A HEADSTONE HAS BEEN ERECTED OVER THE BURIAL PLOT OF EDWARD JENNINGS VC, ROUGH-RIDER, BENGAL ARTILLERY, INDIAN ARMY
Research & photograph by ROBERT ANDERSON of Newcastle-upon-Tyne



On the 10th May 1889 Edward Jennings VC, was buried in a pauper's grave, unmarked and unattended, one of 190,000 bodies interred in Preston Cemetery, North Shields, North East England.

For most of his life Edward Jennings was employed by the local council as a road sweeper and must have fallen on hard times because he sold his Victoria Cross to a private collector.

A memorial service and the placing of a headstone on Edward Jennings grave took place on Wednesday, 10th September 1997 in North Shields. The service was attended by members of the 7th Royal Horse Artillery and 101 Royal Artillery. Other dignitaries included the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, the North Tyneside deputy Mayor Councillor Arlene Richardson, and a number of other associations were represented. Three buglers and a piper were present and a volley of shots were fired over the grave. The headstone was the result of an appeal launched four months earlier to raise the necessary £2000.

The whole service was instigated during an exhibition on VC winners held at the Newcastle Central Library earlier in 1997. The exhibition organiser was Phillip Pike of the Victoria Cross Commemoration Society and he was contacted by Edward Jennings' great-granddaughter, Mrs. Kathleen Lough, who lives in New York, North Tyneside. Mrs. Lough, her brothers Brian and John were united with a distant relative, Martin Jennings, 79, who travelled from County Mayo, Ireland. The family presented a citation of the VC to North Tyneside Council.


For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 24 December 1858 ]. Relief of Lucknow, Indian Mutiny, 14 November to 22 November 1857, Rough Rider Edward Jennings, Bengal Artillery.

For conspicuous gallantry at the Relief of Lucknow from the 14th to the 22nd of November 1857.

With Captain Hastings Harington, Gunner Thomas Laughnan, Gunner Hugh McInnes, and Gunner James Park all of the Bengal Artillery. Elected respectively, under the 13th clause of the Royal Warrant of the 29th January 1856, by the Officers and non-commissioned officers generally, and by the private soldiers of each troop or battery.

There is no specific actions in connection with these awards, except that Lieutenant Harrington on the 18th November 1857, during the attack on the hospital, rescued a wounded man under very heavy fire. Clause 13 awards were intended for overall gallantry by the entire unit where no one person or act could be singled out.

Pensioned in 1859, Edward Jennings returned to England and should have received his Victoria Cross from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 9th October 1860, but did not arrive on time. ( It is not recorded as to how it was subsequently presented ). Jennings' Victoria Cross and campaign medals now reside with 'F' Para Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.


Medal entitlement of Rough Rider Edward Jennings - 'F' Bty, Bengal Artillery

  • Victoria Cross
  • Ghuznee Medal ( 1839 )
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Aliwal"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • "Delhi" - "Relief of Lucknow" - "Lucknow"

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Iain Stewart, 22 March 1998