20 April-John Lyons VC

John Lyons was a native of Carlow Ireland. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for Gallantry in 1857. He won the award at the age of 31 for his actions during the Crimean War. The Victoria Cross is awarded for ‘most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy’. The Victoria Cross has been awarded to 168 soldiers from Ireland, two of whom were born in County Carlow.

John Lyons was born in Carlow in 1824. He joined the British Army, and in 1855 was serving as a Private with the 19th Regiment of Foot during the Crimean war. The war in Crimea lasted from 1853 to 1856. The allies laid siege to the city of Sebastopol, the capital of Crimea in October 1854. The city was finally captured on September 9th 1855. On June 10th during the siege a live shell landed amongst the guard of the trenches. Without hesitation Lyons picked up the live shell and threw it over the parapet. His action saved many lives.

An account of the action by Lyons appeared in a Supplement to the London Gazette on February 24th 1857. John Lyons was presented with the Victoria Cross on June 26th 1857. The presentation was made by Queen Victoria at a ceremony in Hyde Park, London. Lyons was promoted to the rank of Corporal and served with the British Army in India during the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858).

John Lyons died at the age of 44 in Naas Co Kildare, Ireland in 1867. Lyons Road in the town of Richmond in Yorkshire, England is named in his honour. The Victoria Cross awarded to John Lyons is held at Green Howards Regiment Museum, Richmond, Yorkshire, England. The cannon on the steps of the Courthouse in Carlow town was captured from the Russian Army during the Crimean War (1853-1856). It commemorates all the Irish soldiers who lost their lives during the Crimean War. It was donated to the town of Carlow by the British Minister of War Lord Panmure in 1858.

John Lyons VC died in the year 1867 On This Day.

Carlow Courthouse (Russian Army cannon gun on left)



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