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Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Biography -
- John Joseph Malcolmson -

Unknown person Name : John Joseph Malcolmson

Son of James Malcolmson; husband of Jane A. C. Malcolmson, of 9, Southgrove Terrace, Ventnor, Isle of Wight.

Born 1867 Ireland (The 1911 Census gives Dover, Kent, the obituary below gives "born in England of Irish parentage").

Married 1896, Jane Ann Catherine (maiden name unknown); no children.
  Census information :

1871 : not found

1881 : not found

1891 : presumed to be in South Africa

1901 : presumed to be in South Africa

1911 : John and Jane Malcolmson are at Rock Villa, Hambrough Road, Ventnor. John Malcolmson is described as a Retired Transvaal Civil Servant.

  Service Details :

Major John Joseph Malcolmson, 4th Hants Bty. 2nd Wessex Bde., Royal Field Artillery

see obituary for full career
Ventnor Cemetery : J J Malcolmson Casualty Details :

Died 4 June 1915, aged 48, at Ventnor. (there is some discrepancy over his age at death and therefore his birth year)

Buried at : Ventnor Cemetery

CWGC Record
  Commemorated on these Memorials :

Ventnor War Memorial
Ventnor St Alban's Church Roll of Honour
County War Memorial, Carisbrooke Castle
  Documents and Newspaper cuttings :


Friday, September 11, 1914 Page 4

Major Malcolmson's Battery is badly in need of knitted worsted socks, and he would be glad if any ladies would be kind enough to send a supply direct to him at Larkhill Camp, Salisbury Plain.


Friday, March 19, 1915 Page 4

MRS. MALCOLMSON is leaving "Birtley," Alexandra Gardens, and removing to "Hormead," Bellevue Road.

Friday, March 26, 1915 Page 1

We are authoritively informed that Major Malcolmson has been suffering from illness in India, and is sailing for England early in April on leave. The 4th Hants Howitzer Battery have come through their firing at Jhansi with the greatest credit.

Friday, April 2, 1915 Page 5

WE are glad to hear that Major Malcolmson's health has improved. He has been granted three months' leave of absence, and will, we understand, receive a home appointment on complete recovery.

Friday, May 7, 1915 Page 5

Major Malcolmson commanding the 4th Hants Howitzer Battery, who is on sick leave, arrived in Ventnor last night from India. His voyage home lasted just on a month. It was rather an anxious one when coming into home waters. The voyage has benefited the Major's health. In the course of conversation, he paid a very high tribute to the progress made by the men of his Battery since they arrived in India. The General has on more than one occasion expressed his entire satisfaction with their work. The men are eager - ready to carry out any order, and the way in which they have mastered their riding drill has been splendid. Their general conduct, too, has been exemplary. Major Malcolmson has four months' sick leave. We shall all wish that by that time his health will be completely re-established, so that he might once more return to his duties.

Friday, June 4, 1915 Page 5

Death of Captain Malcolmson.
We deeply regret to hear that Captain Malcolmson of the 4th Hants Howitzer Battery, who recently arrived home in Ventnor on sick leave, died this afternoon under circumstances which point to his life having been taken by his own hand. We hear that Captain Malcolmson had his lunch at one o'clock, and afterwards went to his bedroom. A report and fall were heard, and Captain Malcolmson was found shot through the head, with a revolver lying near. He had been extremely depressed since his arrival in Ventnor. Some time before leaving India he had an attack of sunstroke. An inquest will be held.

Friday, June 11, 1915 Page 1

The death of Major Malcolmson is one of those tragedies of human existence which is inexplicable. The news was a great shock to all classes in Ventnor. Major Malcolmson won respect by reason of his cheery disposition and native wit. He was always full of good humour, and of a particularly bright and sunny nature.
He brought to his duties as a Territorial officer a keen soldierly instinct, and imbued his men with these virile principles, which make for high military efficiency. Possessing considerable administrative ability, his command of the 4th Hants Howitzer Battery was marked by many and important changes, and there is no doubt he has left the Battery in India fully capable of taking its stand by the side of Artillery units in the Regular Army.
The Major took but little part in the life of Ventnor outside his duties as a Territorial officer, but the projected Funicular Railway of a few years ago found in him a vehement opponent. By his pen and voice he adduced argument upon argument to prove his contention that the scheme would be a financial disaster to the town. He was an able writer and one of those speakers who could put his case with force that carried conviction with people not so clever as himself.
Major Malcolmson was a man of wide interests, gifted with native kindliness of disposition, remarkable shrewdness, and a keen sense of humour. Of unfailing cheerfulness, no man ever won more completely the confidence of his superior officers and the affection of a host of friends. His administrative work after the Boer War was highly thought of in official quarters. The war brought him many honours in the field, but financially he was a great sufferer, by its effects.
He has died for his country just as much as if he had been killed on the battlefield. We can only add our own to the very many expressions of deep sympathy Mrs. Malcolmson has received in the loss of her husband under such distressing circumstances. All hearts have gone out to her in this terrible hour of suffering.

Page 5

The Late Major J.J. Malcolmson
A profound feeling of regret was created in the town on Friday afternoon when the sad circumstances connected with the death of Major Malcolmson became current. It was known but to very few that Major Malcolmson was suffering from the effects of the heat in India, and his appearance since his arrival home confirmed this. There was a marked absence of spirit in his customary cheery greeting, and it was not difficult to see he was changed in other aspects. It was thought, however, that perfect rest would quite restore him; and that at the end of his leave of absence he would be able to do useful work in a home appointment. In fact, negotiations had already been set on foot whereby he would have been assured of an appointment at the depot in September. However, the Major had taken his incapacity very much to heart. He seemed to improve physically after coming home, but his usual gaiety of demeanour had quite departed. The circumstances of his death are set out in the report of the inquest below. The deepest sympathy with Mrs. Malcolmson not only of the whole of the inhabitants of Ventnor but of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances outside has been stirred by the sad and sudden event. Major Malcolmson was 46 years of age. He was born in England of Irish parentage.
Major Malcolmson went out to South Africa in 1888, and acted as secretary to various mining companies, being on the staff, we believe, of the De Beers Diamond Mines at Kimberley at one time. On the outbreak of the South African War, he joined Lock's Horse, serving through the entire campaign until 1901. In May 1900, he was wounded outside Kronstadt by the bursting of a shell, losing his left eye. He was next gazetted to the Transvaal Scottish, and served in that regiment under Lord Tullibardine for a short time. For his services during the war he was awarded two medals, the Queen's with three clasps, and King Edward VII's with two.
In 1901 he was appointed to the staff of the military magistrate at Germiston. He occupied this post until the institution of temporary civil servants, when he was gazetted as public prosecutor. While engaged in this capacity he obtained considerable knowledge of law, and this was recognised by the authorities on his acceding to the petition of Germistonians that he should be the first resident magistrate when Germiston was proclaimed a separate district. He was also the officer in command of the Germiston Company of the Rand Rifles.
After filling his official positions with great credit and ability, Major Malcomson returned to England, and about eight years ago came to take up residence at Ventnor. It was not long before his unfailing good humour and ready wit attracted the attention of those with whom he was brought into contact. He was most genial, always ready for an argument, and if somewhat extreme in his views on public questions, he was a very fair controversialist. After a time he joined the Local Artillery Battery, and on the resignation of Lieut.-Colonel A.E. Jolliffe, he was promoted to the command of the Battery with the rank of major. His heart and soul may be truthfully said to have been soldiering. He stood for the highest military efficiency, devoting nearly all his leisure to acquiring the most approved methods of artillery science. He literally devoured text books on the subject, and did not spare himself when the time came for instructing the men in his command. The result was seen at the annual trainings of the Battery. On two occasions they won the Brigade cup for good shooting. It was during one of these trainings that Major Malcolmson fell from his horse, and many think that this accident, together with the former loss of his eye and the extreme heat of the sun in India, all helped to contribute to his state of health and mind which culminated in the tragedy of his death. Since his Battery has been in India, Major Malcolmson received first-hand opinions of its efficiency from the General Commanding. This was, of course, exceedingly gratifying to one who had such a large share in their training. Though at times a little impatient with his men - and an inveterate enemy of the "slacker" - Major Malcolmson was highly esteemed by those under him, and one can understand the great pang of sorrow which the news of his death will cause in far away Lucknow. When the present conflict broke out, Major Malcolmson worked night and day on the mobilisation of his Battery, and it was a great disappointment when he found the Battery was ordered to India instead of to the front.
Socially Major Malcolmson was the life and soul of any gathering - we recall his presence at the many Territorial dinners in Ventnor. His apt and ready speeches were always anticipated and listened to with the utmost interest, and his spirited Army songs - rendered, as they always were, with so much breeziness and feeling - brought him the warmest commendation of any assembly. One could not fail to be inspired and moved, for instance, by his treatment of the old song, "Who'll be a soldier?" As a speaker, he had a rich fund of humour, and could make an intensely humorous point without the slightest change of countenance. Politically Major Malcolmson was a Unionist, but he was as uncompromising in his opposition to Tariff Reform as he was in his devotion to the cause of the Ulsterman. To him Home Rule was anathema. He always averred with the utmost conviction that Home Rule could never become operative. This was some of the things in which he could not be moved. The local official Conservatives, however, were never in doubt as to his views on Tariff Reform, and an interesting chapter could be written of his connection with the Party when Tariff Reform was the issue at the election of 1910. Extreme, however, as were his views, Major Malcolmson was a staunch friend, and respected by all classes. He had a wonderful sense of humour, and this stood him in good stead on many occasions. At one election - we think in 1911 - Major Malcolmson stood as a candidate for the Ventnor District Council, but although he polled nearly 300 votes he was among those not elected. He was a regular attendant at the County and Castle Club, and here especially he will be greatly missed. And now we come to that part of this notice which must affect us as being for some time fellow citizens of his. It is no empty expression when we say that from us a figure has been removed that we shall for long to come miss almost daily. He was always out and about with a cheery word for everybody. He seemed to look on the bright side of life, and it is inexplicable that his end came as it did. He was a charming companion, full of anecdote and illustration and an excellent raconteur. His residence in the Colonies gave him a wide outlook and a due appreciation of men and matters. Major Malcolmson was a life-long abstainer - in fact, it was his proud boast that alcohol in any form had never passed his lips.
(THE INQUEST and THE FUNERAL have not been transcribed)

Two of the attendees at the Funeral were Lt Col and Mrs Cheetham; Mrs Cheetham was a cousin of Major Malcolmson. Lt Col Charles Joseph Cheetham, R.M.A. (Retd) lived in later life at Wroxall, and as a serving officer recalled to the colours he became a Recruiting Officer at Ashton-under-Lyne, dying of pneumonia there in 1916 at the age of 66. CWGC record for C J Cheetham. He is commemorated at the Wroxall War Memorial and the County War Memorial.


Friday, June 2, 1916 Page 4

MALCOLMSON. - In loving memory of J.J. Malcolmson, 4th June, 1915. "At Rest."


Friday, June 1, 1917 Page 3

In ever loving memory of
4th June 1915.


Friday, April 12, 1918 Page 1

A particularly despicable crime is placed to the credit of pro-German agents and spies in America. Mr. James Malcolmson, brother of the late Major Malcolmson, of Ventnor, who was an expert mining engineer, was exploring in the States to obtain natural deposits suitable for the manufacture of high explosives. While so engaged he was murdered by enemy agents and his body was not discovered till a long time afterward. Mr. Malcolmson had several very responsible posts and was highly thought of in his profession.


Friday, November 5, 1943 Page 2
MALCOLMSON. - Jane Ann Catherine, at 9 Southgrove Terrace, Southgrove Road on Tuesday, November 2, aged 89 years, widow of the late Major J.J. Malcolmson. - Funeral service at St. Alban's Church this morning (Friday) at 11 o'clock.

Page 3
We regret to record the death of Mrs. Malcolmson, widow of Major J. J. Malcolmson. Mrs. Malcolmson was 89 years of age, and passed away at her home at 9 Southgrove Terrace, Southgrove Road, on Tuesday. She was a lady of great personal charm, and many residents will mourn the loss of a much loved friend. The funeral service is taking place at St. Alban's Church this (Friday) afternoon at 11 o'clock.


Friday, November 12, 1943
Page 1
The late Mrs. J.J. Malcolmson
The funeral of Mrs. Malcolmson, widow of Major J. J. Malcolmson, of 9, Southgrove Terrace, took place on Friday last at St. Alban's Church. The body was taken to the church on Thursday evening, and there was a short service of reception, conducted by the Rev. L.A.D. Woodland, Vicar of Wroxall, who was served by Mr. Cecil Maybee.
On Friday a Requiem mass was said at 11, followed by a funeral service. This was also taken by the Rev. L.A.D. Woodland, as the acting priest-in-charge of St. Alban's, Father Ross Wilson, is ill. None of the relatives of the late Mrs. Malcolmson was able to come to the funeral. The chief mourner was Miss Hilda Cave, who had looked after Miss (sic) Malcolmson for many years and had given her most faithful and loving service. Mrs. Downing was with her.
Other friends present included Mr. T. Brading, the Misses Dowling, Col. and Miss Guild, Mrs. Norborne Kirby and Miss Kirby, Miss Maddock, Mr. T. Pethick, Miss Ramsay, Miss Trenham, Mrs. Whelan and Dr. and Mrs. Williamson. There were also present members of St. Alban's congregation.
* *
On returning from Church Parade this morning, I found a telegram had been 'phoned through from Father Rumball asking me to write an appreciation of "Aunt Bun" for the Mercury. I am sure many who have known her longer would do it better, but I would like to try.
It was with sorrow that I heard from her friend and companion, Hilda Cave, who had faithfully looked after her for about 15 years, that she had passed peacefully away on All Saints' Day, yet one feels she would have chosen that way and that day!
One felt a link with one's childhood had gone, for I have known "Aunt Bun" ever since the days when she took an active part in the life of St. Alban's Church, which she loved and in which she took an enormous interest till the very last.
Someone once said to me "You can't expect her to live forever," when I expressed anxiety about her increasing frailty. One realised that, but nevertheless one felt if only she could live to the end of the war to see all "the young people" come home again how joyful would be her welcome! This, I think, was where Aunt Bun's great charm lay. She did not live in the past, though her stories of her youth in the hunting country of Ireland, and riding through Africa with her husband's regiment (the only woman with a garrison of 500 men) could hold one enthralled. She was never dull. But she really lived in the present always. To use her own expression, she was always "on the spot." She read the newspapers with avidity and could always discuss accurately the news from any part of the world and tell you how the war was going.
Perhaps her small flat in South Grove Road has held as many visitors as any in the district and many will remember her jolly tea parties with the table laden with good things, so that even recently when on leave one had to say "Is the war over?" when one saw the good things to eat.
She never seemed too tired or too pre-occupied to listen to one's troubles, and many will recall her cheery "I am delighted to see you, my dear, and how is your Beloved to-day?" (This applied equally to husband, wife, fiancé, or anyone else according to circumstances, but it was almost always the same greeting).
Her mantelshelf and desk were crowded with photographs - mostly in uniform recently - and when a new one appeared she would greet one with "That is her husband. She brought him here to tea. I was charmed!" Bless her heart, she was often charmed and so ready to like people. Father Rumball was "her adopted son," but when father Wilson appeared I was informed "He's my grandson!" but to most of us she was what she was to her London nieces and nephews - "Aunt Bun" or "Aunt Rabbit" - full of Irish wit, and sometimes becoming so excited over a controversial subject that one had to warn her "Remember your blood pressure."
My earliest memories of her are of her constant goings up and down Ocean View Road to St. Alban's (one could see her small limping figure from home, with her solid walking-stick), every Tuesday to the Women's Fellowship over which she presided like a Duchess; every Sunday to the 11 a.m. Mass, always early in her place at the front under the Pulpit.
She had chronic arthritis in the hip from a riding accident many years ago, but it did not deter her, and until fairly recently she had occasional trips out in the bath chair.
Only last month, when I had bidden her goodbye at the end of my leave, she called me back when I had reached the door - I think she knew she would not live very long - and said with tears in her eyes "I pray for you every day, all of you - I love you all."
Dear Aunt Bum, now that you are "caught up into a world where pain and pleasure take on transfinite values" (as C.S. Lewis puts it in The Screwtape Letters) - pray for us all - every-one of your ever-loving "young people" to whom you are so dear!
  Links :

Transvaal Scottish Regiment

Rand Rifles
  Acknowledgments :

Thanks to Janet Griffin for newspaper and other research
  Page status :
Page last updated : 4 January 2015 - added further newspaper reports


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