Image of Jesus College war memorial

Oswald Swift Flower, Brigade Major; Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Oswald Swift Flower came up to Jesus College 1890 from Wellington College.

Born: Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire in 1871

Died of wounds received in action: 12 July 1916

A seasoned campaigner

After an apparently short period in Cambridge he gained a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers 1892 and rose steadily through the ranks to Captain in 1900 and then Major, 1912. He served in Crete, Malta, Burma, India, and during the Boxer Rebellion in China. (Alumni cantabrigienses by J A Venn.)

When war broke out in 1914 he had retired from the army but re-joined his old battalion and was initially involved in training new battalions. He took one of these battalions out to the front and saw some considerable action.

According to his obituary he had a few days leave in June 1916 “but went back to the front in time for the ‘great push’ and was so seriously wounded in the capture of Mametz Wood that he died soon afterwards” (Jesus College Society Annual Report 1917, p25).

An accomplished horseman

There is no mention of Flower in the student magazine, Chanticlere, however, a newspaper clippings scrapbook collated by the Head Porter, James Hoppett, sheds some light on his interests.

The article claims that he was a “regular follower of the North Cotswold and Warwickshire Hunts, an accomplished polo player and a successful rider in point to point races and Army steeplechases.”

The article continues that “The gallant officer, who was also a good amateur actor, was unmarried.”

You can email us on, go to our First World War homepage, or find us on Lives of the First World War

Hear from our students