John Perie VC

b. 1831 Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. d. 17/09/1874 Aberdeen, Scotland.

John Perie (1831-1874) was born in 1831 in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Little is known about his early life before he enlisted with the Corps of Royal Engineers as a sapper. Perie was just 23 years old when the Crimean War broke out, and the Corps of Royal Engineers were posted to the region to take part in the Siege of Sebastopol.

John Perie VC

On 18th June 1855, Perie’s life changed. Perie was at the forefront of leading the sailors with the ladders to the storming of the Redan. He then rescued a wounded man who was lying in the open, although Perie himself had just been hit in the side by a bullet. When Lieutenant Murray of the Royal Engineers, fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Gerald Graham took his place. He had previously sent Perie out to Murray with a message, and afterwards stated how fearlessly the man disappeared into the thick of the fire and returned miraculously unharmed.

Wherever Graham exposed himself to danger, Perie was at his side. At last Graham realised the hopelessness of the attempt and ordered the storming party back. While sheltering in a trench, an officer of the Naval Brigade heard a wounded soldier lying in the open calling for help. He asked for another man to volunteer to help bring the man in. Graham was the first volunteer, followed by Perie, who was suffering with his musket wound to the side.

They managed to rescue the man despite the odds, and returned with him without being hit. Both men, Graham and Perie were awarded the VC on 24th February 1857. Perie was also awarded the French War Medal. Perie personally received his VC from Queen Victoria at the first investiture in Hyde Park on 26th June 1857.

Perie returned to Scotland after his military service, and he died at his home at 69 East North Street, Aberdeen on 17th September 1874. He was buried two days later at St Peter’s Cemetery, Aberdeen. He had a new headstone placed near to the burial site on 17th June 2001. His medals were sold at auction in 1911, and are now held by the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent.