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Thread: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

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    Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Lieutenant Francis Edward Henry Farquharson



    Born: Glasgow, 25th March 1837.

    Date of Act of Bravery: 9th March 1858

    London Gazette: 18th June 1859

    Campaign: India 1857-59

    Location of VC: Black Watch Museum

    Died: 12th September 1875 Harberton, Devon and is buried in St Peter's Churchyard Harberton

    Citation: For conspicuous bravery when engaged before Lucknow on 9th March 1858 in having lead a portion of his company stormed a bastion mounting two guns and spiked the guns by which the advanced position held during the night of 9th March was rendered secure from the fire of artillery. Lt Farquharson was severely wounded while holding an advanced position on the morning of 10th March.

    Army Career: Captain Farquharson served at the Siege of Sebastopol from the 14th July 1855 (Medal and Clasps and Turkish Medal). Served in the Campaign of 1857-8 against the Mutineers in India, including actions at Caunpore, 6th September 1857, Seriaghat, Kudygunge, and Shumsabad, Siege and Fall of Lucknow, and Assault of the Martiniere and Bank's Bungalow (Medal and Clasps). He was an Ensign on 19th January 1855, Lt 24th April 1855, Captain 28th June 1862 and Bt Major 1st April 1874.

    Historical Background: Lucknow was the state capital of Oudh and had to be captured from the Mutineers as there was always the potential for trouble flaring as long as they held it. In March Sir Colin Campbell had 25000 men under his command against the 6000 rebels holding the city. Lucknow was a sprawling town with a rabbit warren of streets, bounded on the eastern sides by palaces, courtyards and gardens. The main attack by the Infantry came from this side. Whilst the Cavalry and Artillery came from the north.

    The 42nd was posted in the Palace of the Dilkusha where they underwent several days of shelling from the Mutineers who were in a large military college called La Martiniere. On the 9th March Campbell assaulted with the order "The 42nd will lead the attack and the men employed will use nothing but the bayonet".

    The 42nd advanced in two lines with the 93rd on their left. The distance was a thousand yards, which separated them from the defences in front of La Martiniere. The first line under Colonel Priestly took the fortifications to the left of the building whilst Colonel Alexander Cameron lead the second line up a parapet to the right and it was here that Lieutenant Farquharson lead an attack on two guns and won his VC.
    Last edited by Chalky; 23rd September 2014 at 18:59.

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    QMS John Simpson



    Born: 29th January 1826

    Date of Act of Bravery: April 15th 1858

    London Gazette: August 23rd 1858

    Campaign: India 1857-59

    Died: 27th October 1884 St Martins and is buried in Balbeggie Churchyard, St Martins.

    Location of VC: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
    900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90007

    Citation: For conspicuous bravery at the attack on Fort Ruhya on April 15th 1858 in having volunteered to go to an exposed point within forty yards of the parapet of the Fort under a heavy fire and brought in first Lt Douglas, then afterwards a private soldier both of whom were dangerously wounded.

    Army Career: Enlisted 8th June 1843. Served in the Crimea 1854-55. Present at the Battles of the Alma, and Balaclava. Took part in the expedition to Kerteh and Yenikale, suffered the hardships of the Siege of Sebastopol, and shared the dangers of the attacks of 18th June and 8th September. He served with the Regiment throughout its participation in the Indian Mutiny Campaign. He was decorated with the Crimean, Turkish and Indian Mutiny Medals and had clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Sebastopol and Lucknow. He obtained a commission as QuarterMaster of the 42nd in India on 7th October 1859. On the formation of the Brigade Depots he was appointed QuarterMaster of the 55th Brigade Depot at Fort George on 20th July 1873. He was transferred to 58th Brigade Depot at Stirling November 1874 and on 1st April 1879 to the Perth Militia. He retired with the rank of Major in 1883, and was awarded the good service pension of 50 pounds in June 1884. He was subsequently gazetted Quarter Master of the 2nd Perth Highland Volunteers which Corps with the 3rd Battalion buried him with Military Honours.
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:39. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Historical Background to 4 VC's in a Day

    On the 15th April 1858 the Victoria Cross was gained by QM Sergeant John Simpson, Lance Corporal Alexander Thompson, Private James Davis, and Private Edward Spence during an action at Fort Rooyah (Ruhya) which formed part of the Indian Mutiny Campaign 1857-59. General Walpole was sent with two columns towards Bareillly in order to clear the province of Rohilkand. The column commanded by Brigadier Adrian Hope contained the 42nd. On April 11th, 50 miles north of Lucknow it approached Fort Rooyah, a town in dense jungle surrounded by mud walls. Although the artillery had not yet arrived, Walpole ordered Hope to attack immediately without any reconnaissance. Hope attacked with four companies of the Black Watch and the 4th regiment of the Punjab Rifles. As they approached over open ground they were met with a hail of fire, which killed amongst others, Brigadier Hope. The 42nd were pinned down for six hours before the order to withdraw was issued by Walpole at dusk. The Fort was left unguarded by Walpole, and the Mutineers slipped away under the cover of darkness. The two NCOs and the two privates of the 42nd won their VCs by going back under fire to bring in the body of Lt Willoughby of the 4th Punjab Rifles and others. The Black Watch had 32 casualties.
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:40. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Private James Davis



    Real Name: James Davis Kelly

    Born: Edinburgh February 1835

    Date of Act of Bravery: April 15th 1858

    London Gazette: May 27th 1859

    Campaign: India 1857-59

    Died: 2nd March 1893 Edinburgh, North Merchiston Cemetery Grave marked with a turfstone.



    Location of VC: The Lord Ashcroft Collection

    Citation: For conspicuous gallantry at the attack on Fort Ruhya when with an advanced party to point out the gate of the Fort to the Engineer Officer, Private Davis offered to carry the body of Lt Bramley, who was killed at the point, to the Regiment. He performed this duty of danger and affection under the very walls of the fort.

    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:40. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Private Edward Spence

    Date of Act of Bravery: April 15th 1858

    London Gazette: 15th January 1907

    Campaign: India 1857-9

    Citation: Private Edward Spence (Age 20) would have been recommended to Her Majesty for the decoration of the VC had he survived. He and Lance Corporal Thompson volunteered at the attack on the Fort at Ruhya to assist Captain Cafe commanding the 4th Punjab Rifles in bringing in the body of Lt Willoughby from the top of the glacis. Private Spence dauntlessly placed himself in an exposed position so as to cover the part bearing away the body. He died on the 17th of the same month from the effects of the wound received on the occasion.

    Comments: King Edward VII awarded the decoration to his relatives and the VC is in the Black Watch Museum.
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:41. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Lance Corporal Alexander Thompson



    Born: Edinburgh 1824

    Act of Bravery: April 15th 1858

    London Gazette: 27th May 1859

    Campaign: India 1857-59

    Died: 29th March 1880 Perth, buried in Wellshill Cemetery Perth.

    Location of VC: Black Watch Museum

    Citation: For daring gallantry on 15th April 1858 when at the attack on the Fort at Ruhya, in having volunteered to assist Captain Cafe of the 4th Punjab Rifles in bringing in the body of Lt Willoughby of that Corps from the top of the glacis in a most exposed position under heavy fire.

    Comment: Discharged a full sergeant in 1863.
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:41. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Colour Sergeant William Gardner



    Born: 3rd March 1821 at Nemphlar Lanarkshire

    Date of Act of Bravery: May 5th 1858

    London Gazette: 23rd August 1858

    Died: 24th October 1897 at Bothwell, buried Bothwell Park Cemetery.

    Location of VC: The Lord Ashcroft Collection.

    Citation: For his conspicuous and gallant conduct on the morning of 5th May in having saved the life of Lt Col Cameron, his commanding officer, who during his action of Bareilly on that day had been knocked from his horse when three fanatics rushed upon him. CS Gardner ran out and in a moment bayoneted two of them and was in the act of attacking the third when he was shot down by another soldier of the regiment.

    Historical Background: At Bareilly the 42nd were on the left flank when Mohammedan Cavalry attacked them called Ghazis.

    There were about 150 of them screaming "Bismillah, Allah, Deen, Deen". They had swords called tulwars and kept their heads low behind shields as they chased Sikh skirmishers who had broken the ranks of the 42nd as they ran back through the Regiment. Sir Colin Campbell ordered ranks to be closed and bayonets used as the Ghazis came. Three dashed at Col. Alexander Cameron and pulled him off his horse. He would have been hacked to death had Sgt Gardner not killed two of them and Private Gavin the third.

    There was a brief albeit severe and bloody sword and bayonet fight with the Ghazis coming within ten yards of the guns before the last of them was killed.

    Sir Colin Campbell called this attack "The most determined effort he had seen during the war".
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:42. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Private Walter Cook and Private Duncan Millar

    Walter Cook VC (1834 - 1864) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

    He was about 25 years old, and a private in the 42nd Regiment (later The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 15 January 1859 at Maylah Ghat, India, when the fighting was most severe and the few men of the 42nd Regiment were skirmishing so close to the enemy (who were in great numbers) that some of them were wounded by sword cuts, the only officer was severely wounded and the colour-sergeant was killed. Private Cook and another private (Duncan Millar) immediately went to the front and took a prominent part in directing the company and displayed a courage, coolness and discipline which was the admiration of all who witnessed it.

    Location of VC: Not Publicly Held

    Burial:
    Body lost or destroyed. Believed drowned in the River Ravi, India
    Specifically: Unknown burial site, body believed to be lost
    …................................................. ...........

    Duncan Millar



    Born: Kilmarnock, June 1831.

    Died: 15th July 1881,

    Grave: 1 Anderson Burial Ground Glasgow, 2 St. Kentigerns Cemetery Glasgow.

    Location of VC: National War Museum of Scotland.

    Date of Act of Bravery: January 15th 1859

    London Gazette: 18th June 1859

    Citation: In the Action at Maylah Ghaut on 15th January 1859, Brigadier General Walpole reports that the conduct of Privates Cook and Millar deserves to be particularly pointed out. At the time the fight was the severest and the few men of the 42nd Regiment were skirmishing so close to the enemy who were in great numbers, that some of the men were wounded by sword cuts and the only officer of the 42nd was carried to the rear, severely wounded and the Colour Sgt was killed, these soldiers went to the front and took a prominent part in directing the Company and displayed a courage and coolness and discipline which was the admiration of all who witnessed it.

    Historical Background: Captain John Lawson commanding No. 6 company, had been sent to guard part of the river boarder between Rohilkand and Oudh. The land rose steeply from the river in a series of bluffs broken by the occasional gap. Lawson's Company was opposite an opening called Maylem Ghat. He had thirty-seven men at his disposal when on January 15th 1859 a force of 2000 rebels crossed the river. When they attacked Lawson was fatally wounded and all of the NCOs were also killed. It was at this point that Cook and Millar took over the direction of the Company. They held off the attack until evening when reinforcements arrived. The survivors were paraded before Sir Hugh Rose who had succeeded Sir Colin Campbell as Commander in Chief when he presented new colours to the Regiment. The pipe tune "Lawson's Men" still commemorates their long brave day.
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:42. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Lance Sergeant Samuel McGaw



    Born: Kirkmichael Village, Ayrshire. 1837

    Date of Act of Bravery: 31 January 1874

    London Gazette: 28th March 1874

    Campaign: Ashanti War, Battle of Amoaful.

    Location of VC: The Lord Ashcroft Collection

    Died: 22nd July 1878

    Buried: Cyprus

    Citation: At Amoaful, on the 31st January 1874, skilfully leading his section through the bush for a whole day, although badly wounded early in the battle.

    Read more about him Here
    Last edited by Chalky; 20th March 2011 at 17:43. Reason: Tidy up

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    Re: Black Watch Victoria Cross Holders

    Private Thomas Edwards



    Born: Brill, Buckinghamshire, and 19th April 1863

    Date of Act of Bravery: March 13th 1884

    London Gazette: 21st May 1884

    Campaign: Sudan 1884

    [ London Gazette, 21 May 1884 ], Mahdi Rebellion, Tamaai, Sudan, 13 March 1884, Private Thomas Edwards, 1st Bn, The Royal Highlanders ( The Black Watch ).

    "For the conspicuous bravery displayed by him in defence of one of the guns of the Naval Brigade at the battle of Tamaai on 13th March 1884. This man ( who was attached to the Naval Brigade as Mule Driver ) was beside the gun with Lieutenant Almack RN, and a blue jacket. Both the latter were killed and Edwards, after bayoneting two Arabs, and himself receiving a wound with a spear, rejoined the ranks with his mules and subsequently did good service in remaining by his gun throughout the action."


    Died: 27th March 1952 at Woodford Bridge. Buried in St. Mary's Churchyard Chigwell in an unmarked grave.

    Headstone erected to commemorate Pte Thomas Edwards

    The commemoration of the recently discovered gravesite of Private Thomas Edwards VC took place on Sunday, 11th March 2001, at St. Mary's Church, Chigwell in Essex, by the erection of a headstone near to his burial site in the churchyard. The London Branch of The Black Watch Association turned out in force, supported by the Royal British Legion, and many others to ensure Thomas Edwards was appropriately honoured and his gravesite recognised with dignity. Amongst the considerable number of Black Watch members were also a good number of both Argylls and Gordon Highlanders.

    Pipe Major Elder played the "Flowers of the Forest" at the graveside, and a master from Chigwell School played both the Last Post and Reveille, and the standard bearers of the Royal British Legion paid the correct honours over the recently unveiled headstone. Three important individuals were responsible for the successful conclusion of the project, Winston Ramsay, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine "After the Battle", a historian David Tomlins, who had researched the project, and the service itself was taken by the Reverend Peter Trendall, the Rector of St. Mary's.


    Location of VC: Black Watch Museum.

    Historical Background:

    In 1880, aged 20, Thomas Edwards decided to join the Army and attested for service at York, joining the 6th Brigade for his training and general service. However, in August 1881 he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Highlanders ( The Black Watch ). The majority of his military service, which totalled about 12 years, was spent with this regiment, the first six or seven years spent in Egypt and the Sudan.


    Edwards was soon involved in the Egyptian campaigns that were to take place from 1882-89. These various campaigns revolved around a particular individual known as the Mahdi who saw himself as the living reincarnation of the Prophet Mohammed. His rebellion which sought to remove the Sudan from Egyptian rule had already resulted in the defeat and massacre of at least three Egyptian expeditionary forces as they sought to advance up the Nile to capture the Mahdi and put down the rebellion.


    The Battle of Tamaai involved both units of the British Army and the Navy who were attempting to move in support of the Egyptians. This battle again saw the enormous fanaticism of the Mahdi's Dervishes pitched against the disciplined but heavily out-numbered British and Egyptian troops.
    Edwards was part of a naval gun team responsible for carrying the gun's ammunition on mules and defending the team. As the battle developed the Dervishes threatened to overrun some of the guns and Edwards' gun in particular became seperated from the main part of the British force. Several of his gun team were killed, including the naval officer in charge - but Edwards took charge of events, succeeded in saving the gun, the mules and the ammunition, whilst returning what remained of the naval gun team to safety despite bing wounded several times. His conspicuous gallantry was registered by the award of the Victoria Cross two months later on 21 May 1884.

    NB: Thomas Edwards continued to serve in Egypt for two more years and then moved with The Black Watch back to Malta and then to the United Kingdom, where he was transferred to the reserve in 1892 as being of 'good' character. He remained a private throughout his service career.


    After leaving the Army, Edwards married and had two children, a son and daughter. He moved from York to Essex late in life and lived in the village of Woodford Bridge. He died on the 27th March 1952, aged 91, and is registered has having been buried in the churchyard of St. Mary's at Chigwell, since the church at Woodford Bridge had no graveyard. Why he should have been buried in an unmarked grave is a mystery. Since the exact location of Thomas Edwards' grave within the churchyard of St. Mary's is not known, the Rector selected a prime site close to the entrance of the church where everyone arriving or departing would pass by and admire the memorial stone.



    Medal entitlement of Private Thomas Edwards - 1st Bn, The Royal Highlanders ( The Black Watch )

    • Victoria Cross
    • Egypt Medal ( 1882-89 )
      • 5 clasps:
      • "Tel-el-Kebir" - "Suakin 1884" - "El-Teb-Tamaai" - "The Nile 1884-85" - "Kirkeban"

    • King George V Coronation Medal ( 1911 )
    • Khedive's Star ( Egypt )




    Last edited by Chalky; 2nd April 2011 at 10:07. Reason: Tidy up

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