Irish winners of the Victoria Cross
Sergeant Daniel Cambridge
Daniel Cambridge VC 27th of March 1820 – 4th of June 1882. Born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, on the 27th of June 1820. He was 35 years old and a Bombardier in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. On the 8th of September 1855 at Sebastopol, Crimea, Cambridge volunteered for the spiking party on the assault on the Redan. He remained with the party after being severely wounded twice, but had refused to leave until the general retirement was ordered, and even then he repeatedly went back into the open to carry wounded men to safety. In the latter part of the day, he sprang forward to bring in another wounded man. While carrying the helpless infantryman to the safety of the trench Daniel was seen to stagger. Subsequently Daniel was found to have been shot a third time, in his right jaw, and, incapacitated, he took no further part in the action.
Attesting in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, on the 20th June 1839 he gave his occupation as labourer and he is recorded as being 5 feet 8 inches tall with a fresh complexion, dark grey eyes and brown hair. He enlisted four days later as a Driver and Gunner in the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Artillery, on the 24th of June 1839. He served with the 2nd Company, 4th Battalion, in Malta (1841–1847) and was then posted to Canada with the 7th Battalion in 1848. On the 28th of August 1849 he married Ann Bigham in Notre-Dame de Québec, Quebec, Canada. On the 21st of November 1853 Cambridge's posting to Canada came to an end and he and Ann, now expecting their first child, found themselves on the way to England and the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
He briefly reverted to the 4th Battalion in Woolwich, Kent, before transferring to the 8th Company, 11thBattalion the following month. In June he embarked with his regiment for the Crimea, passing through Scutari and Varna and disembarked on the Crimean Peninsula with the siege train on the 19th September 1854. On the 8th of October 1854 the besiegement of Sebastopol by sea and land began and on the 17th of October Sebastopol was bombarded by 126 British and French guns. Cambridge took part in the defeat of the Russians at Inkerman on 5 November and then returned to Sebastopol.
On the 3rd of April 1855, Gunner and Driver Daniel Cambridge was promoted to Bombardier. On the 8thof September he accepted Captain Davis' invitation to join the spiking party for the British assault on the Redan. As the Artillerymen's spiking party were unable to spike the Russian guns the Gunners helped and carried as many of the wounded infantrymen to safety as they could. The despatches relating to the incident record him as being severely wounded. He returned with his regiment to Woolwich in March and on the 30th of March. On the 21st of April 1856 he was promoted Sergeant with 7th Company, 11th Battalion.
Private Patrick Carlin
Private Carlin was part of Lord Mark Kerr's force of 500 that went to the aid of a British column besieged at Azimgurh during the Indian Mutiny. The battle, referred to as the Jingar Relief of Azimgurh took place on 6 April 1858 and was fought against rebel leader Koer Singh and a force of sepoy mutineers. Kerr's men defeated part of the enemy force but they were not strong enough in numbers to lift the siege conducted by the 10,000 strong rebel army. Two men from the Somerset Light Infantry won the Victoria Cross that day; Sergeant Napier and Private Carlin. Carlin rescued a wounded naik of the 4th Madras Rifles. While he was carrying the man off the battlefield on his shoulders he was fired on by a mutineer. Using the naik's sword he managed to kill the rebel and bring the wounded man to safety.
Patrick Carlin was born in Belfast in 1832. He continued to live there after leaving the army. He died 'of exhaustion' in Belfast on 11 May 1895. His medal, gazetted on 26 Oct 1858, is in the regimental museum, Taunton.
Private James Bell Crichton
James Bell Crichton (1879-1961) was born in Carrickfergus Northern Ireland and served in the British Army before emigrating to New Zealand. When the First World War broke out, he enlisted in the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force and served in Gallipoli and then France. In April 1918, while serving as a Warrant Officer with the 1st New Zealand Field Bakery, he voluntarily relinquished his rank and transferred as a Private in the 2ndAuckland Infantry Regiment. Crichton was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 30th of September 1918 at Crèvecoeur in France during the Allied advance. Crichton had been wounded in the foot but when his platoon was forced back by a counter attack he carried a message by swimming a river and crossing an area swept by machine-gun fire. Later, under enemy fire, he removed explosive charges from a bridge, saving it from destruction.
Sergeant Bernard Diamond VC
Sergeant Bernard Diamond VC (January 1827 – 25 January 1892) born in Portglenone, County Antrim. Indian Mutiny Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award for his actions at Boolundshur, India on September 28, 1857 during the Indian Rebellion. Born in Portglenone, County Antrim, Ireland, he served as a sergeant in the Bengal Horse Artillery of the British Bengal Army. During his military career, he also received the Punjab Medal, the Indian War Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He later emigrated to New Zealand and died in Masterton, Wellington Region, New Zealand at the age of 65.
For an act of valour performed in action against the rebels and mutineers at Boolundshur, on the 28th September, 1857, when these two soldiers [Bernard Diamond and Richard Fitzgerald] evinced the most determined bravery in working their gun under a very heavy fire of musketry, whereby they cleared the road of the enemy, after every other man belonging to it had been either killed or disabled by wounds.
Sergeant Samuel Hill VC
Sergeant Samuel Hill VC. Born 1826 Glenavy, County Antrim, Ireland. Died on the 21st of August 1863 at Meerut, India. In 1844 he enlisted in the 67th Regiment of Foot and then transferred in 1856 to the 90th. He was about 31 years old, and a sergeant in the 90th Regiment (later The Cameronians - Scottish Rifles), of the British Army during the Indian Mutiny. He was killed in action, Meerut, India, on 21 February 1863.
For gallant conduct on the 16th and 17th of November, 1857,, at the storming of the Secundra Bagh at Lucknow, in saving the life of Captain Irby, warding off with his firelock a Tulwar cut made at his head by a Sepoy, and in going out under a heavy fire to help two wounded men. Also for general gallant conduct throughout the operations for the relief of the Lucknow garrison. Elected by the non-commissioned officers of the Regiment.
Private Charles McCorrie (McCurry)
Charles McCorrie (or McCurry) VC born in Killead, County Antrim 1830 died 8th of April 1857 in Malta. He was approx. 25 years old, and a Private in the 57th Regiment later Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own), British Army, when he won the VC. On the 23rd of June 1855 at Sebastopol, in the Crimea, Private McCorrie threw over the parapet a live shell which had been thrown from the enemy's battery. Medal entitlement, Victoria Cross, Crimea Medal (1854-56 ) 2 clasps "Inkermann" - "Sebastopol" and the Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 ). He is buried in Malta, a new headstone was erected in 2012.
Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis VC
Leading Seaman Magennis (left) with Lieutenant Fraser, who was also awarded the VC in the same action.
Leading Seaman James Joseph Magennis VC (originally McGinnes), born on the 27th of October 1919 died on the 12th of February 1986. He was the only native of Northern Ireland to receive the Victoria Cross for Second World War service. He was born on the 27th of October 1919 at Majorca Street, West Belfast. He was from a working class Roman Catholic family.
He served as Diver in His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 for her attack on the 31st of July 1945, on a Japanese cruiser of the Atago class. The diver's hatch could not be fully opened because XE-3 was tightly jammed under the target, and Magennis had to squeeze himself through the narrow space available. On the 3rd of June 1935 he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a boy seaman (spelling his surname Magennis). He served on several different warships between 1935 and 1942, when he joined the submarine branch. Before joining the submarine branch, Magennis served on the destroyer Kandahar which was mined off Tripoli, Libya, in December 1941 whilst Magennis was on board. The ship was irreparably damaged and was scuttled the following day. In December 1942, he was drafted into the Submarine service and in March 1943 he volunteered for "special and Hazardous duties" which meant Midget submarines, or X-craft. He trained as a diver, and in September 1943 took part in the first major use of the X-craft during Operation Source. Two submarines, HMS X7 and HMS X6, penetrated Kåfjord, Norway, and disabled the German battleship Tirpitz. For his part in the attack Magennis was mentioned in dispatches "for bravery and devotion to duty" in 1943.
He experienced great difficulty in placing his limpets on the bottom of the cruiser owing both to the foul state of the bottom and to the pronounced slope upon which the limpets would not hold. Before a limpet could be placed therefore Magennis had thoroughly to scrape the area clear of barnacles, and in order to secure the limpets he had to tie them in pairs by a line passing under the cruiser keel. This was very tiring work for a diver, and he was moreover handicapped by a steady leakage of oxygen which was ascending in bubbles to the surface. A lesser man would have been content to place a few limpets and then to return to the craft. Magennis, however, persisted until he had placed his full outfit before returning to the craft in an exhausted condition. Shortly after withdrawing Lieutenant Fraser endeavoured to jettison his limpet carriers, but one of these would not release itself and fall clear of the craft. Despite his exhaustion, his oxygen leak and the fact that there was every probability of -his being sighted, Magennis at once volunteered to leave the craft and free the carrier rather than allow a less experienced diver to undertake the job. After seven minutes of nerve-racking work he succeeded in releasing the carrier. Magennis displayed very great courage and devotion to duty and complete disregard for his own safety.
Rifleman Robert Quigg VC
Robert Quigg was born at Carnkirk, near the Giants Causeway in County Antrim on the 28th February 1885. On the 1st July 1916 the 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles were in the front line trenches near the village of Hamel. Their objective was the German lines defending Beaucourt Railway Station. Despite three charges the battalion was unable to gain any meaningful lodgement in the German defences and was to all intents and purposes cut to pieces.
Following his award Robert Quigg was promoted to Sergeant and returned to France where he continued to serve. At the end of the war Quigg re-enlisted and saw service in Mesopotamia and Egypt. His army record shows that he was discharged in October 1926, but there is some confusion about this. His military career appears colourful, which continued in later life when he followed his father's footsteps and became a guide at the Giant's Causeway and something of a celebrity in the area. He died at the age of seventy on 14 May 1955 and was given a full military funeral at the Billy Parish Churchyard, near Bushmills, County Antrim.
The body of the platoon officer, Sir Harry Macnaghten was never found and was posted 'missing believed killed', but five of the seven rescued men survived. Robert Quigg received his Victoria Cross from King George V at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate on 8 January 1917.
For most conspicuous bravery. He advanced to the assault with his platoon three times. Early next morning, hearing a rumour that his platoon officer was lying wounded, he went out seven times to look for him, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, each time bringing back a wounded man. The last man he dragged on a waterproof sheet from within yards of the enemy's wire. He was seven hours engaged in this most gallant work, and was finally so exhausted that he had to give it up.
Field Marshal Sir George Stuart White VC
Field Marshal Sir George Stuart White VC, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GCVO born on the 6th of July 1835 died on the 24th of June 1912. He was stationed at Peshawar during the Indian Mutiny and then fought at the Battle of Charasiab in October 1879 and at the Battle of Kandahar in September 1880 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. For his bravery during these two battles, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He went on to command a brigade during the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1886 and became commander of Quetta District in 1889 in which role he led operations in the Zhob Valley and in Balochistan. He was commander of the forces in Natal at the opening of the Second Boer War and fought at the Battle of Elandslaagte in October 1899. He commanded the garrison at the Siege of Ladysmith: although instructed by General Sir Redvers Buller to surrender the garrison he responded "I hold Ladysmith for the Queen" and held out for another four months before being relieved in February 1900. He finished his career as Governor of Gibraltar and then as Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
He was 44 years old when he won the VC for actions in Afghanistan. He was buried at Broughshane, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. A statue of White is currently located at Portland Place, London, while the Sir George White Memorial Flute Band still operates in Broughshane, Ballymena.
For conspicuous bravery during the engagement at Charasiah on 6 October 1879, when, finding that the artillery and rifle fire failed to dislodge the enemy from a fortified hill which it was necessary to capture, Major White led an attack upon it in person. Advancing with two companies of his regiment; and climbing from one steep ledge to another, he came upon a body of the enemy, strongly posted, and outnumbering his force by about 8 to 1. His men being much exhausted, and immediate action being necessary, Major White took a rifle, and, going on by himself, shot the leader of the enemy. This act so intimidated the rest that they fled round the side of the hill, and the position was won. Again, on the 1dt of September 1880, at the battle of Candahar, Major White, in leading, the final charge, under a heavy fire from the enemy, who held a strong position and were supported by two guns, rode straight up to within a few yards of them, and seeing the guns, dashed forward and secured one, immediately after which the enemy retired.
Private Alexander Wright VC
Private Alexander Wright VC. Born in Ballymena, Co. Antrim in 1826 died in Calcutta, India on the 28th of July 1858. He was about 29 years old, and a private in the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot (later The Middlesex Regiment, Duke of Cambridge's Own). On 22 March 1855 at the Siege of Sebastopol, in the Crimean Peninsula, Private Wright distinguished himself in repelling a sortie. On the 19th of April he showed great bravery at the taking of the Russian Rifle Pits and was particularly noticed for the encouragement he gave the other men while holding the Pits under very heavy fire, he was wounded in this action. He again showed great courage on the 30th of August 1855, and throughout the war.
The London Gazette: no. 21971. p. 661. 24 February 1857.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lord William Leslie de la Poer Beresford
Lieutenant-Colonel Lord William Leslie de la Poer Beresford VC KCIE 20th of July 1847 – 30th of December 1900 born Mullaghbrack, County Armagh. Beresford became a captain in the 9th Lancers during the Zulu War of 1879. On 3 July 1879 at Ulundi, Zululand, South Africa, during the retirement of a reconnoitring party, Captain Lord William Beresford went to the assistance of Sergeant Fitzmaurice of the 24th Regiment, whose horse had fallen and rolled on him. The Zulus were coming in great numbers, but Lord William, with help from Sergeant Edmund O'Toole of the Frontier Light Horse managed to mount the injured man behind him. He was, however, so dizzy that Sergeant O'Toole, who had been keeping back the advancing Zulus, gave up his carbine and, riding alongside, helped to hold him on until they reached safety. Initially the VC was only awarded to Beresford but he told the Queen that O'Toole also deserved the honour.
Sergeant-Major George Lambert VC
George Lambert VC, born in Markethill, County Armagh, on the 16th of December 1819 died on the 10th of February 1860. He was 37 years old, and a Sergeant-Major in the 84th Regiment of Foot (later the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment). He was awarded the VC for distinguished bravery whilst serving, in three Battles, with Havelock's Column at Oonao, Bithoor and at the assault and capture of Lucknow, India. On the 29th July, 1857 at Oonao, India, Sergeant-Major Lambert acted with distinguished bravery. At Bithoor when the rebels were driven from a strong position, using bayonets on the 16th August 1857. On the 25th of September 1857 at the passage through Lucknow, India, after its capture, to the Residency. His death certificate gives the cause of death as being an aortic aneurysm that ruptured and flooded his right lung with blood. His grave is in the Cemetery at Wardsend. His funeral took place eight days after his death on the 18th of February 1860. The ceremony was conducted with military honours, the band of the regiment marching at the head of the procession and playing the Dead March ... his charger was led after the body bearing his masters boots reversed. The usual volleys were fired over the grave at the conclusion of the service and the procession then returned to the barracks.
Rear Admiral Charles Davis Lucas VC
Rear Admiral Charles Davis Lucas VC. Born in Druminargal House, Poyntzpass, County Armagh, on the 19th of February 1834 died in Great Culverden, Kent on the 7th of August 1914. He is buried at St Lawrence Church, Mereworth, Maidstone, Kent. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1848 at age 13, served aboard HMS Vengeance, and saw action in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852-53 aboard the frigate Fox at Rangoon, Pegu, and Dalla. By age 20, he had become a mate. He was first person to be awarded the VC, the action for which he was awarded the VC took place on the 21st of June 1854. The first Victoria Cross recipient to be gazetted was Lieutenant Cecil William Buckley, in the London Gazette of the 24th of February 1857, for his actions in the Sea of Azov on the 28th of May 1855. The first recipient to physically receive his award was, because of the seniority of his rank, Commander Henry James Raby, at the inaugural awards ceremony on the 26th of June 1857. Lucas was fourth in line at the investiture. His were the earliest actions to result in the award of the Victoria Cross.
On the 21st of June 1854 in the Baltic, Hecla, with two other ships, was bombarding Bomarsund, a fort in the Åland Islands off Finland. The fire was returned from the fort, and at the height of the action a live shell landed on Hecla's upper deck, with its fuse still hissing. All hands were ordered to fling themselves flat on the deck, but Lucas with great presence of mind ran forward and hurled the shell into the sea, where it exploded with a tremendous roar before it hit the water. Thanks to Lucas's action no one on board was killed or seriously wounded by the shell, and accordingly he was immediately promoted to lieutenant by his commanding officer.
William Frederick "Billy" McFadzean VC
William Frederick "Billy" McFadzean VC born in Lurgan, County Armagh on the 9th of October 1895 died on the 1st of July 1916 on the Somme near Thiepval Wood. McFadzean was a 20-year-old rifleman in the 14th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, during the First World War. On 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme near Thiepval Wood, France, a box of hand grenades slipped into a crowded trench. Two of the safety pins in the grenades were dislodged. McFadzean threw himself on top of the grenades, which exploded, killing him but injuring only one other.
For most conspicuous bravery. While in a concentration trench and opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the Bombs. The bombs exploded blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment's hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.
Private Peter McManus
Peter McManus was born in Tynan, Co. Armagh in March 1829. On 26th September 1857 he was a Private in the 5th Regiment of Foot at Lucknow. McManus assisted Pte John Ryan in rescuing a wounded officer, Captain Arnold of the Madras Fusiliers, from the street and carried him into a house. Arnold was wounded again on the way and later died. With a group of men besieged in the house, McManus stayed outside under cover of a pillar, preventing the mutineers from rushing his position. Eventually he was himself wounded. For his courage Peter McManus was awarded a Victoria Cross and promoted to Sergeant. Peter McManus died of smallpox at Allahabad on the 27th April 1859. He is believed to be buried in a mass grave there.
Private Bernard McQuirt VC
Bernard McQuirt VC was born in Donaghcloney near Lurgan, County Armagh in 1829 he died in Erney Street off the Shankill Road, Belfast, on the 5th of October 1888. He was about 29 years old, and a private in the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot later The Sherwood Foresters, The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment when he won the VC.
For gallant conduct on the 6th of January 1858, at the capture of the entrenched town of Rowa, when he was severely and dangerously wounded in a hand to hand fight with three men, of whom he killed one and wounded another. He received five sabre cuts and a musket shot in this service.
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Francis Maude
Frederick Maude was born in Lisnadill, Co Armagh on the 20th of December 1821 and died in Torquay, Devon on the 20th of June 1897 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London. , he was the son of the Right Honorable Robert Eustace Maude. He served in the Buffs from 1840 to 1861, being adjutant at Punniar and earning the VC for his bravery at the Redan in the siege of Sebastopol. He commanded the 2nd Battalion from 1857 for 4 years. He held the post of Adjutant-General in Gibraltar from 1861 to 1866 and was Inspector-General of Militia in Ireland 1867-73. He also served in the Afghan campaign of 1878-80 in the Peshawar Field Force guarding lines of communication, and reached the rank of General. He was knighted GCB and received the Legion d'Honneur. His cousin, Francis Cornwallis Maude RA also won the VC in the Indian Mutiny.
On the 5th of September 1855 Lieutenant-Colonel Maude was in charge of the covering and ladder party of the 2nd Division in the assault on the Redan. He held a position with only 9 or 10 men and did not retire until there was no hope of support and he himself was dangerously wounded.
General Sir William Olpherts VC
General Sir William Olpherts VC, GCB was born on the 8th of March 1822 at Dartry, Blackwatertown near Armagh. He died at his residence, Wood House, Upper Norwood, on the 30th of April 1902, and was buried at Richmond Cemetery, Surrey (now in London). Olpherts served throughout the suppression of the Indian Mutiny (1857–59). He was with Brigadier James Neill when he defeated the mutineers at Benares on the 4th of June 1857, and accompanied Havelock during the Relief of Lucknow. His conduct in the course of that operation was highly distinguished and was to earn him the Victoria Cross. As a result the Battery he commanded (now part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery) was later awarded his name as their title, commemorating both William Olphert and the distinguished actions of the unit that day. The Battery, 56 (Olpherts) Battery Royal Artillery, still exists today.
For highly distinguished conduct on the 25th of September, 1857 when the troops penetrated into the city of Lucknow, in having charged on horseback, with Her Majesty's 90th Regiment, when gallantly headed by Colonel Campbell, it captured two guns in the face of a heavy fire of grape, and having afterwards returned, under a severe fire of musketry, to bring up limbers and horses to carry off the captured ordnance, which he accomplished.
Corporal Philip Smith VC
Philip Smith VC was born in Lurgan, County Armagh in 1829. He died in Dublin on the 16th of January 1906. He was 26 old, and a corporal in the 17th Regiment (later the Leicestershire Regiment), during the Siege of Sebastopol in the Crimean War when he won the VC. Having achieved the rank of lance sergeant, he was later reduced to the ranks and when discharged he was a private. He died at Harolds Cross, Dublin on the 16th of January 1906 and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Philip Smith was invested with his Victoria Cross by Brigadier General Sir Charles Trollope in Canada on the 1st August 1857. On Saturday, 29th November 2003, five generations of the Smith family joined veterans from the Royal Leicestershire Regimental Association in an emotional service to place a footstone at the graveside of Corporal (Lance-Sergeant) Philip Smith VC in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery. The relatives included Smith's grand-daughter, originally from Ireland now living in Bedford, a great-grandson, and the youngest a great-great-granddaughter. The short service was followed by a reception at the official home of the British Embassy's military attaché.
For repeatedly going out in the front of the advanced trenches against the Great Redan, on the 18th of June, 1855, under a very heavy fire, after the column had retired from the assault, and bringing in wounded comrades.
Colour Sergeant John Lucas
John Lucas VC, he was born in Clashganny, Bagenalstown, County Carlow in 1826. He died in Dublin on the 29th of February 1892 and is buried there in St. James Church of Ireland Churchyard, Dublin. He was approximately 35 years old, and a colour sergeant in the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot (later part of the South Lancashire Regiment – The Prince of Wales's Volunteers) when he won the VC. The action was part of the First Taranaki War during the New Zealand Land Wars. This campaign started over a disputed land sale at Waitara. In December 1860 British forces under Major General Thomas Simson Pratt carried out sapping operations against a major Māori defensive line called Te Arei ("The barrier") on the west side of the Waitara River and inland from Waitara, which was barring the way to the historic hill pā of Pukewairangi. The 18 March was the last day before a truce was declared.
On the 18th of March, 1861, Colour-Serjeant Lucas acted as Sergeant of a party of the 40th Regiment, employed as skirmishers to the right of No. 7, Redoubt, and close to the Huirangi Bush, facing the left of the positions occupied by the natives. At about 4 o'clock P.M., a very heavy and well-directed fire was suddenly opened upon them from the Bush, and the high ground on the left. Three men being wounded simultaneously, two of them mortally, assistance was called for in order to have them carried to the rear: a file was immediately sent, but had scarcely arrived, when one of them fell, and Lieutenant Rees was wounded at the same time. Colour-Serjeant Lucas, under heavy fire from Maori warriors, who were not more than thirty yards distant, immediately ran up to the assistance of this Officer, and sent one man with him to the rear. He then took charge of the arms belonging to the killed and wounded men, and maintained his position until the arrival of supports under Lieutenants Gibson and Whelan.
Private John Lyons
Private John Lyons was born in 1823 in Carlow, County Carlow. He was approximately 32 years old, and a private in the 19th Regiment of Foot (later The Yorkshire Regiment - Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own), during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. In 1856, his Regiment returned to England and on 26th June 1857 he was one of 62 men to be decorated with the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London by Queen Victoria. At the end of July, he travelled with his Regiment to Bengal in India and helped suppress the Indian Mutiny. He was returned sick to England in 1861 and discharged from the army on medical grounds on 6th December 1862, aged 39 years.
He was sent to the Royal Hospital in Chelsea to convalesce for six months and was released as an out-pensioner on the 14th July 1863. He returned to Carlow in Ireland, but there is no record of the next few years of his life. He moved to Naas in County Kildare where he died on 20th April 1867 aged 44 years. There is no known memorial. The VC and medals are now held in the Green Howards Regimental Museum at Richmond.
For conspicuous gallantry in the trenches before Sevastopol on 10 June 1855. When a live shell fell in his traverse, he ran forward, picked it up, and threw it out, - thus saving the lives of many of his comrades.
Captain Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews VC
Captain Harold Marcus Ervine-Andrews VC he was born on the 29th July 1911 at Keadu, Cavan he died on the 30th of March 1995. He was 28 years old, and a captain in the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, during the Second World War. In the latter stages of the Battle of Dunkirk, during the night of the 31st of May and the 1st of June 1940, near Dunkirk, France, the company commanded by Captain Ervine-Andrews was heavily outnumbered and under intense German fire. When the enemy attacked at dawn and crossed the Canal de Bergues, Ervine-Andrews, with volunteers from his company, rushed to a barn and from the roof shot 17 of the enemy with a rifle and many more with a Bren gun. When the barn was shattered and alight, he sent the wounded to the rear and led the remaining eight men back.
War Office, 30th July, 1940.
His Majesty The KING has been pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned: —
Lieutenant (acting Captain) (now Captain) Harald Marcus ERVINE-ANDREWS, The East Lancashire Regiment.
For most conspicuous gallantry on active service on the night of the 31st May/1st June, 1940. Captain Ervine-Andrews took over about a thousand yards of the defences in front of Dunkirk, his line extending along the Canal de Bergues, and the enemy attacked at dawn. For over ten hours, notwithstanding intense artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire, and in the face of vastly superior enemy forces, Captain Ervine-Andrews and his company held their position.
The enemy, however, succeeded in crossing the canal on both flanks; and, owing to superior enemy forces, a company of Captain Ervine-Andrews' own battalion, which was dispatched to protect his flanks, was unable to gain contact with him. There being danger of one of his platoons being driven in, he called for volunteers to fill the gap, and then, going forward, climbed onto the top of a straw-roofed barn, from which he engaged the enemy with rifle and light automatic fire, though, at the time, the enemy were sending mortar-bombs and armour-piercing bullets through the roof.
Captain Ervine-Andrews personally accounted for seventeen of the enemy with his rifle, and for many more with a Bren gun. Later, when the house which he held had been shattered by enemy fire and set alight, and all his ammunition had been expended, he sent back his wounded in the remaining carrier. Captain Ervine-Andrews then collected the remaining eight men of his company from this forward position, and, when almost completely surrounded, led them back to the cover afforded by the company in the rear, swimming or wading up to the chin in water for over a mile; having brought all that remained of his company safely back, he once again took up position.
Throughout this action, Captain Ervine-Andrews displayed courage, tenacity, and devotion to duty, worthy of the highest traditions of the British Army, and his magnificent example imbued his own troops with the dauntless fighting spirit which he himself displayed.
Private John McGovern
John McGovern VC– 22 November 1888) (Also known as McGowan) was born in the parish of Templeport in Tullyhaw, County Cavan, on the 16th of May 1825, he emigrated to Canada and died in Hamilton, Ontario, on the 22nd of November 1888. He is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Hamilton. He was 32 years old, and a private in the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers (later The Royal Munster Fusiliers), Bengal Army during the Indian Mutiny on the 23rd of June 1857 at Delhi, India when he won the VC.
For gallant conduct during the operations before Delhi, but more especially on the 23rd of June, 1857, when he carried into camp a wounded comrade under a very heavy fire from the enemy's battery, at the risk of his own life.
Corporal James OWENS in 1829 at Killane, Co. Cavan.
Private George RICHARDSON on 1st August 1831 at Derrylane, Co. Cavan.
Sergeant James SOMERS on 12th June 1884 at Belturbet, Co. Cavan
Captain O'Moore CREAGH (later Sir O'Moore) on 2nd April 1848 at Cahirbane, Co. Clare.(Co Author The Victoria Cross 1856-1920)
Lieutenant Reginald Clare HART on 11th June 1848 at Scarriff, Co. Clare.
The Reverend James Adams was the first clergyman, and the last of five civilians, to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Born in Cork on the 24th of November 1839 he was ordained in 1863 before becoming chaplain on the Bengal establishment under Bishop Robert Milman at Calcutta India. In 1879 he was serving as Chaplain to the Kabul Field Force during the Second Afghan War and on the 11th December 1879 carried out the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
At this time the Afghans were pressing on very rapidly, the leading men getting within a few yards of Mr. Adams, who having let go his horse in order to render more effectual assistance, had eventually to escape on foot.
Lord Roberts himself recommended him for the award. Along with the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic chaplains who also accompanied the force. He was mentioned in Dispatches 3 times during the Campaign. In 1885 he accompanied the field force under Lord Roberts in Burma, and he took part in the operations there. In later life he was an Honorary Chaplain to King Edward VII and died on the 20th October 1903.
His Citation reads:
During the action at Killa Kazi, on the 11th December, 1879, some men of the 9th Lancers having fallen, with their horses, into a wide and deep "nullah" or ditch, and the enemy being close upon them, the Reverend J. W. Adams rushed into the water (which filled the ditch), dragged the horses from off the men upon whom they were lying, and extricated them, he being at the time under a heavy fire, and up to his waist in water.
William Cosgrove was born at Aghada, County Cork on 1 October 1888, the son of Michael and Mary Cosgrove. He had four brothers, Dan, Ned, David, Joseph and a sister Mary Catherine. While they were still young their father emigrated to Australia, but later returned. In the meantime his wife moved with her children to a cottage in nearby Peafield, and the children attended school at the National School, Ballinrostig. William began work at as an apprentice butcher at Whitegate, and one of his daily chores was a morning delivery to Fort Carlisle (now Fort Davis) with a consignment of meat for the troops. It was from Fort Carlisle that he joined the army.
Army and World War I
William Cosgrove enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers on 24 March 1909 and was given the regimental number 8980. At the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion of the Munster Fusiliers was stationed in Rangoon, Burma, as regular battalions were routinely stationed overseas. They left Rangoon on 21 November 1914, and William Cosgrove (now Corporal) landed in England on 10 January 1915. Upon landing they still wore their Indian issue uniforms and stood on the cold quay in their khaki drill shorts.The battalion was then assigned to the 86th Brigade of the 29th Division (United Kingdom), in preparation for the landings at the Dardanelles.
The 1st Munsters, together with the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Hampshire Regiment, were on the converted collier ‘River Clyde’ when it ran ashore for theCape Helles 'V’ beach landing on 25 April 1915 at 06.20 am. On departing from the ship's bay they were subject to fierce enfilading machine gun fire from hidden Turkish defences. One hundred or more of the Battalion's men fell at this stage of the battle, and those who managed to get ashore could not advance due to the withering Turkish fire. On the following day it was decided to destroy the wire entanglements facing the men, as the naval bombardment had failed to do so. It was during this attack that Corporal Cosgrove 1st RMF, performed the action that was to earn him the regiment's first Victoria Cross of the war. The action was described by Cosgrove himself:
"Our job was to dash ahead, face the trenches, bristling with rifle and machine guns and destroy the wire entanglements. Fifty men were entailed for the work, poor Sergeant-Major Bennett led us, but was killed, a bullet through the brain. I then took charge, shouted to the boys to come on, from the village near at hand came terrible fire to swell the murderous hall of bullets from the trenches. Some of us got close to the wire and we started to cut it with a pliers, you might as well try and snip Cloyne Round Tower with a scissors." He then grabbed hold of the stakes holding the barbed wire, "I dashed at the first one, heaved and strained and it came into my arms … I believe there was wild cheering when they saw what I was at, but I only heard the screech of bullets and saw dirt rising all round from where they hit. I could not tell you how many I pulled up. I did my best and the boys around me were every bit as good as myself."
He was also wounded during this action. Promoted to Sergeant, he saw no further action due to his wound, which was a contributing factor in his death later on.
VC award citation.
The award of the V.C. was gazette on 23 August 1915. It stated that it was awarded:
"For most conspicuous bravery leading this section with great dash during our attack from the beach to the east of Cape Helles on the Turkish positions on 26 April 1915. Cpl Cosgrove on this occasion pulled down the posts of the enemy’s high wire entanglements single-handed, notwithstanding a terrible fire from both front and flank, thereby greatly contributing to the successful clearing of the heights."
London Gazette August 1915.
On 26 April 1915, the second day of the disastrous V beach landing at Cape Helles, during the Battle of Gallipoli, Turkey, when just three companies of Munsters had made it to the shelter of some dunes, at daybreak they charged to take the village behind the Sedd el Bahr fort overlooking the bay. Corporal Cosgrove led a company section during the attack on the Turkish positions. Barbed wire held them up and Corporal Cosgrove, described by his command as "an Irish Giant" set himself the task of pulling the stanchion posts of the enemy's high wire entanglement single-handed out of the ground, notwithstanding the terrific fire from both front and flanks with officers and men falling all around him. Thanks to his exceptional bravery, his heroic actions contributed greatly to the successful clearing of the heights. Turkish counter-attacks were held off.
He was described by Surgeon P.Burrowes-Kelly, RN.,D.S.O., as an "Irish giant" and by a person from Aghada who remembered him "As a very shy man who hated to be fussed over."
Cosgrove transferred to the Royal Fusiliers in 1918, to the Leinster Regiment in 1920, the Northumberland Fusiliers in 1922, and later went as an Instructor to the Indian Territorial Force in 1928 to become 7042223 Staff Sgt Instructor. He came home in 1935 pending discharge to pension. However, he was admitted to Millbank hospital, and took discharge before he was fit. After a short leave in Cork, he returned to London, where he was admitted to Middlesex hospital. He was later transferred to Millbank hospital London, where he died on 21 July 1936 aged 47.
The Royal Munster Fusilier's Old Comrades Association Journal recorded his funeral:
His body was conveyed from London to Fishguard by road en route to Upper Aghada, County Cork in Ireland for interment there, in his native place. About five hundred members of the O.C.A. of the R.M.F. Association met the vessel at Penrose Quay and formed a guard of honour as the coffin was taken from the boat to the waiting hearse. The grand salute was also sounded, the guard of honour standing to attention bare-headed. The courtege subsequently left Penrose Quay and proceeded by road to Aghada. Capt. D. D. Sheehan R.M.F. was in charge of the Comrades. When the remains reached Upper Aghada, the coffin was removed from the hearse and members of the O. C. Association from Cork and his native place shouldered the coffin to the family burial ground at Upper Aghada. A striking and impressive spectacle was the sounding of the Last Post, while the other ex-army men stood to attention. It was stated that it is an unusual spectacle in these days, and many people were visibly moved. When the interment had taken place a beautiful wreath was laid on the grave on behalf of the Association, and this simple ceremony closed the chapter in the life of a great Irish soldier, "An Irish giant … a shy man who hated to be fussed over.
John DUNLAY(Dunley or Dunlea) in 1831at Douglas Co. Cork.
Private Frederoick Jeremiah EDWARDS on 3rd October 1894 at Queenstown, Co Cork.
Lieutenant William John ENGLISH on 6th October 1882 at Cork.
Gunner Richard FitzGERALD in December 1831 at St. Finbars, Cork.
Private Patrick GREEN in 1824 at Cork.
Private Thomas LANE in May 1836 at Cork.
Lieutenant Samuel Hill LAWRENCE on 22nd January 1831 at Cork.
Flight Lieutenant David Samuel Anthony LORD on 18th October 1913 at Cork.
Sergeant Ambrose MADDEN in 1820 at Cork.
Lance Corporal James MURRAY in February 1859 at St. Michael's, Cork.
Private Timothy O'HEA in 1846 at Skull, Co. Cork.
Lance Corporal Michael O'LEARY on 29th September 1888 at Macroom, Co. Cork.
Captain Gerald Robert O'SULLIVAN om 8th November 1888 at Frankfield, Co. Cork.
Boatswain's Mate John SULLIVAN on 10th April 1830 at Bantry, Cork.
Colonel James TRAVERS on 6th October 1820 at Cork.
Sergeant Joseph WARD in 1832 at Kinsale, Co. Cork.
Bugler Robert HAWTHORNE at Maghera, Nr. Londonderry.
Captain Edward Pemberton LEACH on 2nd April 1847 at Londonderry.
Sergeant John PARK in January 1835 at Londonderry.
Drummer Miles RYAN in 1826 at Londonderry.
Lieutenant John Augustus CONOLLY on 30th May 1829 at Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.
Captain Robert Johnston VC
He was born at Laputa, near the townland of Clyhore (or Cloughore), between Ballyshannon and Belleek in the south of County Donegal. He was the son of Robert Johnston, who served as a Q.C. in County Donegal. He was educated at King William's College on the Isle of Man. He played rugby for both Ireland and the British Lions. In 1893, Johnston made 2 appearances for Ireland. He made his international debut on 4 February 1893 in a 4–0 defeat against England at Lansdowne Road. Then on 11 March he played in a 2–0 defeat against Wales at Stradey Park. Two of his brothers were also Ireland internationals. In 1896 Johnston was a member of the British Lions squad for their tour to South Africa.
When the British Lions tour ended, Johnston, together with Thomas Crean, decided to stay on in South Africa. He played rugby for Transvaal and captained them in the Currie Cup. In 1899, at the start of the Second Boer War, again with Crean, he enlisted in the Imperial Light Horse and Johnston subsequently reached the rank of major. Johnston was already an experienced soldier, having previously served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers between 1890 and 1894. He served in South Africa between 1899 and 1901 and was dangerously wounded during the Siege of Ladysmith. In October 1899, according to the Irish Times, the Imperial Light Horse particularly distinguished themselves in the Battle of Elandslaagte and it was during this engagement that Johnston, while still a captain, won his VC. The joint citation for him and Captain Charles Herbert Mullins reads:
On the 21st October, 1899, at Elandslaagte, at a most critical moment, the advance being momentarily checked by a very severe fire at point blank range, these two Officers very gallantly rushed forward under this heavy fire and rallied the men, thus enabling the flanking movement, which decided the day, to be carried out.
Johnston was badly wounded and was nursed back to health by Crean. He travelled to London in early 1901, and both he and Mullins received the VC from King Edward during an investiture at Marlborough House 25 July 1901. Johnston was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps Elandslaagte and Defence of Ladysmith and the King's South Africa Medal with clasps South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 for his service in South Africa.
Private David BELL on date unknown 1845, at County Down.
Commander (RN) The Hon. Edward Barry Stewart BINGHAM on 26th July 1881 at Bangor, Co. Down.
2nd Lieutenant Edmund DE WIND on 11th December 1883 at Comber, Co. Down.
Sergeant George GARDINER in 1821 at Gelwallen, Warrenpoint, Co. Down.
Company Sergeant Major Robert Hill Hanna
Robert Hanna was born in Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland on the 6th of August 1886, he moved to Canada in 1905. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War, and by the summer of 1917 was a Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) serving with the 29th Infantry Battalion.
On the 21st of August 1917 CSM Hanna’s company was attempting to overpower a German strongpoint on Hill 70, near Lens in France. In the course of three assaults on the enemy position, the company had suffered several casualties, including the loss of all of its officers. While his company continued to take casualties from the heavy machine gun fire coming from the strongpoint, Hanna calmly collected a party of men and led them in a fourth attack, rushing through the dense barbed wire protecting the position. When he arrived inside the strongpoint, CSM Hanna bayoneted three of the enemy and clubbed a fourth with his rifle, enabling the position and its machine gun to be captured.
For the bravery and leadership he demonstrated in this action, Hanna received the Victoria Cross. He died in Mount Lehman, British Columbia on the 15th of June 1967.
For most conspicuous bravery in attack, when his company met with most severe enemy resistance and all the company officers became casualties. A strong point, heavily protected by wire and held by a machine gun, had beaten off three assaults of the company with heavy casualties. This Warrant Officer under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, coolly collected a party of men, and leading them against this strong point, rushed through the wire and personally bayonetted three of the enemy and brained the fourth, capturing the position and silencing the machine gun.
This most courageous action, displayed courage and personal bravery of the highest order at this most critical moment of the attack, was responsible for the capture of a most important tactical point, and but for his daring action and determined handling of a desperate situation the attack would not have succeeded.
C.S./M. Hanna’s outstanding gallantry, personal courage and determined leading of his company is deserving of the highest possible reward.
William David Kenny VC
William David Kenny VC born Saintfield, County Down on the 1st of February 1899. Kenny was commissioned in to the Indian Army as a second lieutenant on on the 31st of August 1918. He was promoted to lieutenant a year later. He was 20 years old, and a lieutenant in the 4/39th Garhwal Rifles, Indian Army during the Waziristan Campaign, India, when he won his VC.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Kot Kai (Waziristan) on the 2nd January, 1920, when in command of a company holding an advanced covering position, which was repeatedly attacked by the Mahsuds in greatly superior numbers.
For over four hours this officer maintained his position, repulsing three determined attacks, being foremost in the hand-to-hand fighting which took place, and repeatedly engaging the enemy with bomb and bayonet. His gallant leadership undoubtedly saved the situation and kept intact the right flank, on which depended the success of the operation and the safety of the troops in rear.
In the subsequent withdrawal recognising that a diversion was necessary to enable the withdrawal of the company, which was impeded by their wounded, with a handful of his men he turned back and counterattacked the pursuing enemy, and, with the rest of his party, was killed fighting to the last.
This very gallant act of self-sacrifice not only enabled the wounded to be withdrawn, but also averted a situation which must have resulted in considerable loss of life.
Sergeant William McWHEENEY
Born in 1837 at Bangor, Co. Down.
Lieutenan (RN) Hugh Talbot BURGOYNE on 17th July 1833 at Dublin.
Private Thomas BYRNE in December 1866 at St. Thomas, Dublin.
Lieutenant Nevill Josiah Aylmer COGHILL on 25th January 1852 at Drumcondra, Dublin.
Surgeon Captain Thomas Joseph Crean
Surgeon-Captain Crean, son of Thomas Crean, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, of North Brook Road, Dublin, was born on April 19, 1873. Educated at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, he joined the Imperial Light Horse as a trooper on the outbreak of hostilities. Was commissioned in March, 1900, and appointed Captain in 1900. Gave up squadron command in June, 1901, and became Surgeon-Captain. Gazetted Captain R.A.M.C. on September 3, 1902. Took part in the battle of Elandslaagte, where he was wounded. Served through the siege of Ladysmith, taking part in all engagements during its defence. Later, was employed during operations in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, and in the relief of Mafeking. Possesses Queen's and King's medals with five clasps, and a testimonial of the Royal Humane Society. The Victoria Cross was presented to him by H.M. the King at St. James' Palace on. March 13, 1902.
On December 18, 1901, during the action with De Wet at Tygerskloof, Surgeon Crean displayed the greatest devotion to the wounded, when only 150 yards distant from the Boers. In spite of the heavy fire concentrated on his position, he ministered to the sufferers in the fighting line, although badly wounded himself, and only gave up when hit for the second time, receiving a severe wound from which, though considered mortal at the time, he fortunately recovered.
Surgeon John CRIMMIN on 19th March 1859 at Dublin.
Private Denis DEMPSEY in 1826 at Rathmichael, Bray, Co. Dublin.
Sergeant John FARRELL in March 1826 at Dublin.
Lieutenant George FORREST in 1800 at St Michael's, Dublin.
Sergeant-Major Peter GILL in September 1831 at St. Paul's, Dublin.
Private Patrick GRAHAM in 1837 at St Michaels, Dublin.
T/Captain James Joseph Bernard JACKMAN on 19th March 1916 at Dublin.
Captain Henry Mitchell JONES on 11th February 1831 at Dublin.
Major Richard Harte KEATINGE on 17th June 1825 at Dublin.
Major William knox LEET on 3rd November 1833 at Dalkey, Co. Dublin.
Lieutenant Harry Hammon LYSTER 24th December 1830 at Black Rock, Co. Dublin.
Asst. Surgeon William George Nicholas MANLEY on 17th September 1831 at Dublin.
Major Hans Garrett MOORE on 31st March 1834 at Richmond Barracks Dublin.
Private Thomas MURPHY in 1839 at Dublin.
Captain Hamilton Lyster REED on 23rd May 1869 at Dublin.
Lieutenant-Colonel James Henry Reynolds
Lieutenant-Colonel James Henry Reynolds VC 3rd of February 1844 – 4th of March 1932, born Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire), County Dublin, recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. For his conduct in the battle, Reynolds was also promoted to Surgeon-Major (promotion dated 23 January 1879).
For the conspicuous bravery, during the attack at Rorke's Drift on the 22nd and 23rd January, 1879, which he exhibited in his constant attention to the wounded under fire, and in his voluntarily conveying ammunition from the store to the defenders of the Hospital, whereby he exposed himself to a cross-fire from the enemy both in going and returning.
Lieutenant Robert Montresor ROGERS on 4th September 1834 at Dublin.
Captain Frederick Augustus SMITH on 18th November 1826 at Dublin.
T/Captain Eric Norman Frankland BELL on 28th August 1895 at Enniskillin, Fermanagh.
Sergeant Henry HARTIGAN in March 1826 at Drumlea, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
Sergeant James McGUIRE in 1827 at Enniskillen Fermanagh.
Drummer Michael MAGNER (alias Barry) on 21st June 1840 at Fermanagh.
Corporal George Edward NURSE on 14th April 1873 at Enniskillin, Fermanagh.
Corporal Michael SLEAVON in 1827 at Magheraculmoney, Fermanagh.
Colour-Sergeant Cornelius COUGHLAN (or Coghlan) on 27th June 1828 at Eyrecourt, Co.Galway.
Private John DEVANE (or Devine) in November 1822 at Canavane, Loughrea, Galway.
Private John DOOGAN in March 1853 at Aughrim, Co. Galway.
Private Thomas GRADY on 18th Sept 1835 at Cheddah, Galway.
Gunner Thomas LAUGHNAN in August 1824 at Kilmadaugh, Gort, Co. Galway.
Private John PURCELL in 1814 at Kilcommonn Co. Galway.
Drummer Dudley STAGPOOLE in 1838 at Killunan, Co. Galway.
Sergeant-Major Alexander YOUNG on 27th January 1873 at Ballinona, Galway.
Richard Kelliher VC
Kelliher was born 1 September 1910 in Ballybeggan, Tralee, County Kerry in Ireland, he emigrated to Queensland in 1929 with his sister Norah. Due to lack of work during the Great Depression his sister moved to Sydney while Kelliher became a swagman, working a variety of jobs.
Kelliher enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force on 21 February 1941 and was sent to the Middle East. He was assigned to the 2/25th Battalion, which was on garrison duty in Syria. The battalion returned to Australia in March 1942 and was sent to New Guinea, where it took part in the Battle of Buna-Gona later that year. During this battle Kelliher was arrested after allegedly running from the front. He was later court martialled for cowardice in the face of the enemy where he claimed his platoon commander had sent him back for information. The commander had been killed in the battle and Kelliher had no witnesses to his version. He was convicted, but the charge was soon after quashed and, after rejoining his unit, Kelliher stated he would prove he was no coward.
On 13 September 1943, during the Battle of Lae, the platoon to which Private Kelliher was attached came under very heavy fire from a concealed Japanese machine gun, at Heath's Plantation. The machine gun inflicted severe casualties and prevented the platoon's advance. Private Kelliher suddenly, on his own initiative, dashed towards the post and hurled two grenades at it, which killed some of the enemy. He returned to his section, seized a Bren gun, dashed back to the enemy post and silenced it. He then asked permission to go out again to rescue his wounded section leader, which he accomplished successfully under heavy fire from another enemy position.
Kelliher had bad health after suffering from both typhoid and meningitis before the war. In 1944 he was declared medically unfit for active service and discharged. He later travelled to London to take part in the London Victory Parade of 1946. He married in 1949 and had three children. While working as a cleaner at Brisbane City Hall he applied for, but failed to get, a taxi driver's licence and the family moved to Melbourne where he got a job as a gardener. By the late 1950s Kelliher was completely disabled due to ill health and on 16 January 1963 had a stroke. He died in Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital on 28 January. His battalion association bought his VC for $2,000 in 1966 and donated it to the Australian War Memorial, where it is on display.
L/Corporal Abraham BOULGER on 4th September 1835 at Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.
Captain Charles FitzCLARENCE on 8th May 1865 at Bishopscourt, Co. Kildare.
Lieutenant John Vincent HOLLAND on 19th July 1889 at Athy, Co. Kildare.
Private John BARRY on 1st February 1873 at Kilkenny.
Private John BYRNE in September 1832 at Castlecomer, Kilkenny.
Private William DOWLING in 1825 at Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
Company Serjeant-Major Fredrick Hall
Fredrick Hall was born in James Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny on the 21st of February 1885. He spent a number of years in Kilkenny before moving with his family to England. His father was the Drum Major with the 5th Militia Battalion Royal Irish Regiment when he was born. He enlisted with the 8th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force on 23 Sept 1914 and he embarked with his unit for England on the 3rd of October 1914. Regt No 1539 CSM Hall was killed in action on the 24th of April 1914 while attempting to recue one of his soldiers from no man’s land. As a result of this action he was granted the Victoria Cross “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.
On 24th April, 1915, in the neighbourhood of Ypres, when a wounded man who was lying some 15 yards from the trench called for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavoured to reach him in the face of a very heavy enfilade fire which was being poured in by the enemy. The first attempt failed, and a Non-commissioned Officer and private soldier who were attempting to give assistance were both wounded. Company Serjeant-Major Hall then made a second most gallant attempt, and was in the act of lifting up the wounded man to bring him in when he fell mortally wounded in the head.
Lieutenant Walter Richard Pollock HAMILTON on 18th August 1856 at Inistioge, Kilkenny.
Private John RYAN in 1823 at Kilkenny. (1st Madras Fus.)
Private James BERGIN on 29th June 1845 at Killbricken, Queen's Co. (Laois)
Sergeant Denis DYNON in September 1822 at Kilmannon, (Queens County) Laois.
John Moyney was born in Rathdowney, Ireland. He was 22 years old, and a lance-sergeant in the Irish Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 12/13 September 1917 north of Broenbeek, Belgium, Lance-Sergeant Moyney was in command of 15 men forming two advanced posts. Surrounded by the enemy he held his post for 96 hours, having no water and very little food. On the fifth day, on the enemy advancing to dislodge him, he attacked them with bombs, while also using his Lewis gun with great effect. Finding himself surrounded, he led his men in a charge through the enemy and reached a stream, where he and a private (Thomas Woodcock) covered his party while they crossed unscathed, before crossing themselves under a shower of bullets.
He died in Roscrea, County Tipperary on 10 November 1980.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at Irish Guards Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London.
Private James PEARSON on 2nd October 1822 at Rathdowney, Queen's Co. (Laois)
Private Charles IRWIN in 1824 at Manorhamilton, County Leitrim.
Private Joseph BRADSHAW on date unknown 1835 at Dromkeen, Limerick
Lieutenant Nathaniel BURSLEM on 2nd February 1838 at Limerick.
Private William COFFEY on 5th August 1829 at Knocklong, Co. Limerick
Trooper John DANAHER (Or Danagher) on 25th June 1860 at Limerick.
Corporal William NASH on 23rd April 1824 at Newcastle, Co. Limerick.
Private Michael James O'ROURKE on 19th March 1878 at Limerick.
T/2nd Lieutenant James Samuel EMERSON on 3rd August 1895 at Collon, Drogheda, Co.Louth.
Lieutenant Arthur Thomas MOORE on 20th September 1830 at Carlingford, Louth.
Drummer William Kenny born on August 24, 1880 in Drogheda, County Louth
William Kenny was born on August 24, 1880 in Drogheda, County Louth. During the Great War, he served with British Army as a drummer with the 2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.
Kenny was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery on October the , 1914 near Ypres in Belgium. On that day, he rescued wounded men on five occasions under very heavy fire.
Kenny had also previously saved two machine guns by carrying them out of action, and on numerous occasions he conveyed urgent messages under very dangerous circumstances over fire-swept ground.
In addition to the Victoria Cross, Kenny earned the rank of Drum-Major and was also awarded the following medals: Queen's South Africa Medal with bars, King's South Africa Medal. with bars, 1914 Star with bar, British War Medal, Victory Medal with oak-leaf, Delhi Durbar Medal, and the Cross of St George (Russia).
Rough Rider Edward Jennings in 1815 at Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo.
Private Patrick McHALE in 1826 at Killala, Co Mayo.
Private Patrick MYLOTT in 1820 at Hollymount, Co Mayo.
Lieutenant Frederick Maurice Watson HARVEY on 1st September 1888 at Athboy, Co. Meath.
Captain Richard Kirby RIDGEWAY on 18th August 1848 at Oldcastle, Co. Meath.
Private Francis FITZPATRICK in 1859 at Tullycorbet, Co. Monaghan
Major David Nelson VC
Major David Nelson VC was born Deraghland, Stranooden, County Monaghan, Ireland. He was 28 years old, and a sergeant in 'L' Battery, Royal Horse Artillery when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
Action at Néry
On 1st September 1914 at Néry, France, Sergeant Nelson helped to bring the guns into action - with an officer (Edward Kinder Bradbury) and a warrant officer (George Thomas Dorrell) - under heavy fire and in spite of being severely wounded. He remained with the guns until all the ammunition was expended, although he had been ordered to retire to cover.
Nelson later achieved the rank of major. He was killed in action at Lillers, France.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London, England.
Asst. Surgeon William TEMPLE on 7th November 1833 at Monaghan.
Private John CAFFREY on 23rd October 1891 at Birr, King's Co. (later Offaly)
Sergeant John MURRAY in February 1837 at Birr, King's Co.(Offaly)
Private Joseph PROSSER in 1828 at Monegal, King's Co. (Offaly)
Captain Henry George GORE-BROWN ON 30TH September 1830 at Newtown, Roscommon.
Surgeon-Major Owen Edward Pennefeather LLOYD on 1st January 1854 at Co. Roscommon
Sergeant Luke O'CONNOR on 21st January 1831 at Elphin, Co. Roscommon.
On the 20th September 1854 Sgt. Luke O’Connor from Elphin in Co. Roscommon was awarded the first ever Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valour in battle.
At the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, he took his unit colours from a dead Officer and despite having being shot in the chest, charged forward rallying the men and taking the enemy position. He also behaved with great gallantry at the Redan where he was shot in both thighs.
A Catholic, O’Connor had enlisted as a Private soldier in the British Army to escape extreme poverty. His family had been evicted from their farm for being unable to pay rent in 1839.
A highly organised individual with natural leadership abilities, he would go on to gain a Commission as an Officer and retired as a Major-General with a Knighthood.
Ensign Patrick RODDY on 17th March 1827 at Elphin, Roscommon
Private William GRIFFITHS in 1841 at Co. Roscommon.
Martin Joseph Moffat was born on the 15th April 1882, at Knappagh Road, Sligo, and was one of eleven children. On the 14th October 1918 near Ledeghem, Belgium, Moffat was taking part in an advance, when along with five others moving across open ground, they came under heavy rifle fire at close range from a strongly held house. Rushing towards the house Moffat threw bombs and then worked his way around to the back where he rushed the door, killing two and capturing 30 of the enemy. For these actions he was awarded the VC. His citation reads:
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 14th October, 1918, near Ledeghem., when, advancing with five comrades across the open, the party suddenly came under heavy rifle fire at close range from a strongly held house.
Rushing towards the house through a hail of bullets, Pte. Moffat threw bombs, and then, working to the back of the house, rushed the door single-handed, killing two and capturing thirty of the enemy. He displayed the greatest valour and initiative throughout.” London Gazette, 24th December 1918
Asst. Surgeon William BRADSHAW on 12th February 1830 at Thurles, Tipperary.
Corporal John CUNNINGHAM on 22nd October 1890 at Thurles, Tipperary.
Col. Sergeant Stephen GARVIN in 1826 at Cashel Co. Tipperary.
Lieutenant Thomas Bernard HACKETT on 15th June 1836 at Riverstown (?) Co. Tipperary.
Farrier Michael MURPHY in 1831 at Cahir, Tipperary.
Private Martin O'MEARA on 31st December 1882 at Curcragha, Tipperary.
Lieutenant George Rowland Patrick ROUPELL on 7th April 1892 at Tipperary.
Lance-Corporal John RYAN in 1839 at Barnsleigh, Tipperary. (65th Regt.)
Private Robert MORROW on 7th September 1891 at Coalisland, Co. Tyrone.
Captain Thomas ESMONDE on 25th May 1829 at Pembrokestown, Co Waterford.
Corporal Edmund John FOWLER in 1861 at Waterford.
Sergeant Patrick MAHONEY in 1827 at Waterford.
Private John ALEXANDER, on date unknown at Mullingar, Westmeath.
Maurice Dease is buried in Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Lieutenant Maurice James DEASE 4th Bn. Royal Fusiliers born 28th September 1889 at Coole, Co. Westmeath. Son of Edmund F. and Katherine M. Dease, of Levington, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. One of the first British officer battle casualties of the war and the first posthumous recipient of the VC of the war, he was 24 years old.
Private James DUFFY in 1805 at Caulry, Athlone, Westmeath.
Drummer Thomas FLYNN in August 1842 at Athlone, Westmeath. (Decorated aged 15yrs 3mths). After he left the army, he fell on hard times and was sent to Athlone Workhouse. Flynn died in the workhouse on 10 August 1892.
Date of Act of Bravery, 28th November, 1857
For conspicuous gallantry, in the charge on the Enemy's guns on the 28th November, 1857, when, being himself wounded, he engaged in a hand to hand encounter two of the Rebel Artillerymen.
Mr. Thomas Henry KAVANAGH on 15th July 1821 at Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
Lieutenant Mark WALKER on 24th November 1827 atGore Port, Co. Westmeath.
2nd Lieutenant George Arthur BOYD-ROCHFORT on 1st January 1880 at Middleton, Co. Westmeath.
Martin Doyle was born on October 25, 1891 in New Ross, County Wexford. He joined the army 1909, he was transferred to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914. He later joined The Royal Munster Fusiliers and was awarded the Military Medal (MM). He also received the Victoria Cross for his bravery on the 2nd of September 1918 near Riencourt, France. He led a party to the assistance of a group of men that were surrounded by the enemy. Relying on his skills and leadership, Doyle worked his way along the trenches. He killed several of the enemy and extricated the party and carried back a wounded officer back to safety. Later, after seeing a tank in difficulties he rushed forward under intense fire, routed the enemy who were attempting to get into it, and prevented the advance of another enemy party collecting for a further attack on the tank. It was then, that an enemy machine gun opened on the tank at close range, rendering it impossible to get the wounded away. With great gallantry he rushed forward and single-handed silenced the machine gun, capturing it with three prisoners. He then carried a wounded man to safety under very heavy fire. Later in the day, when the enemy counterattacked his position, he showed great power of command, driving back the enemy and capturing many prisoners. He survived the war and joined the Irish Republican Army and fought in the Irish War of Independence. Doyle served with the pro-treaty National Army in the Civil War and retired in 1937. He died in Dublin in 1940 from poliomyelitis, aged 49, and is buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery.
Leading Seaman John HARRISON on 24th January 1832 at Castleborough, Co. Wexford.
Private William KENEALLY on 26th December 1886 at Wexford.
Lance-Corporal John SINNOTT in 1829 at Wexford.
Private James BYRNE on date unknown 1822 at Newtown, Mount Kennedy Co. Wicklow.
Flying Officer Donald Edward GARLAND. On 28th June 1918 at Ballinacor, Co. Wicklow.
County Unknown 2
Private Peter GRANT in 1824 in Ireland.
Corporal William James LENDRIM (or Lendrum) 1st January 1830 in Ireland.