CONNOLLY, William  [1817-1891]

William Connolly was born to Irish parents in Liverpool in 1817, the family living in Oakes Street, off London Road. He enlisted in the Bengal Army of the East India Company in 1837 and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Indian Mutiny when he refused to leave his post despite suffering several injuries. Leaving the army with some disablement from his wounds he returned to Liverpool where life was a considerable struggle. Forced to sell his VC he ended up in the Rice Lane workhouse before being taken in by Elizabeth Johnson, a widow running a herbalist shop at 14 Westminster Road, to spend the last few months of his life in relative comfort. He was buried in a pauper's grave in Kirkdale cemetery. The whereabouts of the grave is not known but a headstone has been erected near the entrance of the cemetery to commemorate his bravery. At various times he lived at 124 Mann Street L8, 40 Seacombe Street L5. All his homes have been demolished.


By far the best account of Connolly's life is to be found in James Murphy's book Liverpool VCs [2008 Pen & Sword]