Valentine Bambrick (b1837)
Son of John Bambrick (b1791) and Harriett Ann Redlan.
Bambrick's grave in St Pancras Cemetery is unmarked, so a plaque was mounted in the Chapel of the Cemetery in 2002.
Bambrick's medals are not publicly held. In 2012, replicas of his medals were displayed at the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester. (Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier PLOT LL/G, GRAVE 3731 (UNMARKED)
- source of above:Famous Names in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery includes this quote:
Sadly there is no headstone of the grave of another military hero, Victoria Cross awardee, Valentine Bambrick (1837-1864). Bambrick received the VC after being attacked at Bareilly in 1858 during the Indian Mutiny. Three years later, in London, Bambrick was convicted of assault and theft of a comrade's medals. He was thus stripped of his own medal and sent to Pentonville Prison, Whilst there, the stricken Bambrick killed himself. He was then buried in a pauper's grave. Perhaps one of the only momentoes of his death is this record found on the Deceased Online database of 25 year old Bambrick's burial in the cemetery at Finchley on 8 April 1864. A memorial plaque was belatedly erected to him in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery in 2002.
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/60560433 Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875) Fri 29 Jul 1864 Page 3 MELANCHOLY SUICIDE IN PENTONVILLE PRISON MELANCHOLY SUICIDE IN PENTONVILLE PRISON An inquiry of a melancholy character was instituted by Dr. Lankester on Tuesday evening at the Pentonville Model Prison, relative to the death of a prisoner, Valentine Bambrick aged twenty-eight years, who was found dead and hanging in his cell on Friday evening last. Last week a similar inquest was held. Mr Charles Lawrence Bradley, medical officer of the prison, said he had been told that he (prisoner) fretted, as he was being unjustly punished for a crime of which be was not guilty. His mind was no doubt impaired, and he had suffered from delirium tremens. A letter was written on slate by deceased which might be worth the attention of the jury On the production of the slate the droner read the fol- lowing letter : - " My dear, dear Friends and Family, - Becoming quite tired of my truly miserable existence, I am about to rush into the presence of my Maker uncalled unasked. To you I appeal for forgiveness and pardon for all the unhappiness I have ever caused you. I dare not ask for mercy of God. I am doing that which admits of no pardon, but if He will hear my prayer. I pray to Him to grant you consolation in your hour of affliction, for I know that, notwithstanding all my faults, that love which you always manifested towards me is not withheld yet, and therefore the news of my un fortunate fate will make time sorrowful. Pray for your unfortunate son "VAL BAMBRICK.'' "P.S.-Before I die I protest solemnly my entire innocence of the charge for which I was punished, all but the assault, and that was done under the circumstances before mentioned to you in my letter. " God bless you all Love to all my relations. Pity even while you condemn ' " POOR VAL " John Potter a prisoner, said he was in the next cell to the deceased. He did not know until that afternoon that he was dead, when the deputy-governor sent for him and told him. He only knew deceased by his number, G 21. Deceased had spoken to him twice. The first time he said, ''I have sent out a special letter, and I expect to be discharged." The second time he said he was an innocent man. The Coroner-Have you any complaint to make of the diet you have given to you? Prisonor - No, sir ; I have meat every day A juror-When the deputy-governor called yon down, did he instruct you as to what you were to say here? Prisoner--No, sir. The foreman, referring to the statement made by the prisoner they had just examined, wished to know whether that special letter had been forwarded to the friends. Captain Craig (the governor, who had been sent for) informed the jury that on the 26th of February the prisoner applied to him for permission to write a special letter, and as he was a well-behaved man he granted the application Prisoners were only allowed to write a letter on their entry, and then one every three months. The deceased was not entitled to write until this month. That special letter was forwarded to his family directly. A petition followed, and there was no doubt that, if a certain woman had been found the deceased would have obtained his release. The deceased came from Winchester Gaol ; the governor there, feeling highly interested in the prisoner, endeavoured to get a commutation of sentence. He considered he was perfectly innocent, as did also he (Captain Craig). The deceased was charged with stealing a Victoria Cross and several medals from a soldier who had created a disturbance in a brothel at Aldershot with a prostitute. The woman screamed " Murder," and the deceased (who was also a soldier) went to protect her. He thrashed the other soldier, during which his medals fell off Deceased picked them up and put them on the mantle-shelf. They were, however, lost and the deceased was accused of the robbery. Deceased also had a Victoria Cross and medals and a pension of £10 a-year for life; the latter, was however, forfeited by the conviction While the deceased was in that prison an order from the Secretary of State arrived, directing that the Victoria Cross which had been obtained by the deceased should be also forfeited, and this also affected the deceased. A juror wished to know if a copy of the letter on the date would he forwarded to the friends Captain Craig replied that no transcript would be made, but the original became their property, and would be forwarded to them with the decision of the coroner's jury. The body could be buried either by them or otherwise. After some remarks on the very melancholy character of the case, The jury returned a verdict of " Suicide while labouring under unsound mind."
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/3169054 The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Sat 12 Mar 1864 Page 3 FLOGGING IN THE ARMY. FLOGGING IN THE ARMY. From the Daily Telegraph, December 8. (Note this was published in the Courier on 12 Mar 1864, but is from the Daily Telegraph December 8, presumably 1863!!) On Thursday last a soldier was tried at Winchester Assizes whose case may serve to illustrate the kind of men with whom the army authorities have to deal, and to remind the public, at the same time, how much rough and rude nobility is still to be found in tho ranks. Valentine Bambrick, a man who had earned the Victoria Cross by his valor, has just been sentenced to penal servitude for three years. The story is short and simple. Drinking one night at Aldershot, a brawl arose, in which some of the miserable women who haunt the purlieus of the camp were concerned. Caro- lina Johnson—who is described, with a world of pathetic significance in the formal phrase- ology, as "spinster, without occupation"— was in the company of Bambrick. Russell, a lance corporal in the Commissariat Depart- ment, came up to the door of the house, in front of which they were standing, and in which Russell also was a lodger. If the story of the latter is to be entirely trusted— and it was undoubtedly believed both by judge and jury—Bambrick suddenly rushed upon him without the slightest provocation, assaulted him, and tore from his breast four silver medals. For stealing those he was placed upon his trial, and his statement that he attacked Russel simply because the latter was ill-treating a woman was unsup- ported by any other testimony than his own. Ho had served in the army for ten years; he would have beenn entitled to his discharge the very day after this occur- rence. When the verdict of guilty was de- livered, the judgo, who had been struck by the soldier's manly bearing and evident in- telligence, deferred passing sentence until tho following morning; but as they moved the prisoner from the dock he cried out, " It's of no consequence what you do now. I don't caro about loosing my pension ; but I have lost my position. I don't care what you do with mo. You may hang me if you like." Next day the judge condemned bim to penal servitude for three years ; and thou, turning to tho female prisoner, he was about to pass sentence upon her, when Bambrick, seizing the girl's hand in his strong grasp, held it aloft, and cried out, with a wild chivalry that must have appealed to the human sym- pathy of every one in that court, "Look at this small hand, my lord! What could she have done against a strong man? She was merely in the room." His last words before he was led away to gaol wore these, "There won't be a bigger robber in England than I shall be when I come out I" It was a reckless and desperate speech; but such a man as this is not to be despaired of. For once, the prison chaplain will, we venture to assert, meet with a nature that can be won to better things. This soldier—one of our proudest "Legion of Honor"—nevor did any- thing finer or braver then when, faithful to the Iast to his unhappy companion, he made that touching appeal on her behalf. The roughest fellows in the ranks have in them some elements of good. Humanity, kindness, consideration for their failings, would soon develop these to their full extent. Such men as Bambrick are not uncommon ; but their virtues are stunted, their vices con- firmed, by a system which gives them scarcely any opportunities for self-improve- ment, whilst it punishes their faults and error by the lash. The cat-o-nne-tails never yet made a bad soldier into a good one; but it has made many a goon one bad.