• Stephen Callaghan

The service of Thomas Costello from Shinrone

Thomas Costello was born in Shinrone, King’s County (Offaly) around 1837. Thomas was a volunteer in the 98th King’s County Rifles, the local militia regiment. He was released from his militia engagement on 26 February 1855 so he could enlist for service in the 21st (Royal North British Fusilier) Regiment of Foot which he did at Birr on 3 March 1855.


On this enlistment in the army he was described as a labourer, 5 foot 7 inches tall with grey eyes and brown hair. It was noted that the letters ‘TC’ were tattooed on his left forearm.


Private Costello was sent out to the Crimea where the regiment had already taken part in the Battles of Alma and Inkerman. He served with the regiment for the remainder of the Siege of Sevastopol. For his service he received the Crimea medal with the clasp ‘Sevastopol’ and Turkish Crimea medal.

After the Crimea the regiment was stationed in Malta. In June 1857 Private Costello volunteered to be transferred to the 7th Regiment of Foot. The following month the regiment embarked for India.

Umbeyla Campaign, 1863 - courtesy National Army Museum.

In 1863 the regiment took part in the Umbeyla campaign. The campaign saw the mobilisation of 6000 British and Indian soldier and took place on the border area between the Northwest Frontier and Afghanistan. The local Pashtuns were opposed to British rule and frequently attacked. The campaign ended with British victory after the village of Malka was burnt. The expedition force suffered around 1000 casualties. For his service in the campaign he received the India General Service medal (1854) with the clasps ‘Umbelya’.

Private Costello's India General Service medal.

Thomas was discharged from the army on 7 August 1865, his conduct was noted as good. His intended place of residence as Manchester. Thomas has yet to be traced in his civilian life.

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