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


Indian Mutiny


Capt. William Peel formed a Naval Brigade (the famous "Shannon's Brigade") which took part in most of the Army operations during the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1857-1858.

Edward St John Daniel was an artillery officer in the Brigade and the six 8-inch guns from the ship, which had been transported more than a thousand miles across country, were a decisive factor in the Capture of Lucknow.

Capt. Peel was injured in the thigh by a musket ball in the final assault at Lucknow and, while recovering from his wounds, contracted smallpox. He died at Cawnpore (Kanpur) on 27th April 1858, aged 33.

It seems likely that Daniel was devastated by the death of his beloved Captain, and it is possible that this may have contributed to his later downfall and disgrace. However the next two years were to see Daniel achieve the peak of his career.

On 13th July 1858, Daniel was finally presented with his VC medal (which, with Peel's, had been forwarded to India from Hong Kong) by Capt. Francis Marten, commanding Shannon's Brigade, at a special full-dress parade held at Gyah, Bengal. In a letter to Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, written the next day, Capt. Marten describes the occasion:

"The Shannon's Brigade and a company of Madras Rifles were formed in a hollow square, under a tope of trees. I stood on a carpet in the centre, with Mr. Daniel on my right hand, and a Midshipman carried the Cross, with supporters, on my left.

I read Commodore Watson's letter ordering me to deliver the Cross to Mr. Daniel, then the letter from Commander-in-Chief to Commodore Watson on the same subject, after which I read extract from Government Gazette specifying the acts of bravery for which the Cross was conferred. I then made to Mr. Daniel a short address, and as I placed the Cross on his breast the sailors and troops presented arms, and the band played 'God Save the Queen.'

All the ladies, Military Officers and Civil Servants were present."

William Peel's Victoria Cross was later sent to his brother, Sir Robert Peel, in England.


Peel and Shannon Brigade
Capt. Peel and
Shannon's Brigade

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