- Crimea Medal 1854-6
- Turkish Crimea medal
- India General Service Medal
Irishman Patrick Kelly joined the 17th Foot (Royal Leicestershire Regiment) in May 1847. Two years after enlisting he was promoted to Corporal. Patrick’s early years of service were spent in England until early 1854 when the 17th were posted to Gibraltar. When war was declared with Russia a few months later the 17th became part of the British task force sent to Turkey and the Crimea.
Patrick would have endured the harsh conditions in the siege of the Russian stronghold of Sebastopol during the winter of 1854-55 where the British troops were severely underfed and poorly equipped. Disease was rife with those unaffected by dysentery and cholera being forced to undertake long and arduous trench duty where the threat of enemy sniper fire and artillery bombardment was constant. In this environment discipline was stretched to its maximum and in February 1855 Patrick’s records show that he was subject to a Field Court Marshall where he was ‘tried, reduced and released’. We do not know the details of the misdemeanour which saw him reduced to Private but it is possible that he was sentenced to flogging; a common punishment used at that time to maintain discipline.
Patrick’s reduction in rank was short lived and two months later on May 2nd 1855 he was returned to the rank of Corporal. In the latter stages of the Crimean War he saw action with the 17th both in the failed assault on the Redan in June and was also part of the combined army and navy expeditionary force that bombarded and defeated the Russians at the Battle of Kinburn.
In November 1855 Patrick transferred to the 19th Foot; the Regiment was much depleted at this time which may be the reason for troops moving across regiments. The 19th remained in the Crimea until June 1856. Patrick’s time with the 19th was a successful eventually rising to the rank of Colour Sergeant. He travelled to India with the Regiment and in addition to Crimea Medal with Sebastopol clasp and Turkish Crimea medal he also received the India General Service Medal with North West Frontier clasp. This clasp was in recognition of the regiments part in the 1868 Hazara Campaign, including the expedition against the tribes in the Black Mountains.
Near the end of his service Patrick was a drill instructor with the North York Rifles in Richmond. Upon his discharge he moved to Teesside where he worked for a number of years as both a Solicitors’ and then Accountants’ Clerk.