Thomas Henry Kavanagh was a chancer, but he went down in history as a hero.
In 1857 he was awarded Britain’s highest award for valor in war, the Victoria Cross. He is the only 5 civilians awarded the VC. Cabana, a Mullingar civil servant, was the first.
Now his VC is taking a hit at the auction of Noonan orders, medals, medals and militias in London on September 14th.
It carries estimates of £300,000 to £400,000 (€355,860 to €474,480). This lot includes a rare first edition of Cabana’s shameless self-promotion book. How I won the Victoria Cross (1860).
This is an extraordinary story of British colonialism and Dering Du. Born in 1821, Kavanagh was the son of a British Army bandmaster.
He joined the East India Company and was posted as a clerk in Lucknow. At the time of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Kavanagh was in debt to an Indian moneylender and was in danger of being fired.
But he handled the crisis well. During the six months during which the British enclave of Lucknow was under siege, Cabana became a prominent fighter.
His moment of glory was when he crossed enemy lines in disguise at night and delivered a detachment. Kaban’s escape was his own idea. A spy came from Carmpor’s relief force and returned that night. Kavanagh decides to go with him.
Everyone opposed the plan. Spy Kananji Lal claimed that traveling with a tall, blonde Irishman would endanger him and his mission.
By his own account, he disguised himself with “a yellow chintz sheet draped over my shoulders” and a turban. He smeared his face and hands with lampbacks and dipped his cork in oil so the color would stick.
Luckily it was waterproof. Kavanagh and her Kananji Lal swam across the river, were captured by guards and released, wading across swamps to evade capture. Kavanagh risked Kananji Lal’s life every step of the way.
Eventually, they connected with Sir Colin Campbell’s relief force, and Cabana guided the soldiers to the relief of the Residency garrison. One of the great achievements,” he said.
Kavanagh was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. Kananji Lal, who was perhaps much more courageous because he understood the risks, was not.
“Lucknow Cabana” became a Victorian hero. He was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Oude and presented with a cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Palace.
A painting by Chevalier Louis-William Desanges (fl.1846-87) depicting him in disguise became a symbol of conflict, and the cabana gained notoriety as celebrities toured England and Ireland.
Overall, the story presents an interesting angle on the opportunities of the ambitious Irish in the British colonial project.
Even considering modern attitudes towards race and gender, it’s hard to sympathize with Kavanagh. Do you remember the woman who did that?” he wrote.
Not all were enthused. His exploits were satirized in George Macdonald Fraser’s novels. Flashman and the Great Game (1975).
In the novel, Flashman considers Kavanagh to be a debauched idiot, saying, “A bloody fool as big as that, and whoever seeks grief and acts bravely must be called brave.” I have to.”
The real-life Kavanagh died in 1882 of debt and a bad reputation.
The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856, at the end of the Crimean War, when Queen Victoria decreed that new honors be cast in bronze.
At the time, one newspaper reported that the VC was made of metal from guns captured from the Russians in Sevastopol.
The story continues in 2020, when Andrew Marriott, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Newcastle, used X-ray fluorescence scanning to analyze the metals in 50 Victoria Crosses (1856-2013).
He found that early rewards were not made from captured firearm metal, and that most of the VC given after World War I was sourced from captured firearms Cascavel. is a strange example of when is true.