Alfred Spencer Heathcote VC

b. 29/03/1832 London. d. 21/02/1912 Bowral, Australia.

Alfred Spencer Heathcote (1832-1912) was born on the 29th March 1832 in London. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the 60th Royal Rifles, as an Ensign on 16th May 1856. He then was promoted to Lieutenant in the 60th Royal Rifles on 22nd June 1858, and served throughout the Indian Mutiny campaign, including the actions on the Hindun, Battle of Budli-Re-Serai and taking the heights before Delhi.

Alfred S Heathcote VC

Heathcote received the Indian Mutiny Medal and was awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 30th January 1860) for his actions during the Mutiny. There is no exact date of Heathcote’s gallantry as it is dated June to September 1857 during the Siege of Delhi. He was wounded during this action. He was said to have volunteered for services of extreme danger, especially during the six days of severe fighting in the streets after the assault. Heathcote was elected by his Regiment for the award of the Victoria Cross.

He later took part in the campaign in Rohilcund, including the actions of Bugawalla and Nugens, the relief of Moradabad, the action on the Dogma, assault and capture of Bareilly; attack and bombardment of Shabjehanpore, defeat of the rebels and relief of the garrison; capture of the town and fort of Bunnaif, pursuit of the enemy to the left bank of the Goomtee, and action at the Shahabad. Heathcote was described by his commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 60th Royal Rifles as “no one ever better deserved the Victoria Cross; he obtained it not only for one act, but for many acts during his active service, commencing with the march on Delhi. On one occasion an advanced post of Delhi was retained by his declaring to the officer in command, who wished to retire, that he could do so with his own men, but he, Lieutenant Heathcote, would endeavour to hold the post with the six riflemen he had with him.”

Heathcote later served in the China Campaign, for which he received the China Medal. He married Mary Harriet Thompson. Following his Army service, Heathcote and his wife emigrated to Australia, where he lived in retirement. Heathcote died aged 79, on 21st January 1912 in Bowral, New South Wales. He was buried in St James Churchyard, Bowral, and there is also a plaque in his memory inside the church. His medals are held by the Victoria Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales.