b. 1838 Killunen, County Galway, Ireland. d. 01/08/1911 Ware, Hertfordshire.
Dudley Stagpoole (1838-1911) was the youngest of three brothers. Of the three only Dudley has a recorded birth date, 1838. He was probably born in the parish of Killannin, County Galway, Ireland.
Dudley became a Drummer in the 57th regiment of the British Army. He enlisted on 15 May 1854 and he was discharged 16 May 1877, aged 39. He was recorded as being five foot ten and one half inches with grey eyes and brown hair. He fought in Crimea and in New Zealand.
Dudley travelled to New Zealand on the troop carrier Star Queen, arriving in Auckland on 13 January 1861. The troop ship then travelled onto New Plymouth and arrived there on 25 January 1861.
Dudley would perform two actions which would lead to the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Victoria Cross within the space of seven days during actions in Taranaki in 1863. On 25th September 1863, at Kaipakopako, despite being wounded in the head, he twice volunteered to rush out into the open, under fire, and rescue wounded men. A week later, on 2nd October 1863, at Poutoko, alongside Ensign John Thornton Down, he rushed out to rescue a wounded man who was lying only 50 yards from enemy positions concealed in the bush. Despite the heavy fire, they managed to rescue the man to safety. Stagpoole was awarded the VC alongside Down on 22nd September 1864.
After service in Taranaki the regiment transferred to Waikato in 1866 before returning to Great Britain. Unlike his two brothers, Dudley returned to Britain with the regiment. He served a total of twenty-one years and two days in the army. His service overseas was Crimea 272 days, Malta for two years and one month, India for two years and 232 days and New Zealand for six years and 192 days.
He would marry three times: His first marriage was to Elizabeth Sutton in Salford, Lancashire in February 1868. Tragically, she would die in childbirth of their first child, John Bartholomew Dudley Stagpoole, at the end of 1868, and within a year, he would lose his child too to disease. He remarried two years later, to Mary Anne Discombe Gillard, on 6th March 1870 at the Methodist Chapel in Plymouth. He and Mary went on to have four children (Honora, John Bartley George Dudley, Mary Ellen Elizabeth and Charlotte Alice). Sadly, Mary would die in 1883 in her early forties, and Dudley would also lose his son John from a fever whilst serving in the Nile Campaign in 1898 with the Cameron Highlanders. He would marry for a final time whilst living in Woolwich, London to Marie Lee, the daughter of a policeman on 17th July 1902. They went on to have two children, Dudley Michael and Michael Dudley. He worked at the Woolwich Arsenal and later as a dockyard messenger. He died on 1st August 1911 at Ware, Hertfordshire, and was buried in Hendon Park Cemetery, Mill Hill. His medals are held by the Princess of Wales Regimental Museum, Dover Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRINCESS OF WALES REGIMENTAL MUSEUM, DOVER CASTLE, KENT.
BURIAL PLACE: HENDON PARK CEMETERY, MILL HILL, LONDON.
Dudley Stagpoole's medals including VC and DCM on display at the Princess of Wales Regimental Museum, Dover Castle, Kent (April 2014).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
SECTION B-8, GRAVE 15694