Nicholas Lovell

The FiveVictoria Crosses of Bromsgrove School

Captain Eustace Jotham

Captain E. Jotham 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force)

Eustace Jotham might have been the model for the public school hero described by Henry Newbolt in his famous poem Vitai Lampada (The Torch of Life). The poem starts with a description of a youngster at school battling to help his team win a cricket match. Later the same boy, now a junior officer, 'rallies the ranks' during a desperate battle in some far flung corner of empire. Thus it was with Jotham: he was a hero of the First XI Cricket Team whilst at Bromsgrove School; during leave from the army, in 1913, he showed his bravery by rescuing passengers after a terrifying rail crash; in 1915 he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for valour on the North-West Frontier of India. After his death Jotham was described by an officer, who had witnessed his bravery, in the following way:

'...I had never met a man who had filled me with greater confidence in his personality and strength of character. He was just one of those Englishmen who for centuries have made the country famous.'

He was born at Kidderminster in 1883 and attended Bromsgrove School from 1899-1901, leaving at the age of 18 to attend the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire) Regiment in April 1903 and then transferred to the 2nd Battalion, which was shortly to embark for a tour of duty in India. It seems likely that from the very beginning of his career Jotham was intending to join the Indian Army, which at the time of the Empire was composed of Indian soldiers led by British officers. It was usual for officers, bound for a career in the Indian army, to first serve with a British regiment in India until they had become acclimatised to the ways of India and learnt the language. They were then transferred to the Indian Army.

In 1903 Jotham sailed to India with the 2nd Battalion North Staffords and served with them until 1905 when he was seconded for service with the Indian Army. By 1908 he had joined the 51st Sikhs and is listed in the records as a 'double company officer'. The whole of his career was spent in India, punctuated by periods of home leave.

Text VersionCopyright September, 1996. Nicholas Lovell

The other four Bromsgrove School VCs are:
 Lieutenant Commander Percy Dean
 Sergeant Nigel Leakey
 Second Lieutenant Frank Wearne
 Field Marshall Sir George White

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