This Day In History

  • 1691 Castleton’s Regiment (later 1st East Lancashires) embarks at Portsmouth for active service in Flanders as part of the largest English Army sent abroad since the days of Henry the Eighth.
We are funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

Please help by clicking the buttons below.

Donate to us through BT MyDonate

Private John McDermond VC

John McDermond VC photographed in 1858 after his promotion to Corporal. He is wearing his Crimean War Medal with three clasps, the Victoria Cross, and the French Medaille Militaire

John McDermond VC photographed in 1858 after his promotion to Corporal. He is wearing his Crimean War Medal with three clasps, the Victoria Cross, and the French Medaille Militaire

John McDermond was probably born in Clackmannan in 1828. He was attested into the 47th (The Lancashire) Regiment in Glasgow in October 1846

He won the first VC to be awarded to a member of the 47th Regiment at the Battle of Inkerman during the Crimean War.

The Commanding Officer of the 47th, Lieutenant Colonel O’Grady Haly, led a charge against an attacking Russian column. After cutting down three, he was himself unhorsed, bayonetted in the leg, and surrounded by the enemy. Seeing his plight, several soldiers rushed to his aid and McDermond, standing over his Colonel , killed the man who had wounded him and fought off the Russians while Haly was helped back to the British line.

John McDermond’s award of  the Victoria Cross was posted in the London Gazette on 24 February 1857. He was presented with his medal by Major General Sir James Scarlett on the parade ground at Southsea, Hampshire, on 12 March 1858.

McDermond served with the 47th for just under 16 years, seeing overseas service in the Ionian Islands, Malta, Turkey, Gibraltar and Canada. He was invalided out of the Army in 1862, aged 34, after being injured on board ship while in transit to Canada.

John McDermond appears to have had a difficult life after leaving the army. He died in  Glasgow, of Typhus, just four years later, in 1866, leaving destitute a wife and two very young children, the youngest of whom was born just weeks before his death. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Eastern Necropolis, Glasgow.

The location of his Victoria Cross is not known. However, in December 2015, a metal detectorist unearthed what appears to be a Victoria Cross medal from the mud of the Thames foreshore in London. It bears the date of the Battle of Inkerman – 5 November 1854. Only two Inkerman VC’s are unaccounted for. If genuine, there is therefore a 50% possibility that this medal is John McDermond’s. The Thames VC is currently held in the Museum of London.

Privat McDermond saves his Colonel and wins the VC at Inkerman

Private John McDermond defending his fallen Colonel at the Battle of Inkerman. This portrait hangs in the Regimental Council Chamber of the Lancashire Infantry Museum