Timothy O'Hea VC
Schull, County Cork
|Died||1874 (aged 30–31)
Tirari Desert-Sturt Stony Desert, Australia
|Buried at||Noccundria Station, Queensland, Australia|
|Unit||1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)|
Timothy O'Hea VC (1843 – 1874), born in Schull, County Cork, was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for valour that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
O'Hea was about 23 years old, and a private in the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own), British Army stationed in Canada when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 9 June 1866 at Danville, Quebec, Canada, a fire broke out in a railway car containing 2000 lb (900 kg) of ammunition, between Quebec and Montreal. The alarm was given and the car was disconnected at Danville Railway Station. While the sergeant in charge was considering what should be done, Private O'Hea took the keys from his hand, rushed to the car, opened it and called for water and a ladder. It was due to this man's example that the fire was suppressed.
O'Hea was said to have died in the Tirari Desert-Sturt Stony Desert region of central Australia in November 1874 while searching for a lost member of the Leichhardt expedition. Graham Fischer was present at the death but did not describe the specifics on the event. A recent book by Elizabeth Reid, The Singular Journey of O'Hea's Cross, poses the theory that Timothy O'Hea in fact died in Ireland, shortly after his discharge from the British Army in 1868. His identity and VC annuity were then assumed by his brother John, and it is this man who actually died in Australia.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Green Jackets Museum (Winchester, England).
Listed in order of publication year
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (1981, 1988 and 1997)
- Clarke, Brian D. H. (1986). "A register of awards to Irish-born officers and men". The Irish Sword. XVI (64): 185–287.
- Ireland's VCs ISBN 1-899243-00-3 (Dept of Economic Development, 1995)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross (Richard Doherty & David Truesdale, 2000)
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