Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Patrick Dargan

Patrick Dargan :

Patrick Dargan : Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Patrick was born on or around the 19th February 1828. The Army believed he was born in Belem, on the outskirts of Lisbon in Portugal, but on Census forms in later life Patrick said he had been born in Ireland. We don't know anything about his family or his early life.

Patrick was 14 years and 9 months old when he joined the Army on the 19th November 1842. He enlisted into the 63rd Regiment of Foot at St Thomas' Mount in Madras, India (today called Chennai). It is possible his father was Irish and serving in the Army: British soldiers were based in Lisbon during the late 1820's, and he could then have moved to India.

Patrick was given the service number 1724. He became a Drummer on the 1st July 1843. He served as a Boy until his 18th Birthday in 1846. He could count his service from this point onwards towards his pension.

The 63rd Regiment returned to the UK in August 1847 and spent the next 3 years stationed around the north of England. Patrick left his job as a Drummer on the 20th June 1848 and became a Private. He was tried by Court Martial and imprisoned for insubordination between the 2nd August and the 27th November 1849.

A month after his release Patrick became a Drummer again. He had this job when the 63rd Regiment moved to Ireland in January 1851. He was stationed in Limerick, then in Dublin. On the 1st October Patrick was awarded an extra 1 penny (1d) per day Good Conduct Pay. He became a Private again on the 15th June 1853.

On the 1st October Patrick was promoted to Corporal. He held this rank for just 5 months before being promoted to Sergeant on the 8th March 1854.

The Crimean War had broken out in October 1853, and Britain and France declared war on Russia in March 1854. At first the 63rd Regiment was not intended to take part in this fighting, but in June it was ordered to prepare to go to war. Patrick arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, in September 1854. Many of its members were new recruits, so experienced soldiers such as Patrick must have been extremely valuable.

Patrick and the 63rd Regiment played a minor role in the Battle of the Alma on the 20th September. They then moved to Cathcart's Hill, where they joined the siege of Sevastopol. The Russians attacked these forces at the Battle of Balaklava on the 25th October. This battle ended in a Russian victory and led to a much larger battle on the 5th November, at Inkerman.

Patrick did not fight at Balaklava or at Inkerman, although some of his comrades in the 63rd Regiment did. He endured the harsh winter of 1854-5 that claimed the lives of many of his comrades through disease and poor shelter. The siege of Sevastopol was brought to an end by a successful French and British attack on the 8th and 9th September 1855, which captured the city. He may also have been involved in the capture of the Russian fort of Kinburn in October.

The Crimean War ended in February 1856, and Patrick left the Crimean Peninsula on the 6th May. He was heading for Halifax, in Nova Scotia, Canada. He sailed aboard HMS Andes to Constantinople, now called Istanbul, and arrived there on the 7th May. By the 11th he was in Malta and changed to HMS Himalaya. This took him the rest of the way to Canada and he arrived on the 2nd June.

Living conditions in the Crimea were primitive, so when the soldiers arrived in Halifax they did not look very smart at all. The town made them welcome though. Patrick spent 5 months as Hospital Sergeant between November 1857 and March 1858.

Patrick left Halifax in February 1862 and moved to London, Ontario. The 63rd served as a garrison to guard against unrest in the population, as well as being able to defend against a possible American attack. Today this would be unthinkable, but just 10 years earlier there had been tension over the position of the Canadian border and before that Britain and America had fought in the War of 1812.

Patrick returned to the UK with the 63rd Regiment in August 1865 and on the 17th June 1867 he left the Army. He had completed 21 years' service since his 18th birthday, so he qualified for a pension and for the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. When he left the Army Patrick was 5 feet 5 inches tall. He had a 'fair' complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. His conduct was assessed as having been 'very good'. He told the Army that he intended to go and live in Melbourne, Australia. We don't know whether he did.

Patrick's life until 1881 is a mystery. In that year he was living at 15 Claverton Buildings in Bath with the Gay family. He was living on his Army Pension as well as working as a drillmaster in a school.

Patrick was to live there and hold this job until he died on the 21st November 1901, aged 72. He left his estate of almost 1700 to Hannah Gay, who lived at the same address until she died in March 1917.

Patrick's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in 1938. As well as his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Patrick was also awarded the Crimea Medal with the clasps 'Alma' and 'Sebastopol'.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council