Henry James Raby. VC. CB

Henry James Raby (26/09/1827 –  13/02/1907) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Crimean War in 1855.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page: 653,  reads:

“Henry James Raby,

Commander John Taylor,

Captain of the Forecastle Henry Curtis, Boatswain’s Mate.

On the 18th June, 1855, immediately after the assault on Sebastopol, a soldier of the 57th Regiment, who had been shot through both legs, was observed sitting up, and calling for assistance. Climbing; over the breastwork of the advanced sap, Commander Baby and the two seamen proceeded upwards of seventy yards across the open space towards the salient angle of the Bedan, and in spite of the heavy fire which was still continuing, succeeded in carrying the wounded soldier to a place of safety, at the imminent risk of their own lives. (Letter from Sir S. Lushington, 7th June, 1856.)”

Raby was the first man to receive the VC from The Queen at the first investiture on 26 June 1857. The Queen pinned the crosses on the recipients in strict order of Service precedence and seniority. Commander Raby therefore came first as the senior officer in the senior service on parade, although his V.C. deed had been performed after that of the midshipman, Lucas, who certainly stands as the first to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Similarly in the army contingent, Sergeant-Major Grieve was the first soldier on the parade to receive the cross, because he belonged to the Cavalry, an arm senior to the Infantry, although his VC deed was later than those of the four infantry soldiers who earned it at the Alma.”

He died in Southsea, and is buried in Highland Road Cemetery in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Highland Road Cemetery

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