William Coffey VC 34th Foot Front

Private George Richardson VC 34th Foot

Born on 1st August 1831 at Derrylane near Killeshandra, Co. Cavan, Ireland, He enlisted in the 34th Foot on 4th December 1855 at Dublin age 19.

He went out with the Regiment to India in 1857 and was recommended for the Victoria Cross for gallantry by his officer Lt. Dyson-Laurie.

“On 27th April 1859, as we were advancing after a retreating enemy, who by his dress and arms (one of which was a revolver) seemed to be of some importance – post himself behind a tree. He remained so until we were about 20 yards off when he fired three shots. I saw Pte. Richardson of No. 6 Company rush to the front and attack the man with his rifle clubbed (he had previously discharged it without waiting to reload). The man waited until Richardson was about 3 yards off him, when he fired and wounded him in the arm and elbow. Notwithstanding one of his arms being thus rendered powerless, Pte. Richardson closed and held him to the ground until assistance arrived (Lt. Dyson-Laurie) and the man despatched, when it was ascertained that two chambers of the Colt revolver were still loaded”. The Citation published in the London Gazette of 11th November 1859 read – “At Kewanie, Trans-Gogra on 27th April 1859, for determined courage in having, although severely wounded, one arm being disabled, closed with and secured a rebel Sepoy armed with a loaded revolver”.

He received his Victoria Cross in India in 1860, but was discharged on 2th August 1860 due to the wound in the right arm and sabre cut to his left hand.


He emigrated to Canada in 1862 and first settled in Montreal. In 1865, when it was thought that Fenians would invade Canada, he enlisted and served as a Sergeant in the Prince of Wales Rifles at Sandwich, Ontario. He was granted homestead land near Lindsay, Ontario by the state government for his military service.

In 1916 his house was destroyed by fire and Richardson then 85 carried his wife out; she died of shock. Richardson lost the partial sight of one eye due to burns. His original medals were lost in the fire and replaced by the War Office in 1918.

He placed Canada’s wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington Cemetery, Washington in 1921 and was a personal friend of the Canadian Minister of Defence Sir Sam Hughes.

 He died of pneumonia aged 92 in Westminster Hospital, Westminster Township, London, Ontario, Canada on 28th January 1923 and was then the oldest living recipient of the Victoria Cross.

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