The inscription for this photo reads - .........Meritorious Service Medal .Punjab Medal....Mutiny Medal
"Ens S McDonough, promo Ens from QMS for conduct at Chillianwallah"
Stephen McDonough was born 12th March 1809 in St. Nicholas, Co. Galway, Ireland.
He enlisted in the 61st Foot (South Gloucestershire) as a Private on the 28th July 1826; aged 17 years and 4 months. The 61st had been stationed in Ireland since 1824 and moved to England in 1827.
June 1828 the 61st embarked at Chatham for the 5 month voyage to Ceylon. McDonough was promoted to Corporal on the 13th November 1829 and was appointd School Master Sergeant on June 1st 1832.
18th February 1834 he married Esther Smith in Columbo. The 61st were stationed in Ceylon for eleven years and although it saw no action, lost 6 officers and 300 men to sickness and disease. McDonough was promoted to Colour and Pay Sergeant on the 1st August 1835.
1840 the 61st returned to England and moved to Ireland 3 years later. McDonough was promoted to Quarter Master Sergeant on the 1st August 1844.
The 61st sailed for India July 1845. The 1000 men and families of the Regiment sailed in 5 ships, taking 126 days to reach India. McDonough landed in Calcutta with the Head Quarters in October 1845. The whole Regiment was ashore by mid-November at Dum Dum.
15th December 1845 the 61st began the 600 mile march to Cawnpore, arriving 8th February 1846. Over the next 6 months 250 men, women and children of the Regiment died of disease.
October 21st 1846 they marched to Amballa. In 1847 McDonough applied for a Commission, with the support of his Commanding Officer, Lt-Col. Burnside. He also recommended Mcdonough for the new Meritorious Service medal, which was approved and despatched to 'Bengal E. India 4 Dec. 1847.' It came with an annuity of £10.0.0 and was the first to a member of the Gloucestershire Regiment.
February 1848 the 61st marched for Jullundur. In April 1848 2 British Political Agents were murdered in Multan and the Punjab flared into war.
The 61st reached the River Beas on October 12th 1848. Mess Sergeant John Binkly wrote that whilst crossing the river in a boat both he and the Q.M.S. (McDonough) nearly drowned when the boat sank.
January 13th 1849 the army skirmishers were attacked by a strong Sikh force near the village of Chillianwallah. The army advanced through a thick jungle and were confronted by a long ridge along which the Sikh artillery and infantry were lined. The 61st advanced rapidly capturing 4 guns. However their flanks were dangerously exposed. 2 companies were faced right to hold off a firece counter-attack.
The whole Regiment then formed to the right and drove the Sikhs from their positions in a series of 4 charges. On one occassion a force of Sikh cavalry advanced on the rear of the 61st. Colonel McLeod ordered "Right about face" and the Regiment drove off the attackers. Congratulated by the Divisional Commander, McLeod replied "..if my rear rank's not as good as my front rank they've no business here."
The 61st then turned to the front again and continued their advance, capturing 13 more guns.
Lord Gough rode up to the Regiment after the battle to thank them for their conduct that day. General Sir Colin Campbell wrote in his despatch, "I find it difficult to express in words the gallantry and steadiness of Her Majesty's 61st Regiment."
The Regiment sustained 115 casualties (3 officers).
Among the wounded was QMS McDonough - severely wounded by a "Musket ball through both thighs."
27th January 1849 McDonough wrote a letter to his C.O. asking for his support in applying for a Commission. Lt-Col. McLeod wrote the following letter :
...............................................................................................................Camp Chillianwalla 27th January 1849
I have the honour to forward an application from Qmaster Sergeant Stephen McDonough of the Regt. under my command which I request you will be pleased to forward to the General Commander in Chief.
The applicant enlisted into the Corps 28th July 1826 was appointed School Master Sergt. 1st Jany 1832 Colour and Pay Sergeant 1st August 1835 and promoted to his present rank 1st August 1844.
He was present during the eleven years the Regt served in Ceylon and landed in India with the Head Quarters in October 1845 and was severely wounded by a musket ball through both thighs in the action of the 13th inst.
I have known him during the whole time he has been a Non Commissioned Officer his character is unexceptionable and his conduct has been zealous and meritorious in the different situations he has filled. I therefore beg leave most respectfully to recommend him to the favourable consideration of His Grace for the Ensigncy vacant by the promotion of Ensign Nagel to a Lieutenancy in the 24th Foot.
I have the honour to be, My Lord, Your Lordships Most Obed. Serv. A McLeod, Lt Col 61st Regt Comd. Officer
Mcdonough was promoted Ensign on the 10th April 1849.
7th June 1850 McDonough was promoted to Lieutenant by purchase of a Commission.
No. 120......................................................................................Head Quarters, Camp Deenanaggur 2d April 1850 Schedule of promotion recommended bby His Ecxellency General Sir C.J. Napier, GCB, Co in Chief, E Indies
Ensign Stephen McDonough to be Lieutanant by purchase vice Fenwick, who retires. 26th March 1850
He is the senior for purchase, is present with his Regiment and is recommended for promotion by his C.O.
27th May 1850
We have the honour to report to your Lordship, for the information of His Grace the Commander in Chief, that Ensign Stephen McDonough of the 61st Foot has made a remittance for the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Pounds to be applied to the purchase of a Lieutenancy.
The Regiment moved to various stations in India over the next 8 years. May 13th 1857 they were in garrison at Ferozepore when news arrived of the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. After dealing with an uprsing of the Native Regiments there, the 61st marched for Delhi to join the army besieging the mutineers there. (approx. 12500 men besieging an estimated 40,000 Indian regular army mutineers).
August 25th 1857 McDonough was with the men of the 61st who took part in the action at Najafgarh.
September 14th 1857 the Kasmir Gate into Delhi was blown and the final assault began. The 61st fought through heavy street fighting, Surgeon Reade winning the V.C. (first to a Gloster).
27th July 1858 McDonough was promoted to Captain (without purchase).
No. 320..............................................................................................Head Quarters, Allahabad 6th August 1858
Schedule of promotions recommended by His Excellency General Sir Colin Campbell, GCB, Commander in Chief, East Indies.
Lieutanant Stephen McDonough to be Captain without purchase vice Otter, deceased 27th July 1858.
29th June 1859 the 61st sailed for Mauritius, arriving 1st August that year.
6th september 1861 McDonough transferred to the 3rd West India Regiment. He was in the West Indies from November 5th 1861 to 10th January 1862 when he went onto "medical leave." January 1862 he arrived in Africa with his Regiment and went on leave again 21st April 1864.
9th June 1865 McDonough retired on full pension with the rank of Major.
HRH The Field Marshal.... Commanding in Chief. ..........................................................................25 May 1865
Brevets - Captain Stephen McDonough. Retired Full Pay - 3d West India Regiment to have the honorary Rank of Major.
McDonough and his wife settled at 50 Wiltshire Road, Brixton, England.
He died there on the 10th November 1877 aged 68.
His will was written 6th September 1857, outside Delhi just 8 days before the final assault :
"This is the last will and testament of Stephen McDonough Lieutenant in H.M. 61st Regiment After payment of my just debts I give to my mother Mrs. Mary McDonough widow residing in the town of Galway Ireland for her sole and separate use a legacy of £200 two hundred pounds sterling and I give to my sisters Ann Wilson and Maria Bright residing at or near the above mentioned place legacies of £50 (fifty) each for their sole and separate use. The rest of my estate and effects (consisting chiefly of money deposits in the Agra and Oriental Banks) and everything that I can give or dispose of I bequeath absolutely to my dear wife Esther McDonough now residing at Ferozepore in the East Indies. In witness hereof I the said Stephen McDonough Lieutenant in Her Majesty's 61st Regiment have hereunto set my hand this 6th (sixth) day of September Anno Domini 1857."
The will was witnessed by Assistant Surgeon H. Bende, 61st, and Lt. G. Berry, 61st.
It was approved on 1st December 1877, assets recorded as "under £1500" and his widow was confirmed as 'Residuary Legatee.'