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Timothy O'Hea VC (1843 – 1874), born in Schull, County Cork, was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for valour that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Timothy O'Hea
Timothy O'Hea.jpg
Timothy O'Hea VC
Schull, County Cork
Died1874 (aged 30–31)
Tirari Desert-Sturt Stony Desert, Australia
Noccundria Station, Queensland, Australia
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Unit1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
AwardsVictoria Cross

Victoria CrossEdit

Location of the VC action

O'Hea was about 23 years old, and a private in the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own), British Army stationed in the Province of Canada when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 9 June 1866 at Danville, Canada East, a fire broke out in a railway car containing 2,000 pounds (910 kg) of ammunition, between Quebec City and Montreal. The alarm was given and the car was disconnected at Danville Railway Station. While the sergeant in charge was considering what should be done, Private O'Hea took the keys from his hand, rushed to the car, opened it and called for water and a ladder. It was due to this man's example that the fire was suppressed.[1]


O'Hea was said to have died in the Tirari Desert-Sturt Stony Desert region of central Australia in November 1874 while searching for a lost member of the Leichhardt expedition.[2] Graham Fischer was present at the death but did not describe the specifics on the event. A recent book by Elizabeth Reid, The Singular Journey of O'Hea's Cross, poses the theory that Timothy O'Hea in fact died in Ireland, shortly after his discharge from the British Army in 1868. His identity and VC annuity were then assumed by his brother John, and it is this man who actually died in Australia.

The medalEdit

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum, Winchester, England.


  1. ^ "No. 23204". The London Gazette. 18 November 1864. p. 22.
  2. ^ Chisholm, A. H. (1974). "O'Hea, Timothy (1846 - 1874)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 5 May 2008.


Listed in order of publication year

External linksEdit