b. 02/10/1822 Rathdowney, Queens County, Ireland. d. 23/01/1900 Madras, India.
James Pearson (1822-1900) was born on 2nd October 1822 in Rathdowney, Queen’s County, Ireland. He would enlist with the 86th Regiment of Foot (later Royal Irish Rifles) and was posted to the Indian Mutiny on its outbreak in 1857.
He would be recommended for the Victoria Cross for two separate acts of gallantry, which were both included in his citation, published on 1st May 1860. The first act of gallantry came at the storming of the fort of Jhansi on 3rd April 1858, when he single-handedly attacked a small group of rebels, one of whom he killed and he bayoneted two others, being wounded in the process. The second act of gallantry (which isn’t dated) happened at Calpee (Kalpi) where, under a heavy enemy fire, he rescued Private Michael Burns, who was lying wounded in the open. Sadly, Burns would die of his wounds later.
He was invested with his VC in January 1861 by Lieutenant General Sir William Mansfield, General Officer Commanding Bombay. Following his discharge from the Army as a sergeant, Pearson eventually became the governor of Madras Prison. When he died at the age of 77 on 23rd January 1900, he was buried in St Thomas Cemetery, Madras, India. His medals are held by the Royal Irish Rifles Museum, Belfast.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES MUSEUM, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND.
BURIAL PLACE: ST THOMAS CEMETERY, MADRAS, INDIA. (disputed final resting place).
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Pearson VC Medal Group at the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, Belfast.