At the start of the play, R.C. Sherrif introduces us to Osborne, an officer of the company. A conversation ensues between Captain Hardy, an officer of another regiment and Osborne. Osborne manages to catch a quick word with the commander of the platoon before he disappears. The manner in which he reacts tells us a lot about his character. It is clear that Osborne approaches his job with a very professional attitude.
Sherrif, describes Osborne in this notes as middle aged, tall, thin, grey and physically as hard as nails but there is much more to Osborne’s character as the reader discovers as the play unfolds. Principally, Osborne has a fantastic sense of humour which is reflected in his many humorous comments. When drinking whisky without water ' as the water was contaminated' he exclaimed “ I'd rather had the microbes” p. 10 however, he does not like to laugh at others expense, “ it rather reminds you of bear baiting”.
He sticks up for up for all his colleagues particularly Stanhope, who has taken to drinking heavily to cope with the stress of war. When Hardy criticises Stanhope, Osborne is very strident in his defence of him, “ Iv'e seen him on his back all day with trench fever – then on duty all night” p.13.
Osborne seems to command great respect, although, his genial manner means that the men feel able to confide in him and behave in a familiar way, “ you are a funny old man” Hardy to Osborne pg.12 “what a dear, level headed thing you are” Hardy to Osborne p.14.
Hardy, sensing Osborne's lack of respect towards him tries to ingratiate himself by suggesting “you ought to be commanding this company”. However, Osborne reveals his realism and lack of arrogance when he chides Hardy “ experience alone makes him (Stanhope) worth a dozen people like me”. His modesty is revealed again when chatting to Raleigh about rugby, he reveals that he once played rugby for England but...