Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

154 years on... Killead honours Crimea VC hero

Victoria Cross hero soldier Charles McCorrie, who lies buried in an unmarked grave in a Malta cemetery, is to be honoured back in his home village of Killead in Co Antrim more than 150 years after his death.



A plaque is to be raised on the outskirts of the village where McCorrie was born in 1830 and where he spent his boyhood.

His direct descendant Wallace McCorrie, a Royal Marines veteran who lives in Limavady, will be at the ceremony.

At the same time former Royal Green Jackets Colour Sergeant Michael Leavy (76) and the |Victoria Cross Society of which he is a member plan to have a memorial headstone built on the McCorrie grave in Malta, where he died in 1857 aged only 27.

McCorrie, who joined up as a teenager, saw action in the Crimean War with the 57th Regiment of Foot, nicknamed The Diehards and later renamed the Middlesex Regiment.

Private McCorrie won his VC at Sebastopol in June 1855 when, at great personal risk, he picked up a live shell aimed at his trench from an enemy battery and tossed it over the parapet where it exploded seconds later.

The lives of several of the brave young soldier’s comrades down in the trench with him were saved by his action.

He didn’t live to receive his medal.

The young hero was posted to Malta with the 57th, where he died before the investiture could take place.

His medal was returned to the War Office in London and today a replica hangs in the foyer of the Royal British Legion in Antrim.

The whereabouts of the original VC is a mystery.

McCorrie was laid to rest in the Msida Bastion Cemetery near the Maltese capital Valetta, and with the passage of time Killead folk have almost forgotten that they once had a hero in their midst.

Background

The Victoria Cross was created by Queen Victoria in 1856 and the first investiture took place the following year at Hyde Park. Private McCorrie, who was still abroad, was not among the first 62 recipients of the medal from the Queen, all of them veterans of the Crimean War, and tragically he died on Malta before his VC could be presented to him.

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