Personal info

  • Name: John PURCELL
  • D.O.B: 1st Jan, 1814
  • D.O.A: 20th Jun, 1857
  • D.O.D: 19th Sep, 1857
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 9th Lancers (Queen’s Royal), 1st Cavalry Brigade, Delhi Field Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Outside the British Camp, Delhi, India 19-20 June 1857

19-20 June 1857

More details about:
The Indian Mutiny 1857-59 

On 19 June 1857, a large body of mutineers managed to cross the Najafgarh canal west of the Delhi Ridge unobserved and prepared to launch an assault on the rear of the relatively undefended British Camp. Brigadier Grant led 500 cavalry and twelve guns against them. The fighting continued after nightfall, when the British infantry joined the battle. Together cavalry and infantry succeeded in holding off the rebels but they had not defeated them and the mutineers attacked again on the following day before they were dispersed. Had the rebels been more determined they could have cut off British communications with the Punjab and the besiegers would have found themselves besieged. As it was, during the fighting some of the British guns had been under great threat.

Citation

 “The guns, I am happy to say, were saved, but a waggon of Major Scott’s battery was blown up. I must not fail to mention the excellent conduct of a Sowar of the 4th Irregular Cavalry, and two men of the 9th Lancers, Privates Thomas Hancock and John Purcell, who, when my horse was shot down, remained by me throughout. One of these men and the Sowar offered me their horses, and I was dragged out by the Sowar’s horse. Private Hancock was severely wounded, and Private Purcell’s horse was killed under him. The Sowar’s name is Roopur Khan.” (Extract of a letter from Brigadier J.H. Grant, C.B., Commanding Cavalry Brigade of the Field Force, to the Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General of Division. Dated Camp, Delhi, June 22, 1857.) 

The London Gazette of 15 January 1858, Numb. 22083, p. 178

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