The article in the Gazette of 9 Dec 1988 on the occasion of the death of George Osmond described him as a local (Wickwar) character. I can add a few additional facts having known him from 1939 to 1988…
He left Bristol Cathedral School at the age of 17 and trained at Wisley before creating Archfield Nursery in 1926. The main house at the nursery (built c 1938) was his home until his death.
George and I both joined the 3rd Survey RegT. R.A. T.A. in 1939. George never took the army seriously so it was just as well that T.A. discipline was not strict. I can’t recall George ever saluting anyone but he carried out his observation duties (fixing our gun positions and German gun positions) meticulously.
After we were called up into regular service we spent some time in Bristol. I recall a parade when our gas masks were inspected. George’s gas mask case was full of apples he had brought in for the lads.
We went to France and Belgium with the B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) and were evacuated from Dunkirk. George dryly remarked that quite a few officers lost their ‘music hall mess’ accent under severe stress.
After the war George had many visits from his old comrades and also from the ‘great and the good’ from far and wide.
George and I and Tony Cox were at Liverpool under heavy bombing conditions, and I advanced the theory that we had been killed at Dunkirk and this was Hell, (sadly Tony Cox was severely wounded and died in Sicily). After Sicily George travelled north all the way to Trieste, almost always within German artillery ranges. He was always absolutely cool under pressure, moreover he was first and foremost a devout Christian and a wonderful example to his younger comrades but he was never smug or critical of the behaviour of others.
After the war George had many visits from his old comrades and also from the ‘great and the good’ from far and wide. He advised Sally, Duchess of Westminster, who lived nearby, and he did work for Princess Anne at Gatecombe and was a great friend of Brigadier Tiarks widow (grand mother of Mark Philips).
As the Gazette article stated – he gave considerable support to the Ockenden Venture and was most generous in all respects.
I suspect he could have made a lot of money but was not interested in so doing.
He would not sell anything on the Sabbath but allowed anyone to walk round the nursery.
He was a truly great Christian gentleman.
At his funeral, his coffin was adorned by a simple (but very fine) sprig of heather. This seemed very fitting.