4 October 2011

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Private Patrick Donohoe,
9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers

  • Victoria Cross
  • Gwalior Campaign Star ( 1843 )
    • 'Punniar Star'
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
    • Reverse: 'Sobraon 1846'
  • Punjab Medal ( 1848-49 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Chilianwala" - "Goojerat"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Delhi" - "Relief of Lucknow" - "Lucknow"
  • Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

It is through the courtesy and efforts of Bart Armstrong, a Canadian US Medal of Honor and Victoria Cross researcher, and his Canadian contacts, that the location of the Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Private Patrick Donohoe, 9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers, have been located in a private medal collection in Western Canada.

The following information is taken from a briefing paper produced by James P Tierney, Colonel, US Army Retired, Regimental Historian of the 69th ( New York Infantry ) Regiment, US Army.

On the 19th November 2006 a ceremony was held in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, to erect a headstone over the grave of Private Timothy Donoghue, a Medal of Honor recipient. Donoghue had earned his Medal of Honor during the American Civil War serving with the 69th New York Infantry at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Following the graveside ceremony members of the Donoghue family, numbering over 130, were invited back to the 69th Armory in New York where it was discovered that a family member had some of Timothy Donoghue's records from which it was possible to construct a history of his background. It included Recruit statement, enlistment papers, casualty sheet, pay documents and application for pension and death certificate.

During discussions between many of the Donoghue family members assembled in the armory it was ascertained that Timothy had arrived in the US on the "City of New York" with his wife and son Patrick on the 10th April 1862. It was not uncommon during the Civil War for Union Army recruiters to target Irish immigrants as soon as they landed in the country. Timothy Donoghue enlisted into the service of the 69th Regiment on 15th September 1862, four months after landing in the United States.

A week before the ceremony Colonel Tierney was asked by a Donoghue family member to find out if Timothy Donoghue had been awarded the Victoria Cross for service in the British Army in India. Subsequent research found that no one named Timothy Donoghue, or Donohoe, had been awarded the VC, but a Private Patrick Donohoe had earned Britain's highest award for gallantry for action at Bolundshadur during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.

Obviously Timothy's son Patrick was too young to be the VC recipient but another family member disclosed that Timothy had an older brother named Patrick and this person in all probability was the recipient of the Victoria Cross. The final piece of the jigsaw was put in place when it was discovered that Timothy Donoghue and Patrick Donohoe were both born in the small Irish village of Nenagh in Co Tipperary, Ireland. Patrick in 1820 and Timothy in 1825.

Although enquiries have been carried out through various avenues no records have been found over Patrick Donohoe's family background. However, it would appear that Patrick and Timothy Donohoe were brothers and for both to have been awarded the most prestigious award for gallantry in two different countries, Great Britain and the United States, achieving the award of the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor must be a first.

Details of Patrick Donohoe:

  • Name:
    • Private Patrick Donohoe VC
  • Regiment:
    • 9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers
  • Born:
    • 28 September 1820, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
  • VC action:
    • 28 September 1857, Bolundshadur, Indian Mutiny
  • Died:
    • 16 August 1876, Ashbourne, Co Meath, Ireland
  • Buried:
    • Donaghmore RC Churchyard, Co Meath, Ireland ( unmarked )
  • VC location:
    • Privately held. ( Sold by Glendinings on 23 May 1919 for £118 )

[ London Gazette, 24 December 1858 ], for the award of the Victoria Cross, Bolundshadur, Indian Mutiny, 28 September 1857, Private Patrick Donohoe, 9th ( Queen's Royal ) Lancers.

For having, at Bolundshadur, on the 28th of September 1857, gone to the support of Lieutenant Blair, who had been severely wounded, and, with a few other men, brought that officer in safety through a large body of the enemy’s cavalry.

( Despatch from Major-General Sir James Hope Grant KCB, dated 8th April 1858 )

Patrick Donohoe was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 4th January 1860.

Details of Timothy Donoghue: ( one of several spellings on his paperwork )

  • Name:
    • Private Timothy Donoghue MoH
  • Regiment:
    • 'B' Company, 69th New York Infantry
  • Born:
    • 17 March 1825, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
  • Entered US:
    • 10 April 1862 on the SS 'City of New York'
  • Enlisted:
    • 15 September 1862, 69th New York Infantry
  • MoH Action:
    • 13 December 1862. Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • Died:
    • 19 March 1908, Brooklyn, New York
  • Buried:
    • Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, New york
  • MoH Location:
    • 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, New York

For the award of the Medal of Honor, Fredericksburg ( Mayre's Heights ), Virginia, United States, 13 December 1862, Private Timothy Donoghue, 'B' Company, 69th New York Infantry.

Voluntarily carried a wounded officer off the field from between the lines; whilst doing this he was himself wounded.

Timothy Donoghue was issued with his Medal of Honor on the 17th January 1894 probably through the mail system.


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Iain Stewart, 4 October 2011