CRIMEA MEDAL WITH SEBASTOPOL CLASP TO P. O'CONNOR, 97TH REGT.

** NEW ** Crimea Medal with Sebastopol clasp to P. O'Connor, 97th Regt.
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Description

Patrick O'Connor was wounded in action at the Storming of the Redan on 8 Sep 1855 and succumbed to his injuries the following day, the fateful encounter resulting in the award of no less than fifteen V.C.'s

Patrick O'Connor served with the 97th (The Earl of Ulster's) Regiment of Foot and died in consequence of the third and final offensive against the Great Redan, part of the Siege of Sebastopol. Serving as part of the main assault force, the 97th were in the thick of the action:

The 97th Foot of the British Army charged towards the Redan without even waiting for orders. Although a very few fought their way into the Redan (including Captain Lumley of the 97th and Sergeant Moynihan of the 90th who were both awarded the Victoria Cross for their efforts), the vast majority were quickly shot down by a murderous fire from the bastions. They were followed by the 23rd Foot who were similarly cut down.

Before long the British troops began to waver and troops in the salient even refused to advance. The indignity of the episode could have been prevented, many thought, had the Guards and Highlanders been used in the attack, rather than men who had spent so long in the trenches.

Another attack was planned for the following morning but never took place. Despite the failure of the British troops to capture the Redan, the French capture of the Malakoff Tower convinced Gorchakov that the day was lost and he ordered a retreat across the pontoon bridge. As a huge wave of carts, horses and men swarmed across the bridge, the remaining Russian troops spiked their guns, mined the bastions and detonated the remaining powder stores, leaving the Redan a shadow of its former self. As O'Connor lay dying from his wounds, the British were able to walk into the ruins, their faces humble and dejected having failed to capture it in battle. The scene was later recalled by Henry Clifford, V.C., a captain in the Rifle Brigade:

'If a few days before I had been told 'on the morning of the 9th Sep at five o'clock Sebastopol will be in the hands of the Allies and you will stand in the Redan held by the English', I should have said, 'Oh, that will be a proud and happy moment, that will repay us for all we have gone through, even the loss of so many lives, so much suffering and hardship will not have been thrown away in vain!'

Alas, Clifford did not feel such pride, rather 'a heavier heart than I have felt since I left home'.