William Napier, whose remains lie in Rochester cemetery, received the Empire's highest honour for gallantry while fighting for the British army during the Indian Mutiny.JOHN GLOVER, ROCHESTER RSL April 25, 2014 3:10am
Rochester RSL member John Glover wrote this story about a former Rochester resident who migrated to Australia:
Sgt William Napier was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents in 1827.
An uncle had served in the British army at the Battle of Waterloo and this inspired young William to enlist in the 13th (1st Somersetshire, Prince Albert’s Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot at the age of 18.
He subsequently served in the Crimean War (Battle of Sebastopol) and was stationed in South Africa when the regiment deployed to India to help quell the Indian Mutiny.
Sepoys (soldiers) employed by the East India Company had refused certain orders based on religious principles and a small rebellion transformed into the First Indian War of Independence.
Many lives were lost and the British Raj was significantly restructured as a consequence.
In April 1858, Sgt Napier saw a regimental soldier badly wounded and cut off from help.
Sgt Napier went to his aid, received a significant head wound while tending to the soldier’s wounds, returned fire despite being blinded by blood from his own injury, then carried the wounded soldier to safety.
Declining the offer of a commission as a reward for his gallantry, Sgt Napier was awarded the Victoria Cross and promoted to Company Sergeant Major.
Queen Victoria established the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War in 1856, but 182 were awarded during the Indian campaign.
Created to reward those who displayed supreme courage and gallantry under fire, the Victoria Cross was the premier award for gallantry and remains so today.
Sgt Napier discharged at his own request, travelled to Australia, married in Melbourne, was widowed within a few years, remarried in Bendigo and settled in Rochester, where he is regarded as one of the pioneers of the district.
He was the only VC winner living in Victoria at the time of Queen Victoria’s silver jubilee.
Initiated into St John’s of Rochester Masonic Lodge before the formation of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria in 1889, he was subsequently installed as Master and later served as treasurer for a considerable period.
He died in 1908 and is buried in Bendigo Cemetery where his grave is maintained by the Australian Office of War Graves.
Today the The News is launching its Downsizing Shepparton Campaign.
The Yarrawonga Pigeons have secured a vital win over Wangaratta Magpies at JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga.
Murray Dairy has appointed Ross Read from Toolamba West in the extension co-ordinator role.
An Echuca man has pleaded guilty to bashing and kidnapping another man in Moama in August 2013.
Fiona Colenso was shocked last week when Campaspe Shire contractors arrived to fence off her driveway.
The final 25 players have been chosen to represent the Goulburn Valley Football League in their quest to regain the number one football ranking in country Victoria.
A 640 000 bird proposal finally gets the green light from Strathbogie Shire Council.
Record cattle prices were recorded at the Finley Saleyards on Friday
People in rural and remote areas are significantly over-represented in the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
Cobram Barooga residents are being encouraged to eat pink this month to support breast cancer research.
First Deniliquin crop shows promise.
The Farm Water Program Round 4 Registration of Interest call has reopened to enable irrigators who may have missed the main call another opportunity to participate.
Former Member for Indi, Sophie Mirabella has two other contenders for Liberal pre-selection for her old seat.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.