In March 1900, Crimean Veteran Mr. William Mann passed away in High Blantyre in his 86th year.
He had enlisted in the 26th Cameronians in 1835, and in the following year volunteered to the 20th, with which regiment he proceeded to Canada, and afterwards to Bermuda n the West Indies.
He served with the regiment on its return to England until the outbreak of the Crimea war, when he embarked again on active service. After landing in the Crimea, this brave Blantyre man took a distinguished part in the battles before Sebastopool, for which he was in possession of three war medals and 4 clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol one of the medals for being distinguished service in the field.
At the battle of Inkerman, he was shot through both legs and had to be carried off the battle, lamed for life. This caused him to be an invalid and he was subsequently discharged with nearly 20 years service on a pension of 1s 2d per day.
Pensioner William Mann was a guard of honour at Westminster Abbey at the coronation of the Queen. The exemplary and worthy old soldier had along with his partner lived in Blantyre since he was discharged in 1860 right up until his death in 1900.
William Mann was known by the nickname “Old Inkerman” in Blantyre. His last request was to have a soldier’s funeral.
Friends rallied and General Chapman , Commander of the Forces of all of Scotland was telegraphed. However, the General refused to come to Blantyre or grant the old Blantyre hero’s request, owing to the amount of time that had elapsed since his discharge. Instead of the full soldier burial he so desired, Old Inkerman’s coffin received a beautiful wreath of flowers as a token of respect from his surviving former soldier colleagues. God bless, old Inkerman.
Illustration: Battle of Inkerman
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka (c) 2016
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