And the folks in Ireland have recognized its importance. In 2007 they affixed the Ulster Historical Circle plaque on its outside walls to tell of its story... or really that of Charlie.
The house even had a name... the Druminargal House.
Charles would leave his home to join the Royal Navy during the first years of the potato plight that caused such devastation to the country. Over 1/3rd of the population made a living from the crop till the disease came along. A million people would die and another million would have to leave their home island by whatever means they could just to live. Charles Lucas chose the life of a sailor.
His next ship was a smaller one called the HMS Fox, as pictured here. Its 40 guns would be brought into action during the 2nd Burmese War of 1852. When a small fleet including the Fox entering a heavily fortified harbour and landing a party of men, it is believed the Lucas played a role in the spiking of guns after capturing the valuable stockades and even destroying quantities of enemy ammunition. Later actions at Rangoon and Peru brought the war to an end with the annexation of Burma with the East Indian Company.
Those studying Canadian history might recall the name of the HMS Fox. After its war service the ship was sold off to Lady Franklin who sent it off to the Arctic in search of anything pertaining to her missing husband, the explorer John Franklyn.
But by then Charles Lucas would have been serving for some time of the HMS Hecla in the earliest days of the Crimean War. it was in June of 1854 that the vessel had travelled along some 3000 mile journey with 10 surveyors on board and a job of surveying and charting waters in search of suitable anchorages areas for large fleets of vessels. When it turned into a harbour it was surprised by very heavy bombardment of Russian land batteries.
The Hecla had only 8 guns onboard. Two other accompanying warships had another 30, but the Russians had 100 guns that had their sites set on the British. Soon a live cannonball landed on the deck of Lucas's ship and the fuse was still lit. The command came down instantly to hit the deck and take cover, but Lucas ran for the cannon ball which surely must have been red hot, grabbed it and muscled it to the edge of the boat and threw it overboard. It blew up before it even hit the water, causing minor damage to the exterior of the vessel and a few injuries. but none life threatening. Had he not taken the instant action the wooded vessel may well have been sunk, and taken many of the crew with it to the bottom of the ocean.
The Hecla's commander instantly promoted Lucas on the spot to Acting Lieutenant. The Officer's superior was the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Charles Napier, and he supported the recommendation as did London later.
On June 26 1857 at Hyde Park, London, HRH Queen Victoria sat on her horse in one of the most formal parade in British History. On that day she leaned over to 62 heroes who filed past and had the VC pinned on their chests. Number 4 in that long line of brave men was Charles Lucas, pictured here many years later of course.
The Victoria Cross is worn on his chest, at the left of 3 medals as you look at the picture. The middle medal is the Indian General Service Meda of 1854 and on it, but difficult to see is the campaign bar for Pegu. The third medal being worn is the Baltic Medal.
Lucas stayed in the Royal navy for over 25 years and retired in 1873 after serving on and commanding many a Royal Navy vessel. While on the retirement list he would received his final promotion..to that of a Rear Admiral.
Having returned home at one point later in his life, he discovered that he had left his medals on the train or carriage and searches did not ever turn them up again. he was later issued duplicates though.
After Lucas retired from naval service his former commander William Hall passed away. At his death bed he showed the incredible respect he held for Lucas by asking him to do the dying man, who then was also a Rear Admiral, a favor. He asked Lucas to take care of his wife. And he also asked that Lucas marry his daughter. The sailor did as he was asked... on both accounts and later even raised three daughters.
In 2006 the British Royal Mail issued the stamp shown here in commemoration of the 150th year anniversary of the Investiture of the first ever Victoria Crosses, including to Charles Lucas who's image appears on the stamp. The following year the folks back in Ireland also commemorated Lucas by affixing the Plague, as pictured above to the side of the house he was born in so many years earlier and depicted at the top of this blog.
Charles Lucas performed his heroic deed 149 years ago today.