b. 27/03/1820 Carrickfergus, Ireland. d. 04/06/1882 London
Daniel Cambridge (1820-1882) was born at Carrickfergus, Ireland on 27th March 1820. He was the son of Archibald Cambridge and Bridget (nee Murray). Attesting at Lisburn, County Antrim in 1839, he gave his occupation as a labourer. He was recorded as 5ft 8in tall, with a fresh complexion, dark grey eyes and brown hair. He enlisted four days later as a Driver and Gunner in the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Artillery.
He served firstly in Malta from 1841-1847, before being posted to Canada in 1848. In 1849, he married Ann Bigham, daughter of James Bigham, at Notre-Dame de Quebec, Quebec, Canada. In 1853, Cambridge’s posting to Canada came to an end and he and Ann, now expecting their first child, found themselves returning to England, and being stationed at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
Soon afterwards, he found himself posted to the Crimea and participated in the trenches in front of Sebastopol from 1854-55. On 8th September 1855, at Sebastopol, he volunteered for the spiking party at the assault of the Redan. He remained with the party despite being wounded twice, and still refused to leave until the general order of retirement was given. Even then, he repeatedly went back to carry back wounded men under fire.
In the latter part of the day, he sprang forward again to bring in another wounded man. While carrying the helpless infantryman into the trenches, he was seen to stagger. Subsequently, he was found to have been shot a third time, this time in the right jaw, which incapacitated him, and he took no further action.
On 23rd June 1857, he was gazetted for the award of the Victoria Cross, and was one of the first 62 men to be presented with his medal at Hyde Park by Queen Victoria, just three days after his award was announced. Later that year, he was promoted to Master Gunner with the 8th Coastal Battery, Athlone, County Roscommon, Ireland; and in 1862, he was posted to Fort Trabert, County Kerry. He was pensioned as a Master Gunner after completing 32 years’ service in 1871. In that same year, he was appointed to The Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard.
Daniel Cambridge died aged 62 from the effects of the wounds he had received in the Crimea on 4th June 1882 at 57 Frederick Place, Plumstead, London. He was survived by his wife Ann, and their children: William, Mary, Agnes, Daniel, Catherine and Elizabeth. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St Nicholas’ Churchyard, Plumstead. His medals are held by the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ARTILLERY MUSEUM, WOOLWICH, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: ST NICHOLAS' CHURCHYARD, PLUMSTEAD, LONDON. (UNMARKED)
Daniel Cambridge is buried in an unmarked grave in St Nicholas' Churchyard, Plumstead. This is a plaque at National Memorial Arboretum
Daniel Cambridge's medals including his VC on display at the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich (Jan 2015).
RA Chapel, Woolwich
Daniel Cambridge's real Victoria Cross - Picture shown with thanks to Peter Howell, Daniel Cambridge's great grandson.
Mural in Belfast, Northern Ireland to Danny Cambridge VC