Londonderry pensioner’s delight as war hero ancestor honoured – after two centuries

Ruby Jordan with the medal awarded to her great-great-grandfather Daniel Gallagher for his service during the Peninsular War of the early 19th century
Ruby Jordan with the medal awarded to her great-great-grandfather Daniel Gallagher for his service during the Peninsular War of the early 19th century

A well-known 90-year-old woman from Londonderry has spoken of her delight that her great-great-grandfather’s remarkable service in the British Army has been finally recognised after two centuries.

Ruby Jordan’s ancestor, Daniel Gallagher, served with distinction in some of the most famous battles of the early 19th century. particularly during the Peninsular War from 1807-14.

He fought in the Second Battle of Copenhagen. He fought in the Battle of Corunna where he was amongst the troops who famously marched barefoot through snowy passes after their boots had worn out. He served during the three-week Siege of Badajoz and in the Battle of Salamanca.

He was denied a medal for his courageous and remarkable service only on a technicality – the application was made to the War Office after he had died.

Now, thanks to Ruby’s persistence on behalf of her ancestor and the intervention of a local historian, Frank Carey, his service has been posthumously recognised.

Ruby was presented with the medal by Mayor of Londonderry Hilary McClintock at a small ceremony in the Fountain area of the city.

Ms Jordan said: “My second cousin, who lives in Castlerock, lived in the house belonging to my great-grandfather. This lady found this scrap of paper from an old copy of the (Londonderry) Sentinel, dated 1893. She had been listening to me on BBC Radio Foyle and she knew I was interested in history so she sent it to me.”

The clipping contained a copy of an article by Isabella Holland, a relative of Mr Gallagher, outlining his incredible military record.

Ruby added: “When I got it, my imagination was running away and I thought that it really wasn’t fair that he didn’t get the medal. He had been in every battle.”