b. 1823 Harleston, Norfolk. d. 12/09/1867 Malvern, Worcestershire.
Henry Ward (1823-1867) was born in Harleston, Norfolk in 1823, and he enlisted with the 78th Regiment of Foot (later Seaforth Highlanders, Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany’s) in 1845. Ward was with his Regiment during the Indian Mutiny when he was part of the intense street fighting in and around the Lucknow Residency on 25th-26th September 1857.
The men led by Harry Havelock were slowly making their way towards the Residency, and a part of the 78th had been instructed to wait for the heavy guns found that it was forming the rearguard. As night fell on the 25th, General Sir James Outram ordered that the force should hold the ground they had gained that day until first light the following day. The halt would allow the wounded and the heavy guns to catch up with the main column. The wounded were helpless in their covered stretchers (dhooly) and men of the 78th were assigned to protect them. Private Henry Ward was given the task of protecting the wounded Lieutenant Harry Havelock through the night. In the morning, Ward rounded up four dhooly-bearers to carry Havelock and another wounded private (Thomas Pilkington) to the Residency.
Havelock, with his left arm shattered at the elbow, was in the leading group of wounded, when they were under fire from the rebels. Private Ward inspired the dhooly-bearers forward, and got the wounded men into the Residency. Ward was immediately appointed by Havelock as his personal servant. He was then recommended for the VC by General Outram and received his Cross in late 1858 without a presentation. Later he was promoted to Quartermaster-Sergeant, before leaving the Army in 1865.
Sadly, Ward didn’t adjust well to civilian life and he died on 12th September 1867 in Malvern, Worcestershire. He was just 44 years old, and was buried in a pauper’s grave in Malvern Cemetery. When Harry Havelock learned of Ward’s death, he paid for a handsome headstone to be placed on his grave. This headstone was replaced in September 2015 by the Victoria Cross Trust. His medals are held by the Queen’s Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEENS OWN HIGHLANDERS, FORT GEORGE, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: GREAT MALVERN CEMETERY, GREAT MALVERN, WORCESTERSHIRE.
Henry Ward's medals including VC on display at the Queen's Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland. (Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Henry Ward VC is buried in Plot 5 behind the Cemetery Office.
My pictures from April 2015 when I visited Henry Ward VC's grave in Great Malvern Cemetery, Madresfield Road, Great Malvern, Worcestershire.
New headstone provided by VCT for Henry Ward VC in September 2015
Louis Desanges painting