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The E.J. Boys Archive

Last amended 7.6.11. Minor edits 18.2.14, 5.4.14, 21.7.14.

1341, Private John McCANN — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born 1833-1835. According to the 1851 Census, this was in Clontarf, now a coastal suburb of Dublin.


Enlisted at Longford on the 14th of October 1849, to "serve in the Band".

Age: 14 years 3 months.

Height: 5' 0".

Trade: None.


Attained the age of 15 years and on to "Man's Pay" on the 11th of August 1850.

1851 Census

Piershill Barracks, Leith South, Midlothian, Scotland.

John McCann, 18, Private Soldier, born "Cloutarf, Ireland" [presumably Clontarf, Dublin]. [PB]

Note: It has not been possible to consult an image of the original Scottish Census document. The above information relies on the transcription available 28.3.2012, which is not always accurate.

Members of the Light Brigade in Piershill Barracks at this time, who would later go to the Crimea, include 1127 William Cresdee 13LD, 1029 Joseph Gammage 13LD, 762 John Linkon / Lincoln, 1140 Robert Lowthorpe 13LD, 1319 Daniel Mahoney 13LD, 1367 Isaac Manning 13LD (appears as Isaac "Maussings"), 1208 Edward Martin 13LD, 1207 Benjamin Marshman 13LD, 1339 Thomas McBrine 13LD, 1341 John McCann 13LD, 1254 James Pamplin 13LD, 1424, 1424 Robert Stanger, and many more.

At Scutari General Hospital from the 3rd of October 1854 and sent to rejoin the regiment on the 11th.

Taken prisoner of war at Balaclava, 25th of October 1854.

Rejoined the regiment on the 26th of October 1855.

He was shown on a nominal roll of men of the Regiment made out at the Cavalry Depot, Scutari on the 9th of November 1855 as being a Prisoner of War there from the 4th of November.

Extract from the Illustrated London News [date?]:

"Return dated the 27th of March 1855. English prisoners at Voronez in Russia who have been supplied by Her Majesty's Government through the offices of the Danish Minister at St. Petersburg with the following — 50 Caps, 50 Coats, 82 Trousers, 43 Shirts, 40 Stocks, 88 pairs of boots.

TSM Lincoln, Sergeant Alderson, Corporal Armstrong, Tptr. Crawford, Ptes. Bagshaw, Bolton, Donoghue, Farquharson, Fredericks, King, O'Brien, Parkes, Bird, Beavan, Horan [?], Palfreyman, Parker, Picking [? shown as Pilkington], McCann, Warren and McAllister."

Tried by a Garrison Court-martial at Scutari on the 10th of November 1855 for "having been taken a prisoner of war at Balaclava during the Charge of the Light Brigade — of which he was honourably acquitted."

From Private to Corporal, 5th of March 1857.

Reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial on the 27th of September 1857.

"Deserted" from Newbridge on the 17th of November 1857.

Can find no further trace to 1879.


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

Further medal information archived.


Life after service

Death & burial

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For further information, or to express an interest in the project, please email the editors, Philip Boys & Roy Mills, viainfo@chargeofthelightbrigade.com