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Sergeant John Callaghan (1831......1909)


Back to . . . 50th Foot West Kent Queen's Own Regiment.

  • Born : February 1831.
  • Where Born : County Cork, Ireland
  • Regimental # : 3277
  • Occupation : labourer / Soldier
  • Date Arrived :
  • Ship Arrived on :
  • Rank on Discharge : Sergeant
  • Date of Enlistment : 50th Depot Regiment 27 October 1846 aged just 15,
  • Where Enlisted : Cork
  • 21 July 1848, he joined the 50th Foot (Queen's Own Regiment).
  • Date of Discharge : 25 March 1869
  • Where Discharged : Adelaide
  • Died : 28 April 1909
  • Where Died / Buried : Catholic Cemetery on West Terrace, and the deceased was accorded military honours as promised. He was buried in his double plot beside his first wife
  • Parents Names :
  • 1st Spouse's Name : , Frances Anne Jackson (nee Dann),
  • Date Married : 28 November 1868
  • Where Married : Trinity Church Adelaide on
  • Spouse 's Parents :
  • Occupation :
  • Date Arrived : 1854
  • Ship Arrived on :
  • Died : 21 July 1877
  • Where Died / Buried : old catholic section of West Terrace Cemetery
  • 2nd Spouse's Name : , Elizabeth Susannah Speigel
  • Date Married : 15 March 1880,
  • Where Married : St Ignatius' in Norwood.
  • Spouse 's Parents :
  • Occupation :
  • Date Arrived :
  • Ship Arrived on :
  • Died :
  • Where Died / Buried
  • Descendants:
    This information was kindly supplied by Paul Rosenzweig
    Area Settled :
    Children :
    three step-children1n 1865 : Anna Maria (aged 11), John Patrick (aged 8) and Elizabeth Margaret (aged 6).
    1 . Frances Mary, born on 1 August 1869 and baptised at St Patrick's in Grote Street on 9 September, but she died on 7 January the following year
    2 .

    History & Achievements :

    By Paul Rosenzweig

    John Callaghan accepted the call to arms and went on to have a notable career in the Army of Queen Victoria. He was at Gallipoli sixty years before the ANZACs, served in two significant military campaigns in opposite corners of the globe, suffered captivity at the hands of the Russians through an almost intolerable winter, and was then among some of the earliest British soldiers to settle in South Australia. But not content to merely make Adelaide his home, he then volunteered for further service, coincidentally, just as the South Australian volunteer force was becoming more formally structured in anticipation of a feared Russian invasion.
    In early 1854, he embarked for the Crimea with the regiment. John Callaghan maintained a parchment diary during this service, recording his experiences of death in the snow,
    3 June 1855 recorded that the English infantry had lost a total of 1 Sergeant and 28 men as Prisoners of War or Missing. Throughout the whole campaign, the 50th lost a total of 512 men killed; further, 198 were invalided home and there were three deserters, while 25 were taken prisoner-of-war. Among them was John Callaghan, taken on the night of 20 December 1854 during one of the Crimea's worst ever winters, when the Russians made a sortie in strength from Sebastopol in two columns. One column attacked the 34th Regiment on the right flank while, simultaneously, the other column attacked the left flank of the British. This flanking assault, made with considerable noise and with drums beating and bugles sounding, was speedily repulsed by the 38th and 50th Regiments with considerable losses to the Russians: the 50th itself lost 13 men killed and 18 wounded, with ten missing - snatched by the Russians.
    John Callaghan was exchanged on 21 October 1855, and he rejoined the regiment on the 26th. The 50th was one of the last of the British Army to leave the Crimea, and was present on 12 July 1856 when Balaklava was passed over to the Russians. Callaghan was a witness of these events
    On 29 May 1860, it is recorded that he forfeited one penny per day good conduct pay for some minor offence, while in the period October-December that year, he spent 38 days in hospital in Colombo. In 1864, the regiment sailed to New Zealand where John Callaghan served as a Corporal in the 50th as the British Army again tried to impose peace on the Maoris. \par \par The landing of the first Governor, Captain Hobson, on 29 January 1840 and the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February had led to an increasing perception by the native Maoris of a European infiltration and occupation.
    In John's obituaries, there were extensive references to his service with the 50th Regiment, of which he was undeniably proud, and the Adelaide Advertiser referred to him as
    a Crimean veteran who had made South Australia his home
    Captain de Passey represented the Military Commandant in Adelaide, Colonel Lee, who had given his permission for any member of the military forces to attend the funeral in uniform, and several navy and army veterans attended. The firing party consisted of cadets from Christian Brothers College under command of Sergeant M Hogan. It was recorded that, "
    had been connected with the State Forces for many years and consequently his funeral was largely attended by old comrades
    . Of some significance, among the pall-bearers was Patrick Connors who had served with Callaghan as a Private in the 50th Foot during the Crimean campaign. Notably, Connors had been wounded during the Russian attack from Sebastopol on the night of 20 December 1854, during which Callaghan had been taken prisoner. He was again wounded on 26 July the following year. His other pall-bearers were all veterans of Victorian campaigns around the globe:
    Private Eugene McCarthy, 33rd Foot Wounded at the Battle of Inkermann, 5 November 1854
    Corporal George Thomas, 57th Foo Wounded during the first attack on the Redan on 18 June 1855
    Corporal George Thompson, 1st Madras Fusiliers Defence and Relief of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny, 1857.
    H A Braham, Royal Navy Second China War, 1857-60, and the expedition to Abyssinia, 1867-68.
    Sergeant T Hanley, 92nd Gordon Highlanders Kandahar, Second Afghan War, 1880
    Despite marrying twice, John Callaghan had no surviving children. But from the three step-children he raised through their adolescent years, there were 28 step-great-grandchildren, producing quite a considerable number of step-great-great-great-grandchildren who, as Adelaide residents, are today mostly in their teens. To his stepson John Patrick Jackson, he had left large photographs of himself and Frances Callaghan, a gold ring, his war medals and parchment diary, and various items of clothing. There is no trace of these items today, but his step-great-grand-daughter (grand-daughter of John Patrick Jackson), Elaine Mary Jackson, born in Adelaide in 1918, still recalls as a child wearing a coat made for her from John Callaghan's scarlet tunic.
    He had received the Crimea War Medal (1854-56) with clasps 'Alma', 'Inkermann' and 'Sebastopol', the Turkish Crimea Medal, and also the New Zealand Medal for the Second Maori War (1860-66).
    Ann's headstone is inscribed:
    All my friends as you pass by
    As you are now so once was I
    As I am now so you will be
    So think of death and pray for me
    The above was the beloved wife of
    John Callaghan Late Sergeant HM 50th Q.O.Regiment
    This paper was produced with the assistance of Mrs Marie Mills of Adelaide, step-great-great-grand-daughter of Sergeant John Callaghan.
    E- mail address
    Copyright B & M Chapman (QLD) Australia
    Last revised: January 17, 2004.