John Ryan (VC 1863)

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For the person who received the Victoria Cross in 1857, see John Ryan (VC 1857).
John Ryan
Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Born 1839
Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary
Died 29 December 1864 (aged 24–25)
Tuakau, New Zealand
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit 65th Regiment of Foot
Awards Victoria Cross

John Ryan VC (1839 – 29 December 1864) was born in Borrisoleigh, County Tipperary and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Ryan was about 24 years old, and a Lance Corporal in the 65th Regiment of Foot (later the 1st Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment), British Army during the Invasion of Waikato (one of the campaigns in the New Zealand Wars), when the following deed took place on 7 September 1863, for which he was awarded the VC.

For gallant conduct at the engagement near Cameron-town above referred to. This Non-Commissioned Officer, with Privates Bulford and Talbot, of the same Regiment, who have been recommended for the Medal for distinguished conduct in the Field, for their behaviour on the same occasion, removed the body of the late Captain Swift from the Field of Action, after he had been mortally wounded, and remained with it all night in a bush surrounded by the enemy.[1]

Ryan died at Tuakau, New Zealand, on 29 December 1864, before he received the medal. He drowned while trying to save a drunken comrade in the Waikato River.

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at The York & Lancaster Regiment Museum (Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England).


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22809. p. 261. 19 January 1864. Retrieved 23 December 2009.

Listed in order of publication year