Michael Daniels
Edward St John Daniel VC
 The story of the first man to forfeit the Victoria Cross



The Life of Edward St John Daniel


Exile in Australia


Following his desertion at Corfu on 26th June 1861, Edward St John Daniel somehow made his way back to England, possibly with the Navy's collusion and assistance. Less than two weeks after the Royal Warrant of forfeiture was issued, Daniel was aboard the Black Ball line American clipper Donald McKay in Cobourg Dock, Liverpool, bound for Melbourne, Australia. The Donald McKay sailed on 16th September 1861 and arrived in Melbourne on 7th December 1861. Daniel's passage was not assisted by the Australian Government.


Donald McKay
Donald McKay

It is believed that Daniel may have spent his next two years in Australia digging in the Gold Fields around Melbourne, though no direct evidence confirming this has been discovered.

In early 1864, the New Zealand Colonial Government was enlisting men in Victoria to serve in the Maori Wars. On 18th January 1864, one day after his 27th birthday, Daniel enrolled at Melbourne as Private E. St. J. Daniel, No 428, No. 5 Company of the Taranaki Military Settlers. He gave his height as 5' 8" and his occupation as "Miner".


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