b. 28/10/1828 London. d. 19/10/1900 Windsor, Berkshire.
Francis Cornwallis Maude (1828-1900) was born in London on 28th October 1828, the son of Captain Francis Maude, Royal Navy and his wife, Fanny, nee Brooking. He attended Rugby School and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1847 and served in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) until news of the Mutiny brought him and his battery to join Henry Havelock’s Column at Allahabad. He had already proved to be an effective artilleryman and was several times mentioned in despatches.
Maude’s battery followed the 84th Regiment of Foot to the Char Bagh, Lucknow on 25th September 1857, and they brought the two leading guns into action 150 yards from the Char Bagh Bridge. They performed this task under murderous fire from the enemy’s guns which were in position on the further side of the bridge. The first discharge of the enemy’s guns took out one of Maude’s guns, with most of the men serving it killed or wounded. Captain Willis of the 84th went to help Maude, and they called for volunteers from the regiments, to man the gun and bring it back into action. Shortly afterwards, a portion of the Madras Fusiliers came up to the Char Bagh in support, and they, with the 84th charged across the bridge and captured the four enemy guns.
Captain Maude later reported the gallantry of his men to General Outram, who assumed command once the Residency was reached. Outram later ordered a ballot to decide which member of the battery should be awarded the VC. Two ballots were held, and on both occasions, Maude was selected by his men. He later took part in the defence of the Residency until they were relieved by Campbell’s Column in November 1857. He went on to receive two brevet promotions and was made a Companion of Bath. His VC was gazetted on 18th June 1858. He received his VC later that year whilst still in India. His VC was one of 16 which were sent to Sir Colin Campbell by the War Office on 20th July 1858, with instructions for presentations to made as soon as possible. Francis Maude was was the second Maude to receive the VC, as his cousin, Frederick Francis Maude of the 3rd (East Kent) Regiment was awarded the VC for actions during the storming of the Redan, Sebastopol.
In 1860, he married Paulina S Sterling, daughter of the Honourable Paul Ivy Stirling, Judge of the Supreme Court, Ceylon, and they went on to have three daughters and a son. He was promoted to Colonel in 1866, and retired in 1869. He was Queen Victoria’s Consul-General in Warsaw, Poland from 1876-1886.
Although he was highly regarded, he must have had serious financial issues as he sold his VC group to an American collector. This came to light when he applied for a loan of a VC from the War Office in 1897. The American buyer did allow Maude to wear his medals during his lifetime but a provision was in Maude’s will that it would return to the collector after his death. Colonel Maude was made a Military Knight at Windsor Castle and on the evening of 23rd October 1900, while returning home, he collapsed and died within the castle walls. His funeral took place in St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle and he was buried in nearby Windsor Cemetery. Despite the honours bestowed on him, he left an estate worth just £63.15.6. Maude’s medals are still in private ownership.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: WINDSOR BOROUGH CEMETERY, WINDSOR, BERKSHIRE. SECTION B.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
RA Chapel, Woolwich