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Fermanagh and the Victoria Cross

Pre 20th Century Irish Military History

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Fermanagh and the Victoria Cross

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 11:33 am

by James Oliver Breen

Did you know that within the perimeter of Fermanagh there have been laid to rest three winners of the Victoria Cross? These graves do not have any markings, nor do they have any indication that they hold the final resting place of men who won the world’s premier award, the Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross has long had the reputation as the world’s premier gallantry award, with its only rival being the United States Medal of Honour, another decoration that has been won by many Irish men from both North and South of Ireland.

Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856 the decoration that bears that Monarch’s name was first awarded for gallantry in the Crimean War and the proto winner of the award was an Irishman by the name of Charles Davis Lucas of the Royal Navy serving on board H.M.S. HECLA (Crimea 1854). He held the rank of Lieutenant and was born in Druminargale House, Poyntzpass, Co. Armagh on the 19th February 1834. By the time he was 20 he was in possession of the first ever Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross came into being officially on the 29th January 1856 when Queen Victoria signed the Royal Warrant at Buckingham Palace. Two years after its first award to Charles Lucas it was to be made retrospective to late 1854 to allow for awards to sailors and soldiers in the Crimean War.


The Youngest Victoria Cross Winner

In fact, there were two and both were Irish, and coincidentally they were both of the same age, 15 years and 3 months. The first youngest winner of the Victoria Cross was Thomas Flinn who held the rank of Drummer. In battle it was the duty of the Drummer to keep the pace of advance, if the pace of the drumbeat quickened then the pace of advance also quickened. The position of the Drummer in battle was in front of the first line of troops of the advance, not a very comfortable position in battle, and it had a very high casualty rate. Many did not survive the first assault on the enemy. Flinn was enlisted into the 64th Regiment of Foot (the 2nd Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment). He was born in Athlone in 1842. Drummer Flinn won his V.C. in hand-to-hand combat on the 28th November 1857 (Indian Mutiny). He died on the 10th August 1892 aged 50.

At the time of enlistment into the army you were sent to whatever Regiment was in residence in that area of enlistment. It could have been English, Welsh, Scottish, or even an Irish Regiment.

The second youngest winner of the Victoria Cross was hospital apprentice, Andrew Fitzgibbon, and he was born in Goojerat, India on 13th May 1845. His parents were from Cork and his father was an enlisted man in the British Army. He was attached to a wing of the 67th Regiment of Foot (The Second Bengal Artillery). As a medical apprentice he too, just like Drummer Flinn, was at the front line to attend to the wounded. He gave assistance (while under heavy fire from the Chinese in the Taku Fort) to a dhoolie bearer who had been shot. He was to continue this courageous act on several occasions, thus winning the Victoria Cross in the year 1860. His military career came to an ignominious end in 1880. By then he had been promoted to apothecary (druggist or pharmacist) but was dismissed for dereliction of duty at Jummu in the Khyber Pass during the Afghan war of 1878. He died in Delhi in March 1883 aged 38 years. It was claimed that he was also awarded the French Legion D'Honneur but had been refused permission to wear it.


Three Victoria Crosses To One Family

Charles John Stanley Gough was born in Chittagong, India on the 28th January 1832. His parents came from Rathronan House, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, his father being in the British army. He obtained the rank of Major in the 5th Bengal European Cavalry and won his Victoria Cross in action at Khurkowdah, India on the 15th August 1857. He died in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on the 6th September 1912 aged 80.

Hugh Henry Gough (brother of the above Charles Gough) was born in Calcutta, India on the 14th November 1833. He was a lieutenant in the 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry when he won his Victoria Cross at the Battle of Alumbagh, India on the 12th November 1857. He died in London on 12th May 1909 aged 76.

Sir John Edmund Gough was born in Murree, India near Rawalpindi on the 25th October 1871. He was a Brevet Major in the Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade). He began his army career as a Second Lieutenant in the Westmeath Militia on 12th April 1890. SIR JOHN won his Victoria Cross on 22nd April 1903 in action at Daratoleh, Somaliland against the forces of the “Mad-Mullah.”

John Gough was appointed Brigadier General in October 1913. He went to France with the British Expeditionary force in August 1914. He fell to a sniper’s bullet near Fauqissart in France on the 20th February 1915. Two days later he was posthumously Knighted on 22nd April 1915, twelve years to the day after he had won his Victoria Cross.


Definition- What Is An Irishman?

Many would say that if you were born in Ireland you were an Irishman. But what of children born to Irish parents living throughout the world while on duty with their regiment, like for instance the Gough children. All were born in India to Irish parents from Tipperary. A posting with your regiment in the 1800’s could have been a ten year posting and in some cases it may have been twenty years.

The problem was one of moving logistics and men by sailing ships, on land by horse and cart, camels, elephants, donkeys and the old foot soldier-yes, by foot.

On the other hand what about the case of George Edward Nurse whose parents were on holiday in Ireland from the Guernsey Island? Mrs. Nurse went into labour in Enniskillen and George was born. Was he Irish or a Guernsey lad? His sole connection with Ireland was an accident of birth in Enniskillen. Whatever you may decide George Nurse went on to win his Victoria Cross with the 66th Battery Royal Field Artillery in south Africa in 1899, while rescuing men and then field guns from the Boers. This battle was so intense and resulted in so many wounded it took two thousand volunteers (stretcher bearers) to recover the wounded off the battlefield. The rescue was led by a Sergeant Major who eventually became a barrister at the age of 28. He would become more famous than all the soldiers in Africa. His name was Mahatma Gandhi.

The Light Brigade was immortalised by a poem on their heroic deed on the 25th October 1854. It was called ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade'. We all remember the line “into the valley of death rode the gallant 600”. On the 25th October 2004 the 150th Anniversary of the famous charge took place. The Brigade consisted of the 13th Light Dragoons, the 17th Lancers (first line), the 4th Queen’s Own Light Dragoons and the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars; the 11th Prince Albert's Own Hussars in the second line.

Lieutenant Alexander Robert Dunn, an officer in the 11th Hussars (2nd line of charge), for his heroic deeds on the day won the Victoria Cross. He was born in Dunstable, York, Toronto, Canada of Irish parents. The first Victoria Cross to Canada. Alexander Dunn went on to reach the rank of Colonel. He died in Abyssinia in 1868. His body was found sitting against a rock. He had been shot with both barrels of his own shotgun at close range. There was suspicion that he had been murdered.

In the 17th Lancers there was a Sergeant John Farrel from Dublin. The 17th Lancers were in the first line of charge. He had his horse shot from under him and he went on to save two Lancers and an officer. The officer subsequently died. For his actions he won the Victoria Cross. After the Crimea he was sent to India. He died in Secunderabad, India on the night of 3/4th August 1865 from an abscess of the Liver.

William Griffiths from Roscommon, a Private in the 24th Foot won his Victoria Cross in the saving of 5 crew members of the ship ‘Assam Valley’ (1867). The men were on the island of Little Andaman in the Bay of Bengal when they were set upon by islanders. He saved the 5 crew and went back and saved some more crew members. William Griffiths did not survive his military service as he was killed by the Zulus at the battle of Isandhlwana. (This battle was fought just before Rorke’s Drift) on 22nd January 1879. As the battle neared its end an attempt was made to save the Colours. The Colour was given to Lieutenant Melvill to save and protect. He was joined by Lieutenant Neville Coghill, a 27 year old Irishman from Drumcondra, Dublin.

Coghill was first to cross the raging torrents of the Buffalo River. Melvill, burdened with the Colour, came off his horse mid stream. Coghill returned into the river to assist. A shot from a Zulu rifle killed his horse but both men made it to the shore and with their backs to a boulder made their last stand. Their bodies were found later. Both men were awarded the Victoria Cross, the first posthumous award of the Victoria Cross. Of the 67 officers and 1,707 other ranks present in the camp, twelve hours later all that remained at Isandhlwana were the dead, overrun by 20,000 Zulus.

After Isandhlwana the Zulus crossed the Buffalo River and made for the nearest British outpost. It was a church mission at Rorke’s Drift. The mission was defended by ‘B’ Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot. Many of the men in the Welsh regiment were Irish. The defence of Rorke’s Drift was to produce eleven Victoria Crosses.

One Victoria Cross won that day was to Surgeon Major James Reynolds of the Army Hospital Corps. Reynolds was a native of Dun Laoghaire, (then called Kingstown, Dublin), and went on to become a Lieutenant Colonel. He died in Surrey in 1932. His father came from Longford. It was said that Queen Victoria did not want to award Reynolds with the Victoria Cross, but after a year of pressure she approved of the awarding of the Victoria Cross to Reynolds. It was also said of Reynolds that he was the man who really commanded Rorke’s Drift due to his experience in previous battles as the other officers did not have any battle experience.

‘B’ Company of the 24th Foot at Rorke’s Drift was commanded by Lieutenant Gonville Broomhead who also won a Victoria Cross. He was born in Paris and his mother was Irish. In later skirmishes with the Zulus under the command of Lieutenant Broomhead two more Victoria Crosses were to be won by Irishmen. Broomhead died in Allahabad, India of typhoid on 10th February 1891.

It is estimated that there are 222 Irish winners of the Victoria Cross, of these sixteen are directly or indirectly connected to County Fermanagh, and this is broken down in three categories: Firstly - Victoria Crosses won by soldiers in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who may not have been born in County Fermanagh and there are nine of these. Secondly - Victoria Crosses to soldiers born in County Fermanagh and there are six and thirdly - Victoria Crosses to soldiers buried in County Fermanagh and these total three.

Let's look at the Victoria Crosses won by members of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers first, one of the most respected and heroic regiments in the British Army who incidentally saved the day at the Battle of Waterloo. These Victoria Crosses can be seen at the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Museum in the Castle Keep, Enniskillen - a worthwhile visit.

Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell of the 9th Battalion The Royal Inniskillings Fusiliers (Tyrone Volunteers) was in command of the Battalion Mortar Battery which advanced with the infantry to provide close support when required. Shortly after the advance heavy German machine guns held the Inniskillings up. Bell went forward and with several well aimed shots killed the German machine-gun crew. Throughout the day with little regard to his own safety he led several bombing attacks on enemy positions, all of which were successful. He used mortar shells as bombs and when he ran out of bombs he used a rifle to deadly effect. He was killed while attempting to organise a counter attack with scattered parties of infantry. Bell was born in Enniskillen on 28th August 1895, the son of an Inniskilling Fusilier. Captain E.N.F. Bell VC has no known grave.

Captain Gerald Robert O’Sullivan was born in Douglas, Cork in 1888 volunteered to lead a bombing party of the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to regain a trench that had been taken by the Turks. He advanced in the open under heavy fire and in order to throw his bombs with greater effect got up on the parapet where he was completely exposed to gunfire. He was finally wounded, but not before his inspiring example had led on his party to make further efforts and recaptured the trench. There were other heroic deeds even though he was wounded. Captain O’Sullivan did not survive the war. He was killed at Suvla Bay the next month.

James Somers was born in Belturbet, Cavan on 12th June 1894. He was a member of the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and won his Victoria Cross by holding out single handed in a forward sap throughout the night after all the other men withdrew. As dawn broke reinforcements brought up a supply of grenades. Using these, Somers led an attack against the Turks and captured their trench. The position held, with Somers making frequent trips back to the rear to obtain fresh supplies of ammunition and water. For his actions he received the Victoria Cross. Somers was later sent to France where he suffered from gas poisoning. He was medically discharged and died on 7th May 1918 from gas poisoning.

James Samuel Emerson of the 9th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was a second Lieutenant and won his Victoria Cross posthumously. There was uncertainty about the exact location of the British and German positions near Marcoing in the north east to Villers Plouich. The 9th Inniskillings were given the responsibility of the Welsh Ridge to the south east. German troops were bombing their way up the line making good progress. The leading platoon of the Inniskillings were pressed into service and fought off the attackers. The next day the Inniskillings pressed forward again with the Germans retreating. Instead of consolidating their guns, the Inniskillings were ambushed by the Germans. It was during this that Emerson from County Louth won his Victoria Cross. He was wounded and an eye witness recalled that there was a hole through the top of Emerson’s steel helmet but he continued to organise the defence of his company position. He believed that most of the company had been wiped out. With eight men he left the trench to fight off the assaulting Germans. Emerson, now the only officer left, refused to leave his men for medical treatment and defended the trench and the men over a three-hour period fighting off several more attacks. During one of these attacks he was mortally wounded. The Germans with superior numbers attacked again. Emerson led his men out of the trench to meet the assault and fell dead at their head.

James Duffy, a private, was a stretcher bearer with the Inniskillings. It was during the fighting in the Judean Hills near Jerusalem that he won his Victoria Cross. In the hard fighting around the Kereina Peak Duffy performed several acts of cool bravery in recovering wounded Inniskillings. When his fellow stretcher bearer was hit Duffy continued alone to bring in the wounded. He then went back to rescue his partner. James Duffy died in Letterkenny in 1969.

George Stuart White was originally commissioned into the 27th Regiment of Foot (Inniskillings) and later was transferred into the 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders) and won his Victoria Cross in Afghanistan in 1879 while attempting to outflank a fortified hilltop called Chariasah. As they arrived at the top of the hill, exhausted by their climb, they suddenly came across enemy infantry and called for immediate action. Taking a rifle White shot the enemy leader dead. A hand-to-hand fight ensued and the enemy were defeated. Major White was an outstanding leader. Next year at the Battle of Kandahar he charged the enemy artillery, capturing one gun and forcing the remaining gunners to run. During the capture of the guns a fierce hand-to-hand combat took place. With the capture of the guns the British Forces were able to relieve Kandahar and many lives were saved. White’s military career would later raise him to the rank of Field Marshall. Sir George White died on 24th June 1912 and is buried in Broughshane, Co. Antrim.

Lieutenant (later Brigadier) FMW Harvey was born in Athboy, Co Meath in 1888, a son of the Reverend Harvey, Woodstock Gardens, Dublin. Harvey was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen and emigrated to Canada and later joined the Canadian Army. He won his Victoria Cross at a village called Guyencourt, a position well defended by both barbed wire and German machine guns. It was one of these guns that was wreaking havoc on the assaulting troops and with Harvey’s men pinned down the advance was stopped by the Germans. Harvey ran forward alone through a hail of bullets, leapt across the wire, and killed the German machine-gun crew with his pistol. He captured the gun and put the rest of the German defenders to flight. Harvey’s actions saved a lot of lives and ensured that the attack was a complete success. He also went on to earn the Military Cross. Harvey returned to Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he died in 1980.

Lance Corporal Edward Seaman, 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was born in Heigham, Norwich in 1893. As his Battalion advanced on German held positions Seaman’s company was halted by a nest of German machine guns. He, with great courage and initiative, rushed forward under heavy fire with his Lewis gun and engaged the enemy position single handed. He captured two machine guns, took twelve prisoners, and killed one officer and two men. Later in the day he again rushed another enemy machine gun position, capturing the gun under heavy fire. He was killed immediately after - the place was Terhand, Belgium.

Edgar Thomas Inkson was born in Naini Tal, India in 1872 which suggests that he was from a military family background. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and was attached to the 1st Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. During the South African War (Boer War), Lieutenant Edgar Inkson, the Medical Officer with the 1st Inniskillings came under heavy fire from the Boers when they were in a very exposed position. Two of the Inniskilling officers were wounded. Inkson carried one officer to the safety of cover and then went back for 2nd Lieutenant Devenish who was wounded so bad he could not walk. Inkson carried him over 400 hundred yards of open ground, there being no available cover and with the Boers firing at them. They eventually made it to safety. Inkson was completely exhausted when he got to the safety of the Inniskillings. For his actions on the 24th February 1900 he received the Victoria Cross.


Winners of the VC with Fermanagh connections

James Anson Otho Brooke, a Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders. Lieutenant Brooke is of the Fermanagh Brooke family. Brooke was carrying a message from his Commanding Officer during a German attack and saw that the Germans had broken through their lines. He set about organising a counter-attack. Gathering together about 100 men he led them into an assault on the enemy’s newly-won position and forced the Germans to withdraw. Brooke then left the trench to bring up reinforcements and was killed while doing so. A memorial to Lieutenant Brooke is attached to a captured German field gun on display at the Royal Inniskilling Regimental Museum in Enniskillen Castle. Lieutenant Brooke was killed in action on 29th October 1914 and is buried in Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Belgium.

Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Annesley West was born in Cheltenham on the 26th September 1878. West 'was the son of Augustus George West of White Park Brookeborough, County Fermanagh. His mother Sara was the daughter of the Rector of Eyre Court in County Galway. Richard first served in the South African War, also known as the Boer War. On the outbreak of World War he joined the North Irish Horse. In 1917 he transferred to the newly formed tank corps with the rank of Major and by this time he had won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). On the 8th August 1918 he earned the immediate award of the Military Cross.

On the 21st August 1918 he was involved in the first of two actions that was to earn him the Victoria Cross. Also during this action he was to earn his second DSO (or bar to the DSO).

During an attack on Courcells, German machine guns shot two horses out from under Major West who escaped unscathed. On the 2nd September 1918 an attack of light tanks was planned. To keep himself appraised of the battle progress West went forward on his horse to the front line. This would give him the advantage of being aware immediately of any enemy counter attack. Casualties were high to officers in charge of the infantry who were also involved with the planned attack on the German lines. The infantry flank was dangerously exposed to the Germans. To prevent this West rode out in front of the infantry soldiers, ignoring heavy rifle and machine gun fire as well as his own safety. He rallied the men and ordered the NCO’s to take the place of their officers who had been wounded or killed. He was successful in restoring the situation at the front line, riding up and down in front of the infantry battalion again ignoring the heavy German gun fire and his own safety. West exhorted the infantry to stand their ground, calling out to them: “Stick it men, show them fight, and for God’s sake, put up a good fight!” These words were to be his last as he fell from his horse from a burst of German machine gun fire. When he hit the ground he was dead.

West received the Victoria Cross posthumously. The Victoria Cross, along with the DSO and Bar, was presented to his widow in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace on the 15th February 1919. Lt. Colonel Richard Annesley West is buried in Mory Abbey Military Cemetery.

Sergeant Henry Hartigan of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers was born at Drumlea, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh in 1826. On the 8th June at the Battle of Badli-Ki-Serai Sergeant Helstone became unhorsed while engaged in a melee with the enemy and Hartigan came to his rescue at great risk to his own life and carried the wounded man to safety. On the 10th October 1857 during the Battle of Badli-Ki-Serai Hartigan was again responsible for saving a comrade’s life. During the fighting at Agra Sergeant Crews was in hand-to-hand combat with four Sepoys when Sergeant Hartigan, unarmed, went to his assistance. In the ensuing fight one Sepoy was killed and the reminder wounded. Hartigan himself was severely wounded. From the 8th to 10th October 1857 Sergeant Hartigan also assisted in the raising of Mead’s Horse, a light cavalry unit. His actions over this period of time earned him the Victoria Cross. Hartigan died in Calcutta, India on 29th October 1896.

Sergeant James McGuire of the Royal Munster Fusiliers was born in Enniskillen in 1827. He is also buried in Fermanagh. It is not known when he died. Sergeant James McGuire and Drummer Miles Ryan were involved in the assault on the Kabul Gate. The Brigade was formed up, officers awaited their final orders and the men were refilling their ammunition pouches when three ammunition boxes caught fire, possibly from sparks blown from burning buildings, and within a few seconds two exploded and others began to burn. McGuire and Ryan at once ran to the pile of burning boxes and began throwing them over the parapet into the water filled ditch below. As a result of their coolness and daring many lives were saved. Ryan, a Derry man, continued Army life and died in India in 1887.

James McGuire returned to Enniskillen. In December 1862 his medal was forfeited as the result of a court case. It was reported that McGuire lent money to a relative to buy a cow. When it became time to repay the money none was forthcoming. McGuire then took the cow in lieu but was apprehended by the constabulary and charged with theft. He received a month in gaol. As a result he was stripped of his right to use the post-nominal letters V.C. and lost his pension of £10 per year. Although he made strenuous efforts to have his Victoria Cross restored, enlisting the support of the magistrate who had convicted him, McGuire was unsuccessful. The Secretary of State for War’s Office would not submit the case to Queen Victoria who could have reinstated McGuire under the V.C. Royal Warrant. McGuire disappears from public records and no note of his later life or death is found and no record of him is found in the Public Records Office. However, records do exist in County Fermanagh of his life after he was stripped of his Victoria Cross. James McGuire died on the 22nd December 1862 at Lisnaskea Hospital. He was aged 35 and is buried in Donagh Cemetery outside Lisnaskea. His Victoria Cross is on display at the National Army Museum in London.

Drummer Michael Magner in the 33rd Foot (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) was born in Fermanagh in 1840. He died in Melbourne, Australia in 1897. The year 1864 saw Britain once more involved in one of her many Colonial wars. The place was Abyssinia. General Sir Robert Napier was given command of an Abyssinian field force of 14,214 British and Indian troops. One of the regiments involved was the 33rd Foot (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment). The Regimental nickname of the 33rd was the ‘Havercakes.’ The Regiment contained so many Irishmen that the New York Herald called the 33rd the Irish Regiment. Abyssinia was a fiercely fought campaign of local skirmishes. One such skirmish cost the British Field Force some 800 killed and 1,500 wounded-and they called it a skirmish.

This skirmish took place at Magdala on 13th April 1868. It was Easter Sunday. Magdala was situated on a hilltop with the only approach a steep rocky track. The town’s gates were of heavy wooden timbers, flanked by a stone archway, and surrounded by sharpened stakes and thick prickly thorn hedges. The 33rd was at the front of the attack and bypassed the main gate. Private James Bergin from Queen’s County cut a gap in the thorn hedge with the bayonet. Drummer Michael Magner from County Fermanagh climbed onto Bergin’s shoulders and pushed his way through the gap and pulled Bergin after him. Both men then maintained a steady fire on the enemy until other men of the 33rd fought their way through the enemy defences. When enough men got through they took the main gate from the rear. After opening the gate they proceeded to the inner gate and stormed it before it could be shut. Magner was always in the front of the fight, and left himself open to the dangers that surrounded him. For their actions without thought for their own lives, Magner and Bergin were both awarded the Victoria Cross.


Holders of the Victoria Cross buried in Fermanagh

These are three. Sergeant James McGuire of the Royal Munster Fusiliers (see the 2nd last story), is buried in Donagh Cemetery outside Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh. Private Charles Irwin of the 53rd Shropshire Regiment was born in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim in 1824. He is buried in St Mark’s Church of Ireland Churchyard at Aghadrumsee, Magheraveely, Co Fermanagh. He received his Victoria Cross during the Indian mutiny on the 16th November 1857 while his Regiment was storming a defended building. He put his life at serious risk to allow his Regiment to take the building. In doing so he received a very serious wound to his right shoulder. He survived the war and transferred into the Royal Irish Fusiliers (the 87th Foot) and served with them from 1860-1863. He was not an exemplary soldier in peace time and received many punishments for various transgressions during those three years. He appears to have taken his discharge in 1863 and died in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh on the 8th April 1873.

Corporal Michael Sleavon, Corps of Royal Engineers. His death certificate shows his name as Slevin. Sleavon won his Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny on the 3rd April 1858. He was part of a team of sappers and miners. During an attack on a fort held by the mutineers at Jhansi and in order to get to the fort, a trench had to be dug by the sappers. Sleavon was the head of the digging party. He worked continuously at the head of the party in the trench and dug towards the wall of the building. Throughout the assault he was at all times under heavy and accurate fire. His actions allowed the building to be over-run and saved many lives. He survived the mutiny and died at his home on the 15th August 1920 aged 76. His home was at Dromod, County Sligo and the cause of death was due to cardiac disease. He is buried at Bannagh Roman Catholic Churchyard, Kesh in the Parish of Ederney, Co Fermanagh.

Since its inception in 1856 the Victoria Cross was just awarded 1,351 times, out of the millions of soldiers who went to war. In many cases the Victoria Cross is the only gallantry award won by a soldier but there are many soldiers who have won other gallantry awards as well as the Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross is made from Bronze metal from captured Russian guns and in itself is worthless. Today a Victoria Cross to collectors could fetch as much as £150,000 and even more.

This, then, is the story of Fermanagh and the Victoria Cross.

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