William Temple VC

b. 07/11/1833 Monaghan, Ireland. d. 13/02/1919 Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

William Temple (1833-1919) was born at Monaghan, Ireland on 7th November 1833, the son of Dr William Temple of the Terrace Monaghan and Anne, the Daughter of Hugh Hamill of Roosky, Ireland. William was educated privately at the Reverend John Bleckleys school, Monaghan and later at Trinity College Dublin.

William Temple VC

After qualifying, William entered the Army on 1st November 1858, as an Assistant Surgeon on the staff and on 11th January 1859 was appointed Assistant Surgeon Artillery. In November 1860 he accompanied his Regiment to New Zealand and soon after served in the Taranaki Campaign of 1860-61 and saw action at Teairci, Rangiriri and Rangiawhia.  

On 21st October 1862 he got married to Anne Theodosia at  St Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand. Anne was the 4th daughter of Colonel [Later Major-General] T.R. Mould CB RE who was commanding the Royal Engineers in New Zealand. Anne was born in 1838 in Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales. They had eight children, 3 boys and 5 girls.

In October 1863 Temple found himself as part of the force engaging the Maoris on the right bank of the Waikato River at Rangiriri, south of Auckland on the North Island.

The Maoris offered strong resistance and erected a strong and formidable earthwork, this earthwork was bombarded by gun boats from the river and field guns of the Royal Artillery and then finally assaulted on 20th November. The outer works were taken but the inner redoubt resisted the British assault.

Temple had gone forward to treat the wounds of a Gunner who informed him that Captain Mercer of the Royal artillery was also wounded and had in fact been shot through the jaw and tongue. Temple observed Mercer crawling towards the gate of the earthworks, every man who attempted to cross this gate was wounded. Along with Lt Arthur Frederick Pickford, Royal Artillery, Temple rendered assistance to the wounded, including Mercer, by dressing their wounds and providing water.

Following the award of the Victoria Cross, he became a Surgeon in the Army Medical Department from 1868 to 1873. He was then promoted to Surgeon Major and was stationed in Portsmouth and in charge of the Station Hospital in Southsea. After a period as a Staff Surgeon, he returned to India from 1884-1889 where he served as Lieutenant Colonel and Secretary to Surgeon General of the Indian Army Medical Services.

In April 1885, he was appointed as Brigade Surgeon, and became Honorary Surgeon to His Excellency the Viceroy of India. He retired from service as a Lieutenant-Colonel on 1st November 1889. He returned to England on retirement, and died on 13th February 1919 at Tunbridge Wells, Kent. He was buried five days later in Highland Road Cemetery, Southsea. He had outlived his wife Anna by five years, and he was buried with her. His medals are not publicly held.




A North Wall, Row 12, Grave 31


Thomas Stewart – Image of the Temple VC Grave in Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth.

Kevin Brazier – Cemetery Map.

Brian Drummond – Image of the Temple VC Information Board in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.