Sergeant George Hamilton Richardson V.C. (1831-1923)
The Sash Our Forefathers Wore
George Hamilton Richardson was born in Derrylane, Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland on August 1st, 1831 and was the son of John Richardson and Mary Anne Hamilton.
In 1855 George joined the British Army and was assigned to the 34th Regiment of Foot as a Private in India during the Indian Mutiny.
On April 27th, 1859 he demonstrated remarkable courage under fire while wounded.
After a hard day’s march, the rear guard of the column commanded by Colonel R.D. Kelly of the 34th was attacked by a large body of rebels at Kewane Trans-Gorga.
As a group of British soldiers, including George, were in pursuit of a retreating rebel Sepoy, the rebel hid behind a tree. He remained there until the British soldiers were 20 yards away when he fired three shots. At this point, George Richardson of No. 6 Company rushed forward to attack the rebel. The rebel waited until George was about 3 yards from him, when he fired and wounded George in the arm and elbow. George's arm was rendered powerless but he continued to close on the rebel and held him to the ground until assistance arrived and the man was killed. It was then that it was discovered that the rebel still had two bullets left in his revolver.
George's Lieutenant, Julius Laurie, recommended George for the Victoria Cross.
When George's citation was published on November 11th, 1859, further details had been added about his wounds. He had in fact broken his arm due to the revolver bullet, and his leg had been slashed by a sabre. He had also saved the life of Lieutenant Laurie, who was attacked by six rebels, and despite his wounds, George killed five, and made the sixth flee.
On August 11th, 1860 George was awarded the Victoria Cross Medal from Queen Victoria at a Hyde Park ceremony in London, England.
After receiving his Victoria Cross, George returned home to Killeshandra where in 1861 he joined the Orange Order.
The following year in 1862, George emigrated to Canada, settling in Montreal finding work as a coachman.
In 1865 George enlised in the Prince of Wales Royal Rifles due to the concern over the Fenian Irish Republicans invading Canada and was given the rank of Sergeant. For his military service he was granted land near Lindsay, Ontario.
At some point between 1862 and 1869, George married Elizabeth Hodgson of Whitby, Ontario. They would go on to have one child in 1869, daughter Edith Helena Richardson.
In 1885 when Edith was 16, she married Arthur Cooke in the Muskoka District of Ontario. In 1887 Edith and Arthur's daughter Helen Cooke was born.
Sadly, Edith passed away on February 21st, 1897 after suffering from "inflamation" for two weeks.
In 1918, George's house caught fire and was destroyed. George was able to carry Elizabeth out of the house to safety however she later sadly passed away on February 21st, 1918 at the age of 76 from wounds received. Due to the burns George received he lost partial sight in one eye.
George's original medals were lost in the fire however they were replaced by the War Office.
In 1921, he was chosen by the Canadian government to place Canada’s wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
George passed away from pneumonia on January 28th, 1923 at the age of 92 at the Westminster Hospital in London, Ontario.
George was given full military honours and he was laid to rest on February 1st in the Veteran's section of Prospect Cemetery located at 1450 St. Clair Avenue West in Toronto, Ontario. A memorial stone was dedicated to George on November 10th, 1939.
The Ontario Heritage Foundation placed a plaque in dedication to George at the entrance to Vankoughnet Village Park in Bracebridge, Ontario that reads:
Sergeant George Richardson wearing his Victoria Cross medal.
George and his wife Elizabeth at their home in Stratton, Ontario (date unknown).
Sergeant George Richardson's grave marker at Prospect Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario.
Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque dedicated to Sergeant George Richardson, V.C. in Vankoughnet Village Park in Bracebridge, Ontario.
Where is Derrylane, Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland?
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