Readers of Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance surely recall Capt. Pug Henry, USN, who managed to appear in almost all the key battles of the war from Moscow to Leyte Gulf. A real-life character from the Great War with a similar resume is Colonel Harold Ozanne of the Royal Marines. I discovered him while doing a little research on the Battle of Jutland, where he not only fought but also found himself assigned to the battleship that set the record for receiving and surviving incoming fire during the 36-hour struggle. Here in outline form is a summary of his service.
|Lt. Harold Ozanne, Before the War|
Born in British Guiana in 1879
Royal Naval College 1897
Commissioned Royal Marines, June 1898
From 1898 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, West Indies, and around the British Isles.
Deployed in naval detachment Winston Churchill sent to Ostend, Belgium, in August 1914, returned and sent back to the fleet.
Survived sinking of HMS Cressy, victim along with HMS Houge and Aboukir, of U-9 on 22 September 1914. Saved by Dutch fishermen.
Assigned to HMS Warspite at Jutland. Warspite survived more enemy hits than any other ship in the battle and a subsequent U-boat attack while heading home.
Volunteered for service in France and was assigned to the Royal Naval Division in August 1916. Fought in last phase of the Battle of the Somme and again in the sector in February 1917. He was one of only two officers of the unit to survive the action.
In the Battle of Arras, April 1917, fought two major actions. The Royal Marines suffered more casualties than in any other engagement in their history. Ozanne promoted to lieutenant colonel and command of the 1st Royal Marine Light Infantry.
October 1917, fought in late stages of Passchendaele with the unit, again taking heavy casualties.
Rotated Home in 1918. His superiors felt he had seen enough.
Retired from service in 1927. Recalled to command a Royal Marine depot in WWII. Finally retired in January 1944 and died a year later.
|Col. Ozanne, Back in Harness in WWII|
There is an entire website dedicated to the life of Col. Ozanne and it has detailed information on all the events listed above, HERE.