Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

William McDermott

William McDermott :

William McDermott : Crimea Medal with clasp 'Alma'

Crimea Medal with clasp 'Alma'

We don't know anything about William's early life or family.

He joined the 63rd Regiment of Foot in early 1853 and was given the service number 3014. At this time the regiment was stationed in Limerick, Ireland. It had moved to Dublin by the end of June. We don't know anything about William's service during this time.

The Crimean War broke 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. William arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, in September 1854.

William 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. William took part in this battle, which ended in a Russian victory and led to a much larger battle on the 5th November, at Inkerman.

The Russians were again the attackers, but the 63rd Regiment were ordered to counterattack. After vicious hand to hand fighting the Russian attack was defeated and they were forced to withdraw.

As well as the dangers of fighting against the Russians thousands of British soldiers died during the winter of 1854-55 from sickness and exposure to the cold. We don't know which of these claimed William. He died on the 31st December 1854 on the 'Heights of Sebastopol'.

William was also awarded the clasps 'Balaklava', 'Inkermann' and 'Sebastopol' for his Crimea Medal.

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