|Source||‘Colonel H.C. Osborne’, Extract from the Times, 23/04/1949, in: CWGC Archive, ACON 103, Col. H.C. Osborne, 11/12/1925 – 30/12/1935; CWGC Archive, WG 1831/256. COMMISSION MEETING NO. 314, 28/03/1949 – 23/06/1949|
|Biographical Note||Colonel Henry Campbell Osborne was Secretary-General of the Canadian Agency of the Imperial War Graves Commission after the First World War.|
Henry (nicknamed ‘Harry’) Campbell Osborne was born in 1874. He was educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope and Toronto University, Canada. Osborne was called to the Canadian Bar and spent a few years undertaking legal work before becoming a stockbroker.
In 1902, Osborne married Marian, daughter of the late G.G. Francis and widow of Mr C.L. Bath. She died in 1931 and there were no children from the marriage.
During the First World War, he held a number of important staff appointments in the Canadian Army and was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 1918. In September 1920, Osborne was appointed to the post of Secretary-General of the Canadian Agency of the Imperial War Graves Commission. His fluency in French and English ensured his qualification to make all the arrangements for, among many memorials for Canadian soldiers who fell in France during the First World War, the impressive Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge.
Osborne possessed a wide knowledge of affairs and was of great assistance to the Commission’s founder and Vice-Chairman, Sir Fabian Ware, who frequently consulted him on matters of general policy. In 1924, he was awarded a Volunteer Decoration and he was also made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
On 19 April 1949, Colonel Osborne, after many years of service, passed away aged 75 following a spell of illness. His death was announced at the 314th Commission meeting and it was noted that ‘all members of the Commission’s staff who came into contact with him would recall not only a courteous and helpful colleague, but a man of keen intelligence, great personal charm and delightful wit.’
In Canada, Osborne was renowned for his skill at public speaking as well as his interest in the arts, including music and theatre.