Capt Andrew Moynihan, VC

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Andrew Moynihan

Birthdate: (37)
Death: 1867 (37)
Immediate Family:

Father of Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan, KCMG

Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:

About Capt Andrew Moynihan, VC

Andrew Moynihan, VC (1 January 1830 – 18 May 1867) was by birth an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Moynihan was a 25-year-old sergeant in the 90th Foot, British Army during the Crimean War when his gallant action took place on 8 September 1855 at Sebastopol. Sergeant Moynihan, who was with the storming party at the assault on the Redan in the Crimea, personally encountered and killed five Russians, and while under heavy fire also rescued a wounded officer from near the Redan.

Moynihan was promoted to sergeant major and in 1856 was commissioned into the 8th Foot. He was promoted lieutenant the following year and captain in 1863.

He died after contracting Malta Fever, caused by drinking unsterilised goat's milk. He is buried in La Braxia Cemetery and his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Cameronians Regimental Museum in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

His son became a prominent surgeon being raised to the peerage as Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan.


Born on 1st January 1830, as a small child, Andrew Moynihan moved with his family from Wakefield in Yorkshire to live in Crescent Road in Dukinfield, where he attended the Wesleyan Methodist School in Ashton-under-Lyne. Later he went on to work at Flash Hall Mills on Old Street before moving to James Ogden's Mill at Hall Green.

At 17 years he enlisted in the 90th Regiment the Perthshire Volunteers who were stationed in Ashton. In 1853 he married Ellen Parkin at Ashton Parish Church.

With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 Moynihan was sent to fight and in September 1855 he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallant actions. As a sergeant in the 90th Light Infantry during an attack on the Redan fortress at Sebastapol on 8th September 1855 "...he personally encountered and killed five Russians and rescued a wounded officer under heavy fire".

An initial attack on the fortress by British forces had already failed but in September 1855 Moynihan's actions were to make an advance possible. Despite heavy defensive Russian fire and being repeatedly driven back, Moynihan re-entered the building to rescue a wounded officer and was bayoneted twice before being taken prisoner. A renewed British attack helped him escape, but Russian forces repeatedly pushed the British back to their trenches. Here, once more, Moynihan helped save a wounded colleague despite his own injuries. By the end of the day he had suffered twelve wounds.

On his return to Dukinfield in 1856 he was afforded a hero's welcome and a special reception was held in his honour at the Astley Arms. Here presentations were made to him, including an inscribed watch from the local people. In 1857 he received his Victoria Cross personally from Queen Victoria. Moynihan later served during the Indian Mutiny and in Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta. By the 1860s he held the rank of Captain.

In 1867 Moynihan contracted 'Malta Fever', probably from untreated or unsterilised goat's milk and died on the 19th May of that year. He is buried in La Braxia Cemetery. A blue plaque to commemorate his life can be found at the Astley Arms, Chapel Hall in Dukinfield.

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Capt Andrew Moynihan, VC's Timeline

October 2, 1865
Age 35
Age 37