Major General Sir John McNeill VC GCVO KCB KCMG - 107th Regiment, Bengal Infantry


A list of Victoria Crosses loaned for display to the VC Centenary Exhibition held in Marlborough House, London, 15th June to 7th July 1956.

A - D E - L M - R S - Y

Private John Doogan VC, 1st (The King's) Dragoon Guards died, aged 86, on 24 January 1940 bequeathing his VC medal group to his family. Shortly after the end or WWII the family presented the Victoria Cross to the colonel of Doogan's regiment in Cardiff Castle. Not sure where to display the VC, the colonel gave the medal to the sergeant's mess, where it was placed over the mess bar for a number of years.

In June 1956 a celebration of the centenary of the instigation of the Victoria Cross was organised, which included an exhibition of VCs held in Marlborough House, London, from 15th June to 7th July 1956. Following a request from the exhibition organisers, the VC awarded to John Doogan was despatched by the regiment to London to join the other 198 VCs on display in Marlborough House.

During this period the 1st Dragoon Guards were ordered overseas, to Malaya, to assist in defeating incursions by communist rebels into that country. Following their tour of duty the regiment returned to Wales completely forgetting about the loan of the Doogan VC to the exhibition and some considerable time later assumed the VC had been lost. Several years later it was decided to try and discover the whereabouts of the Doogan VC and one lead led to a US serviceman who claimed to be in possession of the medal, but an attempt to verify this came to nothing. A later search was made following the serviceman's discharge from the military, but this produced no success either.

In 1997 the colonel of the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards (renamed following amalgamation) received a letter from the manager of a London bank requesting he pick up two parcels addressed to the regiment that had been discovered in the bank's vaults. The colonel travelled to London, signed for the two packages and returned with them to Cardiff. Back in the regimental barracks the two parcels were carefully opened revealing the Victoria Cross medal group of John Doogan and other effects that had been loaned by the regiment to the VC Centenary Exhibition way back in 1956.

Upon the closure of the exhibition on 7th July 1956, and because the regiment couldn't be contacted, being overseas in Malaya, an official placed the Doogan artefacts in a couple of boxes and placed them in the care of a London bank. And that is where they stayed for the next forty one years.

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Iain Stewart, 20 January 2002