Frederick Cockayne Elton VC

b. 23/04/1832 Whitestaunton, Somerset.. d. 24/03/1888 London.

Frederick Cockayne Elton (1832-1888) was born at the Manor House, Whitestaunton, Somerset on 23rd April 1832. He was the son of the Reverend William Tierney Elton and his wife Lucy Caroline. On 19th January 1849, the 16-year-old Frederick enlisted with the 55th Regiment of Foot, and he was promoted to Lieutenant on 30th April 1852. He would go on to serve throughout the Crimean Campaign of 1854 and 1855.

Frederick C Elton VC

He was present at the Battle of Inkerman on 5th November 1854, the siege and fall of Sebastopol, the sortie of the 26th October 1854, the attack on the Quarries and the assault on the Redan. For his gallant service in the attack on the Quarries he was mentioned in despatches. He had then succeeded to the command of his regiment, and brought it out of action in such a skilful manner that he was again mentioned in despatches, and during the Siege of Sebastopol, was wounded in the hand to hand fighting in the trenches.

For his services in this campaign, he was also awarded the Crimean War Medal with two clasps, the 5th Class of the Medjidie and the Turkish Medal. He also was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French, and given the brevet of Major.

On 24th February 1857, Elton was one of the first men to be awarded the Victoria Cross and he was cited for acts of gallantry on 4th August 1855, March 1855 and 7th June 1855. On the night of the 4th August 1855, when he was in command of a working party in the advanced trenches in front of the Quarries, he encouraged his men, by his own example, to work under heavy fire; and when there was some hesitation from the men due to the horrendous fire, he went into the open and working with pick and shovel, showing great gallantry. In the month of March 1855, he volunteered with a small party of men to drive off a body of Russians who were destroying one of the new detached works, and succeeded in doing so, taking a prisoner himself. On the night of 7th June 1855, he was the first of the party to leave the trenches leading his men; when in the Quarries, he several times rallied his men around him.

He was promoted to Major in November 1855, and afterwards became Lieutenant Colonel for the 21st Fusiliers. Elton died on 24th March 1888, aged 55, in London. His body was returned to Somerset, and he was laid to rest at St Andrew’s Church, Whitestaunton. His medals are held by the Border Regimental Museum, Carlisle.





Thomas Stewart – Images of Elton’s Medal Group and the Memorial at the Border Regiment Museum, Carlisle.

Steve Lee – Image of the memorial in St Andrew’s Church, Whitestaunton, Somerset.