[We are indebted to Captain Dennis Vaughan,
of Milton Keynes, England, for kindly offering us much of the
S. Osment was born in London in 1830. His parents, Thomas and Charlotte Osment, baptised him on the 16th November, 1831 at the parish of St.
Mary's, Lambeth, Surrey. Osment's father's trade is listed as carpenter
and their abode was listed as Keith St., Lambeth, Surrey.
Osment joined the Corps of Sappers &
Miners, at Woolwich, on the 3rd July, 1852. Osment's trade was as a carpenter.
remained a private until the 31st October, 1854 when he was
promoted to Second Corporal.
Osment was sent to the Crimea and fought
at the Seige of Sebastopol, and was awarded the Crimean Campaign
medal with Sebastopol bar as well as the Turkish War Medal.
On the 1st September, 1855, Osment was promoted to
Corporal and remained so until the 31st March, 1857 when he was promoted
to Serjeant. Osment appears to have married at some point and he and his
wife Agnes baptize their child at Brompton Barracks. Osment's Captain
appears to be H.R. Luard, who he will serve with in British Columbia.
Entry in an Army Register Book of Births and
|Date of the
Child's Birth -
||16 July, 1857
Place of Baptism -
|Date of Baptism
||10 October, 1857
Christian Name of Child -
||David S. and Agnes Osment
Rank of Father -
||The Reverend D. Cook, Protestant
Signature of the Adjutant that the Registry is Correct -
In Autumn of 1858 when he volunteered for Duty and was made Acting Quarter-Master Serjeant in
the Columbia Detachment.
Osment, with his very pregnant wife and child, traveled on board the Thames City
with the main body of the Detachment.
Wife of QM Serjent, RE
26 Oct. 1858
Wife of Private, RE
24 Nov. 1858
Wife of Serjeant, RE
30 Nov. 1858
Wife of Private, RE
29 Dec. 1858
Wife of Private, RE
5 Jan. 1859
Wife of Serjeant, RE
10 Jan. 1859
Wife of Private, RE
11 Feb. 1859
Wife of Private, RE
14 March 1859
Wife of Private, RE
26 March 1859
Wife of Master
28 Sep. 1859
Male - Richard
London, 29th February, 1860. "Thames City", Sunderland, Thomas Glover,
Master. Reg. 441854
- From Births at Sea, 1854 - 1890, pg. 35
November 6th, 1858 - LAT. 20.58
North, LON. 20.11 West
On the 26th
ultimo, the wife of Acting Quarter Master Serjeant D.S. Osment,
RE, of a daughter.
and Capt Horn Chronicle.
According to Dennis Vaughan, this child's name was
Shortly after the birth, a ball was held on board
the ship. The on-board paper described it as follows. The brackets are the
editor's placing real names to the fictitious ones.
On Thursday evening last, a grand ball was given in the "City", which was
very numerously attended. Among the company we noticed the General
Commanding-in-Chief (Captain Luard), with his two Aides-de-Camp (Lt.'s Palmer
and Lempriere), Sir George Can't, the inspector of Infantry and lady (Acting
Serjeant-Major Cann and wife), the Gold Sticks in waiting to the
Commander-in-Chief and his Aides-de-Camp, with their ladies (?) and many other
distinguished personages. The Chief Commissioner of Scales, Weights and Measures (Acting Quarter-Master Serjeant Osment) officiated as Master of the
Ceremonies. The star of the evening, however, was Miss Matilda Wide-a-Wake
(Hospital Orderly Hazel), the beautiful and accomplished daughter of old
Wide-a-Wake (?), commonly known as the King of the Cannibal Islands.
We believe a matrimonial alliance between this distinguished heiress and Sir
John Woodbine (Sapper James Wood), one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of
Machinery, is in contemplation. Amongst those who had the honor of being
invites, but were unable from various causes to attend, were the Admiral
Commanding-in-Chief and his lady (Captain Glover of the Thames City and his
wife), the Archbishop of our "City" and his lady (?), the Inspector
General of Hospitals (Dr. Seddall), Her Majesty's Collector of Customs
for the Colony of British Columbia (?), and the Chief Commissioner of
Stores and Clothing and his lady (?). The band of the Royal
Engineers, which was in attendance, played the most favorite selections in their
usual masterly style, and the entertainment was protracted to an early hour.
-- 13th November, 1858, From
the Emigrant Soldier's Gazette and Cape Horn
When the Voyage was nearly at an end, the on board
paper's editor wrote an epic song and included many of the Detachment's Men in
"I'll sing ye lads a Falkland sang,
Wi' thumpin' chorus loud and lang,
I'll tell ye o' the gleesom' thrang,
"At Huthlicaut's braw weddin' O.
The first that cam' was Geordie Cann.
Then Osment too .
excerpt from "Huthlicaut's Wedding",
sung by Corporal Sinnett
on 4th March, 1859,
on board the Thames
found at Cariboo
Gold Rush - Primary Sources
"I say, Hughie, I used to
hear the men talking about 'Splicing the Main Brace.' What did
"Oh, don't you know that every day when the sun passed over the
year-arm, at 12 o'clock noon, the Quarter-Master Davy Osment used to
serve the men with grog and limejuice? They called that
'Splicing the Main Brace.'"
October 13th, 1909
Upon his arrival in the
Colony, Osment was detailed to complete remaining tasks in Esquimalt
whilst the Detachment went on to Queenborough.
April, 1859 – The schooner with the remainder of the cargo from
the “Thames City” arrived with Sgt. Osment and 3 or 4 more men
the last of our detachment.
- from the
Journal of Lt. Lempriere
Soon after arriving in the Camp, Osment
was assigned the task of getting the baggage of Colonel Moody and
Captain Parsons onto a waiting steamer.
New Westminster, BC
22nd May, 1859
Proceedings of an Inquest held at New
Westminster upon the body of a Soldier (Sapper Jones RE) which was
found floating in the Fraser River by Thomas Pamphlet of the "Brig
Cadborough" who reported the matter to the Stipendiary Magistrate.
A Jury having been summoned consisting of the following
persons - W. J. Armstrong, John T. Scott. T. W. English, Ernest Picht,
Thomas Moloney, R. Dickenson, Edgar Dewdney, W. G. Peacock, John Ramage,
L. Hoys, E. Brown, J. Kennedy.
The Jury having been duly sworn the following evidence was
1st Witness Thomas Pamphlet being duly sworn states, that
being on board the Brig Cadborough this morning about 9 o' clock, he
saw what he supposed to be a human body floating down the River, an
immediately took a boat to examine it and found it to be the body of
a Soldier in his working dress, he got assistance and took it on
board the boat.
2nd Witness Acting Quarter Master Sergeant Osment RE having
been duly sworn, states, he has examined the body, and by the
general appearance of it and the initials on the stockings he
believes it to be that of Sapper T. Jones, RE.
3rd Witness Sapper John Murray, RE, having been duly sworn
states that on Saturday the 27 April, I came down to New Westminster
from the North Camp in a boat under the orders of Quarter master
Sergeant Osment RE the crew consisting of six sappers including
Jones. We went alongside the Steamer Beaver and put the baggage of
Colonel Moody and Captain Parsons on board. We then went to the
Wharf and afterwards when crossing from the Steamer Governor Douglas
to the Beaver, I being I advance, heard a slash in the water and the
cry of a man overboard. This was about 9 o'clock pm. and on the men
being mustered we found that Sapper Jones was missing. From the
general appearance of the Corpse I saw today, I believe it to be
that of Sapper Jones.
Dr. Seddall, Staff Assistant Surgeon in medical advice states,
I have seen the body of the deceased and am of the opinion that he
came by his death by drowning. The contused state of the face and
head would lead to the belief, that he struck against the side of
the Steamer in his descent to the water. I am further of opinion
that eight or 10 days must have elapsed since the deceased met his
After mature deliberation we the above have come to the
unanimous conclusion and return the following verdict - that the
deceased met with his death by drowning accidentally.
Spaulding, JP and Coroner
As the Detachment began the work of
making the Camp, Osment and his family had their home set close to
Colonel Moody's home on the West side of the Camp.
|The green box shows the Osment home. The large
white house on the far left is the Moody home.
Photograph courtesy of the BC
Call Number A-03328
One of the Detachment Sappers, James Flux, was married on the 10th of June, 1861 to a Miss Sarah
Gill of England. They were married at Holy Trinity Church, New Westminster
by Reverend Sheepshanks. The witnesses were Serjeant Osment RE and Bessie
Osment also contributed to the
Cultural aspects of the Detachment in the Colony as a member of the
RE Dramatic Club.
At this institution on Friday evening the 8th
Inst., the Dramatic club of the Royal Engineers gave one
of their theatrical entertainments. The house was filled
both with civilians and soldiers. The performances
commenced by the presentation of the romantic drama in
two acts entitled "Ben Bolt". The principal characters
in this piece were Ben Bolt, Ivan Ironlink, and Reuben
Rags, sustained respectively by Messrs. Osment,
Rylatt, and Woodcock. The latter gentleman as Reuben Rags
was highly amusing, and received from the audience his
due need of applause. He adds to his other
accomplishments that of comic singer, and is quite a
favorite with the audience generally, frequently setting
them in a broad grin by his ludicrous representations. The former gentlemen played their roles very
successfully, showing that considerable attention and
study had been bestowed on the parts. Between the pieces
a number of songs and glees were sung by several of the
members of the Glee club, followed by a dance, by Mr.
Colston. The evening's amusements closed with the
laughable farce of "Box and Cox". Captain Luard in the
character of Box and Lt. Palmer in that of Cox, were
decidedly entertaining and played with a good deal of
spirit throughout the piece, giving the impression on
the minds of the audience of their possessing a very
fair conception of the play. Doctor Seddall as Mrs.
Bouncer was rather in the background, having very little
room for displaying himself to advantage. He however,
acquitted himself in the character assigned to him very
well. It is hoped he will have something more prominent
where he will in fact have more room to spread himself. We cannot close these remarks without expressing our
thanks to the club for not having forgotten us in
issuing the invitations.
--13th February, 1861
The British Columbian
A few weeks later, Lady Franklin - wife of the
famous explorer, visited New Westminster and the RE Dramatic Club once again
performed the pieces for her entertainment.
"The most amusing thing was
the women, men in disguise of course, with, as it happened, the
gruffest voices you can imagine! Ben Bolt's (Osment) Lady love
covered up his whiskers with long black curls, but not
withstanding was certainly no type of feminine grace. The other
woman was a wife & mother and wore a cap - moreover she was not
apostrophized by a love, as in the other case. I fancy these
men do all the female parts, having shaved their moustaches for
the purpose! The scenes are all painted by one of the soldiers
& very well they are done, especially the drop scene, an Italian
view. The orchestra numbered seven instruments & very well they
played. At the end of the first piece some of them slipped out,
as they were the singers. They first gave us "Here in Cokol
Grot" which they sung beautifully, without accompaniment. "
--Sappers: the Royal
Engineers in British Columbia,
by Beth Hill, p. 89.
Dramatic - The second Dramatic
entertainment of the season was given last evening by the
Royal Engineers' Club. The beautiful drama entitled "Don
Caesar De Bazan" was most successfully played to a very good
house. The leading characters were very well sustained.
As Don Caesar, Corporal Howse was most
successful, carrying the audience with him all through.
Serjeant Osmet made a capital Charles II of Spain, and was exceedingly
well dressed. J. Turnbull took the character of the old
Marquis de Rotondo for which he was splendidly dressed, and
which he delineated in the most happy manner.
The more prominent character of Don Jose (the King's
Minister) was very well rendered throughout by W. Deas, and C.
Sinnett made a most charming Lazarillo. The ladies - perhaps
we ought to have mentioned them first - Serjeant Rylatt, as
Maritana, and J. Meade as Countess de Rotondo, performed their
parts very creditably.
A number of songs and a farce entitled "Cool as a
Cucumber" closed the evening's entertainment.
13th Dec 1862,
Osment appears to have had at least
3 more children while in the Colony. One of them, according to Mr.
Vaughan, was named Thomas, after Osment's father.
Osment was also a Cricketeer and
played with the RE Cricket Club.
Columbian, June 19th 1863
The following is the score of the return match played between
the Pioneer and Engineer's Cricket Clubs in this city:
Pooley, st. Osment..............8
Knipe, lbw, Haynes.............30
Smith, run out.................1
Sheepshanks, b. Edwards.........2
Howman, ct. Wolfenden, b. Haynes...3
Bacon, ct. Howse, b. Edwards...3
Pritchard, not out.....15
Claudet, ct. Haynes, b. Edwards..13
Cole, b. Haynes....0
Fisher, ct. Wolfenden, b. Edwards...1
Royal Engineers' Club
Wolfenden, run out...3
Hand, ct. Bacon, b. Smith....1
Osment, not out...22
Haynes, b. Smith...5
Butler, b. Bacon....9
Howse, ct. Pooley, b. Smith....1
Luard, b. Bacon.....2
Edwards, lbw, b. Smith....4
Meade, ct. Smith...4
Brown, ct. Pooley, b. Bacon....1
McMoran, b. Smith....3
This return match between the New Westminster Pioneer Cricket
Club and the Royal Engineers' Cricket Club came off
yesterday. On account of the unfavorable weather it was
agreed to decide the game with one innings, the result of
which was that the R.E. Club was beaten by 28 runs.
Acting Quarter-Master Serjeant
David S. Osment, his wife and 5 children, returned to England,
Upon returning to England, Osment was
promoted to Colour Serjeant on the 1st March, 1864.
124 days later, on the 2nd of July,
1864, Osment completes his 12 years of Service to Her Majesty.
The next day, on the 3rd of July,
Osment re-engages, at Chatham, into the Royal Engineers for another
The next day, on the 4th of July,
Osment's BC-born son Thomas, dies of Scarlet fever, at Gillingham.
Osment remains a Colour Serjeant until
the 8th August, 1867 when he is promoted to Quarter-master Serjeant.
pay for Quarter Master Sergeant per Diem in British Columbia was
3s. 4 1/2d. plus
Working Pay, 3s. to 5s per Diem.
"per Diem" is per day.
During this time, Osment served in
Gibraltar for over seven years, where his daughter, Mary, and son,
David, were born.
Osment remains at that rank until the
5th December, 1870 when he is promoted to Serjeant Major, the rank
that he remains until his eventual discharge on the 28th October,
|"With regard to
the CHARACTER and CONDUCT of No. 762 Serjeant Major David S.
Osment, the Board have to report that upon reference to the
Defaulter's Book, and by the Parole testimony that has been
given, it appears that his conduct has been very good. He was
not when promoted in the possession of any Good Conduct badges
and would - had he been promoted - have been now in the
possession of five Good Conduct Badges and he is in possession
of the medal with Gratuity for Long Service and Good Conduct,
the Crimean Medal with clasp for Sebastopol and the Turkish
War Medal. He is not in the possession of any School
His name does not appear in the
Regimental Defaulter Book. He has never been tried by Court
--28th October, 1875, Dover
Osment and his family then moved to St
Vincent, West Indies.