The outstanding Indian Mutiny V.C. group of six awarded to Private Patrick Donohoe of the 9th Lancers, who at the Battle of Bolondshuhur on September 28, 1857, went to the aid of his severely wounded officer, will be offered by Dix Noonan Webb
in their auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Estimated to fetch £140,000-180,000, the group has not been sold on the open market for over 100 years and is being sold by an Overseas collector.
As Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison (Associate Director), Dix Noonan Webb comments: We are pleased to offering one of the best Indian Mutiny VCs for auction. Donohoe was a cavalryman of probably the most distinguished cavalry regiment to serve in India, who joined the 9th Lancers from Ireland and he was unique in being awarded the grand slam of medals won by his Regt. for its 17years of continuous service in India. His VC action was earned in the thick of a battle of spears and swords that saw him rescue his commanding officer from certain death having being cut off from the rest of his party after being severely wounded in the action. Donohoes group of medals represent the 9th Lancers complete history in India and after a full 25years with his Regt, he retired back home to Ireland.''
Regarding the 9th Lancers specifically, the Regimental History gives the following account of the Bolundshuhur action:
On the 28th, Lieutenant-Colonel Ouvry, riding well ahead of the main body with his cavalry, encountered a rebel brigade strongly entrenched in the village of Bulandshahr. The horse artillery opened fire on the hostile guns, but our infantry showed unusual timidity. "They could not be got, says Anson, "to look round a corner or to advance in any way. Ouvry therefore decided to rush the position with his cavalry alone, and, forming the 9th Lancers into threes, he says in his journal, I ordered them to charge through the main street. I went through with them myself. We passed through a shower of musketry from both sides of the houses. We met with no loss till we got to the other side of the city. There the enemy made a stand for the moment, but the head squadron charging, the rebels took to flight. We had no business to charge into the town, but I know that unless we did so they would have held the town against us.
It was a most gallant exploit - no less than five Victoria Crosses were won during the course of it, by Lieutenant Blair, Trumpeter Kells, and Privates Donohoe, Roberts, and Jordan [Private Henry Jordan died of wounds shortly afterwards, and owing to the statutes in force at the time his V.C. would never be gazetted or awarded] - but the losses of the regiment were heavy in proportion. Captain Drysdale was badly hurt when his horse was shot under him, and Kells and Jordan won their V.Cs. by rescuing him. Lieutenant Blair was wounded in a fight with a band of rebel sowars, and owed his safety to Donohoe's heroism and coolness.
Patrick Donohoe was born at Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1820 and enrolled for the 17th Lancers at Dublin on June 12, 1839, giving his trade as coachmaker. On April 1, 1842, he transferred to the 9th Lancers, then authorized for India. After 25 years and 90 days service, on September 9, 1864, he was finally discharged in Dublin due to being unfit for further service [chronic bronchitis]. He died at Ashbourne, County Meath on August 16, 1876 and is buried in Donoughmore Catholic Churchyard, County Cork.
Donohoe was among a select group, unique to his unit, to be present at all three great military episodes of the rebellion - the Siege of Delhi, the Relief of Lucknow and the final capture of that city. The 9th Lancers was rewarded with thirteen V.C.s during the mutiny - a record for a single Victorian Campaign.