Joseph Patrick McDermott was born in Dundrum Ireland in 1837 (his India service file is available online). He studied in the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. He subsequently served as a Surgeon-Major in the 15th Madras Native Infantry and as you see from his medal entitlement, he served in Burma and Afghanistan. The medal pair is his full medal entitlement.
The first medal is the Afghanistan Medal for 1877, 79 & 80. This medal is correctly named on rim “SURG. MAJ. J.P. McDermott.15th. M.N.I.”
His second Victorian Campaign medal is the India General Service award with bar for “Burmah 1887-89”. This medal is officially named on rim “Surg. Major J.P. McDermott 15th. Madras Infy”
Both medals are in good condition. No ribbons attached.
The purchaser of this medal pair will also receive a soft copy of a newspaper article describing the sad faith of Surgeon Major McDermott.
The newspaper report is from the coroner’s inquest into the death of Surgeon Major Joseph Patrick McDermott which was held in Bath.
The evidence showed that he had poisoned himself at Limpley Stoke, Hydropathic Establishment. The building still exists today and operates as a hotel. In the 1860’s onwards this was a venue for the administration of the appliances of Hydrotherapy and was a popular venue for Turkish baths.
The coroner’s report states that he was poisoned by taking prussic acid (hydrogen cyanidins).
It appears that he had taken the poison from the dispensary of the Medical Officer, Dr. Drake. The latter gave evidence at the inquest and stated that Surgeon Major McDermott fancied that he had a skin disease, this worried him and he couldn’t sleep. McDermott also apparently had written to Dr. Drake saying that he had had a good time but now life was unbearable and not worth living.
A verdict of suicide while temporarily insane was returned.
We also learn from the newspaper report that he was unmarried but had a brother living at St. Patrick’s Road Drumcondra, Dublin. The funeral took place in Dublin.
There is only basic research done on this medal pair, it is certainly worthy of a great deal more research.