Warfare in News

Posted on Friday 10th January

Tank officer Robert Boscawen, an ex-Conservative MP and the last holder of the Military Cross to sit in the House of Commons, died on 28 December 2013, aged 90.

Robert Thomas Boscawen was born into a distinguished Cornish family on March 17 1923. He was educated at Eton and joined up via his local recruitment office two weeks after leaving school, in 1941.

Boscawen initially joined the Royal Engineers and attended Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1942, he joined the 1st Armoured Battalion of the Guards. At only 21 years of age, he was troop commander of 4 Sherman tanks when they landed in France shortly after D-Day and were involved in intense fighting. He was also involved in the liberation of Brussels.

Boscawen was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in October 1944, south of Arnhem, when his tanks stood their ground during a night of heavy fire.

Tthey crossed the Rhine in March 1945, and two days later they found themselves once again under German fire, whilst attempting to capture a canal bridge. Boscawen's tank was engulfed in flames and he suffered severe burns before escaping to safety. He underwent extensive surgery by Archibald McIndoe (whose work is described in The Reconstruction of Warriors published by Frontline Books).

He returned to work in 1947 as a volunteer for the British Red Cross Civilian Relief Organisation in Germany before beginning his career. He went on to take an active role in the Conservative Party, was a Government Whip from 1979 - 1988, and served as an MP from 1970 - 1992.

In 1949, Bob Boscawen married Mary Alice Codrington. He is survived by their son and two daughters.

You can read more of Robert Boscawen's wartime experiences in his bestselling battle diary, Armoured Guardsmen - A War Diary, June 1944 - April 1945, (Pen and Sword books, 2010).

Further Reading

Armoured Guardsmen

Only £12.99

Armoured Guardsmen

(Paperback - 240 pages)
by Robert Boscawen

In defiance of the regulations, Bob Boscowan kept his daily account of his war from Normandy through to Germany where, seriously wounded, he was the sole survivor of his tank crew. In between he witnessed fierce fighting, including notable successes and costly failures. He had four tanks shot from under him. It captures the spirit of comradeship, the joy of success, the bitterness of loss and the dangerous thrill of action. This is a stirring… Read more...


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