Crimea Medal with clasps 'Alma', 'Sebastopol'
We don't know anything about Michael's family or early life. He joined the Army and served as a Private in the 63rd Regiment of Foot. He was given the service number 3329. This suggests he enlisted in early 1853.
At this time the 63rd Regiment were stationed in Dublin, Ireland. The Crimean War broke out in October 1853, and Britain and France declared war on Russia in March 1854. At first the 63rd Regiment was not intended to take part in this fighting, so it sent large numbers of soldiers to reinforce other Regiments that were. In June however, the British plans changed and the 63rd Regiment was ordered to prepare to go to war. Michael arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, in September 1854.
Michael and the 63rd Regiment played a minor role in the Battle of the Alma on the 20th September. They then moved to Cathcart's Hill, where they joined the siege of Sevastopol. The Russians attacked these forces at the Battle of Balaklava on the 25th October. The 63rd Regiment took part in this battle, but Michael was not with them; we don't know why.
It is possible the reason was that Michael had been taken ill. Conditions in the Crimea during the winter of 1854-55 were extremely harsh, and thousands of British soldiers died from sickness and exposure to the cold, far more than were killed in combat.
We know that Michael fell ill at some point. He was taken to Scutari Hospital in the centre of Istanbul, Turkey, but despite the best efforts of Florence Nightingale and her team of nurses he died there on the 26th January 1855.
Michael's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 1949.