Cornelius Coughlan

Cornelius Coughlan VC (Irish: Conchobhar Ó Cochláin; 27 June 1828, Eyrecourt, County Galway – 14 February 1915) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Cornelius Coughlan
Cornelius Coughlan VC IWM Q 80493.jpg
Born27 June 1828
Eyrecourt, Galway, Ireland
Died14 February 1915 (aged 86)
Westport, Mayo, Ireland
Westport Old Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
RankSergeant Major
Unit75th Regiment of Foot
Connaught Rangers
Battles/warsIndian Mutiny
AwardsVictoria Cross


He was 28 years old, and a Colour Sergeant in the 75th Regiment of Foot (later The Gordon Highlanders), British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following action took place on 8 June and 18 July 1857 at Delhi, India for which he was awarded the VC:

For gallantly venturing, under a heavy fire, with three others, into a Serai occupied by the Enemy in great numbers, and removing Private Corbett, 75th Regiment, who lay severely wounded. Also for cheering and encouraging a party which hesitated to charge down a lane in Subzee Mundee, at Delhi, lined on each side with huts, and raked by a cross fire; then entering with the said party into an enclosure filled with the Enemy, and destroying every man. For having also, on the same occasion, returned under a cross fire to collect dhoolies, and carry off the wounded ; a service which was successfully performed, and for which this man obtained great praise from the Officers of his Regiment.


Queen Victoria wrote a personal letter to Sgt Major Coughlan after hearing about his acts of bravery.

Further informationEdit

The soldier returned from India to serve for two decades in the Connaught Rangers in his native Ireland achieving the rank of sergeant-major.

He died in Westport, County Mayo on 14 February 1915 and is buried locally in Aughavale Cemetery near Murrisk.

The medalEdit

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland).

Coughlan rememberedEdit

In August 2004 a retired Irish Army Officer, Captain Donal Buckley of Military Heritage Tours erected a headstone at the previously unmarked grave in Aughavale Cemetery, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland. The Irish Defence Minister unveiled the headstone. The ceremony was attended by the British Ambassador and the British Defence Attaché. Many Regimental, ex-servicemen and historical associations from Ireland and the UK attended and participated in the ceremony which followed an ecumenical service.

More than 500 people, including descendants from Bradford and Glasgow in the UK, watched as 10 Connaught Rangers re-enactors from Ireland and the UK fired a volley of shots over his grave*.


  1. ^ "No. 22680". The London Gazette. 11 November 1862. p. 5346.

Listed in order of publication year

External linksEdit