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


Acts of Bravery in the Crimean War

On 18th October 1854, Midshipmen Edward St John Daniel and Evelyn Wood volunteered to bring up boxes of ammunition to the Diamond Battery, under heavy Russian fire which had disabled the horses. Daniel "brought in the cartridges and powder without receiving a scratch, and the battery cheered to a man as the plucky little chap scrambled over the parapet with his last armful" (Haydon, 1908, p. 49).

On 5th November 1854, at the grim and bloody Battle of Inkerman (or Inkermann), Daniel was a conspicuous figure as he rode around the battlefield mounted on his pony. Daniel was at his Captain's side throughout the day, as Peel led seven separate charges against the Russians and assisted the Grenadier Guards, who were cut off in a group, to defend their colours. The Cambridge Chronicle of 9th December 1854 observed:


"Captain Peel, with his aide-de-camp, was in the thick of the fire; and at one time, when he was with the Guards, they were completely surrounded by the enemy, but it appears to me he has a charmed life, as also the little mid, young Daniel. Both escaped, as I trust they may throughout the campaign, for they are both made of the right stuff" (p. 8, col. 2)

On 6th June 1855, Daniel was slightly wounded when serving in the trenches at Sebastopol. On 18th June, during the unsuccessful assault on the Redan at Sebastopol, Capt. Peel, who had volunteered to lead the first Ladder Party, was shot through his left arm and fell back, half fainting. Daniel coolly rendered first aid under a very heavy fire, and brought Peel back to safety - actions that are said to have saved Peel's life. Although Daniel escaped injury, "his pistol-case was shot through in two places and his clothes were cut by several bullets" (Wood, 1906, p. 89).

    The Redan at Sebastopol
The Naval Brigade at
Sebastopol: Lord Raglan
viewing the storming
of the Redan

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