Saturday, 12 September 2015

Private Henry Ward earned his Victoria Cross by saving the life of the then Captain Henry Havelock-Allan of the 10th Regiment, along with a soldier from his own regiment under heavy fire from the enemy during the Indian Mutiny.

After leaving the Army, Henry Ward lived in Malvern until his untimely death, aged 44, on the 12 September 1867. After his death the residents of Malvern discovered he died destitute and gave generously to a fund for his widow and children. Lieutenant General Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, as he had now become, purchased the grave plot in Great Malvern Cemetery and paid for a headstone in recognition of the long friendship between the two men.

In the same spirit, Malvern residents, groups, and individuals donated generously to Malvern Town Council's fundraising campaign for the restoration of the badly-deteriorated Ward headstone in Great Malvern Cemetery. More than thirty relatives of Henry Ward VC, some from as far away as Canada and Australia, assembled in the Great Malvern Cemetery on Saturday, 12 September 2015 for the dedication of the new headstone. Also invited was Judge Mark Havelock-Allan QC, great-great-grandson of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, who was also awarded the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny.

The dedication ceremony was led by Canon Harold Goddard of Christ Church, and included readings from the Mayor of Malvern, and David Price representing Henry Ward's descendants, and Captain Ross Murray of the Queen's Own Highlanders Regimental Association.

Ward's grave:
before and after

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 18 June 1858 ], Relief of Lucknow, Indian Mutiny, 25 & 26 September 1857, Private Henry Ward, 78th Regiment ( Ross-shire Buffs ).

For his gallant and devoted conduct in having on the night of the 25th, and morning of the 26th of September 1857, remained by the dooly of Captain H.M. Havelock, 10th Regiment, Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General, Field Force, who was severely wounded, and on the morning of the 26th of September, escorted that Officer and Private Thomas Pilkington, 78th Highlanders, who was also wounded, and had taken refuge in the same dooly, through a very heavy cross fire of ordnance and musketry.

This soldier remained by the side of the dooly, and by his example and exertions kept the dooly bearers from dropping their double load, throughout the heavy fire, with the same steadfastness as if on parade, thus saving the lives of both, and bringing them in safety to the Baillie Guard

( Extract from Divisional Orders of Major General Sir James Outram GCB, dated 27th October 1857 )

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Quartermaster Sergeant Henry Ward,
78th Ross-shire Buffs ( Seaforth Highlanders )

  • Victoria Cross
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Persia"
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Defence of Lucknow" - "Lucknow"
  • Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

Henry Ward's Victoria Cross and campaign medals are held by the Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Ardersier, Inverness-shire.


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Iain Stewart, 20 September 2015