d. 11 Jan 1904


Fermanagh Times 17.01.1904


A very wide circle of friends and acquaintances in Fermanagh and adjacent counties will learn with sincere sorrow and regret of the death of Mr. William Cresswell, late Sergeant-Major in the l0lst Regiment which occurred at his residence in Market place, Enniskillen, on Monday. He had been in delicate health for some time past so that the end was not altogether unexpected. Mr. Cresswell was one of those genial good natured, whole-hearted men who make friends with every person they meet, and when it became known in Enniskillen that he had passed away, expressions of regret were universal, and not confined to people of any one class or religion. The deceased was a sound, consistent Protestant, a good church-man, and although he never obtruded his political opinions upon any person, his party recognised in him a staunch and reliable Unionist ready at all times to uphold the cause of loyalty in this country. His upright unassuming character and disposition won for him the respect of every person irrespective of creed.

Mr. Cresswell had a more than usually interesting career. Born at Cadda, Dromahair, some seventy years ago, he joined the service of the East India Company on the 16th September, 1850, being then a mere boy. He embarked for Bengal on the 29th July, 1851 on board the Mary Shepherd, an old fashioned sailing vessel, which being driven out of her course, and having to sail round the Cape of Good Hope, did not reach her destination until almost six months later. At this time there was not a single line of railway in India, and the young soldier had to march 1,300 miles from Bombay before he reached his regiment, a feat of no easy accomplishment. He had been only a short time with his regiment when, in 1852, the Burmese war broke out, in consequence of which they had to march back the entire distance under the most unfavourable conditions. He was in action at the fall of Pegu, which succeeded the storming of Rangoon by a few months. Mr. Cresswell's regiment had only returned from the Burmese war when, in 1857, the Indian Mutiny broke out. The first signs of the coming storm occurred at Meerut, a military station about 38 miles from Delhi, where 2,700 native troops and 1,700 Europeans, were then placed. Here on Sunday evening, the l0th March, while the Europeans were at Church, the mutiny broke out. It took the latter entirely by surprise. Officers were shot, the cantonments were fired, the gaol was broken up, and men, women and children were indiscriminately massacred. Before the European forces could be assembled the rebels were on their way to Delhi, where almost the entire troops were native, and the few English officers and men, including Lieut. Willoughby, were put to death. On the 30th May following the mutiny at Lucknow broke out, the English constructed lines of defence, bringing guns, shot and stores within. The mutineers approached the city, attacked the Residency, and the heroic defence conducted by Sir Henry Lawrence, and later by Colonel Inglis, soon became famous throughout the world. Mr. Cresswell was with the portion of the army led by General Havelock, which came to the relief. The march has been described as one continuous act of heroism and Mr. Cresswell possessed a vivid recollection of every incident of it. In nine days, under the pressure of intense heat and exhausting fatigue, that gallant band won four great battles and captured more than forty guns. Then the rainy season set in, cholera decimated the troops, and the mutineers by tens of thousands hung around them. At length success crowned their efforts, the Residency was reached and the garrison saved. Other massacres followed, but every calamity sank into insignificance when compared with the atrocities of Nana Sahib at Cawnpore. On the 5th June the mutiny broke out there. Mr. Cresswell was with Sir Hugh Rose's column, which captured Gwalior on the l9th and to whom the city and fort of Calpee also fell, bringing the mutiny to an end. He was wounded at the action of Agra on Sunday the l0th October 1857.

In August, 1858, the Government of India passed from the Indian Company to the Queen and the deceased's regiment became the 1st Munster Fusiliers. He had three medals - one for the Burmese War with Pegu clasp, one for the Indian Mutiny, and a much prized one for Meritorious Service to the latter of which was attached a substantial annuity. He was offered a Commission in 1866,but refused same, and in 1869 returned home, after spending 19 years and 6 months in India.

The most widespread sympathy is felt with his widow and family in their sad bereavement.

The funeral took place yesterday, when the remains were removed from the family residence and interred in the new Cemetery. There was a very large concourse of townspeople present. The chief mourners were:-

H. Cresswell, brother; W.H. Cresswell, R.P. Cresswell, G.W. Cresswell, Walter, Alex, David and Arthur Cresswell, sons; J.I. Cresswell, cousin; and C. Healy.

Amongst the general public present were:-

Messrs. Jeremiah Jordan, M.P.; E. Mitchell, M.P.; C.F.Falls, M.A. Solicitor; John F. Wray, Solicitor; A.C. Cooney, solicitor; Jas Hall, Wm. Teele, J.P.; H.R. Lindsay, J.P.; J.B. Frith, J.P.; P. Crumley, J.P; Dr. Betty, Dr. Kidd, Rev. C. Halshan, B.A; Rev. W.B. Jones, B.A.; T. Taylor, O.U.D.C; James Mitchell, postmaster; S.C. Clarke, solicitor; F. Carson, E. Rice, 0. McManus, L. Cox, J. Foster, T.I.Mayne, solicitor; John Henderson, solicitor; Jas. McGovern, J.M. Charlton, Robert Johnston, John Graham, J.J. Liddy; Jas. Dundas, William Ritchie, Charles Kerrigan, Sinclair Gunning, Geo. Whaley, Thos. Thompson, Andrew Moreton, T.A. Mercer, Joseph Cowan, William Boyd, J.C.A. Gordon, F. Gordon, J. Darling, Fras. Little, Alfred Weaver, Geo. Craig, Jason Law, John Mayers, I.Chambers, C. wilson, Fras. Creegan, Joseph Gunn,George Graham, M.M. Gourty, J. Kennan, J.J. Roberts, George Bleakley, J. Bleakley, T. Crowe, Edwd. Maguire, Jas. Slevin, A. Cathcart, Wm. Smith, Jas. McFarland, P. McNamee, Dr. Mahood, Dr. 0'Ternan, Geo. Goulter, Sergt. F. Bleakley (Inniskillings), Sergts. Tierney and D. Small, R.I.C., and Constables Reilly and Hamilton, J. Cox, D. Flanagan M. Flanagan, T. McManus, Geo. Crozier, T. Christy, Jas Johnston, J.Lynan, Richard Herbert, John Ward, Chas. Donnelly, Jas. Mulhern, Robt. Barton, H.A. Wilson, Alex Wilson, Jas. Wilson, T.Ingram, Jas. Lowry, Wm. Johnston, Patk. McGee, R.F. Lemon, Philip Drum, D. Nicholl, Thos. Nelson, G.B.Liddy, J. Manney, J.A. O'Hara, Hugh Brady, B. Skeffington, W. Scott, C.E; T. Armstrong, J. O'Donnell, Joe Hackett, Henry Magee, W. Wilson, W. Ginn, R.Conlon, R. Drum, T. Carrothers, Tempo, R.Saunderson, sen; R. Saunderson, jun; R. Johnston, S. Johnston, W. Morrow, Derrygonnelly; H. Kerr, Trillick;

The following represented the postal staff of Enniskillen:-

Messrs. R.G. Ford, J. Wilson, T. Kennedy, John Douglas, P. Goane, J. Masterson, W. Clarke, C. Bleakley and J. Laurie.

Wreaths were sent by the postal and telegraphic staff and by the wife and children of the deceased.

Rev. W.B. Jones officiated at the grave.