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Drummer Thomas Flinn VC

#1
The following extract appeared in my local rag around Xmas time and the parents kept it for me. It's definitely a positive step ahead however it's a crying shame that the VC Medal awarded to possibly the youngest VC Recipient ever is missing.

Drummer Flinn is buried in common ground in Cornamagh Cemetery less than 1/2 mile as the crow flies from where I spent the first 17 1/2 years of my life and I was never aware of this. I managed to take pictures of where he is buried the last time I was home and I will try and upload them as soon as possible.

Copyright Westmeath Independent

Word reaches us here in the Inside Track of a new campaign next year(2008) to commemorate one of Athlone's most famous citizens, Drummer Thomas Flinn.

Who, you might ask?

Drummer Thomas Flinn is the youngest ever recipient of the one of the world's most famous military honours, the Victoria Cross.
Flinn, who is buried in common ground at Cornamagh Cemetery, received Britain's highest decoration for bravery for his courage during the Indian Mutiny on Nov 28, 1857, when he was just 15 years old.
He was a drummer with the 64th Regiment , later the North Staffordshire Regiment. Drummer Flinn was awarded the medal for his actions at Cawnpore, India, in the Indian Mutiny when he was aged just 15 years and 3 months.

During a charge on the enemy's guns, Drummer Flinn, although wounded himself, engaged in a hand to hand encounter with two of the rebel artillery men. He killed the two men, and captured their gun.
He' and his commanding officer, Lt Havelock, were awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 10 Aug 1892, aged just 50, he died in the Athlone Workhouse and is buried on common ground in Cornamagh Cemetery.
He had returned to Athlone to live on a pension of £10 a year. However, within five years, he was before the local court charged with stealing and pawning a pair of boots belonging to Major Denison of the 64th Regiment.
Despite his pleas, and his claim that the Prince of Wales would give him a character reference were he present, Thomas Flinn wound up with a one month prison sentence.

When he entered the Athlone Workhouse, at Northgate Street, his VC was confiscated by the Guardians, and he died in penury. A memorial to his memory is on display at The Garrison Church at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield, Staffs.

There has been irregular attempts over the years, nearly all through the columns of the Westmeath Independent to have a memorial of some form erected to Flinn's memory in Athlone. And now, we understand there will be a new concerted push launched by campaigners in the new year.
As far as I'm aware, his VC Medal is missing which is a bloody shame. Does anyone know who is directing this supposed new campaign? I'd be more than glad to help in whatever way I could. It's the least that could be done to remember this soldier's memory in a way that he deserves.
 
#2
t_m I'm by no means an expert on Irish VC winners but the following points may be of further interest to you.

In all, 8 VC's were removed / forfeited/ confiscated from their owners, 3 of whom were Irishmen.

I very much doubt that Thomas's VC was "confiscated by the Guardians" as the article says. I surmise that the author is confusing his medal with his pension. As for the medal's whereabouts, I'd very confidently suggest that it's either in a metal box in the depths of an MOD office with the others or is in the collection of an MP famed for his collection of VC's.

There is a book on Irish VC holders written by the Derry military historian, Richard Doherty. Well worth a look if you haven't as yet come across it.
 
#3
Alec,

Cheers for that. I was aware that there was a book on Irish VC Winners but it's on my list of books to read!

However, there doesn't seem to be a record of where the medal is either being held by MOD or in someone's collection.

I have contacted Lord Ashcroft by email as well and await his reply!
 
#4
The following extract appeared in my local rag around Xmas time and the parents kept it for me. It's definitely a positive step ahead however it's a crying shame that the VC Medal awarded to possibly the youngest VC Recipient ever is missing.

Drummer Flinn is buried in common ground in Cornamagh Cemetery less than 1/2 mile as the crow flies from where I spent the first 17 1/2 years of my life and I was never aware of this. I managed to take pictures of where he is buried the last time I was home and I will try and upload them as soon as possible.

Copyright Westmeath Independent



As far as I'm aware, his VC Medal is missing which is a bloody shame. Does anyone know who is directing this supposed new campaign? I'd be more than glad to help in whatever way I could. It's the least that could be done to remember this soldier's memory in a way that he deserves.
Sorry to resurrect a thread, but is there any update on this? It seems the workhouse guardians were keeping his annuity and it seems feasible that they 'confiscated' his VC to stop Thomas pawning it for money for grog.

Here's the transcript of the Hansard record

THOMAS FLINN, V.C. (Hansard, 1 April 1892)

Edited to add: According to this article the buggers couldn't be bothered to spell his name correctly.

Thomas Flynn VC - victoriacross
 
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