Maurice Osborne

Service number: 240478 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Suffolk Regiment

Killed in action, November 2, 1917, in Palestine.

Remembered at grave ref. VIII. E. 21, GAZA WAR CEMETERY, Gaza, Israel.


Brandon’s war memorial has recorded Maurice’s name as ‘Morris’, but his Medal Roll Card spells it as ‘Maurice’ and so I shall use that spelling. Not much is known about Maurice nor of his connection with Brandon although it looks like he and his family came from the Suffolk/Essex border region.
Maurice had probably enlisted immediately after the outbreak of war because he was serving as one of Kitchener’s volunteers. What is certain is that in 1915 Maurice was with the Suffolk Regiment in France when he was wounded. Upon recovering from his wounds he was reassigned to the 1st/5th Suffolk Regiment and given a new service number.

On 27th October 1917 Maurice was involved in the ‘Third Battle of Gaza’, which was the same battle that Fred Wicks was fighting in. This battle followed the previous unsuccessful Allied attacks in March and April that same year. On 2nd November the 1st/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, behind a creeping artillery barrage, headed out to attack the Ottoman trenches at El Arish. The Suffolks succeeded in capturing the trenches without receiving too many casualties, but it involved ferocious hand to hand fighting to do so. Now the Suffolks were in possession of the trench they had a problem, the rear of it offered little protection from gunfire coming from behind the enemy lines and the men, being very vulnerable, had to withdraw to another trench. At the end of this action the battalion had lost forty-one men killed, ninety-one wounded and seven were missing. However by the end of this battle the Allies captured the city, although it was then ruined and deserted, on 7th November. It seems that Maurice had been killed in the fighting to gain possession of the enemy trenches.