Michael Tighe

Born a soldier

Michael Tighe served in armed forces all his life.

Michael Tighe initially served with the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot, joining as a drummer boy at the age of 15. His father had died in action in the Battle of Maida in Sicily in 1805, when Michael was five years old, and was in the rear of the battle, in the baggage guard.

He rose in rank from Colour-sergeant to Ensign in 1845; to Lieutenant by 1853; to Captain by 1860; and from 28 October 1863 he held the rank of Major.

His regiment had come to New Zealand in 1845, taking part in the fighting in the Land Wars, at Okaihau, Ohaeawai, Ruapekapeka, Boulcott’s Farm, Horokiri, and St. John’s Wood.

The 58th left in 1858 – but Tighe remained. He was in charge of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers in early 1862. In March 1865 Tighe was the only member of staff of Militia and Volunteers to be retained (as Major Adjutant of Militia and Volunteers) when new regulations came into effect. He remained in the colony at war’s end, taking command of the Militia and Volunteers from early 1866. By 1867, he was in command of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers.

He died suddenly on 25 June 1868, next to his wife in bed.

“Born a soldier, and bred a soldier, he lived and died a soldier.”

Where is the grave?

Michaael Tighe's grave is near the Catholic Memorial. Site 8 in the Rose Walk Trail Guide.
  • <p>Tighe served in the New Zealand Wars, and saw action at the battle of Ruapekapeka Pa, in Northland in 1845. Bombardment of Ruapekapeka Pa from a drawing 10 January 1846 by Major Cyprian Bridge. <em>Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington,  Ref: PUBL-0054-1-077.http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22792098</em></p>