William Fraser McDonell
|William Fraser McDonell
|Born||17 December 1829
|Died||31 July 1894 (aged 64)
|Buried at||St Peter's Churchyard, Leckhampton|
William Fraser McDonell VC (17 December 1829 – 31 July 1894) was an English 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. He is one of only five civilians to be awarded the VC.
Educated at Cheltenham College and East India Company College (later succeeded by the Haileybury and Imperial Service College), he was 27 years old, and a civilian in the Bengal Civil Service during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place on 30 July 1857 during the retreat from Arrah for which he was awarded the VC:
Mr. William Fraser M'Donell, of the Bengal Civil Service, Magistrate of Sarun
Date of Act of Bravery, 30th July, 1857
For great coolness and bravery on the 30th of July, 1857, during the retreat of the British Troops from Arrah, in having climbed, under an incessant fire, outside the Boat in which he and several Soldiers were, up to the rudder, and with considerable difficulty cut through the lashing which secured it to the side of the boat. On the lashing being cut, the boat obeyed the helm, and thus thirty-five European Soldiers escaped certain death.
His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.
McDonell Monument Kolkata
Just opposite the Kolkata High Court is a forgotten water fountain dedicated to Willam Fraser McDonell
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- Scotland's Forgotten Valour (Graham Ross, 1995)