b. 01/01/1830 Carrick, County Leitrim, Ireland. d. 28/11/1891 Camberley, Surrey.
William James Lendrim (1830-1891) was born on New Year’s Day, 1830 in Carrick-on-Shannon, in County Leitrim in southern Ireland. Lendrim enlisted into the Royal Sappers and Miners in 1845, aged just 15, as a bugler.
Lendrim was posted to the Crimea on the outbreak of the conflict in 1854, and during the Crimean War, he would perform numerous acts of gallantry, and has the distinction that the award of the Victoria Cross was for three separate actions. Firstly, on 14th February 1855, he showed incredible courage in superintending 150 French Chasseurs, in building No 9 Battery on the left flank, and replacing the whole of the capsized gabions under an intense fire. Secondly, on 11th April 1855, he was recommended for his intrepidity when he climbed on top of a magazine and extinguished a fire amongst the sandbags, and repaired a breach under intense fire. Finally, on 20th April 1855, he was one of four volunteers who charged and destroyed the farthest Russian rifle pit at Sebastopol.
Lendrim was eventually awarded the Victoria Cross for these actions alongside the other first recipients on 24th February 1857. Lendrim was also awarded the French War Medal, as a French officer had written a report about how he had saved one of their Batteries from destruction. He was also awarded the Legion of Honour. Corporal Lendrim was one of the 62 men who lined up in front of Queen Victoria at the first investiture at Hyde Park on 26th June 1857.
Lendrim served in the Indian Mutiny from 1857-1858, and later achieved the rank of Sergeant Major. He married Louisa, and they went on to have 11 children. He then was appointed the role of Quartermaster Sergeant at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, remaining in this post until 1871.
Lendrim was also a freemason, having initiated into the Lodge of the 37th Company of Royal Engineers in 1863. As the Lodge warrant was withdrawn in February 1864, he joined the United Chatham Lodge of Benevolence on 12th April 1864, resigning in November that year. He was the first Junior Warden of the Albert Edward Lodge in the Province of Surrey in 1877. He became its third Worshipful Master in 1879. He was appointed to Provincial Grand Steward in the Province of Surrey in 1878, and Provincial Grand Pursuivant of Surrey in 1881.
William Lendrim passed away on 28th November 1891 at Camberley, Surrey, and was buried in the nearby Royal Military Academy Cemetery at Sandhurst. His medals are held by the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ENGINEERS MUSEUM, CHATHAM, KENT.
BURIAL PLACE: ROYAL MILITARY ACADEMY CEMETERY, SANDHURST. GRAVE 182.
William Lendrim's medals including VC on display at the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, Kent
Lendrim Close, Chatham
Memorial Plaque in Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier. Lendrim is in Grave 182