b. 1822 Newtown, Co Wicklow. d. 06/12/1872 Dublin, Ireland
James Byrne (1822-1872) was born in 1822 in Newtown, County Wicklow, Ireland. Very little is known of his life except for the incident which lead to the award of his Victoria Cross for action on 3rd April 1858 at Jhansi Fort.
On that day, Captain Henry Jerome VC, during the assault on the fort, had noticed that a Lieutenant Sewell was hit and seriously wounded. He was lying in the open, under heavy fire from the enemy. With the assistance of Private James Byrne of the 86th Regiment of Foot (later Royal Irish Rifles), they both carried Sewell from the field under very heavy enemy fire.
During this action, Byrne was wounded by a sword cut. He recovered and would receive his VC alongside Jerome at Windsor Castle on 4th January 1860. He was later promoted to Sergeant and returned to Ireland where he died in Dublin on 6th December 1872. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. It was originally an unmarked grave but following an appeal, a memorial stone was placed there in September 2011. His medals are held by the Royal Irish Rifles Museum, Belfast.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES MUSEUM, BELFAST, NI.
BURIAL PLACE: GLASNEVIN CEMETERY, DUBLIN, IRELAND. SECTION J-F, GRAVE 236
James Byrne's medals including VC at the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Thomas Stewart (November 2016)