b. 02/04/1848 Cahirbane, County Clare, Ireland. d. 09/08/1923 South Kensington, London.
Sir Garrett O’Moore Creagh (1848-1923) was born on 2nd April 1848 in Cahirbane, County Clare, Ireland. He was the son of Captain James Creagh, RN, and Grace Emily, daughter of The O’Moore, Cloghan Castle. He was educated at a private school, and at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was gazetted as an ensign by purchase into the 95th Regiment of Foot on 2nd October 1866, and, after serving at the Depot at Pembroke Dock until January 1869, he embarked for India, and service at Mhow.
In June 1870, he entered the Bombay Staff Corps and was promoted to Lieutenant. He served for a short time in the Marine Battalion and with the 25th Bombay Light Infantry, and was then appointed Officiating Adjutant of the Deoli Irregular Force and Station Staff Officer at Deoli. In June 1871, he was selected as Adjutant to the Merwara Battalion on its transfer from the Civil to Military Establishment. He married for the first time in 1874 to Mary Letitia Longfield, daughter of John Brereton, of Old Court, County Tipperary. Sadly she died just two years later.
In 1878, he was promoted to Captain, and when the Merwara Battalion volunteered for service on the outbreak of the Afghan War, Creagh was the only European officer present. He was second in command during the campaign in the Peshawar Valley Field Force at Ali Musjid until March 1879. His services in the Afghan campaign included the Bazar Valley, and soon afterwards, he was recommended for the Victoria Cross for his actions on 22nd April 1879 at Kam Dakka.
On the 21st April, he was detached from Dakka with two Companies of the Battalion to protect the village of Kam Dakka on the Kabul River. On the following morning, Creagh’s detachment of 150 men was attacked by a larger force of Mohmunds (around 1,500 men) and Creagh was faced with having to retire from the village. He found a defensive position within a cemetery, and they held off the enemy repeatedly with the bayonet until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. They were then relieved by a troop of the Bengal 10th Lancers, who charged the enemy to dispurse them.
Creagh was awarded the Victoria Cross on 17th November 1879, and it is not known when he received his medal. Following the award of the medal, he was Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General to the Khurram Field Force, and served with them until November 1880. He was present when the attack on Ali Khel on 14th October took place and then served in the Zaimusht and Cham Kanni Expeditions. Creagh was then promoted to Brigade Major and returned to the Merwara Battalion. From 1882 to 1886 he was in command of the 44th Merwara Infantry, when he was given command of the 2nd Baluchis.
In 1891 he married Lilah, daughter of the late E. Read of Kilverton, Buckinghamshire. The couple went on to have a daughter and a son. In 1895, he was appointed Adjutant-General of the Division, and in 1896, Assistant Quartermaster, Bombay Command. From 1898-1900, he was Political Resident commanding in Aden. In 1900, he was given command of the China Field Force until 1903. In 1901 he was created Companion of Bath, and the following year was knighted. In 1903, he was appointed Colonel of the 129th Baluchis. In 1907, he was made Secretary to the Military Department at the India Office. In 1909 he was created GCB and from then until 1914 was Commander-in-Chief in India. He was Aide de Camp General to King Edward VII and was made a Knight of Grace of St John of Jerusalem.
Following his retirement, Creagh was involved as Editor of the “VC and DSO Book: The Victoria Cross 1856-1920”, though sadly he didn’t live long enough to see it completed. Creagh died peacefully at home, 65 Albert Hall Gardens, South Kensington, London, at the age of 75, on 9th August 1923. He was laid to rest in East Sheen Cemetery, Richmond, Surrey. His medals are held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, CHELSEA.
BURIAL PLACE: EAST SHEEN CEMETERY, LONDON.
SECTION B, GRAVE 193
Kevin Brazier – Grave Image and Cemetery Map for Richmond and East Sheen Cemetery
National Army Museum website – Image of Creagh’s VC Medal Group