Philip Baybut (22nd November 1844 to 17th April 1907)


I like finding the graves of people (mostly soldiers) who've been awarded Victoria Cross medals for bravery. The American equivalent is the Congressional Medal of Honour. There's a man lying in a cemetery in Manchester who was awarded one and here I am at his grave. Philip Baybut was the first British person ever to be awarded this rarely-awarded medal.


Little is known about him. Aged about 19 Philip travelled to America to visit his brother and while there he enlisted as a private in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. The 21-year-old cavalryman he fought in the Battle of Yagers Mill in Virginia in September 1864 but Iím not sure what act of bravery invited such a prestigious medal. Overall he fought in eight major battles and was seriously wounded twice when his horses were shot from beneath him.


I'm not sure when Philip returned to the UK but he did, got married and had eight children. A census stated he was working a book-keeper. He never recovered from his injuries and died aged 62. The smaller headstone you can see was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Philip's granddaughter. It was made in America and sent over on the instructions of the American government. Well worth a stiff salute.