'Exceptional' soldier who collapsed and died in Sheffield finally gets memorial

Colonel Geoffrey Norton, chairman of the trustees of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association; Brendan Snodden, of the Royal British Legion Sheffield South Branch; and Colonel Richard Elliott, trustee of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, at the unveiling of the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel.
Colonel Geoffrey Norton, chairman of the trustees of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association; Brendan Snodden, of the Royal British Legion Sheffield South Branch; and Colonel Richard Elliott, trustee of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, at the unveiling of the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel.
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A soldier whose 'exceptional' courage earned him the highest military honour has finally been recognised with a memorial near the spot where he died in Sheffield.

Lieutenant George Lambert, who was based at Hillsborough Barracks, won the Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the Indian uprising of 1857.

The Garrison Hotel owner Alan Wilkinson; Brendan Snodden, of the Royal British Legion Sheffield South Branch; Colonel Geoffrey Norton, chairman of the trustees of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association; and Colonel Richard Elliott, trustee of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, at the unveiling of the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel

The Garrison Hotel owner Alan Wilkinson; Brendan Snodden, of the Royal British Legion Sheffield South Branch; Colonel Geoffrey Norton, chairman of the trustees of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association; and Colonel Richard Elliott, trustee of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, at the unveiling of the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel

Having survived the rebellion, he collapsed and died of a burst blood vessel while on parade at his home barracks in February 1860, aged just 39.

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A display honouring his distinguished service was today unveiled inside The Guardhouse Bar and Restaurant at The Garrison Hotel, which lies within the old barracks walls and close to where he died in what is today the Morrisons car park.

Amateur historian Ron Clayton, who was instrumental in getting the memorial installed, said: "It's clear from his actions that he was an unbelievable guy who showed exceptional bravery.

Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid unveils the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel (pic: Diane Smith)

Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid unveils the George Lambert Victoria Cross memorial at The Garrison Hotel (pic: Diane Smith)

"I'm grateful to the hotel for putting up this memorial so more people can learn about his remarkable story, which is part of the history of this area."

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Mr Lambert was born in what is today Northern Ireland and joined the 84th Regiment, later to become the York and Lancaster Regiment, as a young man in 1842.

He was stationed for 17 years in India and Burma, before his regiment took up residence at Hillsborough Barracks in 1859.

It was for the valour he displayed in three separate encounters during the Indian uprising of 1857 that he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

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On one of those occasions, at Bithoor, he drove back rebels using bayonets, and on another he helped British forces recapture the city Lucknow, which had been seized.

Chris Hobbs, who has spent countless hours researching the history of Sheffield's Victoria Cross holders, said Mr Lambert was the first person with links to the city to receive the award.

He was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, second only to the Victoria Cross in seniority, making him part of a very select band of men to have won both.

Colonel Geoffrey Norton, chairman of trustees at the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, said: "It's important we recognise what people like him did for us all those years ago, so I think it's fantastic we have this memorial."

The memorial was created and paid for by the hotel, whose owner Alan Wilkinson served with the military police in Berlin and Eygpt during the 1950s, and was unveiled by Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid.

Mr Lambert's Victoria Cross medal is on display at Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham.

His body lies at Wardsend Cemetery, and efforts are ongoing to tidy up his grave as part of the wider restoration of the Victorian burial place.