b. 21/06/1840 County Fermanagh, Ireland. d. 06/02/1897 Melbourne, Australia.
Michael Magner (1840-1897) was born on 21st June 1840 in Fermanagh, County Fermanagh, Ireland. Little is known of his early life before he enlisted with the 33rd Regiment of Foot (later Duke of Wellington’s Regiment). He was posted with his regiment to the conflict in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1868.
On the 13th April 1868, during an assault on Magdala, the head of the column’s attack stuttered due to obstacles at the gate. At this point, a small group of officers and men of the 33rd Regiment and an officer of the Royal Engineers broke away from the main approach, climbed a cliff and forced their way over a wall, thus turning the defenders from the gateway. The first two men to enter the gates of Magdala were Private James Bergin and Drummer Michael Magner.
Magner and Bergin were gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 28th July 1868. Magner would receive his medal before Bergin, being presented with his VC on 4th November 1868 at Portsmouth by Lieutenant-General Sir G Butler. Bergin was presented with his medal nearly six months later in India. Following retirement from Army as a Corporal, he emigrated with his family to Australia.
Magner died on 6th February 1897 in the City General Hospital, Melbourne, Australia aged 57. He was buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Melbourne General Cemetery. His medals were donated to the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MUSEUM OF VICTORIA, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.
BURIAL PLACE: MELBOURNE GENERAL CEMETERY, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.
Michael Magner's medal in the Museum of Victoria Collection.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier SECTION CC, GRAVE 300