Captain Hugh Talbot Burgoyne VC (1833-1870)
Navy captain and Victoria Cross holder who was lost at sea.
Hugh Burgoyne was a 21-year-old naval lieutenant when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry ‘in the face of the enemy’.
Early in the Crimean War, he and two other men volunteered to go onto a beach held by the Russian army. Despite considerable opposition, they managed to destroy the Russians’ stores and ammunition.
Later in his career, Hugh oversaw the building of an experimental warship, HMS Captain. Tragically, the top-heavy new ship capsized and sank in a squall in 1870. More than 450 men went down with her.
A few men, including Captain Burgoyne, scrambled onto the upturned hull. All but Hugh jumped into the water and were rescued by a launch. Hugh was never seen again.
Though his body was lost at sea, Hugh is remembered on the family memorial in the cemetery. He and his men are also commemorated on a plaque to the lost ship in St Paul’s Cathedral, and a stained glass window in Westminster Abbey.
Hugh came from a notable military family. His father, Field Marshall Sir John Fox Burgoyne, fought alongside the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular Wars. His grandfather, General John Burgoyne, fought in the American War of Independence.