DOWELL, George Dare
Lieutenant, Royal Marine Artillery
On 13th July 1855 at the Forth of Viborg in the Gulf of Finland, when an explosion occurred in the magazine of one of the cutters of HMS Arrogant, Lieutenant Dowell, who was on board HMS Ruby, took three volunteers and went, under very heavy fire to the assistance of the cutter. He took up three of the crew, and having rescued the rest and also the Captain of the Mast, George Ingouville, RN, (also awarded the VC in the same action), he then towed the stricken boat out of enemy range.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Marines Museum
Born 15 February 1831, Fishbourne, West Sussex, UK
Died 3 August 1910, Auckland, NZ
Buried Purewa Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
George Dare Dowell was born at Fishbourne, West Sussex, on 13th February 1831, and was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines at the age of seventeen. A year later, he qualified for the Royal Marine Artillery on 18th July 1849.
During the Crimean war (1854-56), he served with the British fleet in the Baltic Sea and was appointed to HMS Magicienne, a sixteen-gun paddle frigate. On the 13th July 1855, rocket boats from this ship, along with those of HMS Arrogant and the gunboat HMS Ruby, advanced to the coast of Wiborg to attack a Russian warship and two other vessels. Lieutenant Dowell, who was temporarily aboard HMS Ruby reloading his rocket boat, witnessed an explosion in one of the other boats and immediately called for volunteers to row to assist the stricken vessel.
Under fire, he rescued three of the boats crew, and then returned to salvage the damaged boat. For this action, he was gazetted for the Victoria Cross, which he personally received from Queen Victoria in Hyde Park on 26th June 1857, being thirteenth in line that day.
After being placed on half-pay in 1865, he took up a number of militia commissions until finally retiring in 1872. He emigrated to New Zealand, and died there aged 79 in 1910.