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

Amended 7.6.11. Minor edits 18.2.14, 5.4.14. New info and cuttings added 22.7.16, and March 2017.


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1272, Private Thomas MCNALLY — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Chapelizod, near Dublin, c.1827.

Enlistment

Enlisted at Dublin on the 18th of July 1846.

Age: 19.

Height: 5' 8".

Trade: Plasterer.

Fair complexion. Grey eyes. Lt. brown hair.

Service

1851 Census

Hamilton Cavalry Barracks, Lanarkshire.

Thomas McNally, 23, Soldier, Plasterer, born Chapelizod, Dublin.

Next of kin (1854): Wife, Julia (also shown as Margaret) McNally, who is shown on the Regimental "Married roll" from the 14th of February 1854. There were no children shown in the family at the time of his discharge.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Leeds on the 1st of August 1871, "of his own request, to Pension, after 24 years' service."

Served 25 years 3 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 2 years. Canada, 2 years 10 months.

Character and conduct: "have been very good".

In possession of five Good Conduct badges, and a school certificate.

Six times entered in the Regimental Defaulter's book. Never tried by Court-martial.

Aged 44 years on discharge.



Thomas McNally's Discharge Papers (WO97).

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Medals

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

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, Sebastopol, the Turkish medal and the Long Service medal.

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal on the 6th of November 1869, with a gratuity of 5.

Commemorations

[TIDY UP]

In November 1893, Thomas McNally featured prominently in a "Historic Banquet" in Cardiff, reported at length in the Western Mail. According to the report, between three hundred and four hundred "veterans of the Empire...heroes of India and the Crimea" paraded through Cardiff from the Drill Hall to the Banque.

The article fulsomely acknowledges how this event was inspired by a similar one in Sheffield. (This was....),

"Cardiff has been the first to follow, and, judging from the local interest and enthusiasm, the present celebration will not merely pass away and be forgotten, but will result in permanent relief to those heroes who are destitute as well as aged, and, if other towns should do in the future what Cardiff is now doing, something will be achieved to atone for the backwardness of the nation in giving expression to its gratitude."

It is worth quoting some of the article. Much is made of how these "aged warriors", now so frail, figure in history, and indeed in the unbroken long line from prehistory to the current highpoint of Empire.... "proved the race is still worthy of the Ancient Britons of very distant days" without the courage and the endurance of their race, the glory of our country, would have been eclipsed, and Britain would have been today one of the small Powers of the earth."

"historical kaleidoscope of the most thrilling scenes in the history of the United Kingdom from 1842 to 1857. Those years were the most critical, after Waterloo, in the modern history of Britannia."

Notice also the presence of South Wales's most illustrious Charger, Geoffrey Morgan, Lord Tredegar, who rode as a Captain in the 17th Lancers.

It is extremely difficult to concentrate one's thoughts to describe what Cardiff witnessed on Saturday last. One is under the influence of so many soul-stirring recollections of the the Alma, Sebastopol, Inkerman, Balaclava, &c., and the episodes of each battle overwhelms one's imagination. Then, on Saturday, one's thoughts, in addition to being moved by the immortal records of the valour of Britons on the heights of the Crimea, marched under the banner of Britain to the relief of Lucknow, and to the awful vengeance of Cawnpore.

Speaking roughly, there were at Cardiff, on Saturday, between three and four hundred veterans of the Empire representing all branches of the Service. Here was an aged warrior with the features of a Caractacus, exceeding lame, and assisted to walk by another aged comrade-in-arms.



"What branch of the Service did you serve in?" I asked. He looked up, and answered proudly and respectfully, "In the Royal Artillery." Others, in reply to my questions, mentioned their regiments as being Lancers, Hussars, Dragoons, the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, &c.

In fact, the gathering on Saturday represented the entire Army, and contained heroes who had fought and bled for Queen and Country in all the principal engagements of the country since the vengeance of the Cabul Pass under General Pollock in January, 1842, until the last shot was fired in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

The gathering was a historical kaleidoscope of the most thrilling scenes in the history of the United Kingdom from 1842 to 1857. Those years were the most critical, after Waterloo, in the modern history of Britannia.

Had these heroes and their comrades in war lacked the courage and the endurance of their race, the glory of our country, would have been eclipsed, and Britain would have been today one of the small Powers of the earth. But in many a field these very veterans, among whom we mixed with not a little emotion, proved the race is still worthy of the Ancient Britons of very distant days, of whom Plutarch states that their march was like a devouring flame, and that nothing could stand before their onsets!

[Source: Western Mail, "Veterans Feasted", 27 November 1893, ]



Thomas McNally, "Some of the heroes", Western Mail, 27 November 1893.Thomas McNally is shown in the second row, 2nd from right. (Cutting provided by Lyn John.)

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Life after service

At discharge, he said he intended to live in Tycairnoll, Aberquilly, Carmarthen, Wales.



Thomas McNally's pub, the "Army and Navy Inn", was located in The Green, Pembroke.

Postcard (unknown date and origin but probably not long after TM lived in the area) reproduced in John Hogg's charming study, Pembroke Story, available online at www.pembrokestory.org.uk (accessed 22.7.16).

"The Green, The Army and Navy Inn — This Public House is shown as No. 2 The Green. However, in the 1939 Electoral Register, No.2 The Green is occupied by William Charles Neil and he definitely kept the Waterman's Arms. From the Trade Directories, it is clear that both Public Houses existed at the same time.

The first mention of the Army and Navy Inn is in the 1880 directory when the licensee was Thomas McNally. In 1901 the licensee was Thomas Rogers but by 1914 John T. Usher had taken over. He remained there until sometime between 1920 and 1923 when the public house seems to have closed...

The Green — Prior to the building of Rock Terrace there was an open 'green' area on this site. Its use is not known but presumably it was an area for leisure activities. Former names for the Green were Easter Green and St. Mary's Green."

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1881 Census

The Green, St Mary's, Pembroke.

[PB: Presumably The Army and Navy Inn?]

Thomas McNally, Innkeeper, 47 [sic], born Ireland.

Margaret McNally, 40, born White Mill, Carmarthenshire.



Thomas McNally fined and his publican's licence endorsed for "permitting drunkenness" in The Army and Navy Inn, reported South Wales Daily News, 27th July 1887.

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In 1890 Thomas McNally was celebrated locally as "an old Balaclava hero", as reported Llanelly Guardian, 31st July 1890. (Cutting provided by Lyn John.)

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1891 Census

39, Old Castle Road, Llanelly.

Thomas McNally, Lodger, widower, 65, Groom, born Ireland.



Thomas McNally's profile in the South Wales Daily News, 22nd November 1893.

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Death & burial

Death registered

Thomas McNally, aged 71 years, March Quarter 1898, Llanelly.



Thomas McNally's death as reported in the Llanelly Guardian (left), and Llanelly Mercury, 17th February 1898. (Cuttings provided by Lyn John.)

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Thomas McNally's death reported in the Leicester Chronicle, 19th February 1898.

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There were immediate calls for the funeral to be "attended by military honurs", with detachments from the police force and fire brigade.



South Wales Press, 17th February 1898. (Cuttings provided by Lyn John.)

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Interpretive panels in Box Cemetery, Llanelli, 2017

In February 2017, thanks to information provided by Lyn John, the EJBA learned that a number of interpretive panels had been set up in Box Cemetery, Llanelli, on which there are a number of references and images relating to Thomas McNally.



Interpretive panels in Box Cemetery, Llanelli, on which the are a number of references and images relating to Thomas McNally.

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Images relating to Thomas McNally, including a line portrait, a depiction of the fighting at the guns, and a photograph of his 4-clasp Crimea Medal.

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Information about Thomas McNally.

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References & acknowledgements

The editors are very grateful to Lyn John, Chair of Llanelli Community Heritage, who has been in touch with the EJBA on a number of occasions. Most recently (Feb/March 2017) he has sent images, press cuttings and links to exemplary Interpretive Panels recently erected in Box Cemetery, with specific references to Thomas McNally's burial place.

Additional information, including death registration and Census information for 1851, 1881 and 1891, and press cuttings kindly provided by Chris Poole.


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