Yesterday marked the first Victoria Cross ever awarded. Corporal J Prettyjohns RM received the award on November 5th, 1854, for successfully leading a section which dislodged Russian marksmen from well defended caves in the Battle of Inkerman.
The caves at Inkerman were full of sharpshooters who were picking off officers and gunners. These were ordered to be cleared and a division under Sergeant Richards and Corporal Prettyjohns was tasked to do the job. Richards and Prettyjohns managed to clear the caves but used up all their ammunition in the process.
As a result they had to result to throwing stones and brute force to keep the enemy from retaking the caves which they managed to hold off.
Prettyjohns had a long and varied career in the Royal Marines and he was finally discharged on 16 June 1865 after 21 years service – 16 years of which were spent at sea or abroad.
He retired to the Greater Manchester area, and became a Golf Club steward at Whalley Range Bowling Club. He died on 20 January 1887.
His Victoria Cross and other medals is displayed at the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea, England.