A Crimean Veteran.There died at Ravensbourne on the 12th inst. morning John M'Bain, a Crimean veteran, deserving of some passing notice. M'Bain enlisted at Aberdeen on March 18, 1848, into the Royal Regiment of Artillery; thence he was forwarded to Woolwich, the headquarters of the regiment.
A few years' garrison work at Woolwich and Devonport brought up the interval till 1854, when he was drafted into the Royal Horse, and put under orders for the Crimea, where he arrived September 16, 1854. No time was lost here, for in four days after his arrival he was taking part in the battle of Alma, and about a month later he was in the battle of Balaclava where, with his battalion he witnessed the celebrated charge of the Light Brigade.
On the 5th November he was in the Battle of Inkerman, which M'Bain always spoke of as being the most stubbornly contested of all the Crimean battles. During the following 10 mouths his detachment did good service in the protracted seige of Sebastopol. For these engagements he bore the Crimean medal with the four clasps, as also the Turkish medal.
On the arrival of the troops in England they were inspected by the Queen and Princess Victoria, now Empress Dowager of Germany. At the parade M'Bain carried on his shoulders an enormous Russian cat which he had brought from the Crimea, and which attracted her Majesty's attention so much that on the same evening the cat had found a royal mistress, and M'Bain was the happy possessor of a sum of money far exceeding its value.
After a short spell of nine weeks at headquarters M'Bain went with his regiment to the Ionian Islands. From here he was sent back to England as recruiting sergeant and to assist in procuring horses, at this time men and horses being in great demand for the Indian mutiny.
On the completion of about two years recruiting work in England he left with his recruits for India, via Corfu, Where they picked up the remainder of the regiment, arriving at Point de Galle in 1859. By the time they arrived in India the mutiny was over, and the batteries were distributed among the various subjugated districts to assist in maintaining the peace that had just been arrived at.
During his stay in India, which extended over several years, M'Bain passed most of his time as officer's servant to a gentleman who was a keen hunter of the wild beasts then, swarming in the jungles. His many reminiscences on these stirring scenes were highly entertaining, and the recital to intimate friends of his own share in this work helped to wileaway many a dreamy hour during the earlier stages of his illness.
On the completion of 21 years service he received his discharge, when he emigrated to Otago, where he has been for the past 17 years for some time in South Dunedin, and latterly at Ravensbourne. About 10 months ago he was attacked by a virulent form of cancer causing great pain and discomfort, most heroically borne, and from which he was happily released on Saturday last, at the age of 63.
Otago Daily Times , Issue 8638, 30 October 1889, Page 6