James Pearson VC

James Pearson Victoria Cross
James Pearson VC

James Pearson was born in Rathdowney, Queens County*, Ireland on 2 October 1822. He died aged 77 in Madras, India on 23 January 1900. He was a Private in the 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment of Foot during the Indian Mutiny when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the storming of the fort at Jhansi on 3 April 1858 and later at Calpee. The following notice, dated 28 April 1860, from the War Office appeared in the London Gazette published on 1 May 1860.

THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the under-mentioned Soldier, whose claim to the same has been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, on account of an Act of Bravery performed by him in India, as recorded ahainst his name; viz:

86th Regiment (now of the 56th Regiment)

Jhansi No. 1882,
Private James Pearson
Date of Act of Bravery,
3rd April, 1858

For having gallantly attacked a number of
armed rebels, on the occasion of the storming
of Jhansi, on the 3rd April, 1858, one of
whom he killed, and bayonetted two others.
He was himself wounded in the attack.
Also, for having brought in, at Calpee, under a
heavy fire, Private Michael Burns, who afterwards
died of his wounds.

Following his discharge from the army as a sergeant, James Pearson eventually became the governor of Madras prison. When he died aged 77, he is believed to have been buried at St Thomas's cemetery, Madras (today Chennai), India.

(Right; Storming the Fort at Jhansi, from the painting by Peter Archer)

Queen's County is now County Laois.