Peter McManus VC

b. 03/1829 Tynan, Ireland. d. 27/04/1859 Allahabad, India.

Peter McManus (1829-1859) had a very short life of just 30 years, being born in March 1829 in Tynan, County Armagh, Ireland. He enlisted with the 5th Regiment of Foot (later Northumberland Fusiliers) and was posted with his regiment to the Indian Mutiny.

McManus VC Medal Northumberland Fusiliers Museum

On the 26th September 1857 at the relief of Lucknow, Private McManus, though wounded in the left foot, joined Private John Ryan in dashing into the street under heavy musketry fire, dragging his officer, Lieutenant Arnold (who had both legs fractured by grapeshot) out of his litter, and carrying him into the gatehouse. They escaped unhurt, but Arnold was shot through the right thigh whilst in their arms. Another sortie was then made and a disabled soldier was brought in. He was also mortally wounded – twice – whilst his rescuers remained uninjured. They didn’t give up, however until another officer and four more men were saved.

Both McManus and Ryan were recommended for the VC and their citation was published in the London Gazette on 18th June 1858. The citation only refers to their rescue of Lieutenant Arnold. McManus was presented with his VC later that year by General Sir James Outram. Sadly, he didn’t get much time as a holder of the VC, as following a promotion to Sergeant, he contracted smallpox at Allahabad and died there on 27th April 1859. He was buried in an unknown location, in what is believed to be a mass grave of smallpox victims. His medal location is unknown, though on 30th August 1939, a request was made to the War Office by his nephew, Major D J McManus for a replacement VC. The request was declined as Major McManus was not Peter’s next of kin.