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Amended 14.5.11. Minor edits 17.2.2014.

1298, Private James CUNNINGHAM — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early years

Born in the parish of St. Nicholas, Dublin.

Possibly the brother, or some other relation, of1408 William Cunningham, 13th Light Dragoons (see his record) — who gave as his reason for transfer to the 13th Light Dragoons that he wanted to serve with James Cunningham. In addition, both had the same (relatively unusual) trade on enlistment.


Enlisted at Dublin on the 27th of August 1846.

Age: 19.

Height: 5' 8".

Trade: Pipe-maker.

Features: Fair complexion. Black eyes. Dk. brown hair.

Service, discharge & pension

1851 Census

Piershill Barracks, Midlothian.

James Cunningham, 24, Private Soldier, born Dublin.

Notice also, adjacent to his entry:

William Cunningham, 22, Private Soldier, born Dublin.

Wounded in action at Balaclava and "sent on board ship without being seen by the Surgeon."

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Edinburgh on the 18th of April 1871, at "Own request, after 24 years' service."

Served 24 years 210 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 2 years. Canada, 2 years 11 months.

Conduct, "very good." In possession of four Good Conduct badges.

Seven times entered in the Regtl. Defaulter's book. Never tried by Court-martial.

Aged 43 years 7 months on discharge.

Next of kin (1854): Wife, Hannah Cunningham, living at Bedford House, Lutley Lane, Leeds, Yorkshire.

She is shown on the Regtl. "Married roll" from the 1st of May 1856. (From this he would appear to have married "without permission" as he was shown as sending money to his wife from the Crimea in 1855.)

According to the "Married roll" of the regiment, she was still alive in 1868.

Awarded a pension of 1/1d. per day.

To live in Gresham Street, Shepherd Street, Leeds.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Sebastopol and the Turkish medal..

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with three clasps, T.M. and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

Awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal on the 14th of July 1869, with a gratuity of £5.

A "Fresh medal" was granted to him on the 13th of August 1856.


A "J. Cunningham" was shown as being a member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in both 1877 and 1879.

But a check of the Pension's Book WO/23/62), which gives details of the pension, the District in which the pension was paid, and the date of death or cessation of the pension for any other reason (1865/76), shows a 1298 James Cunningham of the 13th Hussars died in the Leeds Pension District on the 18th of August 1875.

This contradicts the membership lists of the Balaclava Commemoration Society, both of which show a man of this name as a member. Did someone perhaps assume his identity ?

Life after service

Death & burial

[One source (unspecified) says James Cunningham was] buried in the Beckett Street Cemetery at Leeds in October 1880.

However, GRO records do not show anyone of his name died at Leeds during the October Quarter of 1880 but they do show a "James Cunningham " died at Leeds during the July-September Quarter of 1875, aged 47 years.

The Beckett Street Cemetery, Leeds, records show he was interred there on the 21st of August 1875 in Grave No. 19956, (Unconsecrated), age 46 years. The grave was a public one, and no memorial stone was erected. He was brought from Sheepscar Street, Leeds.

(There is a copy of a photograph of his grave-area in the 13th Hussar file.)

References & acknowledgements

Census information for 1851 kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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