May 22, 2014

William Coffey, Victoria Cross & Distinguished Conduct Medal

William Coffey, born in Knocklong, County Limerick, Ireland, died July 13, 1875 of dysentery at Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.  Wikipedia, in the entry for William, tells us that Sheffield is "historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire."

William was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the face of the enemy.  It is the "highest and most prestigious award that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces."

When he was 25 years old he was assigned as a private in the 34th Regiment, serving in the Crimean War.  He was awarded the medal for action on March 29, 1855 at Sebastopol when he threw a live shell over a trench parapet, saving many lives.

While serving in India he rose to the rank of Sergeant.  He is rumored to have died at his own hand in 1875 but his death certificate reports that he died of dysentery at Stonegravels, Chesterfield.

William is buried at Spital Cemetery at Chesterfield in Derbyshire, England.


Find A Grave; Wikipedia

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