|Sergeant 1158 Daniel Madden 97th Regiment
Daniel Madden was born in the small village of Ferbane, County Kings in 1821. The word Ferbane means “White Grass” and the
name is said to come from the white cotton grass, which grows prolifically in the close by Bog of Allan. The village was close to
the road which runs between Birr and Athlone. To the south east of Birr was situated a large army depot at Crinkill, which had
started being constructed in 1809 and had taken three years to complete.
|Crinkill barracks boundary wall|
(All that now remains)
In April 1838 the barracks were occupied by the 97th regiment who had arrived in Ireland from Stockport, England. They
began to recruit vigorously in the area and Daniel Madden must have found the appeal of regular pay and meals, together
with a bright red tunic, very enticing. On the 1st January 1839, he attested to serve in the reserve battalion of the regiment.
He was described as being 18 years old, 5 foot 6 ½ inches tall, with hazel eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. His
trade was described as being a labourer. His decision was well founded as within a few years, the whole area would be
seriously affected by the great Potato famine and thousands of people died or were forced to emigrate. The regiment
moved to Dublin, Parsons town, Newbridge and finally Cork, all the time actively recruiting.
In 1842 the regiment sailed from Cork bound for the Ionian Isles, where they arrived at Corfu in January. Over the next
five years they also visited Zante, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Paxo and Cerigo. On the 8th December 1843 Daniel Madden
received promotion to the rank of Corporal, which he retained until the 25th December 1845 when he imprisoned for three
days and reduced to the ranks.
The regiment left Corfu for Malta in 1847 aboard the troopship Resistance and arrived at the Island on the evening of the
19th February, disembarking with 28 sergeants, 12 drummers, 509 rank and file, 40 women and 78 children. Malta was a
pleasant posting and the regiment remained here until January 1848 when they were ordered to Jamaica. The regiment left
on board two transports, “Blenheim” and “Maria Soames”. “Blenheim” left on the 20th January with 10 Officers, 15 sergeants,
10 drummers, 263 rank and file, 18 women and 34 children. On the 28th January “Maria Soames” left with the rest of the
regiment consisting of 9 Officers, 12 sergeants, 2 drummers, 234 rank and file, 18 women and 30 children.
The ships arrived at Kingston, Jamaica and the regiment was then stationed at Stony Hill barracks. Daniel Madden was again
promoted to Corporal on the 25th August 1848. During 1850 the island was devastated by an outbreak of Cholera, which
killed 32,000 people. The following year saw the reserve battalion being disbanded and amalgamated with the 1st Battalion
The 1st battalion had been serving in Canada and the reserve battalion were transported there to join them. They boarded
H.M.S. Ocean on the 12th June and four days later sailed for Nova Scotia. The ship arrived on the 6th July and
disembarked the troops two days later.
On the 11th November 1851, Daniel Madden was again imprisoned for three days, forfeited his good conduct pay and was
reduced to the ranks.
The regiment remained in Canada, serving at the Halifax garrison until May 1853, when they returned to the United Kingdom.
The service companies landed in Deal and then in barracks at Walmer. This was followed by exercises at Chobham and guard
duties at the Tower of London. In 1854 they were stationed at Windsor before receiving notification that they were to
prepare to go onto active service in the Crimea. The regiment proceeded to Southampton where they boarded the “Orinoco”
and sailed on the 4th March, bound for Greece.
|“Orinoco” preparing to sail|
Daniel Madden was again promoted to the rank of Corporal on the 14th May 1854. The regiment called in at Malta and then the
97th landed at Piraeus in Greece on the 6th June, where it awaited orders to proceed to the Crimea. Many men in the regiment
contracted Cholera while they waited and numerous deaths occurred. Finally the orders arrived for the regiment to join the
2nd brigade of the Light division which was then in the trenches in front of Sevastopol. The men boarded the “Orinoco” once
again and arrived at Balaklava harbour on the 20th November in the pouring rain. Mrs Duberley noted how fresh they looked
but commented that many would not look like that the following morning!
On the 18th May 1855 there was a presentation of Crimea medals at Horse Guards parade by Queen Victoria. It was her
intention to present the medals to representatives of all the regiments currently fighting in the Crimea. At 9 a.m. the Guards
and their bands marched onto the parade ground and took up their positions. In their rear was drawn up the non commissioned
officers and men who were to receive their medals. At 10 a.m. the Duke of Cambridge arrived, shortly followed by the Royal
carriages, and at 11 a.m. the Queen and Prince Albert took their places. The distribution of the medals then promptly
commenced, with the soldiers passing in front of the Queen in single file. As they arrived they handed a card with their
name and rank to Major General Wetherall. The details were then read out by the Adjutant General while the Queen
handed each man his medal.
|Medal presentation by the Queen|
Representing the men of the 97th regiment were Corporal Daniel Madden and Privates John Holbrook, Henry Sergeant and
Charles Taylor. The regiment’s officers were represented by Captain Annesley, who had returned home from the Crimea sick.
After the Queen had left at 12.30 p.m. the men who had received medals, marched to the Queen’s riding school at Pimlico,
where a substantial meal had been prepared for them. The presentation of the Crimea medal to the four soldiers of the
97th regiment raises some doubts as to their initial qualification for the medal.
A large majority of the regiments present at the parade included a high percentage of men who had served and been wounded
in the Crimea, and had then returned to the United Kingdom. None of the 97th men had been wounded.
The 97th regiment had only arrived in the Crimea in November and it is unlikely that four of them would have been turned
around to return for the medal presentation. Indeed, it is unlikely that there would have been sufficient time for any order
for them to return to have been complied with.
|The Great Redan|
The interior of the Redan
|Horse Guards Medal presentation|
The final enigma is that Daniel Madden’s service papers show that he only served for 11 months in the Crimea. If he had
arrived in November 1854 with the rest of the regiment and stayed until the end of the war, then he would have served for
The most likely explanation is that the four men of the 97th were depot based in the United Kingdom, having returned home
from Greece when the regiment sailed for the Crimea. They therefore received their unnamed medals before they had
actually gone to the Crimea. This fact of some ineligible men receiving the medal from the Queen is confirmed in the book
“Presented by the Queen”- The Crimea medal award ceremony”.
The men must have completed their duties after the May presentation, arrived in the Crimea in July 1855 and left in June
1856 with the regiment, thereby performing 11 months service.
On the 7th July 1855 Daniel Madden received further promotion to the rank of Sergeant.
The 97th regiment provided a lot of the labour required to dig and maintain the trench system in front of Sevastapol. A
sergeant in a regiment stationed to the left of the 97th wrote:-
“I was with Captain Vicars (97th) once more in the trenches before that miserable night, the 22nd March – Mud! Mud! Mud!
The old light division had been strengthened by the 90th and 97th to the second brigade, but with sickness and hardships they
(like ourselves) were not very strong – except in the head. A good strong party went into the trenches on the 22nd. It blew a
perfect hurricane, with rain and sleet, it came down just anyhow. We were standing up to our ankles in mud and water, like a lot
of half frozen, half drowned rats”.
|The camp of the 97th Regiment|
Working parties continued throughout April, when the 97th provided 189 men for duties in the advanced works on the 19th and
into June when the 97th again provided 294 men on the 7th for this dangerous work. In August the British batteries increased
their barrage on the Sevastopol defences in preparation for the infantry assault which would soon follow.
On the 5th September 1855, the fifth and final heavy bombardment commenced in an attempt to breach the defensive works
the Russians had constructed. On the evening of the 7th September, orders were received for the assault which would
commence on the following day:-
“The 2nd Brigade Light Division with an equal number of the 2nd Division will form the first body of attack, each division
furnishing first a covering party of 100 men under a field officer. The first storming party of the Light Division will consist of
160 men of the 97th regiment under the command of Major Wellsford, this party will carry the ladders and be the first to
storm, they will be formed in the New Boyeau running from the centre of the 5th parallel, they will follow immediately in rear of
the covering party, they must be good men and true to their difficult duty which is to arrive at the ditch of the Redan and place
the ladders down it, to turn 20 of them so as to get up the face of the work leaving the other ladders for others to come down
The next storming part will consist of 200 men of the 97th regiment under command of Lieutenant Colonel Honourable H.R.
Hancock and 300 of the 90th regiment under command of Captain R. Grove. This party will be stationed in the 5th Parallel and
will assault in a column of divisions in one place. The men to parade in red coats and forage caps”
As the 97th could only provide about 325 fit men for the previous working parties, then the 360 men involved in the attack on
the Redan would amount to every operational soldier in the 97th regiment taking part.
At dawn the batteries again
commenced firing, while a strong
and cold wind blew across the camp,
breakfast. After breakfast they
assembled and then took up their
allocated positions in the trenches.
At mid-day the French troops
surged forward to attack the
Malakoff, which quickly fell.
As they raised the French flag, the
British troops moved out of their
parallels and ran forward across the
open ground. The Russians had been
alerted by the French attack and
this had given them time to
assemble their defending troops in
the Redan, from where they opened
fire with artillery and muskets.
As the 97th reached the ditch they
descended down into it and then
climbed up the steep face ahead of
them. As they gained the top they
attempted to gain entry but found
the entrances had been blocked.
The struggle continued for over an
hour while the attacking regiments
suffered severe casualties. Just
after 4 p.m. it became obvious that
it was impossible for the attacking
troops to remain in this stalemated
position and they were ordered to
retire back to their trenches.
The battle for the Redan cost the 97th regiment 81 men killed and 43 men died of their wounds out of the 140 who had been
wounded. A further 39 men were reported as missing although many of them rejoined later. Sergeant Daniel Madden survived
the battle unscathed.
The regiment’s final losses for the war amounted to a further 172 men who had died in the trenches and 231 men who had died
of Cholera and other diseases
A medal, which was sanctioned in 1855, was issued by the Sultan of Turkey to the armies of his allies, for assisting his country.
The medal was issued unnamed and had three different obverses. The British issue bore a Union flag in the centre with the
inscription Crimea 1855. However, the ship carrying many of these medals to the Crimea was wrecked and its cargo lost. Many
men received the Sardinian medal issue but Daniel Madden did manage to receive the British type. He later changed the
medal’s ring suspension to an ornate straight suspension and had his rank, name and regiment privately engraved on it.
|The Sultan of Turkey’s Crimea medal|
On October 13th 1855, the clasp “Sebastopol” was authorised for
attachment to the British Crimea medal and later issued to the
troops. It would have been attached to the medal by unofficial
rivets or just slipped over the medal ribbon.
Daniel Madden was again imprisoned for a day on the 23rd March
1856 and demoted back to the rank of
On the 14th June 1856, the regiment’s troop ship arrived and the
97th embarked, being one of the last regiments to leave the
Crimea. They returned to the United Kingdom and disembarked at
Portsmouth. From here they entrained for Aldershot to be
inspected by the Queen, in a grand review of all the regiments
who had returned from the Crimea. In January 1857 the regiment
moved to barracks at Aldershot and on the 8th May Daniel Madden
once again became a Corporal.
The outbreak of the Sepoy mutiny in India caused the 97th to be
ordered for overseas service again. They boarded the clipper
“James Baines” at Portsmouth on the 10th August 1857 bound for
|The “James Baines” was launched on the 25th |
July 1854 and was built entirely of timber.
She was built for a passenger shipping line and
provided luxury first class accommodation as
well as standard rooms for 800 passengers and
crew in her five decks.
In July 1857 she was reviewed with her sister
ship “Champion of the Seas”, at Portsmouth by
Queen Victoria while awaiting the arrival of the
The “James Baines” sailed with “Champion of the Seas” to India and recorded a time of 101 days to reach Sands Head, Calcutta.
After the troops had disembarked they proceeded to join the rest of the Army assembling in Oudh
On the 4th January 1858 the 97th regiment, with a strength of 661 men, left Benares and marched with the Jaunpore Field
force towards Lucknow. This force consisted of 18 guns, about 60 mounted men, 3,000 Ghurkhas and the 10th and 20th
regiments. The first clash with the rebels occurred at Nusrutpore on the 23rd January but the rebels offered little resistance.
More minor actions occurred on the 19th and 23rd February before the force reached Dowrara, which was only 8 miles from
Lucknow on the 4th March. A fort in the village was occupied by rebels and Brigadier General Franks who commanded the column,
ordered three companies of the 97th to capture it. Whilst the fort was bombarded by artillery the 97th moved around the
village and stormed the outworks of the fort, capturing two guns. As the defenders fled they were cut down by the irregular
On the 16th March the regiment was present before Lucknow and took part in the relief of the city. They then became part of
the garrison for the city.
Daniel Madden was once again promoted to Sergeant on the 12th June 1859 before returning to Colchester, Essex in October
of that year. He also received a medal for his services during the Indian mutiny, which was issued in 1859.
It had a single clasp for “Lucknow” and has now become separated from his Crimea medals.
On the 3rd August 1860 a regimental board met at Colchester to approve the discharge of Daniel madden, who had requested
this on completion of 21 years service in July 1860. Their recommendation was confirmed by Horse Guards on the 21st August
and he left the army with the intention to reside at Colchester.
As soon as he left the army he married Emma Cross, whom he had met in Colchester after his return from India.
Following their marriage, the couple moved to Carnarvon, North Wales where Daniel Madden became a Sergeant in the Royal
Carnarvon Rifle Corps, which were part of the Militia force. He must have enjoyed the role of being a Sergeant instructor
because in 1871 the couple were still residing in the Militia barracks, which were built in the 1850’s at Llanbeblig.
In 1878 Daniel Madden and his wife left Carnarvon and returned to Colchester, where he died in the spring of the following year.
His wife had no family and her husband’s pension stopped upon his death. Destitution and the workhouse were the likely course
for a widow unless she could remarry quickly. Emma Madden married the local butcher in the spring of 1880.
As she appeared to have had no money, it is most likely that Daniel Madden had a pauper’s burial and there is no record of an
existing gravestone for him in the Colchester area.