b. 12/07/1798 St Mary in the Marsh, Kent. d. 21/05/1858 Lucknow, India.
John Coleman (1798-1858) was born on the 12th July 1798 in St Mary in the Marsh, Kent. Coleman enlisted with the 97th Regiment of Foot (The Earl of Ulster’s) which later became the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
Coleman was a career soldier, and by the time the Crimean War broke out in 1854, he was now 56 years old. He spent the majority of the war in the trenches at the Siege of Sebastopol. On 30th August 1855, the enemy attacked the “New Sap” and drove a working party in, Sergeant Coleman remained in the open, exposed to the enemy’s rifle pits, until all around him had been killed or wounded. He finally carried one of the officers who had been mortally wounded, to the rear.
Coleman was awarded the Victoria Cross on 24th February 1857. He was personally decorated by Queen Victoria at Hyde Park on 26th June 1857. He had little time to dwell on his new decoration, as his Regiment were soon posted to India at the outbreak of the Mutiny. Coleman died of a fever in Lucknow on 21st May 1858 (though this date is disputed) though the location of his final resting place is unknown. His medals are held by the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regimental Museum, Maidstone, Kent.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT MUSEUM, MAIDSTONE.
BURIAL PLACE: UNKNOWN - BODY BELIEVED TO BE LOST.
John Coleman's medals including VC on display at the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment Museum, Maidstone, Kent (April 2014).
Woolwich Barracks (Terry Hissey)