b. 22/08/1817 Cobham, Surrey. d. 03/12/1877 Eaton Square, Belgravia, London.
Lord Henry Hugh Manvers Percy (1817-1877) was born at Burwood House, Cobham, Surrey, the 3rd son of George Percy, Lord Lovaine, later the 5th Duke of Northumberland, and of Louisa Harcourt, who was the 3rd daughter of the Honorable Stuart-Wortley Mackenzie. He obtained his commission in the Grenadier Guards, as an Ensign, on 1st July 1836, and was present during the Insurrection in Canada in 1838, having arrived in Quebec on 9th May. He remained in Canada until September 1842.
He was appointed Adjutant to the 1st Battalion in 1847. As Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel in his Regiment he served during the Eastern Campaign of 1854-55, including the Battle of Alma (where he was wounded), at Balaklava, Inkerman (where he was again wounded), and at the Siege and Fall of Sebastopol. He would be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Inkerman on 5th November 1854. His citation appeared in the London Gazette on 5th May 1857.
During the battle, the Grenadiers found themselves some distance from the Sandbag Battery. Percy decided to charge single-handed into the Battery, followed immediately by the Guards; the embrasure of the Battery, as also the parapet, were held by the Russians, who kept up a heavy musket fire. Later that day, he found himself, with many men of various regiments who had charged too far, nearly surrounded by Russians, and without ammunition. Percy, using his knowledge of the ground, and despite being wounded, extricated the men, and passing under a heavy fire of the Russians, brought them to safety to find more ammunition. He saved over 50 of his men, and enabled them to renew the combat. He received recognition on the spot for his actions from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge.
Percy received his VC from Queen Victoria in Hyde Park on 26th June 1857 alongside 61 other recipients. For his gallantry in the Crimea, he was given the Brevet of Colonel and was appointed an Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria (1855-1865). The French made him a Knight of the Legion of Honour; the Turks gave him the Order of the Medjidie, 4th Class. He also was awarded the Crimean Medal with four clasps, and the Turkish Medal.
Colonel Percy was then given command of the British-Italian Legion, with the local rank of Brigadier General. On the occurrence of the Trent misunderstanding with the United States in December 1861, he was sent to New Brunswick in charge of the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. He then returned to England and was in command in Colchester in 1863. In July 1865, he was elected to Parliament as Conservative MP for North Northumberland. He remained the MP until 1868, in conjunction with the late Sir Matthew White Ridley, 4th Baronet.
In May 1873, he was promoted to Lieutenant General. He had been created a KCB earlier that month. In June 1874, he was appointed Colonel of the 89th (Princess Victoria’s) Foot. On 1st October 1877, Lord Henry Percy was promoted General. Sadly, the promotion was short-lived. On 3rd December 1877, he died suddenly of angina pectoris at his home, 40 Eaton Square, South West London. He was buried in the family vault on Friday 17th December in St Nicholas Chapel, Westminster Abbey. His coffin was adorned with his plumed hat, sword, Victoria Cross and Order of the Bath. His Victoria Cross is held by the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers Museum, Alnwick Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS MUSEUM, ALNWICK CASTLE.
BURIAL PLACE: ST NICHOLAS CHAPEL, WESTMINSTER ABBEY, LONDON.
Kevin Brazier – Image of the Percy VC Vault in Westminster Abbey, London.