Thomas Bernard Hackett VC

b. 15/06/1836 Riverstown, County Tipperary, Ireland. d. 05/10/1880 Arrabeg, Ireland.

Thomas Bernard Hackett (1836-1880) was born on 15th June 1836, the son of Thomas Hackett, of Moor Park in County Offaly, Ireland, and Jane Bernard Shaw, who hailed from Monkstown Castle in County Cork. He entered the Army by purchase on the 7th June 1854, as an ensign in the 23rd Regiment of Foot (later the Royal Welsh Fusiliers), and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 9th February 1855.

Thomas B Hackett VC

He served with the Regiment in the Crimean War from the 5th June 1855 until the 6th September 1855, including at the Siege of Sebastopol and the assault on the Redan on the 18th June. This earned Hackett the Crimean War Medal with clasp for Sebastopol and the Turkish War Medal.

Soon afterwards, he was sent with his Regiment to help quell the Indian Mutiny which had broken out at Meerut in 1857. His citation which was published on 12th April 1859 highlights two acts of gallantry (the second one is not dated or given a place of action) for which he was awarded the VC. On the 18th November 1857, during the fighting around the Secundra Bagh in Lucknow, he with a number of fellow men, chose to run out under heavy rebel fire and rescue a Corporal of the 23rd Regiment of Foot, who was lying wounded in the open. The second incident which is cited describes how Hackett climbed onto a roof of a bungalow and cut down the thatch, to prevent the rebels from setting it alight. Again, he performed this action under heavy enemy fire.

Hackett was presented with his VC by Sir Colin Campbell in Lucknow in May 1860, having recently purchased a captaincy, after further service in the Mutiny. He remained with the 23rd and saw further service in the Ashanti War of 1873. He retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel in 1874 and returned to his family estate in Ireland.

On 4th October 1880, whilst out shooting with his friend, he had tried to push his way through a hedge when his gun suddenly discharged, fatally wounding him in the stomach. At his inquest, a verdict of “accidental death” was recorded. He was buried in Lockeen Churchyard, Borrisokane, County Tipperary, Ireland. His medals are part of the Ashcroft Collection in the Imperial War Museum.