|Carte de Visite (Trimmed)
Hills & Saunders - Photographers
Although the subject of this photograph is not directly identified, a red pencil notation on the image's reverse side states: "Bro. of Harry O'Toole.". A search of army lists from the
approximate time period of the photograph rather surprisingly turned up only one officer surnamed O'Toole - William O'Toole of the 98th Regiment of Foot. Unfortunately the Record of
Services for William O'Toole have not been located so much key information remains a mystery for now. The London Gazette and various army lists provide us with a basic framework of
his military career.
Ensign - 3 March 1858
Lieutenant by purchase - 31 December 1861
Captain - 6 January 1872
Retires and Honourary Major - 17 May 1879
Without O'Toole's Record of Services important personal details such as place and date of birth, name of spouse and next of kin remain obscure. One might assume his overseas
deployments would have followed those of his regiment:
India 1858 - 1867
West Indies 1873 - 1875
O'Toole retired just prior to his regiment's return to India in 1880. On 25 January 1862 while serving in India, O'Toole was granted a leave of absence to return to England to stand
before a medical board. O'Toole saw no active service in the field during his military career. As an officer in the 98th, O'Toole would have probably known Lieutenant Jahleel Brenton
Carey, also of the 98th, quite well. Carey would gain infamy during the Anglo-Zulu War when a patrol he was rather ambiguously in command of was ambushed by Zulu warriors. In the
resulting fray Louis, the Prince Imperial of France, who was a member of the patrol was killed. Carey would become something of the affairs scapegoat and was convicted by court martial
and found guilty of misbehaviour before the enemy though the guilty verdict was later withdrawn.
Very little else can be uncovered regarding William O'Toole without more personal information on with to base the research. Given this one additional Anglo-Zulu War connection may in
This carte de visite was found in an O'Toole family album which also contained a carte of Sergeant Edmund O'Toole of the Frontier Light Horse who won the Victoria Cross at Ulundi.
The question arises as to how, if at all, were the two O'Tooles' related? If they were relations the most probable likelihood is that they were cousins to some degree and Edmund's carte
was included in th album because of his notoriety. Another possibility is that the two men were brothers.
Examining Edmund O'Toole's genealogy reveals he had six brothers: Charles (b. 1841), William (b. 1843), Francis (b. 1844), Luke (b. 1846), Francis (b. 1850), and Henry (b. 1853). Was
Edmund's brother William the same man as our William O'Toole? Edmund's brother William was born in January 1843 which would have made him a little over 15 years old in 1858,
perhaps a bit young for an ensign but probably not unheard of at the time. It should also be mentioned that Edmund's brother William had the middle name of Vincent. In none of military
the records thus far examined is our William O'Toole ever shown with the middle name of Vincent or the middle initial of "V". On the other hand was Edmund's youngest brother Henry
the brother "Harry" mentioned on the above carte's reverse side? For now any relationship between Major William O'Toole and Sergeant Edmund O'Toole, VC is nothing more than an
interesting historical/gebealogical musing.