28 January 2018

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Cornet William Bankes,
7th ( Queen's Own ) Hussars

  • Victoria Cross
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Lucknow"

The Victoria Cross and Indian Mutiny Medal awarded to Cornet William Bankes, 7th ( Queen's Own ) Hussars, has been acquired by the Lord Ashcroft VC Collection from the RHQ of the Queen's Own Hussars. The VC will go on display in the Imperial War Museum's Lord Ashcroft Gallery.

The merging of two Hussar Museums is underway comprising the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars Museum ( Eastbourne ) and the Queen's Own Hussars Museum ( Warwick ). The name of the newly merged Museum will be called the Queen's Royal Hussars Museum based in a newly acquired building in Warwick due to be opened in 2018. The selling of the William Bankes' Victoria Cross will offset the cost of setting up the new museum.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 24 December 1858 ], Lucknow, Indian Mutiny, 19 March 1858, Cornet William George Hawtry Bankes, 7th ( Queen's Own ) Hussars.

Cornet William George Hawtrey Bankes, 7th Hussars, upon whom the Commander in Chief in India has reported that the Decoration of the Victoria Cross has been provisionally conferred, for conspicuous gallantry, in thrice charging a body of infuriated fanatics, who had rushed on the guns employed in shelling a small mud fort in the vicinity of Moosa-Bagh, Lucknow, on the 19th of March 1858 of the wounds received on which occasion he subsequently died would have been recommended to Her Majesty for confirmation in that distinction, had he survived. ( * )

SUMMARY: Bankes led a charge against fifty rebels, maddened with bhang or opium, who had rushed the guns near Lucknow. He shot three of the rebels before he was felled by a young mutineer who hamstrung his horse with a slash of the tulwar. He was instantly set upon by the fiends who did not know what mercy meant. He was hacked almost out of semblance to a human being. He lost an arm and a leg and his other limbs remained barely attached. He died of his wounds eighteen days afterwards.

The William Bankes' Victoria Cross was sent to his mother by registered post on the 30th December 1858.

( * ) William Bankes died on the 6th April 1858, eighteen days after his VC action, and was still alive when his GOC conferred the award of the Victoria Cross on him subject to confirmation from HM The Queen. Although the statement "would have been recommended to Her Majesty for confirmation in that distinction, had he survived" is included in the London Gazette citation this did not apply in William Bankes' case.

The burial location of William Bankes in Lucknow, India, is not known.


Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 28 January 2018