By tom ryan email@example.com@tippstar
The Republic of Korea Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Kang il Hu, will be present when two men from Thurles, who won the Victoria Cross in the service of the British Army abroad, will be honoured in St Marys’ memorial Garden, Thurles, next Sunday (November 13).
Stone citations will be unveiled to commemorate
their heroism at Sunday's function.
Mr John Wort, President of the Memorial Committee in Thurles, researched the citations for these two very brave heroes, who paid the ultimate price for their beliefs in most extraordinary fashion.
They were Assistant Surgeon, William Bradshaw and Corporal John Cunningham. The stone citations will be unveiled in St. Mary’s Memorial Garden, following a Remembrance Mass in Thurles Cathedral to be celebrated by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly.
Members of the ONE and United Nations Veterans Association will be present.
William Bradshaw (1830 -1861) was born in Liberty Square, Thurles, on the 12th of February, 1830, son of a practicing doctor in the town, Dr. George Bradshaw. William, upon completion of his training at the Royal College of Surgeons, joined the British Army. He soon saw action when he was sent to the Crimea where he served during the Siege of Sebastapol.
William survived the rigours of this campaign and in the Spring of 1857 sailed for China with the 90th Light Infantry. En route, news of the Indian Mutiny was received and the regiment was diverted to Bengal, where the British residency at Lucknow was being besieged by native Indian troops.
William’s regiment became part of the relieving force and it was here that he demonstrated the leadership and gallantry that earned him the Empire’s highest award, The Victoria Cross.
A special plaque in St Mary’s Church in Thurles memorialises his heroism. William died while on half pay in Thurles on the 9th March 1861, succumbing to the effects of his wounds and privations suffered in the Crimea and India. It is interesting to note that William, while serving at the British hospital in Scutari in the Crimea must have met the famed Florence Nightingale, ”The Lady with The Lamp”.
The Crimea was the first war to be covered by war correspondents, to be photographed, to have a nurse and to have seen such a pointless sacrifice of life as celebrated in “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, by Sir Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
William is interred in St Mary’s Church Cemetery, Thurles.
Corporal John Cunningham, VC, served in the First World War in France with the British Forces against the Germans. He died in hospital from the effects of his wounds received in the action during which he won the Victoria Cross, on June 8th, 1917.
Corporal John Cunningham, no 3916, late 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, received the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a Lewis Gun section on the most exposed flank of the attack.
His section came under heavy fire and suffered severely.
Although wounded he succeeded almost alone in reaching his objective with his gun, which he got into action in spite of much opposition.
When counter attacked by a party of twenty of the enemy he exhausted his ammunition against them.
Then, standing in full view, he commenced throwing bombs. He was wounded again and fell, but picked himself up and continued to fight single handed with the enemy until his bombs were exhausted.
He then made his way to his lines with a fractured arm and other wounds. There is little doubt that the superb courage of John Cunningham cleared up a most critical situation on the left flank of the attack.