b. 22/01/1827 Ardersier, Inverness-shire, Scotland. d. 20/10/1886 Prone, Burma
Herbert Taylor MacPherson (1827-1886) was born on 27th January 1827 in Ardersier, Inverness-shire, the son of Colonel Duncan MacPherson. Herbert enlisted with the Army in 1845, and one of his first regiments was his father’s, the 78th Ross-shire Buffs. He became a Lieutenant in 1847 and saw his first military service in the Expedition to Persia, and was present in the night attack in the Battle of Kooshab and the bombardment of Mohummerah 1856-1857.
In the Indian Mutiny he was one of Havelock’s force which was hurriedly assembled and pushed forward to the relief of Cawnpore and Lucknow. He was present at all the battles fought with the Oudh Mutineers and the followers of Nana Sahib. He was wounded at the Battle of Oonao, but this was no obstacle to his presence in the encounters of Buseerutgunge, Boorbeake-Chowkee and Bithoor. He served with Sir James Outram’s force in Alumbagh and the reinforcement of the Lucknow Garrison, and acted as Brigade-Major during the general attack by Sir Colin Campbell on that city. He was twice wounded in the campaign, received the campaign medal with two clasps and was awarded the VC (London Gazette, 18th June 1858) for his actions in Lucknow on 25th September 1857.
He was awarded the VC for his gallantry in leading the men in the capture of two 9 pounder guns with a charge using the bayonet. He was promoted to Captain in December 1857. He was presented with his VC in November 1858, and after the conclusion of the Mutiny, he returned to England. In 1859, he married the daughter of Lieutenant-General James Eckford. He then transferred to the Bengal Staff Corps and took part in several campaigns against the troublesome tribes on the North-West Frontier.
He commanded the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division in the Afghan War of 1878-1880, and led the advance in the Battle of Kandahar. In 1882, he commanded the Indian contingent which was sent to Egypt to quell the Arabi Revolt. He was given credit for his rapid charge on Cairo following the Battle of Tel-el-Kabir. His final campaign was the Burma War of 1886, but his distinguished career came to a sad and abrupt end when he contracted a fever and died suddenly on 20th October 1886. He was buried in the Military Cantonment Cemetery in Rangoon. His remains were moved in the 1920s to the Yay Way Cemetery in Noka, north of Rangoon. The grave is unmarked. His medals are held by the Queen’s Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Scotland.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEENS OWN HIGHLANDERS, FORT GEORGE, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: YAY WAY CEMETERY, NOKA, BURMA (UNMARKED).
Herbert McPherson's medals including VC minus its ribbon on display at Queens Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire.
Picture - Thomas Stewart