, Ladysmith, South Africa for which he was awarded the VC:

During the action at Wagon Hill, on the 6th January, 1900, Lieutenant Masterson commanded, with the greatest gallantry and dash, one of the three companies of his regiment which charged a ridge held by the enemy and captured their position.

The companies were then exposed to a most heavy and galling fire from the right and left front. Lieutenant Masterson undertook to give a message to the Imperial Light Horse, who were holding a ridge some hundred yards behind, to fire to the left front and endeavour to check the enemy's fire.

In taking this message he crossed an open space of a hundred yards which was swept by a most heavy cross fire, and although badly wounded in both thighs, managed to crawl in and deliver his message before falling exhausted into the Imperial Light Horse trench. His unselfish heroism was undoubtedly the means of saving several lives.[1]

He transferred to the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment as a Major in 1911 and retired in 1912. In 1914 he returned to the Army as a Deputy Director of Railway Transport. He died at Waterlooville, Hampshire, England, on 24 December 1935, aged 73.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Military Museum of Devon and Dorset, Dorchester, Dorset, England.

His ancestor, also surnamed Masterson, captured a Napoleonic eagle at Barossa in 1811 and was given a field commission - this is portrayed in Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Fury


External links[]

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