Valentine Munbee McMaster
Valentine Munbee McMaster, M.D., was born on the 16th of May, 1834 at
Trichinopoly, India. He was commissioned an Assistant Surgeon on the 27th of
March, 1855. Serving with the 78th Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs), he took
part in the Persian campaign, including the night attack and battle of Kooshab
and bombardment of Mohumrah, for which he received the India General
Service medal with clasp for Persia.
During the Indian Mutiny he left Allahabad with General Havelock’s column in
July of 1857, and was present in all the operations which resulted in the
recapture of Cawnpore and in the first advance into Oude and subsequent
engagements up to the 12th of August.
He was present in the second advance into Oude and in all actions which
concluded in the first relief of the Residency of Lucknow. For his actions in
tending the wounded under fire during the entry into the city and the relief of
the Residency, Assistant Surgeon McMaster was awarded the Victoria Cross.
THE LONDON GAZETTE
War-Office, 18th June, 1858.
THE Queen has been graciously pleased to confirm the grant of the
Decoration of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-
Commissioned Officers and Men of Her Majesty's and of the East India
Company's Armies, which Decoration has been provisionally conferred upon
them by Major-General Sir James Outram, G.C.B., and by the late Major-
General Henry Havelock, K.C.B., on account of Acts of Bravery performed by
them in India, as recorded against their several names, in virtue of the
power delegated to Generals commanding Corps, Divisions, or Brigades, by
Her Majesty's Warrant of the 29th January, 1856, viz.:
78th Regiment:Assistant-Surgeon Valentine Munbee McMaster Date of
Act of Bravery, 25th September, 1857
For the intrepidity with which he exposed himself to the fire of the
bringing in, and attending to, the
wounded, on the 25th of September at Lucknow. (Extract from Field
Force Orders of the late Major-General Havelock, dated 17th October,
The column under the command of General Havelock, having insufficient
numbers to fight their way back out of Lucknow, found themselves also
besieged in the Residency. Assistant Surgeon McMaster served in the
continued defense of the Residency, including several sorties against the
enemy, being wounded in one of them. He also served with General Outram’s
force at the Alum Bagh until the capture of Lucknow. Following the capture of
Lucknow, he served in the Rohilcund campaign and the capture of Bareilly.
For his services during the Indian Mutiny, in addition to being awarded the
Victoria Cross, he received the Indian Mutiny medal with two clasps and was
entitled to count one year additional service. Valentine McMaster was
promoted to Surgeon on the 14th of March, 1868.
Valentine Munbee McMaster, M.D., V.C., died in Ireland on the 22nd of
January, 1872 and was buried in the City Cemetery, Belfast. He was survived
by his wife and six year old son, Bryce. There is a memorial to his memory in
St. Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry.
|A fine cdv of Valentine Munbee McMaster,|
M.D., in uniform with “medals up” including his
Victoria Cross. It is interesting to note that
he wore his VC between his India General
Service medal and his Indian Mutiny medal as
there were no regulations at the time
concerning the order in which medals were to
be worn. The photo is by the firm of the noted
Canadian photographer William Notman, the
most prominent photographer of his day in
Canada. As the 78th Highlanders were
stationed in Canada from approximately 1868
to 1871, the photo can be dated to that period.
|Asst. Surgeon |