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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Last amended 7.6.11. Minor edits 18.2.14, 5.4.14.

1395, Corporal George McELROY — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Ballysodare, near Coloony, Co. Sligo c.1828.

Enlistment

Enlisted at Dundalk on the 2nd of February 1850.

Age: 22.

Height: 5' 7".

Trade: Black-smith.

Fresh complexion. Grey eyes. Lt. brown hair.

Service

From Private to Corporal: 1st of October 1854.

Tried by a Regimental Court-martial on the 19th of February 1855 for "neglect of duty" and reduced to Pte.

From Private to Corporal: 10th of May 1855.

Corporal to Sergeant: 9th of February 1856.

Transferred (as a Sergeant) to the 2nd Bn. of the Military Train on the 30th of November 1856. Regimental No. 1178.

He sent money from the Crimea to his father, George McElroy, living in Cooloony, Co. Sligo, Ireland.

Returned to England from India aboard the "Pomnia", 23rd of April — 3rd of October 1859.

Transferred to the 6th Bn. on the 1st of December 1859 (at Woolwich) and back to the 2nd. Bn. on the 28th of March 1860.

Appointed to Troop Sergeant Major on the 10th of November 1860.

Re-engaged at Woolwich for a further 12 years' service on the 29th of January 1861.

Transferred to the Army Service Corps (successor to, and following on the disbandment of the Military Train) on the 21st of February 1870 — as a 2nd. Class Sergeant.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Aldershot on the 25th of April 1871, "Claimed, on termination of second period of limited engagement."

Served 21 years 34 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 2 years. India, 2 years.

Conduct: "very good". Not in possession of any Good Conduct badges when promoted, but would now have had five.

Aged 43 years 2 months on discharge.

(Served with the forces under the command of H.E. the Commander-in-Chief at Lucknow and those under the command of Sir John Outram at Alum Bagh.)

Medals

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with four clasps (sic) the Turkish Medal and the Mutiny medal with clasps for Lucknow and the Relief of Lucknow and also the L.S. & G.C. medal.

Entitled, (according to the medal rolls) to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Mutiny medal with clasps for Lucknow and the Relief of Lucknow.

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal with a gratuity of 5, on the 26th of October 1869.

Awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on the 8th of October 1891. He then received an annuity of 5, and a further five pounds from the 28th of December 1899.

Extract from the "Broad Arrow" for the 6th of February 1892:

"Mr. George McElroy of Farnham, late Troop-Sergeant Major, Military Train, has just been awarded a medal for meritorious service. This gallant old soldier, who has seen much active service, joined the 13th Light Dragoons in 1850, and served with that regiment throughout the Crimean campaign of 1854-56, being present at the battles of the Alma, Balaclava, and the Siege of Sebastopol.

On his return to England at the conclusion of the war he joined the Military Train, and was despatched to India on the outbreak of the Mutiny, doing duty as cavalry during that time and returning to England in 1860. He was discharged from the A.S.C. in 1871 on the completion of 21 years' service .

It is somewhat singular that he passed through these actions unscathed, although in the Mutiny his brother fell in action by his side when charging the enemy.

Mr. McElroy possesses the following decorations; Crimean medal and bars for "Alma," "Inkerman" and "Sebastopol," the Turkish War medal, Indian Mutiny medal with clasps for "Lucknow" and the "Relief of Lucknow" and the medal for "Long Service and Good Conduct," which has now been relinquished for the more highly prized decoration of the "Meritorious Service Medal."

(McElroy's brother mentioned above was 1388 Corporal Robert McElroy, who was killed in action on the 20th of October 1858. Born in Ballysodare, Co. Sligo, the son of George McElroy of Ballysodare, Coloony, Co. Sligo, he had enlisted into the 97th Foot on the 28th of September 1853 with the Regimental No. of 3127 and transferring to the 2nd Bn. of the Military Train on the 26th of February 1857. He left no will, his "credits" being 4/12/3d.)

No record known of any medals ever having been on the market.

Commemorations

Present at the Golden Commemoration of the Indian Mutiny held at the Royal Albert Hall on the 23rd of December 1907. (See copy of the booklet produced at this time in the "Memoirs" file.)

Neither Lummis and Wynne or the medal rolls held at the PRO credit him with the clasp for Balaclava, but an (undated) Nominal return signed by Major Henry Holden, of some 30 plus men of the regiment who are shown on this as being issued with their medals on the 7th of October 1855 with various clasps, records him as being given it with the clasps for Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman. (This roll forms part of a series of documents retained by Colonel Charles Shute, A.A.G of the Cavalry Division, that came onto the open market in 1997, a copy of which is not held by the National Archive.)

Life after service

To live at Woodbine Vale, West End, Aldershot.

Next of kin. Wife, Rebecca McElroy. Shown on the Regimental "Married roll from the 27th of March 1860. There were three children in the family by the 31st of March 1868.

He applied to become an In-Pensioner at Chelsea Royal Hospital, on the 9th of January 1899 and then stated that "his wife was in the County Asylum, the Board of Governors being in receipt of one-third of his pension for her maintenance. He had no children with whom he could live." Aged 71 years at this time, the Medical Report stated that "he was incapable of supplementing his pension with his own labour, by senile decay and his health being broken down since the Crimean campaign."

At the time of this application he was living at No. 4 Elsworth Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, but had previously lived at 37 Duncan Road, Southsea. The application was withdrawn on the 15th of June 1899 and there is nothing further shown.

[Eds: The 1901 Census shows him as George McEvoy (sic) born Ireland, an "Army Pensioner" aged 73. He was living in Portsmouth.]

Death & burial

Died on the 14th of July 1912 in Cardiff.

The death of a "George McElroy", aged 86 years (sic), was registered in the Cardiff District during the July-September Quarter of 1912.

He was buried in Cathay's Cemetery at Cardiff on the 17th of July 1912, the grave number being E/F 8638. This is a private plot, but no memorial stone was erected. He is described in the Cemetery Register as being "An Army Pensioner," of No. 781 Claude Road, Cardiff, the grave-site being purchased by a George Freestone, of the same address.


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