b. 1859 Tullycorbet, County Monaghan, Ireland. d. 10/07/1933 Glasgow, Scotland.
Francis Fitzpatrick (1859-1933) was born in 1859 in Tullycorbet, County Monaghan, Ireland. Little is known of his early life in rural Ireland, before he enlisted with the 94th Regiment of Foot (later Connaught Rangers) just prior to the outbreak of the Basuto War in 1879-1880. It was during this conflict that he would be recommended for, and awarded the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 23rd February 1880).
On 28th November 1879, during the attack on Sekukuni’s Town, South Africa, Lieutenant Dewar of the 1st Dragoon Guards was hit and badly wounded. When Dewar was hit, he had only Privates Thomas Flawn and Francis Fitzpatrick, and six men of the Native Contingent with him. He was incapable due to his wounds of moving without assistance so the natives tried to carry him down the hill. Suddenly, around 30 of the enemy appeared in pursuit, which caused the men of the Native Contingent to desert and run off. Dewar was therefore abandoned and would have undoubtedly been killed if it had not been for the actions of Flawn and Fitzpatrick, who alternated in carrying Dewar, one covering the retreat and firing on the enemy.
Fitzpatrick continued to serve through the Boer War of 1881, and was presented with his medal by Lieutenant-Colonel P R Anstruther-Lydenburg on 17th September 1880 in the Transvaal, South Africa. He returned to England briefly in 1882, before transferring to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, in which he served until 1888. After his discharge from the Army, little is known what happened to him. He ended his life living in Scotland in poverty, and died in Glasgow on 10th July 1933. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St Kentigern’s Cemetery. In July 2014, following the efforts of the Glasgow City Council and the Victoria Cross Trust, a new headstone was placed on his grave. His original medal was lost at Bronkers Spruit during the First Boer War, and an official replacement was issued in June 1881. The original was later found and returned to the War Office on 18th August 1881. His medal is now held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea (though is not currently displayed).
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, CHELSEA, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: ST KENTIGERNS CEMETERY, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND. SECTION 9 GRAVE 1799
Victoria Cross Trust – Image of the Fitzpatrick VC Headstone in St Kentigern’s Cemetery, Glasgow.
National Army Museum website – Image of the Fitzpatrick VC medal.