• Si Biggs

Col. Harold Ozanne DSO RMLI

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Harold Ozanne was commissioned into the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1897

Harold Ozanne portrait 1917

From 1889 to 1916 he served at sea regularly as the Officer Commanding the Royal Marine detachment on board Royal Navy battleships and cruisers in the Mediterranean, The Pacific, The West Indies and around the British Isles

In August 1914 he was serving aboard the cruiser HMS Cressy off the coast of Holland when Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue were all sunk by a lone German U-Boat. 837 men were rescued from the sea but 1397 were drowned.

He was on board HMS Warspite at the Battle of Jutland in June 1916 and was awarded the Order of St Stanislas by the Russian Government for distinguished service.

In July 1916 he volunteered for service in France and joined the 1st Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry (1RMLI) as second in command.

In November 1916 1RMLI took part in the Battle of Ancre, the last large British attack of the Battle of the Somme. 1RMLI incurred over 50% casualties and after being withdrawn from the line, had to be completely rebuilt with new recruits. Out of fourteen officers Harold Ozanne was one of only two to survive the battle unharmed.

At the Battle of Miraumont in February 1917 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for gallantry

Harold Ozanne's medals on display at the Royal Marine Museum Portsmouth (see below)

In April 1917 at the Battle of Gavrelle (between Arras and Vimy Ridge) he took over command of 1RMLI when the commanding officer was killed. He was Mentioned in Despatches and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

Later in April 1917 he commanded at 1RMLI at the Battle of Arleux (north of Gavrelle)

In November 1917 he commanded 1RMLI at the Battle of Passchendaele (Ypres) where he was wounded. He was Mentioned in Despatches by Gen Douglas Haig for the second time.

Medal group displayed above:

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

1914-15 Star

1914-20 British War Medal

Victory Medal (Mention in Despatches)

Order of St Stanislas (Russia) 2nd Class with Swords

"Pip, Squeak and Wilfred" was the affectionate name given to the three WW1 campaign medals — these medals were primarily awarded to the Old Contemptibles (B.E.F.). and by convention all three medals are worn together and in the same order from left to right when viewed from the front

Read more here:

RMLI at Miraumont

63rd (Royal Naval) Division - Battle of Welsh Ridge

The Royal Marines in World War One

Taken from http://mckenzie.uk.com

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