Dudley Stagpoole VC

Born 1838 Galway, Ireland - Died 1 Augst 1911 Hertfordshire, England

What we know about Dudley.

Dudley was the youngest of three brothers. Of the three only Dudley has a recorded birth date, 1838. He was probably born in the parish of Killannin, County Galway, Ireland.

Dudley became a Drummer in the 57th regiment of the British Army. He enlisted on 15 May 1854 and he was discharged 16 May 1877, aged 39. He was recorded as being five foot ten and one half inches with grey eyes and brown hair.

He fought in Crimea and in New Zealand.
Dudley travelled to New Zealand on the troop carrier Star Queen, arriving in Auckland on 13 January 1861. The troop ship then travelled onto New Plymouth and arrived there on 25 January 1861.

Dudley won the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Victoria Cross within the space of seven days during actions in Taranaki in 1863. After service in Taranaki the regiment transferred to Waikato in 1866 before returning to Great Britain.

Unlike his two brothers, Dudley returned to Britain with the regiment. He served a total of twenty one years and two days in the army. His service overseas was Crimea 272 days, Malta for two years and one month, India for two years and 232 days and New Zealand for six years and 192 days.

He married three times, outliving each of his first two wives and tragically his first two sons also. He lived for most of his adult life in the Woolwich area of Greater London. He worked at the Arsenal at Woolwich and as a dockyard messenger.

His grave is in the Hendon Cemetery in London.


Victoria Cross
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Crimea Medal (1854-56) 1 clasp: "Sebastopol"
New Zealand Medal (1860-66) dated: "1861-66"
Turkish Crimea Medal (1855-56)
Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

 Young Dudley Stagpoole and his medals

Young Dudley Stagpoole

  Dudley and his second wife Mary Stagpoole ne Gillard

Dudley Stagpoole and Mary Gillard

The Wives and Children of Dudley Stagpoole

Elizabeth Sutton

Born c1846 - Died December 1868 Farnham, England
Married: February 1868 Salford, Lancashire.
John Bartholomew Dudley Stagpool (1868-1869) England.

Dudley's signature on his discharge record

Dudley's signature on his discharge record

Mary Anne Discombe Gillard

Born 1840 Tavistock, Cornwall, Devon England
Died 1883 Oakhampton, Cornwall England

Her father’s name was George Gillard and her mother’s name was Ann Discombe (or Descombe). The men of the family worked as agricultural labourers and in the local limestone Quarry. Mary had at least two brothers and a sister.

Mary and Dudley probably met when he was stationed at the Raglan Barracks Devonport. They were of a similar age, around thirty years, when they married 6 March 1870 in the Wesleyan Methodist chapel on King Street, Plymouth.
Mary had a younger sister who also married an Irish drummer named John Keane. Both sisters and their husbands lived in Plumstead, Woolwich London.

Mary Ann Stagpool (nee Gillard) probably travelled with the regiment when it returned to Ireland between 1871 and 1873. Records show that Dudley and Mary’s first child, Honora was baptised in Clare, Ireland in 1872. Further the family is not found in the 1871 English census records. This implies that Mary was able to travel with the army. This was a privilege granted to only around 10% of army wives. Mary's sister, Elizabeth Keane (nee Gillard) returned to her family during
the time the regiment travelled to Ireland.

Mary Anne had four children before dying in 1883 in her early forties. Her children were aged between 4 and 13 years at her death. Census data shows Dudley and the children continued living together in the Woolwich area. The children’s Aunt and Uncle Keane continued to live close by the Stagpool

Charlotte Alice Cronk (nee Stagpool) Mary's youngest child,
was in her early twenties when Dudley married for the third time in July 1902. Charlotte was a witness to this marriage.

*Thanks to Barbara Shapland for material pertaining to the Gillard family.

Stagpool / Gillard Children
Ann Nora G. E. Stagpool (Honora)
Born 19 June 1871 Devon, England
Baptised on 3 January 1872 in Clare, Ireland.
Married John Dixon and had at least four children.

John Bartley George D. Stagpool
Born 1873 Woolwich
He was a Private in the Cameron Highlanders.
George died of a fever in 1898 at Darmali Egypt, during the Nile Campaign.


Queen’s Sudan 1896-98
Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908
with 1 clasp, The Atbara
These were auctioned most recently in 2006.

Mary Ellen Elizabeth Stagpool
known as Elsie.
Born 1877 Woolwich
Died 1964
Married Frederick Jones.
Frederick's family is thought to be of German origin with an anglicized family name.
They had at least 9 children.

Charlotte Alice B Stagpool (Cronk)
born c1880
Nothing is known of her or her descendents.

Marie Lee

Born c1876 Ireland.
Married 17 July 1902 Woolwich.
Her father was a police man.
Dudley Michael Stagpoole
born 1902 Woolwich - died c1977 Hampshire England.
Michael Dudley Stagpoole
born 1905 Edmonton - died 1987 England.

Michael Stagpoole Dudley's youngest child

The Christchurch Press 26 November 1987

1863 hero's son meets New Zealand cousins