b. 1820 Nenagh, Ireland. d. 16/08/1876 81 Bride Street, Dublin.
Patrick Donohue (1820-1876) was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1820. Sadly, little is known about his life prior to his enlistment with the 9th Lancers prior to the Indian Mutiny’s outbreak in 1857.
On 28th September 1857, during the 9th Lancers’ cavalry action at Bulandshahr, Captain Robert Blair VC was order to bring in an abandoned ammunition wagon. Taking a sergeant and 12 other men, he approached the wagon, when suddenly 60 rebels appeared from behind some buildings. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Blair led a charge against the enemy and killed three of them. He then received a severe sabre cut across his left shoulder, which left him disabled.
At this point, Private Donohue saw Blair was in trouble and about to be hacked to death so he moved in to defend him and lead him to safety. The small party fought their way clear, leaving nine dead, before making it back to their lines. Donohue, alongside Blair, was recommended for the VC, and his VC was announced on the 24th December 1858. Donohue was presented with his VC by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 4th January 1860. Little is known about his life following the Army except that he returned to Ireland. He died on 16th August 1876 aged 56 at 81 Bride Street in Dublin. He was believed buried in an unmarked grave in Donaghmore RC Churchyard, near Ashbourne, but following recent research it is now believed that he was buried in a family grave in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
Interestingly, following some research in 2006 in the United States, it was discovered that Patrick had a younger brother, Timothy, born in 1825 who had been awarded the Medal of Honor, making the Donohue’s the only VC/Medal of Honor recipients. In a further development in 2011, his medals were discovered in a private medal collection in Western Canada. On 26th January 2022, the medal group was auctioned at Dix Noonan Webb, and sold for a hammer price of £220,000. The purchaser was Lord Ashcroft and the medal is now displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: GLASNEVIN CEMETERY, DUBLIN, IRELAND.
SECTION E, IB 28
Stephen More – Images of the family grave in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.