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Surgeon Valentine Mumbee Macmaster, V.C.

Birthplace:
- Trichinopoly, Madras, India

Birthdate:
- 16 May 1834

Nationality:
- Scottish

Family Background:
- Not known

Career before Halifax:
- Assistant Surgeon, 78th, 27 March 1855
- to 6th Dragoons, 25 September 1860
- to 18th Hussars, 3 June 1864
- Surgeon, 14 March 1868
- to 78th Highlanders by appointment, 6 March 1869

Medals & Awards:
- Medal and claps (Persia)
- Medal and two clasps (Indian Mutiny)
- Victoria Cross

Postings while in NS Command:
- Halifax, 9 May 1869 to 25 November 1871

Married:
- Annie Burmester, at St. Paul's Church, Halifax, 23 June 1870

Children:
- Bryce Belcher, (b, Halifax, 11 May 1871)

Died:
- 22 January 1872

Macmaster (his name was often spelled M'Master) joined the 78th as an assistant surgeon in March 1855, and served with it in this position throughout the Persian and Indian Mutiny campaigns. In Persia he was at Kooshab, and at Mohumrah; in India he was with Havelock's column from the beginning, and was present at the first relief of Lucknow on 25 September 1857. As has been seen, he carried the Queen's colour for a time during the last bloody dash for the gates of the Lucknow Residency, and once inside immediately set to work tending to the regiment's wounded as they struggled in. Later, after the 78th itself had become besieged inside the Residency he himself was wounded in a night time sortie against the enemy. After being evacuated from the Residency, Macmaster was present at the battle for the Alam Bagh, and later at the battle of Bareilly. As has also been seen, after the Mutiny had been suppressed, the 78th regiment as a whole was awarded a Victoria Cross for its role in bringing this about, and by "the unanimous selection of all the regiment" Macmaster was chosen to be the one to wear it.

Macmaster seems to have entered fully into the world of Halifax society, for on 23 June 1870 he married one of its more attractive adornments, Annie Burmester. Her father was Major John Burmester of the Royal Engineers, who had served in Halifax from 1844 to 1850, and her mother was the daughter of H.H. Cogswell, one of the leading lights of the Halifax commercial world in the first half of the nineteenth century. The bride was attended by six bridemaids, and the groom by officers of the 78th in full dress. "The ancient edifice" St. Paul's, wrote the Acadian Recorder, "was crowned with the beauty and fashion of the city to witness the ceremony." A son, Bryce Belcher, was born to the Macmasters in Halifax on 11 May 1871.

Masmaster must have been in poor health by the time that the 78th left Halifax, for only three months later, on 22 January 1872, he died. When news of his death reached Halifax the Recorder observed: "He was well and favourably known in this community ... and the intelligence of his demise will cast a gloom over a large circle of sincere friends in this city."

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