Colonel Sir Pertab Singh, K.C.S.I., and the
Officers of the Jodhpur Lancers. (1897)
among the Indian Imperial Service Troops - indeed, even in
the Indian Army itself - it would be hard to match the two regiments of
Lancers quartered at Jodhpur, the capital of the Maharajah of Marwar's
dominions. They are composed entirely of those Rahtor Rajput
horsemen whose splendid heroism in the wars with the Marattas in the last
century have been immortalised in the glowing pages of Tod's "Annals
of Rajistan". The Rahtor Rajputs of today have lost nothing of
their old time martial enthusiasm. They are brilliant horsemen, and
the finest swordsmen in India, and the material of the two lancer
regiments is an ideal one for light cavalry, while they have, further, the
great good fortune of being led by a very exceptional man, Colonel Sir
Pertab Singh, brother of the late, and uncle of the present, Maharajah of
Marwar - "a nobleman of more than ordinary enlightenment, a keen
soldier, and an accomplished gentleman, whose greatest and most genuine
ambition is to bare his sword in the service of the Queen". Our
photograph shows Sir Pertab Singh and his officers at the Durbar held
after the inspection at Jodhpur by the Viceroy of India during his last
cold weather tour. As a proof of the sterling military value of the
Rahtor horsemen, the Indian military authorities are now endeavouring to
introduce a proportion of Rahtor Rajputs into certain regiments of the
Indian Regular Cavalry, and it is confidently expected taht the
development of the enterprise will greatly increase the value of our
Indian Cavalry, just as the fighting value of the Indian Infantry has been
increased of late years by an infusion of Sikhs and Goorkhas.
Original page from the Army and Navy
published 1897, this superb photograph measuring 10" x 8" of
the Jodhpur Lancers for sale priced £20. Page includes above text.
AUGUSTUS WOOD (Captains, afterwards Colonel)
20th Bombay Native Infantry
At Bushire, Persia on December 9th 1856, Captain Wood
led the Grenadier Company, which formed the head of the assaulting column.
He sprang on the parapet of the fort, being the first to reach it,
and was instantly attacked by a number of the enemy.
They fired a volley when only a yard distant from him, and,
although hit by seven bullets, he flung himself upon the enemy, killed
their leader with his sword, and with his own company, who were following
close behind him, routed the enemy, and took their position.
His decision, energy, and determined valour, undoubtedly (to use
the words of the Gazette) contributed in a high degree to the success of
the attack. His wounds
compelled him to leave the force for a time, but, with the pluck and
spirit of a good soldier, he rejoined his regiment, and returned to his
duty at Bushire before the wounds were properly healed.
Captain Wood joined the army in 1839 and saw
service in the Afghan War of 1842.
THOMAS MOORE (Lieutenant and Adjutant, now
Major-General C.B.) 3rd Bombay
On February 8th 1857, at the battle of Khoosh-ab,
Persia, Lieutenant Moore charged an infantry square at the head of his
regiment, jumping his horse over the bayonets of the enemy, a feat perhaps
never accomplished before. His
Charger fell dead, pinning him to the ground.
Extricating him with great difficulty, he attempted to cut his way
through the press, but, his sword being broken by the fall, he could
barely defend himself and would certainly have been killed but for the
prompt assistance of Lieutenant Malcolmson, whose record will be found
Moore was born on September 20th 1830, entered the Army in
1850, serving in the Persian War 1857, and the Indian Mutiny 1857, being
mentioned in despatches in the latter campaign.
Was afterwards through the operations in Central India under Sir
GRANT MALCOLMSON (Lieutenant, afterwards
Captain) 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry
At the battle of Khoosh-ab, on February 8th 1857,
Lieutenant Malcolmson, seeing that Lieutenant and Adjutant Moore, V.C. (to
whose heroic act we have referred above) was surrounded by a crowd of the
enemy and practically unarmed, his sword being broken, cut his way through
the mass of fighting Persians, and, giving his stirrup to his brother
officer, succeeded in conveying him to a place of safety.
But not his gallant conduct, Lieutenant Moore must have been
killed. The Gazette states that the thoughtfulness for others, cool
determination, devoted courage and ready activity shown in a moment of
extreme danger by Lieutenant Malcolmson, appear to have been most
admirable, rendering him worthy of the higher honour.
Captain Malcolmson, M.V.O., son of the late
James Malcolmson, of Muchrach, Inverness-shire, was born in 1835.
Present at the capture of Reshire and surrender of Bushire in the
Persian War; through the Indian Mutiny 1857, and took part in the Central
India operations, from the siege of Ratghur to the fall of Calpee.
Was, from 1870 one of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s
Gentlemen-at-Arms. He died on
August 14th 1902.
M. ROSAMOND (Sergeant
Major) 37th Bengal Native Infantry
On June 4th 1857, at Benares, Rosamond volunteered with
Lieut. –Colonel Spottiswoode, his commanding officer, to set fire to the
Sepoy lines so as to drive out the enemy.
He also accompanied Sergeant-Major Gill (V.C.) and Private Kirk (V.C.)
when they rescued Captain Brown and his family from their bungalow, which
the Sepoys had set on fire. His
conduct was specially noted as “meritorious” and he was promoted.
His Cross-was sold in London on November 25th 1903 for
THOMAS CADELL (Lieutenant,
now Colonel, I.S.C.) 2nd Bengal
Fusiliers (Late 104th Foot) The Royal Munster Fusiliers
The flagstaff on the historic “Ridge” at Delhi was often a
point of attack by the enemy when they attempted a sortie, as well as by
their friends outside in their many efforts to raise the siege.
On June 12th 1857, a vigorous attack was made, and the
pickets of the 75th and of the Bengal European Fusiliers were
forced to retire before overwhelming numbers.
Lieutenant Cadell, seeing a bugler fall severely wounded, went to
his assistance and, carrying him from among the enemy under a heavy fire,
saved him from certain death. Again, on the same evening, when his regiment was ordered to
retire on Metcalfe’s house, learning that a wounded man of the 75th
was left behind, he immediately went back towards the advancing mutineers,
taking with him three men, and brought him in.
This act of devotion he and his men accomplished under a terrible
fire of cannon and musketry.
Colonel Cadell, V.C., son of the late H. F.
Cadell, of Cockenzie, Haddingtonshire, and a younger brother of the late
General Sir Robert Cadell, K.C.B., was born on September 5th
1835. Educated at Edinburgh
Academy; Grange, Sunderland; and abroad.
He held various political appointments in India.
From 1879 to 1892 was Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
JOHN McGOVERN (Private,
afterwards Sergeant) 1st Bengal
Fusiliers (Now Royal Munster Fusiliers, 101st)
Decorated for his great gallantry during the siege of Delhi, and
for saving the life of a wounded comrade ion June 23rd 1857, by
carrying him into camp under a very heavy fire from the enemy’s battery.
WILLIAM GEORGE CUBITT (Lieutenant,
afterwards Colonel, D.S.O.) 13th
Bengal Native Infantry
When the Lucknow Residency was on point of being invested, sir
Henry Lawrence sent a force to meet and fight the advancing rebels at
Chinhut on June 30th 1857.
The result was a dismal failure, and the beaten troops returned to
the Residency with a loss they could ill spare.
At this battle Lieutenant Cubitt was prominently noticed, and, when
the retreat to Lucknow began, he saved the lives of three men at imminent
risk when the surging mass of fanatics had penetrated among our own
Born on October 19th 1835, son
Major W. Cubitt, of the Bengal Army, he was educated privately and entered
the Regiment of Native Infantry in 1853. His first active service was during the Santhal campaign,
after which he served through the Mutiny, taking part in the defence of
the Residency, the Duffla Expedition of 1875, Afghan War 1880, the Akha
Expedition of 1883, and the Burmah War of 1886, for which latter campaign
he was awarded the D.S.O. He
died at Camberley on January 25th 1903 and was buried at
ROBERT HOPE MONCRIEFF AITKEN
(Lieutenant, afterwards Colonel) 13th
Bengal Native Infantry
“For various acts of gallantry performed during the defence of
the Residency of Lucknow from June 30th to November 22nd
states the London Gazette in its matter of fact round.
Although only a few of the gallant acts of
bravery and devotion to his country and to his comrades are stated here,
those who served under or with Colonel Aitken have in remembrance the
invaluable services rendered by him throughout the now historic defence.
Twice he sailed out to bring in cattle as
food for the beleaguered garrison. On
another occasion, the enemy having set fire to the Bhoosa Stock in the
garden, which threatened to spread and ignite the powder magazine, Aitken
dashed out, cut down all the tents which might have communicated the
flames to the powder, and saved the garrison from fearful danger.
Whilst thus occupied he was under a terrific fire from the
enemy’s loopholes and housetops.
On August 20th the mutineers set
fire to the Baillie Guard Gate, by placing inflammable material against
it. Aitken was the first to
dash out, partially open the gate, and remove the combustibles.
On September 25th, by a plucky sortie, he, with his
native soldiers, attacked and seized two guns to prevent their being
turned against General Havelock’s column, which was advancing to their
the 26th he led a small party of his regiment to the assault of
a barricaded gateway of the Furreed Buksh Palace.
By throwing himself against the gate he was able to prevent it
being closed, thus giving time for his men to run to his help and force
the door. The capture of this
position was entirely due to his splendid bravery.
On the 29th, during a sortie of the garrison, he
volunteered to capture a gun, which harassed our troops by its continuous
fire upon them. With four of
his men he worked his way through the lanes and houses, shot at the whole
time by the enemy from the surrounding houses, and succeeded in reaching
the gun. Here he and his
little party held their ground until reinforced, when the gun was upset
from its carriage and taken back by them to the Residency.
(Lieutenant Digby-Jones, a relative of
Colonel Aitken, greatly distinguished himself during the Boer War of
1899-1902, the Gazette stating that the V.C. would have been awarded to
him had he survived, for his heroism at the great attack on the British at
Ladysmith, January 6th 1900.
Colonel Aitken became Ensign in 1847;
Lieutenant in 1853; Captain on February 18th 1861; Brevet-Major
February 19th 1861; Major, September 1867; Lieut-Colonel August
1st 1869. He was
son of Mr. J. Aitken, of Cupar Fife N.B., and was born on April 14th
1828. He went to India in
1847 and served with the Honourable Company’s 13th Regiment
of Bengal Native Infantry in the Punjab campaign 1848-9. Present at the action of Ramnugger, at the passage of the
Chenab, Battle of Goojerat, and with the column, which, under
Major-General Sir Walter Gilbert, pursued the Sikh and Afghan Army.
Medal and clasp. Served
with the 13th Regiment Bengal Native Infantry in the Santhal
Rebellion of 1855. Present in
some skirmishes with the Santhals, and, assisted by Lieutenant Loughnan,
13th N.I., personally took prisoner Koulea’s, a Santhal
chief, for whose captures a reward of Rs 5,000 was offered (reward not
paid to captors on the ground that soldiers were not entitled to it).
Served with the 13th N.I. throughout the Indian Mutiny
in 1857-8. Engaged
1st. In action
against the mutineers in Lucknow Cantonments on May 30th 1857.
In battle of Chinahut on June 30th 1857
Commanded, throughout the Defence of Lucknow, the whole of the
Hondostanee Sepoys of the 13th Bengal N.I., who remained
faithful; and, with them alone, held the Baillie Guard Post stated by Sir
John Inglis to be “perhaps the most important position in the whole of
Commanded in two sorties and was present in two others.
Commanded the remains of the 13th N.I. (both
Hindostanees and Sikhs) in the movement of retreat from the Residency on
the night of November 22nd, under General Sir Colin Campbell,
G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief. Present (as Paymaster of
the Army under General Sir Colin Campbell) in the fighting against the
Gwalior contingment in Cawnpore, from November 29th to December
5th 1857, and at the defeat of the rebels on December 6th
in the Battle of Cawnpore. Raised
the Cawnpore Levy and commanded it in Futtehpore district in support of
the troops engaged under Sir Colin Campbell (Commander-in-=Chief) in the
Baiswarah Campaign (Oudh) 1858. Was
Mentioned ten times in the despatches connected with the defence of
Lucknow and received the thanks of His Excellency the Governor-General in
Council for having “commanded an important position in the Defence with
signal courage and success.” The
following are two extracts from the Lucknow siege despatches of
Brigadier-General Inglis, commanding the garrison, which bear directly on
the services of Lieut. –Colonel Aitken in the command of the 13th
N.I., and of the Baillie Guard Post. First Extract
“Lieutenant Aitken, with the whole of the 13th N.I.,
which remained to us, with the exception of the Sikhs, commanded the
Baillie Guard, perhaps the most important position in the whole of the
Second Extract from Despatches:
“With respect to the native troops, I am of opinion that their
loyalty has never been surpassed. They
were indifferently fed and worse housed.
They were exposed, especially the 13th Regiment, under
the gallant Lieutenant Aitkin, to a most galling fire round shot and
musketry, which materially decreased their numbers.
They were so near the enemy that conversation could be carried on
between them, and every effort, persuasion, promise, and threat was
alternately resorted to in vain, to seduce them from their allegiance to
the handful of Europeans who, in all probability, would have been
sacrificed by their deserting.”
The following is a copy of the address which
General Sir Hugh Rose, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief in India, was pleased to
make in conferring the decoration of the Victoria Cross on Lieut.
–Colonel (then Major) Aitken: -
“The army knows, and history will tell, the
stand which the garrison of the Residency made for all the rights which
loyal soldiers and good men hold most dear.
“History will tell how, with entrenchments
hastily and rudely constructed, commanded from above and mined from below,
a few English, badly off for artillery and supplies, and exposed to the
worst of India’s seasons, repulsed for five months this incessant
attacks of a rebel army which, protected by a treacherous city, besieged
and hemmed them in on every side.
“You, Major Aitkin, were conspicuous
amongst those who at Lucknow upheld the cause of their country, of
humanity, and of civilization.
“Not satisfied with a resistance within the
Residency, which never yielded an inch, you acted on the offensive and
carried the war into the enemy’s camp.
Assisted by only a few faithful Sepoys of the 13th
Native Infantry, who, with pleasure I say it, were as resolute and devoted
as British soldiers, you captured on two different occasions enemy’s
guns, and on two others fortified houses.
“Of all his duties, there is not one which a commander values
more than giving a good soldier his meed.
“You may then judge, sir, with what
pleasure I give you the recompense conferred on you by our most
Illustrious Sovereign for your brilliant services; and you may judge how
that pleasure is enhanced by presenting you the Victoria Cross in the
midst of those scenes to which you and your gallant companions-in-arms had
imparted a celebrity which can never pass away.” In April 1871, was recommended for the Companionship of the
bath by His Excellency Lord Napier, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the
Indian Army, and his Excellency the Earl of Mayo, G.C.B., and
Governor-General of India.
Colonel Aitken died in September 1887.
WILLIAM CONNOLLY (Gunners)
Bengal Horse Artillery
There have been many acts of heroism recorded in this volume, but
few which can surpass the devotion to duty and strength of will exhibited
by this gunner. At Jhelum on
July 7th 1857, Connolly’s troop became engaged with the enemy
at short range. A “sponge
man” of one of the guns having been wounded, Connolly took his place,
and before he had served many minutes received a bullet through the left
thigh, which laid him alongside the gun.
The “retire” was then sounded, but we was helped on to his
horse in the gun-team and rode to the next position taken up, refusing to
leave his poet though the nature of his wound was pointed out to him.
From the fresh position he manfully sponged out his gun, firing
round after round, until a bullet again struck him, this time in the hip,
from which he fell to the ground, remaining partly unconscious, the pain
being very severe and blood flowing freely from his injured limb. On Lieutenant Cookes ordering his removal, Connolly
reclaimed, “No, sir, I’ll not go there while I can work here,” and
staggering to his feet he resumed his duties at the gun.
Later in the day, when the battery were pounding at a village wall,
a hail of bullets raining on the devoted crew, Connolly still was serving
his gun with a courage excited the admiration of all present, and he
called for more ammunition and cheered his men to continue in their heroic
task, till he was again struck, the bullet tearing through the muscles of
his right leg. Even then he
did not relinquish his post, but served his gun until it had been fired
six times more, when from loss of blood, agony from his wounds and
exhaustion of body, he fell into the arms of his officer and was carried
unconscious from the fight.
WILLIAM ALEXANDER KERR (Lieutenant)
24th Bombay Native Infantry
The 27th Bombay N.I. mutinied in July 1857, and a large
body of them made for the stronghold of Kolapore, midway between Belgaum
and Satara. Lieutenant Kerr,
then Adjutant of the Southern Mahratta Horse, quickly followed them up for
eighty miles. On reaching the
mutineers place of defence, he, on the 9th, with a few of his
men, made a dash at the gate and broke it down.
All within it were killed, wounded or captured, a result due to his
heroic dash and bravery. The
mutiny was thus practically at one stroke stamped out on the Malabar
Coast. Had there been more
men of calibre at some of the military stations in India at that time, the
Mutiny would probably have been checked at its outbreak and might never
have assumed such awful proportions in so short a time.
ROSS LOWIS MANGLES (Assistant-Magistrate
at Patna) Bengal civil Service
Mr. Mangles volunteered and served with the little force sent to
the relief of the garrison at Arrah, where fifteen Europeans and fifty of
Rattray’s Sikhs were holding out against 4,000 mutineers.
They fell into an ambush on the night of July 29th 1857,
and lost 300 of the 450 men. A
retreat was made next morning under a blazing Indian sun, and a terrible
fire from the Sepoys. At the
first attack Mr. Mangles was wounded, but, regardless of that, he assisted
the surgeon in his care of the injured, fetching water, when able, in
order to alleviate their sufferings. “In the flower of his youth, a man of fine presence, with a
long stride and a firm hand on his two-barrel, our men looked to him, as
to one who, though without official command, had neutral right to be
obeyed.” He was a
magnificent shot, and kept a hot fire from his post upon the enemy, a
little knot of men he kept together, handling him loaded muskets.”
During the retreat a soldier of the 37th had been shot
and, as he lay on the ground, implored Mangles not to leave him, well
knowing that Death, not in too fast or painless a manner, would be his on
the arrival of the mutineers.
Under a hail of lead, Mangles turned to the
man, bound up his wounds, and, though no food had passed his lips for
twenty-four hours, and no sleep had he had for forty-eight, ye he lifted
him upon his back and marched away with him.
The man he carried was a big as himself, the ground over which he
marched was swampy, rough and dangerous; yet for six long miles did he
tramp, only putting down his heavy burden to stand over him while firing
at the harassing enemy to keep them in check and enable him to accomplish
his act of mercy and of love. At
last he reached the river, into which he plunged, holding up his comrade
until he could get him into a boat, under medical care, his life was
eventually saved. His name
was Richard Taylor, and this story of as fine an act of English heroism as
has ever been recorded, was only brought to light by the surgeon to whom
the man recorded his marvellous deliverance.
It was this act, which was instrumental in bringing about the
alteration of the V.C. Warrant, as, up to that time, none but military or
naval men were eligible for the decoration.
Not until more than a year had passed with the incident just
recorded brought to the knowledge of Lord Canning by Sir James Outram,
who, on hearing of it, had decided to recommend Mr Mangles for the V.C.
Meanwhile, another splendid act had been done by another civilian in Oude,
but the decision of the authorities was, in spite of it, against the
alteration of the warrant. The
Governor-General thereupon, on receipt of Outram’s letter, wrote to the
Home Government, forwarding it for their information and emphatically
endorsing its contents, remarking “the modesty which has allowed the
event to remain unknown to those in authority until after the lapse of a
twelvemonth, is not the least remarkable feature in the story.” Afterwards the warrant was altered in favour of
“Soldier-Civilians,” and no one will regret the withdrawal of so
invidious a distinction.
Ross Lowis Mangles, born at Calcutta April 14th
1833, is the son of R. D. Mangles, member of the Bengal Civil Service,
and, after his retirement, M.P. for Guildford and a Director of the old
East India Company. Educated
at Bath Grammer School and Hailbury College, entering Bengal Civil Service
1853. In 1857 was
Assistant-Magistrate at Patna, accompanying the 45th (Rattray’s)
Sikhs in quelling a disturbance in Patna City, subsequently joining the
Arrah Relief Force as described. Immediately
after the retreat Sir Vincent Eyre drove the Sepoys out of Arrah and Behar.
He was then appointed Magistrate in the Chunparun District, North
Behar, being engaged there in procuring supplies and carriage for the
Ghoorkas under Jung Behadur, who had marched down from Napal to our
assistance. Early in 1858
held the station of Jewan in the Chuprah district until the Sepoys under
Koer Singh returned to Behar, upon which, having a guard of a few native
police, armed with swords, he escaped from one end of the station as the
rebels entered at the other, and, after a ride of forty miles, reached
Chuprah in safety. Held
subsequently the appointments of Commissioners of Revenue and Circuit in
several districts in Bengal; Judicial Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg in
Madras; Secretary to the Government of Bengal and Member of the Board of
Revenue, Lower Provinces. Gazetted
to his nobly earned Victoria Cross July 8th 1859, which he
received from the hands of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, On January 4th
JAMES BLAIR (Captain,
now Lieut. –General., C.B.) 2nd
Bombay Light Cavalry
During the night of August 12th 1857, at Neemuch,
Captain Blair volunteered to capture seven or eight mutineers who had shut
themselves up in a home near at hand. He burst open the door, and rushed upon them, when, to avoid
him, they fled by way of the roof. In
the struggle he was badly wounded, but in spite of this he pursued them,
being, however, unable to overtake them owing to the darkness of the
night. At Jeerum on October 23rd 1857, he was literally
surrounded by a party of rebels. In
an encounter with one of them, on whose head he broke his sword; he
received a terrible cut on the arm. Fighting
his way through them he rejoined his men, where he at once, wounded as he
was, placed himself at the head of the troop and with no other weapon than
the hilt of his broken sword, pursued the enemy for miles, completely
routing them. General Blair
was born on January 27th 1828.
Entered the Army in 1844; became Captain 1857; Colonel 1873, and
attained his present rank in 1894.
CHARLES JOHN STANLEY GOUGH
(Major, now General, G.C.B.) 5th
Bengal European Cavalry
Sir Charles Gough, one of two brothers who have been awarded the
Victoria Cross, was decorated for bravery on four different occasions.
On August 15th 1857, he saved the life of his brother,
Sir Hugh Gough (V.C.), killing two of his assailants.
On August 18th 1857, he led a troop of the Guide Cavalry
in a charge against the enemy, cutting down and killing two Sowars.
On January 27th 1858, at Shumsabad
he attacked the leader of the enemy’s cavalry, and ran him through with
his sword, which, however was carried out of his hand in the melee.
He then defended himself with his revolver and shot two of the
February 23rd 1858, at Meangunge, seeing Brevet-Major O. H. St.
George Anson in great danger, he dashed to his assistance killed his
opponent, and immediately afterwards cut down another of the enemy in a
similarly gallant manner.
Born in 1832, Sir Charles Gough entered the Bengal Cavalry in 1848.
Served in the Punjab Campaign 1848-9; throughout the Mutiny,
1857-8; the Bhootan War 1864-5; and both Afghan Wars, 1878-9 and 1879-80.
In 1881 was Commandant of the Hyderbad Contingent, and from 1886-90
commanded a division of the Bengal Army.
His son, Major J. E. Gough, was awarded the
Victoria Cross for bravery in Somaliland, on April 22nd 1903.
Thus three members of one family hold the decoration.
DUNCAN CHARLES HOME (Lieutenant)
PHILIP SALKELD (Lieutenant)
JOHN SMITH (Sergeant)
Bengal Sappers and Miners
HAWTHORNE (Bugler) 52nd
No more magnificent example of heroism has ever been added to the
glorious deeds of British soldiers than that of the four men Home,
Salkfeld, Smith and Hawthorne, who, on September 14th 1857,
blew up the Cashmere Gate at Delhi, prior to the great assault on that
city in the Indian Mutiny. The
account written by Sergeant John Smith gives so vivid a description of the
heroic actions of all concerned that it has been set out here almost word
for word as given in Kaye’s Sepoy War.
Lieutenant Salkeld, as will be seen, never survived his wounds to
receive the Victoria Cross, and Lieutenant Home only escaped the frightful
perils of the 14th September to die on October 1st
following, from the effects of the premature explosion of a mine after the
capture of the fort of Malgurgh. All
having been prepared, the slow match was lighted, but as no explosion
followed in the ordinary time, Lieutenant Home went forward to re-light
the match, which he supposed had gone out.
At that instant the explosion occurred.
His death was extraordinary similar to that of Lieutenant Dundas,
V.C., reference to whom will be found in this volume.
Sergeant John Smith’s account-
“The party blowing in the gate, the 60th
Rifles leading, went off at a double from the Ludlow Castle, until they
arrived at the cross-road leading to the Customs, and the men, when they
opened out right and left, the Sappers going to the gate led by Lieutenant
Home, and one bugler (Hawthorne), Lieutenant Salkeld, with the party
carrying the powder a few paces behind, the three European
non-commissioned officers, and nine natives with twelve bags of
twenty-five pounds each. My
duty was to bring up the rear, and see that none of them remained behind.
Lieutenant Salkeld had passed through the temporary Burn Gate with
sergeants Carmichael and Burhgess, but four of the natives had stopped
behind the above gate and refused to go on.
I had put down my bag and taken my gun, and threatened to shoot
them, when Lieutenant Salkeld came running back and said, ‘Why the-
don’t you come on?’ I told him there were four men behind the gate,
and that I was going to shoot them. He
said; Shoot them d----n their eyes, shoot them!’
I said ‘You hear the orders, and I will shoot you,’ raising the
gun slowly to ‘present’ to give fair time, when two men went on.
Lieutenant Salkeld said, ‘Do not shoot; with your own bag it will
be enough.’ I went on, and
only Lieutenant Salkeld and Sergeant Burgess were there; Lieutenant Home
and the bugler had jumped into the ditch, and Sergeant Carmichael was
killed as he went up with his powder on his shoulder, evidently having
been shot from the wicket while crossing the broken part of the bridge
along one of the beams. I
placed my bag, and then at great risk reached Carmichael’s bag from in
front of the wicket, placed it, arranged the fuses for the explosion, and
reported all ready to Lieutenant Salkfield, who held the slow (not a
port-fire, as I have seen stated). In
stooping down to light the quick match, he put out his foot, and was shot
through the thigh from the wicket, and in falling had the presence of mind
to hold out the slow match, and told me to fire the charge.
Burgess was next time and took it.
I told him to fire the charge and keep cool. He turned round and said, ‘It won’t go off, sir; it has
gone out, sir (not knowing that one officer had fallen into the ditch).
I gave him a box of lucifers, and, as he took them, he let them
fall into my hand, he being shot through the body from the wicket also,
and fell over after Lieutenant Salkeld.
I was then left alone, and keeping close to the charge, seeing from
where the others where shot, I struck a light, when the port fire in the
fuse went off in my face, the light not having gone out as we thought.
I took up my gun and jumped into the ditch, but before I had
reached the ground the charge went off, and filled the ditch with smoke,
so that I saw no one. I turned while in the act of jumping so my back would come to
the wall to save me from falling. I
stuck close to the wall, and by that I escaped being smashed to pieces,
only getting a severe bruise on the leg, the leather helmet saving my
“I put my hands along the wall and touched
some one, and asked who it was. ‘Lieutenant
Home,’ was the answer. I
said, ‘Has God spared you? Are you hurt?’ He said ‘No’ and asked the same from me.
As soon as the dust cleared a little we saw Lieutenant Salkeld and
Burgess covered with dust; their lying in the middle of the ditch had
saved them from being smashed to pieces and covered by the debris from the
top of the wall, the shock only toppling the stones over, which fell
between where we stood and where they lay.
I went to Lieutenant Salkeld and called the bugler to help me to
remove him under the bridge as the fire covered upon us, and Lieutenant
Salkeld’s arms were broken. Lieutenant
Home came to assist, but I begged him to keep out of the fire and that
(sic) we would do all that could be done.
Lieutenant Salkeld would not let us remove him, so I put a bag of
powder under his head for a pillow, and with the bugler’s puggery bound
up his arms and thigh, and I left the bugler to look to him and went to
Burgess, took off his sword, which I put on, and done (sic) what I could
for him. I got some brandy
from Lieutenant Home and gave to both, also to a Havildar (Pelluck Singh),
who had his thigh shot through, and was under the bridge by a ladder that
had been put into the ditch, leaving me in charge of the wounded, and went
to the front after the Rifles had gone in, and the 52nd
followed them. “I
then went to the rear for three stretchers and brought them, one of which
was taken from me an officer of the Rifles.
I had to draw my sword and threaten to run any one through who took
the other two. I put them
into the ditch, and with the bugler’s assistance got Lieutenant Salkeld
into one and sent him, charging him strictly not to leave him until he had
placed him in the hands of a surgeon, and with the assistance of a Naick
who had come to the Havildar, got Burgess into one and sent the Naick with
him, I being scarcely able to walk, and in a few minutes he returned to
say he was dead, and asked for further orders. I told him to take him to the hospital. After assisting to clear away the gate and make the roadway
again, I went on to the front to see what was going on.”
M. RYAN (Drummer)
1st European Bengal Fusiliers
This soldier was associated with Jogn McGuire (V.C.) on September
14th 1857, when he threw the boxes of ammunition, which had
caught fire into the water, thereby saving the lives of many men.
Further details of this noble act are given in the record of
EVERARD ALOYSIUS LISLE PHILLIPPS
Regiment Bengal Native Infantry
For the many gallant acts performed by him during the siege of
Delhi, it was intended to recommend this young officer for the Victoria
Cross, but during the street fighting in the city on September 18th
1857, he met his death. He
was specially noticed for his bravery in capturing, with only a small
handful of men, the Water Bastion of Delhi.
ROBERT HAYDON SHEBBEARE (Brevet-Captain)
60th Bengal Native Infantry
On September 14th 1857, at the assault on Delhi, Captain
(then Lieutenant) Shebbeare, at the head of the guides, twice charged a
loop holed serai to enable the breach to be attained, but, owing to the
terrible fire, he was unable to accomplish his task, one third of his
European soldiers having fallen. For
this reason he was prevented from reorganizing his men for another
attempt, but he conducted the rearguard of the retreat most successfully
across the canal. His
immunity from death is noted as miraculous, although he received one
bullet through the check and a very severe scalp wound along the back of
the head. This gallant
officer was killed in the China War of 1860.
PATRICK MAHONEY (Sergeant)
1st Madras Fusiliers
On September 21st 1857, at Mungulwarm the 1st
Regiment of Native Infantry had mutinied, and Mahoney, when doing duty
with the volunteer cavalry, was most prominent in capturing the regimental
colour of the mutineers.
WILLIAM OLPHERTS (Captain,
afterwards General, G.C.B.) Bengal Artillery
Although the conduct of Captain Olpherts was brought to notice
continually during the severe fighting which took place during the march
to Lucknow under Outram and Havelock, he was especially prominent on
September 25th 1857, when the force penetrated into the city
itself. He charged on
horseback with the 90th Regiment, led by Colonel Campbell, and,
in the face of a heavy fire of grape-shot, captured two Sepoy guns, after
which he again braved the storm of lead to bring up horses and limbers to
carry off the captured ordnance.
The heroic manner in which Olpherts served
the guns of his battery during Havelock’s advance to the Residency has
been mentioned too often in chronicles of the Mutiny to allow it to be
related here, but the characteristic sobriquet of “Hell Fire Olpherts”
which he earned in the Army tells sufficiently its own story.
Sir William, son of Wm, Olpherts, of Dartrey,
Co, Armagh, was born on March 8th 1822, and educated at
Gracehill and Dungannon Schools, and Addiscombe Military College.
Entered Bengal Artillery June 11th 1839; became Captain
1853; Brevet-Major and Lieut. –Colonel 1858; Colonel 1872; and General
March 31st 1883. Served
through Gwalior and Sinde campaigns under Sir Hugh (Lord) Gough and Sir C.
Napier respectively; and in the Peshawar Valley under Sir Colin Campbell
1852. On outbreak of Russian War was employed on special service
with Sir Fenwick Williams at Kars and Erzeroun in Armenia.
In 1859 accompanied the expedition against
Wazarees as volunteer under Sir N. Chamberlain.
On his return in 1868 was presented with a sword of honour by the
County and City of Armagh. He died at Norwood on April 30th 1902, his body
escorted to the cemetery by a detachment of the Royal Horse Artillery.
During the service the rain poured in such torrents and with such
ferocity that, as a writer expressed it afterwards, “it seemed as if the
very elements were rehearsing the battle scenes of the life that had
THOMAS DUFFY (Private)
1st Madras Fusiliers
Specially mentioned by Sir James Outram for his cool intrepidity
and daring conduct, whereby a 24-pounder gun was prevented from being
captured by the Sepoys, on September 26th 1857, at Lucknow.
Thomas Duffy died some years ago, and his
Victoria Cross was sold in London on October 28th 1902 for £53.
J. THOMAS (Bombardier)
4th Company 1st Battalion Bengal
On September 27th 1857, the party to which Thomas
belonged was returning from a sortie and one of his comrades fell severely
wounded. He took the injured
man on his back and carried him a long distance, under a very heavy fire
and in circumstances of considerable difficulty, to prevent him from
falling into the hands of the Sepoys, who would otherwise have despatched
him by their own slow methods of torture.
BERNARD DIAMOND (Sergeant)
Bengal Horse Artillery
Major Turner, Bengal Horse Artillery, mentioned the gallantry of
this soldier in his despatch of October 2nd 1857.
At Boolundshuhur, on September 28th 1857, he was
conspicuous for his determined bravery in working a gun in company with
Richard Fitzgerald (V.C.) after every other man and been killed or wounded
who belonged to it. By the
devoted conduct of these two men the road was completely cleared of the
RICHARD FITZGERALD (Gunner)
Bengal horse Artillery
Associated with Sergeant Diamond (V.C.), in an act of determined
bravery at Boolundshuhur, September 28th 1857, as recorded in
the sketch of that soldier.
JOHN CHARLES CAMPBELL DAUNT
(Lieutenant, afterwards Lieut, -Colonel) 11th
(Late 70th) Bengal Native Infantry
Decorated for conspicuous courage at Chota Behar, on October 2nd
1857, when in action against the mutineers of the Ramgurgh Battalion.
One-third of the detachment had been mown down by grapeshot from
two guns, when Daunt, in company with Dennis Dynon (V.C.), charged at the
gunners, shot them down and captured both pieces.
Lieutenant Daunt was also specially mentioned
for his gallantry on November 2nd 1857, when he pursued the
mutineers of the 32nd Bengal Native Infantry.
Driving them across a plain into a thick cultivation, he, with a
small party of Rattray’s Sikhs, followed and attacked them , being
himself dangerously wounded in the struggle.
The mutineers greatly outnumbered Daunt’s little force, and the
ultimate preservation of nay of the Sikhs was due to his courageous
conduct and skilful leading.
DIGHTON MACNAGHTEN PROBYN
(Captain, now General, G.C.V.O., K.C.B., K.C.S.I., P.C.)
2nd Punjaub Cavalry
General Sir Hope Grant, K.C.B., in his despatch dated January 10th
1858, says of Captain Probyn: “Has been distinguished for gallantry and
daring throughout the campaign.”
During the charge of his squadron upon the
rebel infantry at the battle of Agra he became separated from his men and
surrounded by five or six Sepoys, who attacked him, but he defended
himself from the many cuts made at him, and by the time his men had joined
him had killed two of his assailants.
At another time, in fighting with a Sepoy,
his horse was wounded, and he received a severe cut on the wrist from the
bayonet, but after a desperate encounter he cut him down.
Later on in the same day he singled out a standard-bearer, and, in
face of a number of the enemy, killed him and captured the colours.
These are only a few of the many gallant deeds recorded of
this brave officer. General
Probyn, born January 21st 1833, son of the late Captain G.
Probyn, entered the Army in 1849. His active services include, apart from the Mutiny, the
fighting on the Trans-Indian Frontier1852-7, China 1860, and Umbeyla
Campaign 1863. Has been Comptroller of the Royal Household, Keeper of the
Privy Purse, Member of the council of the Duchy of Cornwall, and also of
Lancaster. Equerry at present
to H.M. the King. He became
Captain in 1857; Major 1858; Lieut. –Colonel 1861; Colonel 1866; Major
General 1870; Lieut. –General 1877; and attained his present rank in
1888. Was at Delhi the siege, and fought at the actions of
Boolundshuhur, Allyghur and Agra, being four times mentioned in despatches;
also at the battle of Kanouje, and the relief of Lucknow under Sir Colin
Campbell. Received the thanks
of the Governor-General (Lord Canning), and was twice mentioned in
despatches. Fought at the
battles of Cawnpore and Kalle Nuddee, and the storming of Lucknow in March
JAMES MILLER (Conductor,
afterwards Hon. Major) Ordnance Department,
On October 28th 1857, Miller was employed with heavy
howitzers and ordnance stores, and attached to a detachment under the
command of Colonel Cotton, C.B. The rebels had taken up their position in the serai at
Futtehpore Sekra, near Agra, and, in the attack upon them, Lieutenant
Glubb, of the late 38th Bengal Native Infantry, was severely
wounded. Miller went to his
assistance, and at great personal risk, carried him out of action.
He was himself subsequently wounded and sent to Agra.
JOHN WATSON (Lieutenant,
now General, G.C.B.) 1st Punjab
On November 14th 1857, Lieutenant Watson, with his own
squadron, came across a body of the enemy’s cavalry.
The Ressaldar in command rode out at once to the front, and was
singled out by him. As they approached one another the rebel lashed at him at
only a yard’s distance, but without effect.
(The bullet, it is believed, had previously fallen out.
In those days the pistols were muzzleloaders.)
A hand-to-hand struggle took place, and the Ressaldar, run through
the body by Lieutenant Watson, was dismounted, but nothing daunted, drew
his tulwar, and with the help of his men, returned to the attack. Our
cavalry just then coming up, the enemy were routed, losing a number
killed. Lieutenant Watson had
received a blow on the head from a tulwar, another on the left arm,
severing the chain gauntlet-glove, another on the right arm, dividing the
sleeve of his jacket, and a blow on the leg, which lamed him for some
days. He also received a
bullet through hid coat. Sir
John Watson was born in 1829, entering the Bombay Army 1848.
Served in the Punjab 1848-9; Bozdar 1857; through the Mutiny as
above; and the Afghan War 1879-80. From
1881 to 1888 was Governor General’s Agent at Baroda.
HASTINGS EDWARD HARRINGTON
(Lieutenant) Bengal Artillery
For his conspicuous bravery at the relief of Lucknow from November
14th to 22nd 1857, this officer was elected to
receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Warrant.
The late Colonel F.C. Maude, V.C., in his
Memoirs of the Mutiny, gives the following details of the career of
Hastings Harrington, V.C., as an illustration of the temper of the times
(Harrington) was at Oxford pursuing his studies.
The Crimean War Came. Studies
seemed derogatory at such crisis, and he volunteered for service; but the
authorities would only allow him to go out in the transport.
He went out and worked hard at Kertch and other places, coming home
through Hungary, and landed at Dover with six pence in his pocket. Bought rolls, drank water, slept under a haystack, and
reached at last the old parsonage where he had been born.
Then he returned to Oxford, and took a “second” which,
considering all interruptions was very fair.
But the charms of adventure had been tasted, and the quiet
academicals career seemed impossible.
He must go somewhere. “To
India,” said O’Shaughnessy, “in my telegraph service, the finest
service in the world.” (This expression was, in a measure, hyperbolical.)
So in the telegraph he came, arriving at Agra in the cold weather,
and, taking his sword off the roof of the dak carriage, exclaimed, “My
old Crimean sword-I shall not want that again.”
However, the summer found him in the Volunteer Cavalry-only too
glad to have it still in his possession.
He died at Agra on July 20th 1861.
EDWARD JENNINGS (Rough
Rider) Royal (Bengal) Artillery
Edward Jennings was one of those engaged at the second relief of
Lucknow, under Sir Colin Campbell, in November 1857.
During the struggle, day and night, from the capture of the
Secundra Bagh on the 16th until the actual accomplishment of
the heroic enterprise on the 22nd, Jennings bravery in working
the guns was noticed by all, and especially by the Commander-in-Chief
himself, who, although wounded, had scarcely quitted the saddle the whole
time. With him are associated
Lieutenant H. E. Harrington, Gunners J. Park, T. Laughnan, and H. McInnes,
all the whom, under Clause 13 of the Royal Warrant, were elected by their
comrades, and in due course (Christmas Eve 1858) were gazetted.
Jennings survived his comrades by many years, working to the last
as a corporation street labourer at Shields, and died a few years ago aged
T. LAUGHNAN (Gunner)
Elected under Rule 13 of the Victoria Cross Warrant, for
conspicuous bravery during the relief of Lucknow from November 14th
to 22nd 1857.
H. McINNES (Gunner)
Elected under Rule 13 of the Victoria Cross Warrant, for
conspicuous bravery during the relief of Lucknow from November 14th
to 22nd 1857.
J. PARK (Gunner)
Elected under Rule 13 of
the Victoria Cross Warrant, for his conspicuous bravery during the relief
of Lucknow from November 14th to 22nd 1857.
J. SMITH (Private)
1st Madras Fusiliers
This gallant soldier was elected to receive the Victoria Cross
under Rule 13 of the Warrant by the soldiers of the detachment of his
regiment. His bravery was
most marked at the storming of the Secundra Bagh, November 16th
1857. When the gateway on the
north side had been burst open, he was of the first to enter, being
instantly surrounded by a mass of the enemy, from whom he received a sword
cut on the head, a bayonet wound in the left side, and a blow from the
butt-end of a musket on the right shoulder.
In spite of all those wounds he gallantly held out and for the rest
of the day continued fighting most splendidly.
FREDERICK SLEIGH ROBERTS(Lieutenant,
now Field-Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, P.C.,
K.P., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., D.C.L.,LL.D) Commander-in-Chief
The Victoria Cross was awarded to this officer, now the best-known
soldier throughout the British Empire, for two special acts of bravery and
devotion during the Indian Mutiny, and for conspicuous gallantry
throughout the entire operations of that troubles time.
He received the decoration from the hands of H.M. the Queen at
Buckingham Palace on June 8th 1859.
At Khodagunge on January 2nd 1858, while following up
the retreating enemy, he saw two Sepoys escaping with a standard.
Riding straight for them, he overtook them as they were entering a
village. Both men turned and faced him, but Roberts dashed at them,
and, while wrenching the standard from the hands of one of them, whom he
had cut down, the other levelled his musket point-blank at him and pulled
the trigger, but fortunately it missed fire, and Roberts rode off with the
standard. On the same day he
went to the rescue of a Sowar, who was being attacked by a rebel armed
with a bayonet. Riding up to
them, he engaged the Sepoy, parried a blow aimed at him, and cut his
assailant a terrific blow across the face with his sword, killing him
instantly. Earl Roberts, son
of General Sir Abraham Roberts, was born at Cawnpore India, on September
30th 1832. Educated
at Eton, Sandhurst and Addiscombe, he obtained his 2nd
Lieutenancy in the Bengal Artillery in 1851, becoming 1st
Lieutenant 1857; Captain 1860; Brevet-Major 1860; Brevet Lieut. –Colonel
1868; Brevet-Colonel 1875; Major-General 1878; Lieut-General, 1883;
General 1890; Field-Marshal 1895. His
war records number more battles than any other soldier, and his services
to his country are too numerous to mention in these pages.
He served through, the Indian Mutiny, and took part in the siege
and capture of Delhi, and the actions of Boolundshuhur, Aligarh, Agra,
Kanauj, Bantharra, relief of Lucknow, Cawnpore Khodagunge, Futtehghur,
storming of Mianganj, siege of Lucknow, storming of Laloo; capture of
Umbeyla; destruction of Malka. Served in Abyssinian Expedition, 1867-8; Lushai Expedition
1871-2; capture of Kholelvillages and attack on Murtland Range.
In command of the Kuram Valley Field Force, at capture of Peiwar
Kotal; attack in sapari Pass; occupation of khost, and reconnaissance up
Kuram River. Commander Kabul
Field Force at battle of Charasiahm, capture of Kabul, and operations near
Sherpur in December 1879. Commanded
the Field force, which marched to the relief of Kandahar, and fought the
battle of that name. In
command of the army in Burma 1886. In
December 1889, went out to South Africa as Commander-in-chief; relieved
Limberley, and on the nineteenth anniversary of “Majuba” ttok Cronje
and the Boer army in the west prisoners. Has
been twice thanked off both Houses of Parliament, August 4th
1879, and May 5th 1881, and on several occasions by the Indian
Government; D.A.Q.M.G. during Indian Mutiny; A.Q.M.G. (Bengal) 1863-8; 1st
A.Q.M.G., 1869-72; D.Q.M.G., 1872-5; Q.M.G. in India 1875-8.
Commander-in-Chief, Madras, 1881-5; India, 1885-93; of the Forces
in Ireland 1895. Up to the
year 1879 had been twenty-three times mentioned in despatches, and
possesses the following medals; Indian Mutiny clasps for Delhi, Relief of
Lucknow, Siege of Lucknow. Indian
Frontier medal with clasps for Umbeyla, Lushai and Burma; Abyssinia;
Afghan War, with clasps for Peiwar Kotal, Charasia, Kabul, and Kandahar;
Kabul-Kandahar bronze star; Queen;s South African with six clasps.
Received the following honorary degrees: D.C.L., Oxford 1881,
LL.D., Dublin 1880l LL.D, Cambridge 1893; LL.D, Edinburgh 1893.
Has received the freedom of the following cities: London,
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Dundee, Waterford,
Cardiff, chesterfield, Inverness, Wick and Dunbar.
Lieutenant Hon. F.H.S. Roberts, son of the
Commander-in-chef, was recommended for, and would have received, the
Victoria Cross for his heroic attempts to save the guns at Colenso in 1899
had he survived the wounds received on that occasion.
Earl Roberts retired in February 1904, and
the following appeared in the Times of February 19th
JOHN ADAM TYTLER (Lieutenant,
afterwards Colonel, C.B.) 66th (Ghoorka)
Bengal Native Infantry
Decorated for his conspicuous courage on February 10th
1858, on the occasion of the action at Choorpoorah.
The attacking parties were approaching the enemy’s position under
a heavy fire of round-shot, grape and musketry, when Lieutenant Tytler
dashed, ahead of his men, straight for the guns and engaged the rebels in
a hand-to-hand fight until support came up. He
was shot through the left arm, received a spear-wound in the chest, and a
bullet through the right sleeve of his coat.
Colonel Tytler became Ensign in the East
India Company’s service on Dec 10th 1844; Captain, April
1859, Major 1864; and Colonel 1870. Serbed
against the tribesmen round Peshawur 1851-3.
In 1863 commanded a ghoorka battalion in the Black Mountain
FREDERICK ROBERTSON AIKMAN
(Lieutenant- afterwards Lieut. –Colonel) 4th
Bengal Native Infantry
At daybreak on March 1st 1858, near Lucknow, Lieutenant
Aikman obtained information that 500 rebel cavalry, 200 horse and two guns
under Moosahib Ali Chuckbdar, were three miles off the high road.
With only 100 of his men he attacked them without hesitation,
utterly routed them, killed 100 of them, captured the guns, and drove the
survivors into and over the river Goomtee.
This splendid feat was accomplished under the great disadvantage of
broken ground, and under the heavy flanking fire of an adjacent fort.
During the encounter Lieutenant Aikman received a severe sabre-cut
across the face.
Colonel Aikman was Commandant for many years
of the Royal East Middlesex Militia, and had been a member of the
Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms from May 13th 1865.
On October 6th 1888, he dropped dead while attending a
ball in Scotland.
THOMAS ADAIR BUTLER (Lieutenant,
afterwards Colonel) 1st Bengal
Fusiliers (Late 101st)
On March 9th 1858, during the capture of Lucknow, the
heavy guns were being placed in position when Major Lothair Nicholson,
Outram’s Commanding Engineer, thought that he saw the enemy’s first
line being abandoned, but could not be quite sure.
It was most necessary to ascertain for certain whether this was the
case, as the infantry of Hope’s brigade, which had attacked and driven
the rebels out of the Martiniere, could have seen preparing to assault the
works at the other side of the river. Lieutenant Butler volunteered to swim across the Goomtee
River, and, if he found the enemy had retired, communicate the fact of
Hope’s men. This
fact was successfully accomplished by the brave young officer, who,
swimming across, mounted a parapet, and, until the completion of his
dangerous task, was exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s guns.
Fitchett relates an extraordinary incident,
which happened to Lieutenant Butler at the storming of Delhi on September
14th 1857, at the Burn Bastion. While some of our men were fighting up a narrow lane where
the fire of the enemy, concentrated on so narrow a space, was perfectly
murderous, we were compelled to retire for a while, but some refused to do
so and actually reached the screen through which the Sepoys were firing
their guns. One of these was
Olieutenant Butler, of the 1st Bengal Fusiliers.
As he came at the run through the white smoke he struck the screen
heavily with his body; at that moment two sepoys on the inner side thrust
through the screen with their bayonets.
The shining deadly points of steel passed on either of Butler’s
body and he was pinned between them as between the prongs of a fork!
Butlwe, twisting his head he saw through a loop hole the faces of
the two Sepoys, who held the bayonets and who were still vehemently
pushing, under the belief that they held their enemy impaled.
With his revolver he coolly shot them both, and then fell back,
pelted with bullets, but somehow unhurt, to his comrades who were
re-forming for a second charge at the head of the lane. Colonel
Thomas Adair Butler, born in 1836, was the son of the Rev. Stephen Butler.
Educated privately, joining the Army in 1854.
Served through the Great Mutiny from June 10th 1857; in
all the engagements under the walls of Delhi; galloper to
Brigadier-General Nicholson at the action of Nujjufguhr and took paer in
the storming of the Mogul capital, being wounded in that action; took part
in the actions of Gungeree, Puttialee, and Mynpoorie, and was present at
the storming of Lucknow, where he gained the Victoria Cross as described;
served in the North-West Frontier Campaign 1863; present at the attack on
the Craig Picket, Conical Hill and Umbeyla. He died at Lyndale, Camberley, in November 1901.
RICHARD HARTE KEATINGE (Major,
afterwards General, C.S.I.) Royal (Bombay)
Major Keatinge rendered most efficient aid at the assault and
capture of the stronghold of Chandairee on March 17th 1858.
Placing himself at the head of the column, he led it through the
breach, which was protected by a heavy crossfire, and was first to enter,
where he fell severely wounded. He
had been, the night before, with his servant to examine a small path
leading across the ditch, and his knowledge of this saved the column from
dreadful loss. Having cleared
the breach, he struggled up and led his men into the fort, where he was
again struck down by another bullet.
The Commander-in-chief (Sir Colin Campbell)
states, “that the success at Chandairee was mainly owing to this
officer, whose gallantry, really brilliant, he considers was equalled by
his ability and devotion.” Major
Keatinge was at the time Political Officer with a Brigade of the Central
India Field Force. General
Keatinge, son of the late Right Honourable Richard Keatine, was born at
Dublin on June 17th 1825.
After the Mutiny he served in the Sathpoora Hills in 1858 and again
in 1859, and with Parke’s Brigade in pursuit of Tantia Topee in 1858.
Commanded Field Detachments against the Wagheers in 1865. Died at Horsham May 25th 1904.
WILLIAM MARTIN CAFÉ (Captain,
now Lieut. –General) 56th Bengal
At the fort of Ruhya on April 15th 1858, Lieutenant
Willoughby, of the 14th Punjab Rifles, was sot down as he was
capturing a position. Captain
Café, under a heavy fire, went out and brought back his body, being
assisted by four men of the 42nd-Lance-Coporal Thompson (V.C.),
Private Cook (V.C.), E. Spence (V.C), and Crowie.
While doing so Spence was mortally wounded, and Captain Café
immediately ran to his assistance, leaving the others to carry his
comrade’s body. Spence died
of his wounds on the 17th.
Crowie’s name does not appear among those gazetted to the Cross-,
owing most probably to his early death.
General Café was born on March 23rd
HARRY HAMMON LYSTER (Lieutenant,
Now Lieut. –General, C.B.) 72nd
Bengal Native Infantry
On May 23rd 1858, this officer charged singly at, and
broke, a skirmishing square of the rebel army near Calpee, and killed two
or three mutineers with his own hand.
This gallant act was witnessed and reported upon by Major-General
Sir Hugh Rose, G.C.B., and Lieutenant-Colonel Gall, C.B., of the 14th
Lieutenant-General Lyster, son of Mr A Lyster, was born on December
24th 1830. Served
through the Indian Mutiny 1857-8; Afghan Campaign 1878-9; and during the
Chartist Riots of 1847 served as a special constable in London.
He entered the Army in 1848; became Captain
in 1861, Lieut. -Colonel 1870; Colonel 1877, Major General 1887, and
attained his present rank in 1891, retiring in 1892.
WILLIAM FRANCIS FREDERICK WALLER
Bombay Light Infantry
Decorated for his conspicuous daring at the capture of the Gwalior
Fortress June 20th 1858, when in company with Lieutenant Rose,
who was killed, he attacked it with only a handful of men.
Climbing on the roof of a house, he shot the gunners opposing him
or her, captured the Fort, and killed every mutineer in it.
He and Lieutenant Rose were the only Europeans present. Born
in 1840, he died on January 29th 1885.
SAMUEL JAMES BROWN (Captain,
afterwards General, G.C.B., K.C.S.I.) 46th
Bengal Native Infantry
In an engagement with the rebels, under Khan Ali Khan, at daybreak
on August 31st 1858, at Seerporah, Captain Browne charged ahead
with only a native orderly, at a 9-pounder gun, placed to command the
approach to the enemy’s well-chosen position, to prevent it being
re-loaded and fired upon our men who were coming on with the bayonet.
A fight between the officer and gunners ensured, in which, after
cutting down several of them, he was slashed across the left knee,
afterwards receiving another sword-stroke, which severed the left arm at
the shoulder. His chivalrous
object was, however, fulfilled, the gun being captured by the infantry,
and the gunners slain. General Sir
Samuel Browne, son of the late J. Browne, H.E.I.C.S., was born in India
October 3rd 1824. Served
in Punjab campaign 1848-9, being present at Chillianwallah and Goojerat;
in operations against the Oomerzale Wuzerees 1851-2; through the Bozdar
Balooch Expedition in March 1857; in many other tribal campaigns,
including the attacks on Narinjee and August 1857, commanded the 1st
Division Peshawur Field Force at the capture of Ali Musjid; the forcing of
the Khyber Pass, November 1878, and throughout the Afghan War 1878-9 for
which he received the thanks of the Government and both Houses of
Parliament, and the K.C.B. For
nineteen years (1850-69) was in command of the Punjah Cavalry and Corps of
Guides on the Derejat and Peshawur Frontier. Inventor of the “Sam Browne” belt, known throughout the
British Army. He died at Ryde,
March 14th 1901. Not long after the death of this gallant officer, one of the
makers and upholders of our Indian Empire, a tablet and monument was
unveiled in St. Paul’s Cathedral by one of his fellow officers-Earl
Roberts of Khandahar; and four of his contemporaries, wearing the Victoria
Cross, were present to do honour to his memory.
No greater tribute could have been paid to the splendid soldier
whose days were done, than to have a monument to his memory placed at it
was, close to the great Iron Duke of Wellington, and unveiled by the most
illustrious, brave and popular soldier of modern times.
The memorial is of pure white marble, carved in low relief, with a
figure of a Punjab Cavalry man holding a scroll on which is the words-
“To the Glory of God and in perpetual memory of General Sir
Samuel Browne, V.C., G.C.B., K.C.S.I., a distinguished soldier of the
Indian Army. This tablet is
erected by friends who loved, and comrades who trusted him.”
A replica of this memorial will be set up in the Cathedral of
Lahore, India. Speaking on
the above occasion, Earl Roberts said that there never was “a truer man,
a firmer friend, a braver soldier, or one more worthy of a memorial in
that venerable cathedral than Sir Samuel Browne.”
PATRICK RODDY (Ensign,
afterwards Colonel) Bengal Army
On September 27th 1858, when the Kuppurthulla Contingent
were returning from Kuthirga, a rebel, armed with a percussion-musket,
knelt and levelled it at any who attempted to approach him.
This did not deter Ensign Roddy, who rode boldly at him.
When within six yards the rebel fired, killing the horse. While he was trying to get himself free, the rebel attempted
to cut him down. However,
Roddy seized and held him until able to get at his sword, when he ran him
through the body. Colonel Patrick
Roddy rose from the ranks to the position he held at his death. He enlisted in the Bengal Artillery and received a
commissioner as Ensign. During
the Indian Mutiny he served under Sir James Outram at the “first”
relief of Lucknow, the siege of the Bailly Guard, the defence of the
Alumbagh, capture of Lucknow, and in almost every subsequent engagement
until the rebels were pressed on the Oude Frontier in 1860.
He was frequently mentioned in despatches, and received the thanks
of the Indian Government. His
later services were in the Abyssinian War 1873, and Afghan War 1879. Services
were in the Abyssinian War 1873, and Afghan War 1879.
He retired in 1887, after having been thirty-nine years in the
Bengal Service, and died at Jersey on November 21st 1895.
CHARLES GEORGE BAKER (Lieutenant)
Bengal Police Battalion
The act of charging, with only sixty horseman, and scattering a
force of 1,000 infantry-fully armed and backed up by troop of cavalry-as
Lieutenant Baker did on September 27th 1858, at Suhejnee, near
Peroo, may well be described, as it was by Lord Clyde, “the most gallant
of any during the war.” Not
a shot was fired by Lieutenant Baker’s mounted Police in their charge
upon the enemy, who were taken in the centre and flank by Lieutenant
Broughton. A half-hearted
stand was made, and a few scattered volleys fired, after which they broke
and fled, pursued for miles through the jungle.
The horses, however, being exhausted, many of the rebels escaped.
Lieutenant Baker was for many years in command of the Egyptian
Police, and held the rank of Pasha in that country.
HANSON CHAMBERS TAYLOR JARRETT
(Lieutenant, afterwards colonel) 26th
Bengal Native Infantry
On October 14th 1858, at the village of Baroun, near
Lucknow, a party of Sepoys-seventy in number-had fortified themselves in a
strong brick building, the only approach to which was through a very
narrow street, commanded by the enemy’s fire.
Lieutenant Jarrett called on the men of his regiment to follow him,
and four responded. With only
these he made a dash for the entrance, and through a shower of bullets
pushed his way up to the walls. Beating
up the bayonets of the rebels with his sword, he endeavoured to force his
way in, but unfortunately, his support being so feeble, he was not
successful, and under a hail of lead was forced to rejoin the main body.
This brave officer died in India some years ago, whilst holding the
post of Conservator of Forests.
HERBERT MACKWORTH CLOGSTOUN
Madras Native Infantry
At Chickumbah, January 15th 1859, this officer, with
only eight men of his regiment (2nd Cavalry, Hyderbad
Contingent), charged the rebels and forced them back into the town,
causing them to drop the loot they had secured. He was severely wounded, and lost seven out of the eight men
whom he led. He died in 1861.
ARTHUR F. FITZGIBBON (Hospital
Apprentice) Indian Medical Establishment
Decorated for his gallant and cool behaviour and great courage on
August 21st 1860, at the storming of the North Taku Forts in
China. He proceeded with part
of the 67th regiment to a position within 500 yards of the fort
and from cover he went out under a heavy fire to attend to the wounds of a
performed his duty to this man, he crossed another open and exposed space,
still under a hail of lead, and ministered to the sufferings of others,
during which humane act he was himself severely wounded.
HENRY WILLIAM PITCHER (Lieutenant
Bengal Staff corps), Adjutant 4th Punjab Infantry
On October 30th 1863, Lieutenant Pitcher led a party in
a most gallant manner, to recapture the “Crag Picket,” after the enemy
had driven in the garrison; killing sixty of them in a stubborn
hand-to-hand fight. Major
Keyes, in command of the 1st Punjab Infantry, relates that
Lieutenant Pitcher led his party in a most cool and daring manner up to
the last rock, until he was knocked down and stunned by a large stone
thrown from above. The nature
of the approach to the top of the “Crag” was such that only one man
could advance at a time. On
November 13th following Lieutenant Pitcher led the first charge
during the recapture of the same post, it having again fallen into the
enemy’s hands. He was, on
this occasion, many yards in advance of his men, his conduct being the
admiration of all present. Major
Keyes stated that it was impossible to over-estimate his services, and
that during the assault the lieutenant was severely wounded, and had to be
SAMUEL HODGE (Private)
4th West India Regiment
On June 30th 1866, at the storming of the town of
Jubabecolong in the kingdom of Barra River Gambia, West Africa this
private soldier behaved with very great bravery.
Colonel D’Arcy having called for volunteers to hew down the
stockade with axes, Hodge and another soldier (afterwards killed) sprang
forward and commenced the work. On
our troops gaining an entrance Hodge followed his officer through the
town, opening two gates from the inside, which were barricaded and thereby
allowing the supports to enter, upon which the enemy were cleared out at
the point of the bayonet. As
soon as the troops had issued through the West Gate of the town, the
colonel in the presence of all the men, acknowledged Hodge as the bravest
soldier in the regiment. He is one
of three men of colour who have gained the Victoria Cross.
The two other are William Hall, of Peel’s Naval Brigade, in the
Mutiny, and W.J. Gordon (West India Regiment), at Toniatbe, West Africa
DONALD MACINTYRE (Major,
afterwards Major General) Bengal Staff Corps
On January 4th 1872, during the expedition against the
Looshais, under General Nuttall and Bourchier, their chief stockade
village, Lalgnoora, was attacked. The
assault by a small party of Goorkhas up the steep and rugged hillside was
led by Major Macintyre. On
reaching it, it was found to be on fire, but this did not deter him, and
undaunted, he sprang up the stockade, eight or nine feet high, and with
his party successfully stormed the place.
This was carried out under the heavier fire delivered that day by
the enemy. Born in 1831 at Kincraig,
Ross-shire, educated at Addiscombe, entering the Army in 1850.
Served with the 66th Goorkhas in 1852, in the
expeditions against the Peshwur Hill tribes, being present at the
destruction of Pranghur and the battle at Ishkakot. Served also in 1853 against the Boree Afridi, and in 1856 in
the Koorum Valley, under Sir N. Chamberlain.
Also in 1864 with the Doaba Field force. His next active service was in the Looshai Expedition, as
detailed above, in which he gained the Victoria Cross, and his last was in
the Afghan War of 1879. He retired
in 1880, and died April 15th 1903, at Fortrose.
GEORGE NICHOLAS CHANNER
(Captain, Now Major-General, C.B.) Bengal
On December 20th 1875, during the Expedition in Perak,
Captain Channer performed the hazardous and courageous act of creeping
alone to the rear of the enemy’s stockade, which we were about to
attack. He got so close to it
that he could hear their voices, and discovered that no watch was being
kept; upon which he beckoned to his men, and the party crept quietly
forward, and, under Captain Channer’s lead, dashed into it, this officer
shooting the first an dead with his revolver.
The stockade was of a most formidable nature, and had it not been
taken in the manner described, owing to the foresight and courage of
Captain Channer, a great loss of life would in all probability have
resulted before it could have been seized at the point of the bayonet, as
guns could not have been brought to bear on it owing to its position.
Major-General Channer, born in 1843, was educated at Truro and
Cheltenham. Entered the army
in 1859, and served through the Umbeyla Campaign 1863; Malay Campaign
1875; Jowaki-Afridi Expedition 1877; Afghan War 1879, Hazara Expedition
1888. Has been continually
mentioned in despatches and received a good service pension in 1892.
JOHN COOK (Captain)
Bengal Staff Corps
On December 2nd 1878, Captain Cook displayed signal
gallantry at the attack on the Peiwar Kotal.
Under a terrific fire he charged out of the entrenchments with such
vigour and daring that the enemy fled before him.
At that moment he caught sight of Major Galbraith, A.A.G. Kurrum
field Force, who was in great danger, being in personal conflict with an
Afghan soldier. He rushed to
his rescue, cut at the Douranee with his sword, which the enemy avoided,
sprang at him and grasped him by the throat.
The Douranee, who was most powerful adversary, while still
endeavouring to get hold of and use his rifle, seized Captain Cook’s arm
in his teeth, but was shortly afterwards shot through the head.
Captain Cook was severely wounded in the operations around Cabul on
December 12th 1879, and died on December 19th.
The Lieut published the following divisional order. –General
commanding- “It is with
deep regret the Lieu. –General announces to the Cabul Field force the
death, from a wound received on December 12th, of Major John
Cook, V.C., 5th Goorkhas.
While yet a young officer, Major Cook served at Umbeyla in 1863,
where the distinguished himself, and in the Black Mountain Campaign in
1868. Joining the Kurrum
Field Force on its formation, Major Cook was present at the capture of the
Peiwar Kotal, his conduct on that occasion earning for him the admiration
of the whole force, and the Victoria Cross.
In the return in the Monghyr Pass he again brought himself
prominently to notice by his cool and gallant bearing.
In the capture of the heights at Sang-I-Nawishta Major Cook again
distinguished himself, and in the attack on the Takht-I-Shah Peak on
December 12th he ended a noble career in a manner worthy even
of his great name for bravery. “By
Major Cook’s death Her Majesty has lost the services of an officer who
would, had he been spared, have risen to the highest honours of his
profession, and Sir F. Roberts feels sure the whole Cabul Field Force will
share in the pain his loss occasioned him.”
WALTER RICHARD POLLOCK HAMILTON
(Lieutenant) Bengal Staff (Formerly 70th
On April 2nd 1879, at the battle of Futtehabad,
Lieutenant Hamilton’s commanding officer, Major Wigram Battye, had been
killed, in a charge made by the Guides Cavalry against the Afghans.
Finding that he was the only officer left with the regiment. He
promptly placed himself at the head of the men, led a most brilliant
charge, and thoroughly routed the enemy.
His bravery was most marked during this engagement.
He saved the life of a Sowar, Dowlut Ram, whose horse had fallen,
pinning him to the ground, and who was being attacked by three Afghans.
Hamilton went to the man’s rescue, cut down the three assailants,
and brought him out of the melee. Although
recommended for the Victoria Cross on account of this daring act, the War
Office at first refused to grant it, and it was only on October 7th
1879, that tardy recognition was paid to him.
He, however never lived to know that they had recognized his
conduct, for he accompanied the ill-fated mission under Cavagnari to Cabul,
and fell on September 3rd 1879, when the entire party was
massacred in that city.
O’MOORE CREAGH (Captain,
now Major General, K.C.B.) Bengal Staff Corps
Sir O’Moore Creagh won the decoration on April 21st
1879. At the village of Kam
Dakka on the Cabul River, Captain Creagh set out with two companies to
attack the Mohmunds. The
enemy, about 1,500 strong, advanced upon them, and the little force had to
retire on a neighbouring Afghan cemetery, which was made as defensible as
possible. Here his men
repelled attacks with the bayonet all day up to 3 o’clock, when relief
reached them. A charge by the
10th Bengal Lancers, under Captain (late Major-General) D. M.
Strong, completely routed them, many being driven into the river.
Sir F. Haines, the Commander-in-Chief in India, stated that had it
not been for the admirable conduct displayed by Captain, the little party
would probably have been cut off and destroyed. Sir
O’Moore Creagh served in china during the troubles in 1900, and for some
years, during the occupation by European troops of part of that country,
commanded those of England. Son of
Captain Creagh, R.N., he was born at Cahirbane, Co. Clare, Ireland.
Educated privately and at R.M. College, Sandhurst.
Ensign 95th 1866; Staff corps 1870.
Commanded the 2nd Baluchis 1889.
A.Q.M.G. Bombay Command 1895.
Political Resident at Aden 1898-1900.
Since January 1904, has been in command of the Mhow District,
India, in succession to Major-General Sir Richard Westmacott.
THE REV. JAMES WILLIAMS ADAMS, B.A.
Bengal Ecclesiastical Establishment Chaplain,
Cabul Field force
At the village of Bhagwana, on December 11th 1879, two
troops of the 9th Lancers were, during a charge hurled with
their horses into a wide and deep nullah, the enemy close upon them.
The Rev. J. W. Adams rushed into the water and dragged the men one
after the other from under the horses, being at the time under a heavy
fire and up to his waist in water. While
this took place, the Afghans were pressing on most vigorously, the leading
men getting within a few yards of Mr. Adams, who having, previous to the
above act, let go his horse in order to render more effectual aid to a
young lancer whom he had rescued from the Afghan horsemen, was compelled
to escape on foot. Lord
Roberts refers in his memoirs to this latter act of bravery and devotion
performed by “The Fighting Parson,” as the Rev. J. W. Adams has been
often called. Seeing a
wounded man of the 9th Lancers staggering towards him, he
dismounted and tried to life the man on to his own horse.
Unfortunately, the mere broke loose, and was never seen again.
He managed, however, to support the lancer until he was able to
make him over to some of his own comrades.
Referring also to the act for which the “Padre” was awarded the
Cross-, the same authority states that, on seeing the two lancers
struggling under their horses, Adams did not hesitate an instant, but
jumped into the ditch. He was
an unusually powerful man, and by sheer strength dragged the lancers clear
of the struggling animals. The
Afghans had by this time reached Bhagwana, and were so close to the ditch
that he thought Adams could not possibly escape.
He called out to him to look after himself, but until he had pulled
the almost exhausted lancers to the top of the slippery bank, Adams paid
no heed to his own safety or the warnings of his commanding officer.
It was not only at Cabul that this Irish clergyman distinguished
himself, for just a year previously, during the first days of the war in
Afghanistan, when acting as “aide” to Sir Frederick (Lord) Roberts,
Peiwar Kotal way, he rode forth alone, early one winter’s morning, into
the ravines, in search of a missing column, which he found, together with
other benighted troops, led them to their position, and Peiwar Kotal was
won. He took part in that historic
and splendid march under (then) Sir Frederick Roberts, from Cabul to
Kandahar in August 1880 and was present at the battle with, and defeat of
Ayub Khan on September 1st.
Five years later was again in the field, this time among the Paddi
fields, obtaining medal and clasp. This
terminated his services in the east. In
1887 Mr. Adams became rector of Postwick, Norfolk, and of Stow Bardolf, in
the same county, in 1895, finally holding the living of Ashwell, Oakham,
where he died on October 20th 1903 aged 63.
ARTHUR GEORGE HAMMOND (Captain,
now Colonel, K.C.B., D.S.O.) Bengal Staff
During the severe fighting around Cabul in December 1879, the
troops were frequently hard pressed.
The numbers to be met and defeated or kept in check were
overwhelming, as the hilltop were alive with men keeping up a long-range
fire. This became so
harassing and annoying that it was at length resolved to storm the crags
and drive them from their fastnesses once for all, and, on the 14th,
vigorous action was taken, with splendid results. The position occupied by Colonel Hammond’s men was such an
exposed and dangerous one, that a short retirement became necessary for
strategic reasons, seeing which the exultant Afghans seized this
opportunity to press on. Colonel
Hammond took a rifle and, hanging in rear of his men, opened so deadly a
fire upon them that their advance was effectually checked.
Later on, when a Sepoy fell severely wounded, he rushed to his
assistance and helped to rescue him from the Afghans.
Son of Major T. G. Hammond, he was born in 1843, and educated at
Sherborne and Addiscombe. Served in
the Jowaki Afridi Expedition 1877, with the Guides under General Keyes;
against the Ranizai village at Skhakat, March 14th 1878, and
attack on Utman Kheyl villages March 21st.
Through Hazara Expedition 1888 (obtaining the D.S.O.), and Hazara
1891; Izazai Expedition 1892; Chitral Releif 1895, receiving the thanks of
the Indian Government; Tirah Campaign 1897.
In 1890 was appointed A.D.C. to the Queen, and received his
Colonelcy. Has a good service
WILLIAM JOHN VOUSDEN (Captain,
afterwards Major General, C.B.) 5th
Decorated for his exceptional gallantry on December 14th
1879, on the Koh Asmai Heights, near Cabul, when with a small party, he
charged into the centre of the line of Kohistanis, who were retreating.
Although greatly outnumbered by the enemy, who repeatedly attempted
to close round them, he led his men through their ranks, backwards and
forwards, several times, afterwards sweeping off round the opposite side
of the village and rejoining the rest of the troop.
Major General Vousden, son of the late Captain Vousden, 21st
R.N.B. Fusiliers, was born at Perth, Scotland, on September 20th
1845. Educated at King’s
School, Canterbury; R.M.C., Sanhurst.
Joining the 35th Regiment in 1864 was transferred in
1867 to the 5th Punjab Cavalry, serving in the Afridi
Expedition on the staff, and the two Afghan Campaigns, in which he
obtained Brevet of Major. His
subsequent active service was in the Miranzai Expedition, Tochi Field
Force and Tirah Campaign, and the fighting on the northwest of India
1897-8. In every one of these
campaigns he was specially mentioned in despatches during the Afghan no
lee than three times. He died at
Lashore, India, November 12th 1902.
WILLIAM ST. LICIEN CHASEL (Lieutenant,
now Lieut. –Colonel, C.B.) Bombay Staff
On August 16th 1880, during the Afghan War, the
Khandahar garrison made a sortie against the village of Deh Khoja.
Private Massey, of the Royal Fusiliers, having been severely
wounded, took shelter in a blockhouse, and from there Lieutenant Chase
carried him for over 200 yards to a more safe position, the whole time
exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy.
Private Ashford (V.C.) most bravely assisted him, remaining with
him all the time. Lieut. –Colonel
Chase, son of the late Captain R. H. Chase, commissary of Ordnance, was
born at St. Lucia, West Indies. Joined
the 15th Regiment in 1876, Indian Staff Corps 1878, and served
through the Afghan War 1879-80, taking part in the Defence of Kandahar,
the sortie above described, and the battle of Khandahar; Zhob Campaign
1884, Chn-Lushai Expedition and advance on Fort Haka; Naga Hills Campaign
and Manipur 1893, Mohmund Expedition 1897, Tirah Campaign 1897-8, actions
of Sampagha Pass; occupation of Maiden and Bagh Valleys, and operations in
Dwatoi defile, Rajghul Valley, and Bara Valley.
Mentioned continually in despatches for his bravery and gallant
service. Now in command of the 28th Bombay Pioneers
RICHARD KIRBY RIDGEWAY (Captain,
now Colonel) Bengal Staff Corps
On November 22nd 1879, during the attack on Konoma, in
the Naga Hills Expedition, Captain Ridgeway displayed very great bravery
in charging up to a barricade and, under a very severe fire, attempting to
tear down the planking surrounding it.
During this brave act he was severely wounded in the left shoulder
by a rifle bullet. Colonel
Ridgeway, son of R. Ridgeway, Esq., and F.R.C.S. was born in Co. Meath,
Ireland on August 18th 1848.
Educated privately and at R. M. C. Sandhurst, he joined the 96th
Regiment in January 1868, and the Indian Staff Corps 1872.
Passed Staff College, 1883. From
1847 to 1880 was Adjutant of the 44th Goorkha Rifles. Served through the Naga Hills Expedition of 1875, and that of
1879; Manipur 1891; Tirah 1897.
CHARLES JAMES WILLIAM GRANT
(Lieutenant, Now Major) Indian
(Madras) Staff Corps, Formerly 12th (The Suffolk) Regiment
Lieutenant Grant gained the decoration in the outbreak, which
occurred at Manipur, a small native State at the foot of the Eastern
Himalayas. While at Tummu, a
small military station, news was brought him of the massacre of the
residents at the former place on the night of March 24-25th
1891, and of the danger the survivors, if any, were in.
Promptly taking with him eighty native soldiers, he marched day and
night through Northern Burma, reached Thobal, near Manipur, and from March
31st held it against the whole Manipuri army until relieved on
April 9th. For
this he was awarded the Cross-, and promoted Captain and Major on May 26th,
two months after his gallant exploit. Major
Grant is son of Lieut. –General D.G.S. St. J. Grant, late Madras Staff
Corps. Was born at Bourtie,
Aberdeenshire on October 4th 1861; educated privately and at
R.M.C., Sandhurst. Joined
Suffolk Regiment on May 10th 1882, the Madras Staff Corps two
years later-May 10th 1884; and the 2nd Burma
Battalion in 1890. In 1891
was A.D.C. to the Commander-in-Chief in Madras, Lieut. –General Hon. Sir
J. C. Dormer; A.A.G. Madras District 1897. Served through the Burma Expedition 1885-87.
Promoted Major, May 10th 1900.
In the Manipur Rising, in the fighting
subsequent to the occurrence above related, he had his horse under him,
and was him severely wounded. All
the surviving faithful and heroic men who accompanied him on his march to
Thobal were decorated with the Order of Merit.
GUY HUDLESTON BOISRAGON
(Lieutenant, now Major) Indian
On December 2nd 1891, at the capture of the Nilt
Fort, this officer displayed great bravery in leading the assault, through
very severe difficulties, to the inner gate.
Finding his force insufficient, he went back under a heavy cross
fire and collected more men with whom he returned to the relief of the
first party, now sorely pressed. With
the additional help he obtained, the enemy were driven from the Fort.
A more detailed account of the action is given in the record of
Captain Aylmer (V.C.). Major Boisragon, son of Major-General H.F.M. Boisragon, ws
born at kohat, Punjab, on November 5th 1864.
Educated at Charterhouse and Sandhurst, joined the 10th
(Lincolnshire) Regiment in 1885 and the 5th Goorkhas 1887,.
Became Captain 1896; Major 1903.
Served through the Hazara Expeditions of 1888 and 1891, with the
two Miranzai Expeditions 1891, also in that in Waziristan 1894-5.
Took part in the fighting on northwest Frontier 1897; the
operations in the Sarnana and Kurram Valley; Tirah Expedition 1897-8;
operations against the Khani Khel Chamkhannis.
WILLIAM JAMES GORDON (Lance
Corporal) 1st Battalion West India
On March 13th 1892, an attack was made on the town of
Toniataba, in West Africa. Major
G. C. Madden, who commanded the troops, was superintending a party of
twelve men who were trying to break down the South Gate of the town with a
huge beam, which they were using as a battering ram.
The Major’s back was, for a moment, turned to the gate, when
suddenly, several musketbarrels, not more than two or three yards from him
were pushed through two rows of loopholes, which up to that moment had
been masked. In an instant
Gordon called to his officer to “Look out,” and, pushing him aside,
flung himself between him and the muskets, which were at that moment
fired, the contents of one of them entering gordon’s lung. His quick act of heroic devotion undoubtedly saved the life
of Major Madden.
HARRY FREDERICK WHITECHURCH
(Surgeon-Captain, now Surgeon-Major) Indian
(Bengal) Medical Service; 24th Bengal Native Infantry
On March 3rd 1895, the garrison of Chitral Fort made a
sortie. When about
one-and-a-half miles from the Fort, Captain Baird was mortally wounded,
and Surgeon-Captain Whitechurch went to his assistance.
The enemy, in great strength, had now succeeded in forcing their wy
through the fighting line. Darkness
had set in, and with only a small handful of Goorkhas and men of the 4th
Kashmir Rifles, they were completely isolated from assistance.
Placing the wounded officer in a dhoolie, they then attempted to
return. The Goorkhas most
bravely clung to their load until three of them were killed and a fourth
severely wounded, upon which Surgeon Whitechurch took Baird upon his back
and continued the journey. Unable
to take a direct road, they were obliged ti make their way by a circuitous
route of three miles, exposed to a raking fire from the enemy who were
posted oon all the surrounding cliffs and walls, and it was only the
darkness that prevented the total annihilation of the devoted little band.
Time after time, in order to force a way over some walls held by a
more than usually obstinate group of the enemy, Whitchurch had to lay down
his burden, and charge with his men, after which he would pick him up and
make his way on a little further. Eventually
the Fort was reached with but seven men, whose devotion to their wounded
officer has seldom been equalled. Just
as the doctor reached the Forts, Baird was hit for the third time, the
bullet striking him in the face, and, in spite of every care, he died next
day. Before his death,
however he was bale to tell of the heroic devotion of surgeon Whitchurch,
being anxious it should not go unrecognised.
Captain Younghusband in his story of Chitral says that Mr.
Robertson, Political Agent, wrote in his report to Government saying,
“It is difficult to write temperately about Whitchurch,” and men who
have rhemselves won the Victoria Cross have said that never has it been
more gallantly earned than on this occasion. Dr. Whitchurch, son of Mr. F.
Whitchurch, of Sandown, Isle of Wight, was born on September 22nd
1866. Educated in England,
France amd Germany. Entered
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital 1883, and the Indian Army 1888, serving in
the Looshai Eexpedition and the relief of Aijal and Changsil, Defence of
Malakand; relief of Chakdara, Northwest Frontier of India 1897-8; China
1901, taking part in relief of Pekin Legations.
EDMOND WILLIAM COSTELLO
(Lieutenant, now Captain) Indian
On the night of July 26th 1897, during the fighting at
the Malakand, Lieutenant Costello, with the assistance of two Sepoys,
saved the life of a wounded Lance-Havildar, who was lying sixty yards away
on the football field. At the
time of this gallant act, the field was swarming with the enemy’s
swordsmen and a heavy rifle-fire directed upon it.
Edmond Costello, son Surgeon-Colonel Costello, I.M.S., was born on
August 7th 1873. Educate
at Beaumont and Stonyhurst College, he joined the 14th West
Yorkshire in August 1892, and was attached to the 22nd Punjab
Infantry in 1894. During Malakand Campaign was twice wounded.
ROBERT BELLEW ADAMS (Major
and Brevet-Lieut. –Colonel, now Lieut. –Colonel, C.B.) Indian
At Nawa Kili, in Upper Swat, NorthWest Frontier of India, on august
17th 1897, Lieut. –Colonel Adams and some of the guides
started in pursuit of the tribesmen after the action of Landakai, and it
is believed that the horse of Lieutenant R. T. Greaves bolted with his
rider. When nearing the
enemy, Greaves was shot through the body and fell to the ground, being
quickly surrounded by the tribesmen.
Major Adams, Lieutenants McLean and Fincastle, seeing Greaves
predicament, rode to his rescue and succeeded in recovering his body.
They drove off the enemy, but Greaves was killed by another shot
just as they commenced to carry him away.
Major Admas most bravely stood between the enemy and McLean and
Fincastle while these two officers were attempting to put their wounded
friend on to one of their horses. Lieutenant McLean was mortally wounded while engaged in this
humane act. Robert Bellew Adams was
born in 1856, and entered the Army in 1876, becoming Captain 1887; Major
1896. Served in the Afghan
War 1879, and Chitral Relief Force 1895.
Is A.D.C. to His Majesty the King.
Was presented with the Victoria Cross by the late Queen Victoria at
Windsor, on July 9th 1898.
At present serving at Mardan in India.
HECTOR LACHLAN STEWART MacLEAN
(Lieutenant) Indian Staff Corps
This officer, had he survived, would have been awarded the Victoria
Cross for his gallant conduct on August 17th 1897, in Upper
Swat, India, when as recorded in the account of Colonel Adams (V.C.), he
attempted to save the life of Lieutenant Greaves.
Lieutenant MacLean had served in the Hazara Expedition.
CHARLES JOHN MELLISS (Captain)
Indian Staff Corps
When employed with the West African Frontier Force, Captain Melliss
behaved with great gallantry at Obassa, on Septmeber 30th 1900.
Seeing that the enemy were in great numbers, and about to offer a
stubborn resistance, he collected as many men as could find at the moment,
and led them through the bush in a charge against the natives, at a point
where he saw they were most strongly united.
His courageous conduct, and that of his men, drove the enemy off
for a moment, but a hand –to-hand fight soon took place.
He ran his sword through a native who had fired at him, being shot
himself in the foot, which paralysed the limb, but his wild rush had had
the desired effect, and the enemy broke into a panic and fled, pursued by
the Sikhs, who slew a great number. On
three previous occasions Major Melliss was noticed for his courageous
conduct. Son of Lieut. –General
G. J. Melliss, I.S.C., Major Melliss was born in 1862. Entered the Army in 1882 (East Yorks Regiment), and became
Captain 1893. Served in East
Africa 1896, and against the Mazrui rebels; also on the northwest frontier
of India 1897-8, and the operations in the Kurram Valley 1879. Tirah Campaign 1897-8, ebing present at the storming of
Dargai. Took part in the
actions in the Bara Valley and in the relief of Kumassi 1900, obtaining
his Brevet of Lieut. –Colonel, and being twice mentioned in despatches. In Sir John Willcock’s despatch of December 25th
1900, the following refenece to him is made-
“Although this officer (Captain Melliss) had been awarded the
Victoria Cross for valour, his work throughout the campaign has been so
valuable and conspicuous, that I sincerely trust he will be noted for
higher promotion, on attaining the rank of Major, which he is now near.
He has eighteen years service, but is held back by the rules for
promotion in the Indian Staff Corps.”
ALEXANDER STANHOPE COBBE, D.S.O.
(Captain, Local Lieut. –Colonel) Indian
At the action of Erego, in Somaliland, on October 6th
1902, some of the companies had retired, and Captain Cobbe was left by
himself in front of the line with a Maxim gun, which he brought in quite
alone and worked in a most gallant manner at a most critical period of the
fight. He also, when an
orderly had fallen wounded, went out and brought him in, although he was
exosed to a very heavy fire both from the enemy, only about twenty yards
from him, and from his own men who had retired about the same distance in
the rear. Born on June 5th
1870, Captain Cobbe is the son of the late Lieut. –General Sir A.H.
Cobbe. Educated at
Wellington, he entered the South Wales Borderers (24th
Regiment) as 2nd Lieutenant in 1889, obtained his Lieutenancy
in 1892, transferring to the Indian Staff Corps in the same year, and was
gazetted Captain from September 21st 1900.
Served in the Chitral Relief Force 1895, being mentioned in
despatches; the South Angoniland Expedition 1898; and the Expedition
against Kwamba 1899, being again mentioned.
During his service in Ashantee in 1900 was severely wounded, and
received the D.S.O. The Victoria cross was presented to him by General
Manning on February 22nd 1903, at Obbia.
WILLIAM GEORGE WALKER (Captain)
Indian Army Serving with the Bikanir Camel Corps)
Associated with Captain Rolland (V.C.) in an act of conspicuous
devotion and courage in saving the body of Captain Bruce during the fight
at Daratoleh in the Somaliland Campaign, on April 22nd 1903.
Fuller details are given in the account of Captain Rolland and
Major J. E. Gough (V.C.). Captain
Walker, so of the late Deputy-surgeon W. Walker, M.D., LL.D., of the
Indian Medical Service, was born in 1863, educated at Haileybury, and
entered the Army in 1885, becoming Captain 1896.
He served through the Miranzai (1891) and Waziristan (1894)
GEORGE MURRAY ROLLAND (Captain)
Indian Army (Intelligence Officer Serving with the
Berbera-Bohotle flying Column)
On April 22nd 1903, in Somaliland, during the return of
Major Gough’s column to Danop, the rear-guard was left far behind the
rest of the column, and Captain Bruce was mortally wounded.
They were almost surrounded by the enemy who were swarming in the
bush, very thick at this part, and while a heavy fire was kept up against
them Captains Rolland and Walker (V.C.), with two men of the king’s
African Rifles, one Sikh ad one Somali of the Camel Corps, stood by the
wounded officer to save him from falling into the enemy’s hands. Captain Rolland afterwards ran back the savages saved 500
yards to the column, now fast disappearing in the distance, unaware of
what was taking place, and returned with assistance to carry away Captain
Bruce, and, by his and his fellow-soldiers great courage and devotion, the
body of that officer from mutilation.
Captain Rolland’s account of the incident, published in one of
the newspapers of August 10th 1903, is set out here in full.
Captain George Murray Rolland, son of the late Major Patrick Murray
Rolland, R.A., was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst, afterwards jpoining
the Bedfordshire Regiment. In
1889 he joined the 1st Bombay Infantry becoming Captain in
Noveber 1900. From the “Daily Graphic” of August 10th 1903. “The following intresting extracts from a letter
written by Captain George Murray Rolland, 1st Bombay
Grenadiers, Intelligence Officer, serving with the Berbera-Bohotle Flting
Column, on whom the Victoria Cross has just been conferred for conspicuous
gallantry at thebattle of Daratoleh, have been sent to us for publication-
“It was a grand fight, and for four hours our little band of 200
stood shouldr to shoulder in a tiny little square, barely thirty yards on
each side, with a hail of bullets falling all round us.
Our ammuntion was running short, so at 2.30 a.m. (the action began
at 10.30 a.m.) Major Gough decided to retire.
A horde of savages followed us for three more hours, coming within
fifteen to thirty yards of us. It
was a tight corner. Major
Gough is a splendid soldier, so cool and calm; he is a grand fellow.
Poor CaptainBruce and I were on the rear guard together-both Harrow
boys. The bush was so dense
we could scarcely see a yard in it. We
were left behind with four men; so Bruce called out, “Rolland, come
along with those men,” and we retired slowly, firing as we went.
A savage crept up close to the path along which we were arching;
owing to the dense grass and bush we did not notice it.
Poor Captain Bruvce suddenly threw up his arms and fell on his
face, shot through the body. The
bullet entered his right side and passed out by the left. I saw the savage moving off’ my carbine was onhim in a
second, and he rolled over. I
can’t tell whether he was actually the man who shot Captain Bruce, but I
saw no other, so think it must have been him.
I ran to Captain Bruce and rasied him up, turning him on to his
back. He was bleeding
terribly, and I saw at a glance it was a mortal wound.
I dragged him a little out of the path, which was much exposed to
the enemy’s fire, and undid his collar, taking off his bandolier,
revolver and belt, while the four brave men covered me with their fire and
kept the enemy in check, who were yelling with delight as they saw one
white man dying and another close to him, and they kept calling out to
each other (I was told afterwards by the Somali who fought by me that they
were saying that they had got us all, and to come on and spear us).
Captain Bruce was a very heavy man, of nearly 14 stone, and I am
only 9 ½ stone, so I could not lift him.
None of the men could stop firing to help me, or the enemy would
have been on us, so I shouted to the disappearing column, “Halt in
front!” It was then out of
sight, slowly retiring along the winding path, and we were practically cut
off. It was a moment of great
despair, as I thought my shout had not been heard.
“The enemy were now pressing us very hard, so I had to stop
attending to poor Captain Bruce, and emptied the magazine of my carbine at
them. Then I fired off my
revolver and emptied that too. Suddenly
Captain Bruce stood up, and I rushed to hold him up.
He walked two steps forward, and fell on his face again.
I tried to break his fall, and he brought me down too he was too
heavy for me. I again turned him on to his back. He opened his eyes and spoke to me (his last words), “They
have done for me this time, old man!”
From now to his death he was practically unconscious. To my infinite relief I then saw Captain Walker trekking
towards me. He and I tried to
carry Captain Bruce, but it was no use, so then I left them and ran back
400 yards or more to where the rear-guard was, to fetch help.
It was a terribly long run, and I thought I must get hit every
moment, as the bullets fell splashing round me.
I seized a Bikanir camel, and was running back with it, when Major
Gough came up and asked what was the matter.
I told him, and he rushed back to Captain Bruce.
I followed slower, as the led camel refused to step out, and I
could not induce mine to hurry up-in fact he was frightened, and did not
like to leave his friends. “I reached the little group, and made the
camel sit down, and we lifted up Captain Bruce, ajor Gough at his head,
and Captain Walker and I at his feet.
Whilr doing so three bullets struck the ground between us.
One went through poor Captain Bruce’s leg, but he was too
far-gone t feel it. Then the
Sikh, who had done his duty nobly, had his arm smashed by a fourth bullet.
We had to throw Captain Bruce on to the Camel Anyhow, and as we did
so the poor fellow died. The
two Yaos (Africans), the Somali, and the Sikh made up the four who helped
us, and they did their work well. It
was a wonder to me that out of our little group only the Sikh was wounded.
I thought all the time that not one of us would escape, and that we
should have all fallen. However,
we saved Captain Bruce’s body, and we could only regret that we could
not save his life; but I knew when he fell that he had received his
deathwound, and that all we could save from falling into the enemy’s
hands would be his body, and I think God we were able to do that, for he
would have been mutilated had those savages got hold of him.
He was a dear chap, a great friend of mine, and an old Harrow chum.
R.I.P. “Well, we were not left
alone till 5.30 p.m., and then the enemy drew off.
It was the hardest day of my life.
I tried and fired in that fight, till my rifle was boiling hot;
even the woodwork felt on fire. Up
to 3 a.m. a few biscuits and cocoa, then a twenty-five mile ride, a seven
hours fight, and twenty-five miles back to camp, i.e. fifty miles that
day; twenty-five hours without food of any kind, between the 3 a.m.
biscuits and cocoa on the 22nd to the 4 a.m. dinner on the 23rd.
Oh, the thirst of that day! I
had two water bottles on my camel, and drained them both.
Hunger I did not feel. That
march home was a terrible one! The
smell of the dead bodies the the blood on out empty stomachs made us feel
so sick, and as I rode up and down from the front to the rear of the
column and back I passed the bodies of Captains Bruce and godfrey tied on
to camels, and swaying about helplessly.
Oh, it was a heart-rending sight to me to see all that remained of
two strong, healthy men, who only that morning were so full of life and
spirits! We resched Danop
again at 2 a.m. and when I got off my camel I reeled from tiredness, which
to then I had not felt. However,
I was given brabdy and water, and then I had to go off and arrange for our
dead to be laid out and placed under a guard for that night, to provent
hyenas attacking them. The
wounded had to be looked to and made comfortable.
Next morning at 8 a.m. buried Captains Bruce and Godfrey side by
side, just as they were, in their khaki uniforms.
Major Gough read the service, and we all stood round. It was a most impressive funeral; a soldier’s always is,
but this one was unusually so. Not
one of us could have spoken after it was over without breaking down, and
we all walked away from the grave with silent, bowed heads.
Half an hour later we were all ourselves again, for there is not
time in a soldier’s life for grief.
We were in and all busy with our respective work.
I had only one suit of khaki with me, so as it was covered with
blood, I had to go and have it washed and dried, and went about
practically naked while it took place.”
JOHN RYAN (Private)
1st Madras Fusiliers
On September 26th 1857, John Ryan was associated with
Surgeon Home and Privates Ghollowell and McManus in their heroic stand at
a small house in which they were defending the wounded under their care.
Ryan was particularly conspicuous for his daring rescue of many
wounded from the dholies into which the mutineers were firing and some of
which they set on fire. Many
lives were owed that day to his bravery.