b. 1828 Clackmannanshire, Scotland d. 19/07/1866 Glasgow, Scotland.
John McDermond (1828-1866) it is believed was born in Clackmannan, Scotland, sometime in 1828. Little is known of his life prior to service in the armed forces. He was attested into the 47th Regiment of Foot in Glasgow in October 1846, aged just 14.
After being posted to the Crimea in 1854, John McDermond became the first member of the 47th Regiment of Foot to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Inkerman on 5th November 1854. On that day, the commanding officer of the 47th, Lieutenant Colonel O’Grady Haly, led a charge against the attacking Russian column. After cutting down three of the enemy, he was himself unhorsed, bayonetted in the leg, and surrounded by the enemy.
Seeing his plight, several men rushed to his aid, including Hugh Rowlands (also awarded the VC for this action), and McDermond. McDermond, standing over the Lt Colonel, killed the man who had wounded him and fought off many Russians while Haly was helped back to British lines for treatment.
McDermond’s VC was gazetted alongside Rowlands in the London Gazette on 24th February 1857. McDermond was not able to attend the first investiture in June 1857 at Hyde Park, and was presented with his VC by Major General Sir James Scarlett on the parade ground at Southsea, Hampshire on 12th March 1858.
McDermond served with the 47th for just under 16 years, seeing overseas service in the Ionian Islands, Turkey, Malta, Gibraltar and Canada. He was invalided out of the Army in 1862, aged 33, after injuring his ankle on board ship whilst in transit to Canada.
He appears to have struggled in civilan life after the Army. Having been paid out at Stirling Garrison, he moved to Glasgow. In October 1863 he married Margaret Watterson and they had two children born in 1864 and 1866. He died of typhus on 19th July 1866 in a Glasgow workhouse. John was buried in an unmarked grave in the Eastern Necropolis Glasgow, near where he lived.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: EASTERN NECROPOLIS, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND. (UNMARKED).
Moira Benny – Image of McDermond VC stone in Alloa, Scotland.