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Title: The Book of the V.C. - A record of the deeds of heroism for which the Victoria - Cross has been bestowed, from its institution in 1857 to - the present time
Author: Haydon, A. L.
Language: English
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AND ENGAGED THEM BOTH AT ONCE.--_Frontispiece._--_See p. 75._]

    OF THE

    _A Record of the Deeds of Heroism for which
    the Victoria Cross has been bestowed, from
    its Institution in 1857, to the Present Time_


    A. L. HAYDON






    CHAP.                                                       PAGE

            PRESENTATION                                           1

      II. THE CRIMEA.--THE BATTLE OF THE ALMA                      9

     III. THE CRIMEA.--IN THE BALACLAVA CHARGES                   16

      IV. THE CRIMEA.--THE HEROES OF INKERMAN                     27

            TRENCH AND RIFLE-PIT                                  34

      VI. THE CRIMEAN CROSSES OF THE NAVY                         45

     VII. PERSIA.--HOW THE SQUARE WAS BROKEN                      57

    VIII. INDIA.--THE GALLANT NINE AT DELHI                       61

      IX. INDIA.--WITH SABRE AND GUN AGAINST SEPOY                69


      XI. INDIA.--THE STORY OF KOLAPORE KERR                      84

     XII. INDIA.--THE DEFENCE OF THE DHOOLIES                     92

            McDONELL, AND “LUCKNOW” KAVANAGH                     102


            AND CANADA                                           124

     XVI. NEW ZEALAND.--FIGHTING THE MAORIS                      133

    XVII. IN ASHANTI BUSH AND MALAY JUNGLE                       142

   XVIII. HOW SOME AFGHAN CROSSES WERE WON                       150

     XIX. MAIWAND.--A GUNNER’S STORY                             161





    XXIV. IN EGYPT AND THE SOUDAN                                207

     XXV. V.C. HEROES OF THE INDIAN FRONTIER                     216


   XXVII. WHEN THE AFRIDIS WERE UP                               229


    XXIX. SOMALILAND--NIGERIA--TIBET                             253

          APPENDICES                                         263-294

          APPENDIX A. ROYAL WARRANTS                             263

             ”     B. THE FIRST PRESENTATION OF THE V.C.         269

                      V.C. HAS BEEN WON, FROM 1854 TO 1904       272

                      OF THE V.C.                                274



    HOW LORD ROBERTS WON THE V.C.                        _Frontispiece_

    THE VICTORIA CROSS                                               3

    26, 1857                                                       5

    THE CAPTAIN OFF”                                              22

    OF DANGER                                                     53

    RYAN … AND CARRIED IN CAPTAIN ARNOLD                          98

    AND HELPED THE ORDERLY TO REMOUNT                            137

    SPURRED HIS HORSE FOR THE RIVER                              173

    GRAVE OF MELVILL AND COGHILL                                   175

    MAN UPON HIS HORSE                                           193

    BOULDER AND CONTINUED TO PLAY HIS PIPES                      236

    BULLETS BEGAN TO DROP THICKLY AROUND                         242


The celebration this year of the Jubilee of the Victoria Cross may be
offered as sufficient excuse for the appearance of this volume. Such a
notable event deserves to be fittingly commemorated, and it is in the
hope that it will be accepted as a standard work on the subject that the
present book is put forth. My original intention of telling the stories
of _all_ the V.C. exploits was found to be impracticable within the
limit of space prescribed. A selection, therefore, has been made, and
these instances--a very large number--have been narrated more or less at
length. The history of the Decoration has been brought right up to date.

In such a book as this, accuracy is of course of the first importance,
and in my account of the deeds that won the Cross I have been at
considerable pains to verify the smallest particulars. To this end
the _London Gazette_ and other authentic sources have been consulted,
while in many cases the information has been obtained from the V.C. men
themselves. It is possible, however, that errors have crept in despite
the care exercised, and I shall be grateful if any reader who detects a
misstatement will notify me of the fact, that the correction may be made
in a future edition.

                                                               A. L. H.

LONDON, _June 1906_.

    Muscovite metal makes this English Cross,
    Won in a rain of blood and wreath of flame;
    The guns that thundered for their brave lives’ loss
    Are worn hence, for their fame!


    The men of all the army and the fleet,
    The very bravest of the very brave,
    Linesman and Lord--these fought with equal feet
    Firm-planted on the grave.

    The men who, setting light their blood and breath,
    So they might win a victor’s haught renown,
    Held their steel straight against the face of Death,
    And frowned his frowning down.


    And some who climbed the deadly glacis-side,
    For all that steel could stay, or savage shell;
    And some, whose blood upon the Colours dried
    Tells if they bore them well.

    Some, too, who, gentle-hearted even in strife,
    Seeing their fellow or their friend go down,
    Saved his, at peril of their own dear life,
    Winning the Civic Crown.

    Well done for them; and, fair Isle, well for thee!
    While that thy bosom beareth sons like those,
    “_The little gem set in the silver sea_”
    Shall never fear her foes!

                                                      SIR EDWIN ARNOLD.




Every nation loves to honour the brave deeds of her sons. We know how in
olden times this was done, how the Romans conferred a “Civic Crown” upon
the hero who saved a citizen’s life, and inscribed his name in letters of
gold upon the marble wall in the Capitol. In these modern days it is the
custom to bestow a medal or similar decoration upon the bravest of the
brave, as a public mark of appreciation of their heroism.

So Russia has its Order of St. George, which is conferred solely for
exceptional gallantry on the field of battle; Austria its Order of
Maria Theresa (so exclusive that there are not more than twenty living
possessors of its Cross); Prussia its Order “Pour le Mérite”; France its
Legion of Honour and War Medal; and the United States a “Medal of Honour”
which carries no privileges and confers no rank on the bearer, and which,
curiously enough, is sent to the recipient through the post.

Great Britain’s symbol of the grand democracy of valour is a little
Maltese cross of bronze, insignificant to look at beside many a more
showy medal, and intrinsically worth only fourpence halfpenny, but the
most coveted decoration of all that our soldiers and sailors can aspire

Somewhat reminiscent of a badge awarded to the 28th Regiment after the
siege of Badajoz in the Peninsular War,--a badge which bore a crown, a
star, and the letters V.S., signifying “Valiant Stormer,”--the Victoria
Cross is adorned with a crown surmounted by a lion, and a scroll bearing
the simple inscription “For Valour.” On the reverse side of the medal
is given the date or dates of the act of bravery for which it has been
awarded, while the name of the recipient is inscribed at the back of the
bar to which it is attached by a V. The Cross, which is cast from cannon
that were taken at Sebastopol, is suspended from its wearer’s left breast
by a piece of ribbon, blue for the Navy and crimson for the Army.

Such is the world-famed Victoria Cross. What, then, was its origin? For
answer to this we must go back to the days of the Crimean War, fifty
years ago. Up to this time decorations for distinguished services in
the field were very sparsely distributed. The men of Wellington’s day
were thought to be sufficiently honoured if they were “mentioned in
despatches.” But after the Crimean campaign, in which British soldiers
did such prodigies of valour, a feeling arose that some medal should be
struck as a reward for bravery in the face of the enemy.

Perhaps it was the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava that inspired
the idea, but, however this may be, a certain Captain Scobell, R.N.,
sometime M.P. for Bath, set on foot an agitation which at length drew
the attention of the authorities and led in due course to the institution
of the Victoria Cross. The new decoration, which by Queen Victoria’s
special desire bore her own name, was first announced in the _London
Gazette_ on February 5th, 1856. The present year, therefore, celebrates
its jubilee.

[Illustration: THE VICTORIA CROSS.]

As stated in the original Royal Warrant, which is given in full in the
Appendix, the Cross entitles all its bearers below commissioned rank
to a pension of £10 a year, with an additional £5 for each extra clasp
or bar,[1] and, by a recent clause, an increase to £50 a year in cases
where the recipient is incapacitated by old age or ill-health. Another
important new alteration in the rules provides that if a man dies in
winning the V.C. the decoration shall be handed to his relatives.

It is the great distinction of the Victoria Cross that it may be won
by the humblest member of the services. “Linesman and Lord,” private
soldier, common sailor, Field-Marshal and Admiral, are all on a level
on the Roll of Valour. Out of the 522 Crosses which have been bestowed
up to the present time (June 1906), it has been, or is still, worn by
three Field-Marshals, six Admirals, one clergyman, three civilians, and
twenty-five Army doctors.

Furthermore, how truly democratic is the decoration is shown by the fact
that it has been won by three men of colour--Seaman Hall, a negro serving
in Captain Peel’s Naval Brigade at Lucknow, and Sergeant Gordon and
Private Hodge, both of the West India Regiment.

Of the different campaigns in which the Cross was won the Indian Mutiny
yielded the greatest number, 182. The Crimean War accounted for 111;
the recent South African War comes third with 78; while the Zulu War
provided 23; and the Afghan War of 1870-80, 16. In the list of V.C.
regiments--excepting the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers, which
have forty-one and twenty-seven Crosses to their credit--the South Wales
Borderers top the list with sixteen. Next in order come the Rifle Brigade
(fourteen), the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, the 9th Lancers, and the Gordon
Highlanders (thirteen each), and the Seaforth Highlanders (eleven). The
Black Watch and the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) total ten each.

It is pleasing to note, too, in this connection how many V.C.’s have
been won by Colonial troopers, for the most part in the late South
African War. No fewer than twenty-five were awarded to South Africans,
Australians, Canadians, and New Zealanders, showing of what sterling
metal were these Sons of the Empire who crossed the seas to fight at the
call of the Mother Country.

     *       *       *       *       *

The first presentation of the V.C. took place on June 26th, 1857, the
year after the close of the Crimean War. The scene of the ceremony was
Hyde Park, and on that beautiful summer morning the sun shone down
upon a brilliant spectacle. A large body of troops under the command
of the veteran Sir Colin Campbell, comprised of Life Guards, Dragoons,
Hussars, Royal Engineers, Artillery, and other regiments, together with a
detachment of smart-looking Bluejackets, were drawn up in imposing array,
and a vast number of people of all ranks had assembled to await the
coming of Royalty, for the Queen herself was to pin the Crosses on to the
heroes’ breasts with her own hand.

Just before ten o’clock, to the booming of a royal salute, her Majesty,
with the Prince Consort, the Crown Prince of Prussia, the Prince of Wales
and his brother Prince Alfred (the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha), all
on horseback, rode into the Park and took their places near the dais that
had been prepared. On a small table near by, showing up strongly against
the scarlet cloth with which it was covered, lay the Crosses that were to
be bestowed that morning. The little band of sixty-two heroes, headed by
Lieutenant Knox, of the Rifle Brigade, meanwhile stood at ease a little
distance off, the observed of all observers, until the signal was given,
and then one by one they came forward as Lord Panmure, the then Secretary
for War, read out their names.

As a complete list of these first recipients of the V.C. is given at the
end of this volume I need not enumerate them here, but there were one
or two, notably Lieutenant (now Rear-Admiral) Lucas, the first man to
be awarded the decoration, Lieutenant Hewett (“Bully Hewett” as he was
popularly known), the gallant Commander (late Rear-Admiral) Bythesea, and
Lieutenant Knox, whose empty sleeve bore eloquent witness to his daring
bravery at the storming of the Redan, who stood out from the rest. And
hardly less conspicuous among those present were Lord Cardigan, at the
head of the 11th Hussars and mounted on the very horse that carried him
through the Balaclava Charge, and Fenwick Williams, the gallant defender
of Kars.

The presentation, the most historic ceremony that Hyde Park has ever
witnessed, was over in barely more than ten minutes. After the last
Cross had been pinned on Major Bourchier’s breast the little band of
heroes was drawn up in line again, and a review of the troops brought the
proceedings to a close.

     *       *       *       *       *

A truly glorious and inspiring record is that of the V.C. The stories of
how the Cross was won, though they cannot be told as fully as one could
wish, make a Golden Book of Valour that every British boy should be made
familiar with, as the sons of the old Norsemen were made familiar with
the sagas of their heroes. For they tell not merely of physical courage,
which the ancients extolled as the highest of all the virtues, but of
that moral courage which demands even more fully our admiration.

1857.--_Page 5._]

One’s heart warms at the recollection of the giant M’Bean slaying his
eleven sepoys single-handed at Lucknow, but his heroism pales before
that of Kavanagh or of Surgeon Home and the other heroes of “Dhoolie
Square.” Their gallant deeds were not performed in the fierce heat of
battle, when in the excitement of the moment a man may be so lifted out
of himself as to become unconsciously a veritable paladin, but done
quietly, from a high sense of duty and in the name of humanity, in the
face of what looked like certain death.

There is room only in the succeeding chapters for a recital of a limited
number of the deeds that won the Cross. One would like to tell of all,
making no exceptions, but such a task is beyond the scope of this volume.
The most striking and most notable acts in the annals of the V.C. have
accordingly been selected, and while keeping strictly to fact the
endeavour has been made to present them in a worthily attractive setting.

And in calling to mind the heroism of the brave men who figure in these
pages let us not forget those who may be said to have equally earned the
distinction but who for some reason or other were passed over. Of such
were Chaplain Smith, who was one of the heroes of Rorke’s Drift; Gumpunt
Rao Deo Ker, the Mahratta sowar who stood by Lieutenant Kerr’s side at
Kolapore, saving his leader’s life more than once in that terrible fight;
and the gallant little bugler boy, Tom Keep, of the Grenadier Guards,
who, while the battle of Inkerman was at its height and bullets were
whistling round him (one actually passed through his jacket), went about
tending the wounded on the field. These are names among many that deserve
to be inscribed high up on the scroll which perpetuates the memory of our
bravest of the brave.

Out of the 522 winners of the V.C. some 200 are alive at the present
time. Death has been busy of late years in thinning the ranks. Only the
other day, as it seems, we lost Seaman Trewavas, Mr. Ross Lowis Mangles
(one of the few civilians decorated), General Channer, and Baker Pasha.
We have, however, still with us the senior winner of the distinction,
Rear-Admiral Lucas, whose exploit is narrated at length in its proper
place, Field-Marshals Lord Roberts, Sir George White, and Sir Evelyn
Wood, Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon, General Sir Redvers Buller, and many
another hero of high rank. May the day be far distant when their names
have to be erased from the survivors’ roll!

[1] No such clasp or bar has yet been granted.



It was in the Crimean War, as noted in the preceding chapter, that the
first Victoria Crosses were won. I do not purpose giving a history of the
war here, for space does not permit of it, nor would it be altogether in
place. But for a proper appreciation of the incidents which I am about
to describe it is necessary to say something about the events which led
up to the war. The reader who wants to obtain a completer grasp of the
campaign, the first great European war that our army had been engaged in
since the war against Napoleon, will of course turn to an authoritative
history for information, not forgetting to keep a map in front of him
while he reads.

The war in the Crimea originated in the aggressive movements of Russia
against her old enemy the Turk. For centuries the Crimea itself had been
the scene of constant warfare between the two nations, its independence
as a separate state under the rule of its own Khans being at length
secured towards the end of the eighteenth century, in the hope that peace
would come to the troubled district.

But it was not to be so. Russia could not keep her hands off the desired
province, the possession of which meant a step gained in the direction of
Constantinople and the conquest of the Ottomans. Accordingly the treaty
with the Turks was violated by the Empress Catherine, and the Crimea was
seized again by the Russians. Fortresses of formidable dimensions now
sprang up on the borders, the greatest and most famous of these being the
naval arsenal of Sebastopol, which was built at the southern extremity of
the peninsula, in the Black Sea.

In due time the Tsar Nicholas I. ascended the throne of Muscovy, and,
believing that the hostility of France towards England needed little
to be fanned into flame, he thought the time propitious to carry out
his ambitious scheme of conquest. With France involved in a war with
this country he had no reason to fear interference with his plans.
Having picked a quarrel with the Sultan, therefore, on a matter of
dispute between the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches, relating to
the guardianship of the Holy Places, especially the Holy Sepulchre in
Palestine, the Tsar flung an army into the provinces of the Danube.

But he had reckoned without his host. In the face of this common danger
(for the downfall of the Turks meant a Russian menace of the whole of
Europe), England and France sank their differences and joined forces
against the Russians. In obstinate mood, and confident in the strength of
his huge army, the Tsar held on his way, with the result that the Allies
declared war. This was in 1854.

Contrary to Russian expectations, the war opened in the Crimea. Here the
combined fleets made their appearance in September of the same year,
the troops landing on the western coast. The English army was under the
command of Lord Raglan, the French commander-in-chief being Marshal
St. Arnaud. Marching southward towards Sebastopol, at which a blow was
aimed, the allied army gained its first victories at Alma and Balaclava.
Then commenced the long and memorable siege of Sebastopol, which was not
reduced until September of the following year.

In the meantime, however, was fought the great battle of Inkerman, “the
soldiers’ battle,” as it has been called, one of the most terrible fights
that Europe has seen. This took place in November 1854.

The winter, spring, and summer of the following year were taken up
with the siege operations, which progressed but slowly owing to the
severity of the winter and the many natural difficulties to be overcome.
Our troops, too, as is now a matter of history, were scandalously
ill-equipped for the campaign, and when we read of how badly they were
clothed and fed, of what little provision there was for the care of the
wounded, and altogether of the gross mismanagement that characterised the
conduct of the campaign, we feel all the more pride that our men fought
so well and achieved so much success in the face of such tremendous odds.

The tale of those eleven months, from October 1854 to September 1855, is
one of sorties, of sapping and mining, of desperate deeds done in the
trenches in the dead of night, of the gradual reducing of the Sebastopol
outworks. Great things were done by our men at the attacks on the Mamelon
Tower and the Redan, and by the French at the storming of the Malakoff,
the capture of the last-named giving the command of the fortress. On
the night that the Malakoff fell the Russians evacuated the town, and
Sebastopol was taken possession of by the Allies.

By the Peace of Paris, which was concluded on March 30th, 1856, the war
came to an end, and our army, sadly reduced in numbers by cholera and
other diseases, more than by the enemy’s shells and bullets, returned

In giving an outline of the Crimean campaign mention must not be
omitted of the British fleet sent into the Baltic at an early stage in
the hostilities. This fleet was unsuccessful in doing much damage to
the Russian ships which sought refuge behind the strong fortresses of
Cronstadt and Sveaborg, but it stormed and took Bomarsund and the Äland
Islands. In the following year (1855) it renewed the attack, and after a
determined bombardment succeeded in partially destroying Sveaborg.

It was in this naval campaign, and in the operations in the Black Sea and
Sea of Azov, that our Bluejackets and Marines did such signal service,
and that several of them won the right to put V.C. after their names.

     *       *       *       *       *

Five of the Crosses won at the battle of the Alma were gained in defence
of the colours.

In the advance on the Russian batteries which were posted on the heights,
the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers formed one of the regiments on the left
wing, the French attacking on the right. It was a perilous climb up
the precipitous rocky slopes, and particularly so for a marked man
like he who bore the colours. Young Lieutenant Anstruther, a mere lad
of eighteen, who proudly carried the Queen’s colours, learnt this to
his cost, for when he was within a few yards of the nearest Russian
earthwork a bullet through the heart laid him low.

In a moment a private had caught up the silken banner now sadly stained
with blood, but Sergeant Luke O’Connor, a young Irishman of twenty-four,
who had followed close on poor Anstruther’s heels and had been himself
struck down, regained his feet although badly wounded in the breast, and
claimed the flag. “Come on, 23rd!” he shouted. “Follow me!”

It was in vain that the gallant sergeant was ordered to the rear to have
his wound attended to; he refused to abandon the colours, and right
through that fierce fight he accompanied the Fusiliers, bearing a charmed
life, as was made evident later. When the flag was inspected at the close
of the action it was found to be riddled with bullet holes, having been
hit in at least twenty-six places.

O’Connor received a commission for his bravery on this occasion in
addition to the Cross for Valour, but he did not exchange from the
regiment. Loyal to the corps he loved, he remained in it, and in time
rose to command it.

On the same day another Welsh Fusilier, Captain Bell, distinguished
himself by capturing a Russian gun which was limbered up and being
dragged from the redoubt. Leaving his company and dashing after it alone,
he pointed his revolver at the head of the driver, who incontinently
dismounted and bolted.

A private then coming to his aid, Captain Bell turned the gun team round,
and was returning in triumph to his comrades when Sir George Brown,
his superior officer, angrily ordered him back to his place in the
regiment, reprimanding him for having quitted it without leave. He had
to relinquish the gun forthwith, but some hours later, when he and his
remnant of men marched in, he learnt to his great satisfaction that the
gun was still in the English lines. The captured horses, it is recorded,
were employed in one of our batteries for some time afterwards, while the
gun itself was taken to Woolwich, where I believe it is still to be seen.

For this action, which had not escaped notice despite his commander’s
rebuke, Captain Bell received the Cross, but had it not been awarded
then he would have undoubtedly won it later at Inkerman, where he
displayed exceptional gallantry. Both O’Connor and Captain Bell became
Major-Generals in after years; the ex-sergeant of the Welsh Fusiliers,
who is still in the land of the living, enjoying the distinction of being
one of the two V.C.’s who have risen to that high grade from the ranks.

The second of the Crosses bestowed for defending the colours fell to
Lieutenant Lindsay, of the Scots Fusilier Guards, afterwards well known
as Lord Wantage.

At a critical moment in the battle an order given to the Royal Welsh to
retire was mistaken by the Scots Guards as meant for them, and they began
to retreat in considerable disorder. Lieutenant Lindsay, who carried the
regimental colours, stood his ground with his escort, endeavouring in
vain to rally the broken ranks. The tide of men swept past him to the
rear, however, and the little knot of soldiers round the colours was
isolated. In this perilous position they were fiercely attacked by a body
of Russians, the escort falling almost to a man, and leaving Lindsay
and a fellow-officer to stand back to back and keep off the enemy with

Help was speedily forthcoming, however. Seeing their officer’s danger,
Sergeants Knox and M’Kechnie, with Private Reynolds, hastened to his side
and successfully held the Russians in check until the regiment re-formed
and advanced again. All three men, it is satisfactory to add, were
similarly decorated.

Of Sergeant Knox more was heard later, especially at the storming of
the Redan, where he lost an arm. By this time he had been promoted
to a lieutenancy and transferred to the Rifle Brigade, from which he
subsequently retired with the rank of Major.



It is not remembered as it should be that there were two brilliant
charges made at Balaclava, on that grey day of October 25th, 1854.
Tennyson’s stirring lines in honour of the Charge of the Light Brigade
have given enduring fame to the “noble Six Hundred,” but the exploit of
the “Three Hundred,” the Heavy Brigade, should make the name of Balaclava
equally thrilling to us.

The Heavy Brigade was composed of squadrons of the 4th and 5th Dragoon
Guards, Scots Greys, Inniskilling Dragoons, and the 1st Royals, under
the command of Brigadier-General Yorke Scarlett. At an early stage of
the fight Scarlett was proceeding with his brigade to the support of
the “thin red line” which was bearing the brunt of the Russian attack,
when suddenly a huge mass of Russian cavalry, Cossacks and others, 3000
strong, loomed up on the heights to their left.

The situation was a perilous one, as the General saw in a glance. The
launching of that great crowd of Russians upon the valley below meant
annihilation for his little force. With a quick command to “wheel into
line,” Scarlett gave orders for the brigade to form up, facing the enemy.
By some blunder, however, the movement was not properly executed, and
when the Russians flung out in a wide-spreading crescent to envelop the
few hundreds of British redcoats below them, two squadrons of the Scots
Greys with one of the 6th Inniskillings were left in front to receive the
first shock of the attack.

With that menacing horde of grey-coated, black-bearded Russians, poised
like a hawk about to swoop upon its prey, there was no time for pause.
Shrill on the air the “Charge!” rang out, and with Scarlett leading them,
the little advance body of “Heavies”--300 men of the Scots Greys and
Inniskillings--dashed off to meet the foe.

We have no such details of the fight as were forthcoming after the Charge
of the Light Brigade, but we know that it was a most desperate affair.
For every one of that handful of men, flung into a mass of the enemy that
outnumbered them many times over, it was a hand-to-hand struggle for
life of the most heroic kind. For a few moments they were lost to sight.
Then out of the heaving, surging multitude the black bearskins and brass
helmets of the Scotsmen and Irishmen broke into view here and there,
while their sabres flashed in the sun as they hewed their way through.

It was a battle of giants. What wonder that the Russians gave for a brief
moment under the fierce onset?

    “There’s fear in their faces; they shrink from the shock;
    They will open the door, only loud enough knock;
    Keep turning the key, lest we stick in the lock!
        Dear England for Ever, Hurrah!”

                             “Scarlett’s Three Hundred,” Gerald Massey.

At this juncture the other squadrons that had been left behind came
galloping to the rescue. Into the swaying mass they plunged, and soon
afterwards “Cossack and Russian,” reeling from the sabre-stroke as they
did again a little later, fell back in confusion. The peril was past, the
day won.

Of how Brigadier-General Scarlett, Lieutenant Elliot, Captain Williams
and Major Clarke of the Scots Greys, and the other officers who led that
fierce charge, bore themselves, the regimental records tell more than
do the history books. Very few escaped unscathed, and there were many
like Elliot, who had no fewer than fifteen wounds, sword cuts and lance
thrusts. And as with the officers, so was it with the men. There was
not one but proved himself a hero that day. We can well understand how
old Sir Colin Campbell was for once moved to emotion, as bareheaded he
greeted the victors with the words, “Greys, gallant Greys! I am an old
man, but if I were young again I would be proud to ride in your ranks!”

Where all men are brave it is not easy to single out any for special
distinction. But in that terrible death-ride there were two who merited
honour above their comrades, Sergeant-Major Grieve and Sergeant Ramage.
The former in the heat of the engagement saw an officer in imminent
danger of being cut down. Riding to the rescue, he swept like a whirlwind
upon the Russians, cutting off the head of one at a single blow and
scattering the rest by the fury of his onslaught. For this deed he won a
well-deserved Cross.

Sergeant Ramage, like Grieve also of the Scots Greys, saved at least
two lives on that day. He rescued first Private MacPherson, whom a body
of Russians had hemmed in and who was fighting against odds that must
have proved too much for him ultimately. Later on, when the “Heavies”
were covering the retreat of the Light Brigade, a private named Gardiner
was seen to be in a terrible plight. His horse was lagging behind the
others, and one of the private’s legs had been shattered by a round-shot.
The first to see Gardiner’s situation, Ramage rushed impetuously to his
help, and although exposed to a cross fire that placed him in momentary
danger for his life, he nobly carried in the wounded soldier to a place
of safety.

These were the actions that gained the brave sergeant the V.C., but
they do not complete the story of his exploits that day. After the
Charge of the Heavy Brigade, in which he had borne so distinguished a
part, Ramage’s horse, a stubborn brute, would not follow the retreating
Russians. No amount of spurring would induce it to go in any direction
save that of home. Nothing daunted, the sergeant dismounted and, leaving
his charger to find its own way back, actually rushed over on foot to the
nearest Russian lines, collared a man and brought him back prisoner!

The story of the Charge of the Light Brigade has been told a score of
times. There is nothing to be added to it now, for the voices of its
gallant leaders, of Cardigan, Morris, and Nolan, are hushed in death, and
we shall never know what were the true facts of the case. That “someone
had blundered” is at least certain. It is hard to believe that the order
was actually given for such a brilliant but useless charge.

Yet so Lord Cardigan interpreted the instructions brought to him by
Captain Nolan, as the Light Brigade, consisting of the 17th Lancers,
the 4th and 13th Dragoons, and two regiments of Hussars, was drawn
up in the North Valley, on the other side of those hills whereon the
Russian cavalry had been routed by Scarlett’s brigade. At the other
end of the valley was a strong force of Russians, formed up behind a
formidable battery of some thirty cannon. The order--wrongly given or
misunderstood--was that the Light Brigade should advance and carry these

It was over a mile from the brigade’s position to that of the Russians.
At a trot, then at a gallop, the Six Hundred, led by Cardigan in his
striking hussar uniform, set off on their death-ride. Tennyson’s words,
“Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them
volley’d and thunder’d,” are literally true. When the astonished Russians
realised what was happening they opened a terrible fire with their
batteries. Shot and shell hurtled through the ranks again and again,
laying many a brave fellow low; but without wavering the Six Hundred
closed up the gaps and pressed on to their goal.

In a very few minutes from the time the fatal order was received the
Light Brigade had disappeared in the smoke of the Russian batteries,
riding clean over the guns and sabreing the gunners as they stood
linstock in hand at their posts. Then ensued as terrific a hand-to-hand
combat as has ever been chronicled.

    “Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro’ the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
    Shatter’d and sunder’d.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the Six Hundred.”

It was in that ride back, when a large body of grey-coated lancers rode
down upon their flank, and the Russian artillerymen rallying to their
guns fired indiscriminately into the mass of English and Russians, that
the other Balaclava Crosses were won.

Major John Berryman, the most distinguished of the seven heroes of the
Charge who were awarded the decoration, has told the story of his exploit
himself, told it modestly and simply as becomes a brave man, but we can
fill in the details of the picture for ourselves as we read.

At the time of the Charge Berryman was Troop-Sergeant-Major in the 17th
Lancers, well known as “the Duke of Cambridge’s Own” and “the Death or
Glory Boys.” In the last mad leap at the guns, the mare he was riding was
badly hit, and he dismounted, when he found that he too had been wounded
in the leg. As he stood debating in his mind whether or not to shoot the
mare, Captain Webb, on horseback, came up. He also had been struck in
the leg, and to his query as to what he had better do, Berryman replied,
“Keep to your horse, sir, and get back as far as you can.”

Webb thereupon turned and rode back, while the sergeant-major, catching
a loose horse, attempted to follow suit. But his new steed had its
breastplate driven into its chest, and hardly had he mounted ere it
fell to the ground. Giving up the idea of rejoining his regiment in the
mêlée, he was making his way back on foot when he caught sight of Captain
Webb, who had halted a little distance off, the acute pain of his wound
preventing him riding farther.

“Lieutenant George Smith, of my own regiment,” says Berryman in his
account, “coming by, I got him to stand at the horse’s head whilst I
lifted the captain off. Having accomplished this, I assisted Smith to
mount Webb’s horse and ride for a stretcher, taking notice where we were.
By this time the Russians had got back to their guns and reopened fire.
I saw six men of my own regiment get together to recount to each other
their escapes. Seeing their danger, I called to them to separate, but too
late, for a shell dropped amongst them, and I don’t think one escaped

Hearing him call to the lancers, Captain Webb asked Berryman what he
thought the Russians would do. Berryman answered that they were sure to
pursue, unless the Heavy Brigade came to the rescue.

“Then you had better consult your own safety, and leave,” said the

Berryman shook his head. “I shall not leave you now, sir,” he replied,
adding that if they were made prisoners they would go together.

Just at this moment Sergeant Farrell hove in sight, and at Berryman’s
call he came over. The retreat of the Light Brigade from the guns was
already beginning, and the confusion and danger was augmented by the
onslaught of the Russian lancers, who had now ridden down upon the
devoted remnant.

THE CAPTAIN OFF.”--_Page 22._]

The position of the wounded officer and his helpers was indeed
precarious. Bullets and shells were flying by them, and at any moment a
Cossack lance might have laid them low. But neither Berryman nor Farrell
hesitated or thought of saving his own skin. Making a chair of their
hands, they raised the captain from the ground and carried him in this
way for some two hundred yards, until Webb’s leg again became very
painful. A private of the 13th Dragoons, named Malone, was requisitioned
to support the officer’s legs, and another start was made.

The rear of the Greys was at last reached in safety, and here the
sergeant-major procured a tourniquet which he screwed on to Webb’s right
thigh (“I could not have done it better myself,” said the regimental
doctor afterwards), together with a stretcher.

We will let Berryman take up the story himself at this point.

“I and Farrell now raised the stretcher and carried it for about fifty
yards, and again set it down. I was made aware of an officer of the
Chasseurs d’Afrique being on my left by his placing his hand upon my
shoulder. I turned and saluted. Pointing to Captain Webb, but looking at
me, he said--

“‘Your officer?’


“‘Ah! and you sergeant?’ looking at the stripes on my arm.


“‘Ah! If you were in French service, I would make you an officer on the
spot.’ Then, standing in his stirrups and extending his right hand, he
said, ‘Oh! it was grand, it was _magnifique_, but it is not war, it is
not war!’”

This French officer was General Morris.

Resuming their task, Berryman and Farrell got the captain to the doctors,
who discovered that the shin bone of his leg had been shattered. Farrell
turning faint at the sight of the terrible wound, the sergeant-major was
instructed to take him away, and this was the cause of bringing him near
enough to the Duke of Cambridge and Lord Cardigan to hear the former say
as he viewed the remnant that had come “through the jaws of Death, Back
from the mouth of Hell”:--

“Is that all of them? You have lost the finest brigade that ever left the
shores of England!”

And to Captain Godfrey Morgan, now Viscount Tredegar, who had led the
17th Lancers (thirty-four returned out of one hundred and forty), the
Duke could only say, “My poor regiment! My poor regiment!”

Sergeant Farrell and Private Malone, as was only fitting, also received
the Cross for Valour.

I have given the account of the brave deed of Berryman and his companions
at some length, because it is, to my mind, one of the most signal acts
of devotion in the chronicles of the V.C. A very large proportion of
those who have won the Cross distinguished themselves in the attempt,
successful or otherwise, to save life, and there is no act that is more
deserving of our fullest admiration. “Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

There were other lives saved in that death-stricken valley that day
besides Webb’s. Captain Morris, who led a troop of the 17th Lancers, was
taken prisoner by the Russians after a desperate encounter, but managed
to escape in the confusion. Grievously wounded and on foot, for his
second horse had been shot under him, he struggled towards the British
lines, until from sheer exhaustion he fell beside the dead body of his
brother-officer, Captain Nolan.

It is stated that the two officers, knowing the peril that faced them,
had each left in his friend’s charge a letter to be sent home if he fell
and the other survived. These letters were found in the breasts of the
two as they lay side by side.

Captain Morris, however, was luckily still alive. To his assistance
promptly came Sergeant-Major Charles Wooden of his own regiment, who
pluckily stood by his body until he saw a surgeon. The latter, who
proved to be Surgeon Mouat of the 6th Dragoon Guards (now Sir James
Mouat, K.C.B.), promptly went over to the wounded man, and despite the
heavy fire that was being kept up, dressed his wounds as coolly as if
he had been in the operating-room. His skill stopped the hemorrhage,
which undoubtedly saved the captain’s life, and for this, as well as for
getting the wounded man back to safety, the brave surgeon in due course
got his V.C. Sergeant-Major Wooden was decorated at the same time.

One other man of the 17th Lancers who distinguished himself in this
historic charge was the regimental butcher, John Veigh. Hearing that
the dash for the Russian guns was to be made, he left his work in his
bloodstained smock without seeking permission, borrowed a sabre, and rode
through the valley with his comrades. “Butcher Jack” cut down six gunners
and returned unhurt, still smoking the short black pipe which was in his
mouth when he joined in the ride.

The two remaining Balaclava Crosses were awarded to Private Samuel
Parkes, a Light Dragoon, and Lieutenant Alexander Robert Dunn, of the
11th Hussars.

Parkes’ exploit was a courageous rescue of Trumpet-Major Crawford, who,
on being thrown helpless to the ground by his horse, was furiously
attacked by a couple of Cossacks. Himself unhorsed, he fearlessly bore
down upon the cowardly Russians, and plied his sword with such vigour
that he sent them flying. The two were attacked again by a larger party
of Cossacks, but Parkes maintained such a sturdy defence that he was only
subdued when a shot struck his sabre out of his hand. He and Crawford
were made prisoners, and not released until a year later.

Lieutenant Dunn had the distinction of being the only officer of the
Light Brigade to win the V.C. When Sergeant Bentley of his regiment
fell behind in the dash back to safety, and was quickly set on by three
Russians, the lieutenant turned his horse and rode to his comrade’s
aid. Dunn was a less powerful man than Parkes, but he sabred two of the
Cossack lancers clean out of their saddles and put the third to flight.

Subsequently Lieutenant Dunn rescued a private of the Hussars from
certain death in similar circumstances. He survived the Crimean War and
rose to distinction in the service, but his career was cut short all too
soon by an accident in the Abyssinian campaign.



The fierce battle on the plateau of Inkerman, in the early morning of
November 5th, 1854, was the most desperate engagement of the whole war.
It has, indeed, been described as “the bloodiest struggle ever witnessed
since war cursed the earth.” The sixty thousand Russians who made a
sortie out of Sebastopol were able through the heavy mists that hung over
the field to take the British force of eight thousand men by surprise,
and the fight at once became a hand-to-hand encounter rather than a
pitched battle.

To call Inkerman the “soldiers’ battle” is to give our brave fellows who
fought that day no more than their due. There was scant time for any plan
of operations to be formed; as the guardsmen--Grenadiers, Coldstreams,
and Scots--turned out of their tents at the warning bugle call it was to
face immediately an enemy already entrenched behind battery and redoubt
which belched forth shell and grape-shot incessantly. With bayonets fixed
they went forward at the charge to silence those terrible flame-mouthed
cannon and drive the Russians from battery and rifle-pit, and once among
the foe British pluck could be relied on to carry the day.

What deeds of daring were done in the mist-shrouded glades and dells of
Inkerman, in the valley and on the heights that commanded the British
position, can never be fully chronicled. We know, however, how some of
our gallant soldiers bore themselves, for in that titanic struggle acts
of signal bravery were performed that were remembered afterwards and
deemed worthy of recognition.

Charles McDermond and Thomas Beach, privates, made themselves conspicuous
in saving the lives of two officers who were lying on the ground wounded
and at the mercy of Russians, who never hesitated to kill a disabled man.
So, too, did Sergeant George Walters of the 49th Regiment, who was more
than a match for half a dozen Russians when Brigadier-General Adams got
cut off. All three won their V.C.’s that day.

Of Lieutenant Mark Walker, of the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment, a
striking story is told. From out of the fog his men saw a great mass
of Russians, two battalions strong, advancing towards them. They were
ordered to open fire, but their rifles were wet and useless. Seeing this,
Walker called on his men to fix bayonets and follow him, and, running
forward, leaped over the low wall behind which the regiment had been
lying hidden. This was enough for the 30th. With a wild cheer, they
followed his lead, and flinging themselves impetuously against the enemy,
a mere handful as they were, they actually sent the greycoats flying.

For this dashing feat, which turned what must have been an inevitable
defeat into a victory, the lieutenant was mentioned in despatches and
awarded the Cross. In after years he wrote himself General Sir Mark
Walker, K.C.B.

But it was at the Sandbag Battery, whence the Russians had directed a
deadly fire upon our troops, that perhaps the most brilliant feat of arms
was performed. The Sandbag had the distinction of being fought for more
than any other battery at Inkerman, changing hands several times, until
at last it was held by the Grenadiers.

After the seventh fight round its parapet, the Russians succeeded in
driving back their besiegers, and, exulting over their achievement,
danced and sang with joy. This exasperated the guardsmen to fresh fury,
and when Sir Charles Russell, their Captain, called on his men to follow
him, the Grenadiers, followed by some Coldstreams and Fusiliers, sprang
forward to storm the position. This time they were successful, driving
the Russians before them.

How fierce was the contest will be understood when I mention that the
guardsmen’s ammunition having run short, the men seized hold of stones
and rocks and hurled these at their foes. The Russians responded in like
manner until, as Sir Charles said in a letter home to his mother, “the
air was thick with huge stones.”

Although the British were once more in the Battery, the worst was not yet
over. Many bold Russians still hung on the parapet wall, or clung to the
embrasures, firing down on those inside. The guardsmen, indeed, found
that they were in a kind of trap, and cries of “Charge them!” arose. Then
a soldier standing by Sir Charles Russell spoke up.

“If any officer will lead us, we will charge,” he said.

Up sprang Sir Charles, revolver in hand. “Come on, my lads!” he cried.
“Come on! Who will follow me?”

The first to respond to their gallant captain’s call were Sergeant Norman
and Privates Palmer and Bailey. Into the face of the opposing Russians
the four dashed. Sir Charles’ revolver missed fire the first time, but
pulling the trigger again he shot his man. At that moment a hand fell on
his shoulder and the private behind him said, “You were nearly done for,

“Oh no,” answered the captain; “he was some way from me.”

The soldier indicated another Russian who had come up at Russell’s back.
“His bayonet was all but in you when I clouted him over the head,” he
said grimly.

Sir Charles saw how close he had been to death’s door. “What is your
name?” he asked.

“Anthony Palmer, sir,” was the reply.

“Well, if I live through this you shall not be forgotten,” said Sir
Charles; and he duly kept his promise, Palmer being made a corporal the
next morning. He received the Victoria Cross for this act later on, when
the Order was instituted, his name being among the first to be submitted.

Side by side Sir Charles Russell and Palmer (poor Bailey had already been
killed, and of Norman there is no further mention) fought their way to
a part of the ledge on the right, where they joined a small company of
Grenadiers under Captain Burnaby. Here the fight waged more fiercely than
ever, Burnaby especially distinguishing himself and winning the V.C. time
and time again, though he never received it. The rush of the guardsmen
was not to be withstood, and the Russians were eventually forced back.

Sir Charles was awarded the V.C. for this exploit at the Sandbag
Battery, receiving it at the hands of his Queen in Hyde Park, three years
later. He might have treasured another souvenir of the fight, also, in
the shape of a long, black-stocked Russian rifle, which he tore from the
hands of a soldier and kept until the end of the day.

Another officer of the Grenadiers who won similar distinction at the
Sandbag Battery was Lieutenant-Colonel the Honourable Henry Percy
(afterwards, Lord Percy). A number of his men at one time charged too
far and became surrounded by the enemy. To add to their peril, they
were without ammunition. Colonel Percy, coming to their assistance,
successfully extricated them from this dangerous position and led them to
where they could obtain cartridges. Just before this he had charged alone
into the battery, only being repulsed by a great stone that struck him
senseless to the ground.

Other eyes than those of his own men were upon him, the Duke of Cambridge
himself noting the action and having some warm words of commendation to
say afterwards.

There are one or two other Inkerman Crosses the stories of which remain
to be told.

Lieutenant Henry Hugh Clifford won the right to add V.C. to his name by a
deed of unusual daring. While in charge of a company of the Rifle Brigade
he saw that a strong body of Russians was deploying to take one of our
regiments in the rear. Without waiting to obtain an order to move from
his position, he called to his men to follow him, and charged boldly into
the midst of the Russians.

Clifford outdistanced his men by several yards, being mounted while they
were on foot, and the consequence was that he found himself alone in the
enemy’s ranks. The fierceness of his onslaught, and the belief on the
Russians’ part that a troop of cavalry was behind him, gave him momentary
advantage. The enemy wavered, and the Rifle Brigade men coming up at the
charge, they soon after surrendered.

It was cut and thrust for Clifford while he was engaged on all hands at
once, but in the thick of the fight he managed to save the life of a
private in addition to protecting his own.

The exploit of Lieutenant Miller of the Royal Artillery bears some
resemblance to the foregoing. An advancing body of Russian infantry bore
down upon his gun battery when he was without any support. One last round
was fired, and then bidding his men “Draw swords and charge!” he rode out
under the hail of bullets straight into the enemy’s midst. The gunners
followed to a man; some armed with swords, others with ramrods, and one
of them--a famous boxer--relying only on his fists, with which he was
seen to lay many a Russian low!

The greycoats got possession of the guns, for desperately as the
artillerymen fought they could not stay the enemy’s advance, but it is
satisfactory to know that the battery was retaken not long after and
fought again by Miller and his gallant men.

Yet another hard fight at the guns took place at a battery where
Sergeant-Major Henry was in charge. When the Russians were upon them,
he and a private named Taylor drew their swords and made a desperate
defence. Taylor was soon slain, however, together with nearly all the
other gunners, and Henry badly wounded. A bayonet pierced his chest,
another pinned him in the back, and he sank to the ground.

As was their wont, the Russians continued to strike at the helpless man
as he lay at their mercy, the result being that when some time later
Henry was rescued and found to be alive he had no fewer than twelve
terrible wounds! He lived, however, to wear his Cross for Valour with his
fellow-artilleryman, Miller, and to rise to the rank of captain.



The battle of Inkerman was the last great battle of the Crimean campaign
fought round Sebastopol. The rest of the story of the long siege is
one that deals with the heroic if unobtrusive work of the “sappers and
miners,” the Royal Engineers, those “handy men” of the Army; with the
tale of the trenches and rifle-pits, wherein men carried their lives in
their hands night after night; with sudden sorties in the dead of night
or the mists of early dawn; and with desperate attempts at storming the
outworks of the great Russian fortress, the Redan, the Mamelon Tower, and
the Malakoff.

Such a siege would have taxed to the utmost the powers of any army, but
when we remember how its difficulties were added to by the severity of
the Russian winter and the hardships under which our brave soldiers
laboured through sickness and for the want of clothing and other
necessities of life, we must account it a truly marvellous achievement.

Sir William Russell, who was the _Times_ correspondent in the war,
fearlessly spoke his mind on the scandalous mismanagement that prevailed,
and from his vivid letters we know how too often the stores ran out,
how the hospital accommodation was insufficient, and how but for the
exertions of Florence Nightingale and her band of devoted nurses we
should have lost far more than the 24,000 men who died from cholera and
other diseases, or were killed by the enemy’s bullets.

Of those days and nights in the trenches Lord Wolseley can speak from
experience, for as a young engineering officer he saw some stirring
service before Sebastopol. The loss of his right eye, and a long scar on
his left cheek, bear witness to one thrilling night’s work in an advance
sap. He was out and about again, however, as soon as possible, for every
man that could stand up was needed.

It is Lord Wolseley’s boast that, apart from the time he spent in
hospital, he was never absent from the trenches at night except on one
memorable occasion. This was when he and a brother-officer made a hasty
Christmas pudding together, compounding it in a hollowed-out shell, with
a shot for pestle. The “very bad suet” which they got from Balaclava, or
the fact that the pudding had to be devoured ere it was half boiled, may
be accounted sufficient explanation for the young officer’s breakdown.
“At about twelve o’clock,” he says pathetically, “I thought I was going
to expire.”

In giving the record of the V.C. heroes who won glory in the long months
that elapsed between the battle of Inkerman and the fall of Sebastopol,
we may well begin with the Royal Engineers, the popular “Mudlarks,” whose
proud mottoes are “Ubique” (everywhere) and “Quo Fas et Gloria ducunt”
(where right and glory lead). Eight of the many Crosses to their credit
were gained in the Crimea. Let us see in what manner these were won.

William J. Lendrim (or Lindrim, for his name is found spelt both ways),
Corporal No. 1078, R.E., had three dates inscribed on his Cross, February
14th, April 11th, and April 20th, 1855. On the first occasion he was sent
to do sapper’s work in a battery that was held by a hundred and fifty
French Chasseurs. A hot fire from the Russian guns had wrought dreadful
havoc among the gabions and raked the trenches, but Lendrim, assuming
command of the Frenchmen, quickly set to work to repair the damage. With
utter disregard for self, he was here, there, and everywhere at once,
replacing a gabion where it had been struck down, digging in the trench
and shovelling up earth round the weak places. Lendrim’s coolness and
plucky example saved that battery from demolition, as the French officer
in charge of the Chasseurs very properly noted in his report.

His second exploit was to mount the roof of a powder magazine that
had caught fire and, under a perfect hail of bullets, extinguish the
flames. This was a danger to which batteries were particularly liable,
the live shells and fire-balls that dropped among them soon setting the
basket-work of the embrasures and other inflammable parts in a blaze. I
shall have something more to say about the “heroes of the live shell”
before this chapter is ended.

The third date on our brave sapper’s Cross, April 20th, recalls a very
daring feat on his part. Out among the rifle-pits, in the open, some
Russians had erected a screen of brushwood, barrels, and sailcloth,
behind which they thought themselves well secure. A party of British
sappers who lay all night in a trench thought otherwise. In the darkness,
just before dawn, a dozen of them, prominent among whom was Lendrim,
dashed out and with bayonets fixed charged the rifle-pits and destroyed
the screen.

We come now to the eventful 18th of June, in the same year, when a
desperate assault was made on the Redan, the while the French stormed
the Malakoff, some distance to the right. With a column of sailors and
soldiers that formed one of the attacking parties were Lieutenant Graham
and Sapper John Perie of his own corps. They had scaling-ladders and
sandbags with them, but these were not wanted after all, for the terrific
fire that poured down on the open ground before the fortress walls made
it impossible for the work to go forward.

Even then men were found willing, nay anxious to try, and scores of
redcoats dotted the rocky ground between the last trench and the abattis.
But it was a hopeless task--a wanton waste of valuable lives. Very
reluctantly Graham, who had taken command, ordered his men to retire.

While, in the security of the trench, they waited for the Russian fire
to diminish, the lieutenant once more showed of what stuff he was made.
There was a wounded sailor lying out in front, calling piteously for
help. An officer of the Naval Brigade heard him first, and asked for
another volunteer to assist in bringing the wounded man in.

“I’m with you,” cried Graham, springing up instantly; “And I too,” added
John Perie. And out they ran on their noble errand of mercy, succeeding
in the task without being hit.

Both the lieutenant and the sapper were awarded the Cross for their
bravery. The former, as everyone knows who has read the history of the
Egyptian War, became the famous General Sir Gerald Graham, the victor of
El Teb and Tamai. He died in 1899.

No reference to that disastrous assault on the Redan would be complete
without mention being made of Colour-Sergeant Peter Leitch, V.C., also
of the Engineers. Like his fellow-sapper, Perie, he was attached to a
ladder-party which shared the fate of defeat. At the foot of the fortress
the little party was held in check by the pitiless fire of shot and
shell. Men dropped on all sides, for there was no cover.

There were the scaling-ladders to be placed, however, and Leitch came
forward to take the lead. Leaping into the ditch, he pulled down gabion
after gabion from the enemy’s parapet until sufficient had been secured
to make a _caponnière_, filling them with earth and placing them to
afford shelter to his comrades. It was a heroic task, and many a wound
did he receive until he was finally disabled, but he had the satisfaction
of knowing that he had done his duty well.

Nor does this conclude the record of the gallant “Mudlarks.” I might
tell a stirring story of how Lieutenant Howard Crauford Elphinstone
(afterwards a Major-General and a K.C.B.) did great deeds in that same
affair of the Redan, rescuing with the party of volunteers he led no
fewer than twenty wounded men, and winning the French Legion of Honour in
addition to the Cross for Valour. But I have only room now to speak of
one more, John Ross, Corporal No. 997.

Of the three acts of gallantry of which the dates are graven on his
Cross, two were performed for daring sapping operations in what were
termed the 4th and 5th Parallels. In the darkness of night he and his
men worked like moles, quietly but swiftly, connecting (in the first
instance) the 4th Parallel with a disused Russian rifle-pit, the line of
cover thus formed giving the attacking party a tremendous advantage when
morning broke and the fight was renewed.

It was highly dangerous work from first to last. Every few minutes shells
and fire-balls from the Russian guns, which kept up a constant cannonade
throughout the night, would fall in their midst, and unless these were
promptly extinguished the havoc wrought was considerable. But through it
all they plied their spades bravely and set their earth-filled gabions in
position, Ross himself doing the greater part of this latter hazardous

His third notable exploit bears date September 8th, of the same year,
1855. The last assault on the Redan by the allied troops had been made,
but with what results was not known. Ominous loud explosions startled the
still night air every now and then, and the British and French troops
held back uncertainly, waiting for the enemy’s next move.

The cessation of the Russian cannonade and musketry fire, however, led
many to think that the greycoats had abandoned their position, even if
only temporarily. Among those of this way of thinking was Corporal Ross.
Leaving the trench of the 5th Parallel, where he was working, he set
off alone across the intervening ground to see if his suspicions were
correct. It was ticklish work, he knew, for the flashes of the explosions
in the huge fortress lit up the plain vividly, and his figure showed up
an easy mark for any Russian sharpshooter who remained on the watch.
But he kept on until he reached the abattis, when clambering up to the
nearest embrasure he wormed his way in.

The place was empty. Only a dismantled gun and the débris caused by a
well-aimed shell greeted his eyes. Having made certain that he had not
been deceived, Ross hastened back to the lines to spread the news. A
party was at once formed to make another inspection of the Redan, Ross
accompanying it and leading the way into the fortress, which was found
absolutely deserted.

The Redan was forthwith occupied by our men, but the siege was now
practically over. The Russians had retired to the north side of the
harbour, evacuating the town.

So much for the “Royal Sappers and Miners”; we shall meet them later in
a warmer clime, in India, doing their duty as faithfully and performing
deeds every whit as heroic as any they did in the bleak wastes of the

     *       *       *       *       *

The heroes of the trenches and rifle-pits appeal especially to the
imagination. The long vigil of the sentries as they paced to and fro
while their comrades slept or worked in the trench at their back was
an ordeal well calculated to try the nerves of even seasoned soldiers.
A goodly proportion of the guardsmen, riflemen, and others who were
detailed for this hazardous work were under fire in this campaign for the
first time in their lives, but we never read that they flinched from the
task imposed upon them.

However worn and weary the sentry might be, after a long day of digging
and hauling sandbags, he knew he had to exert the utmost vigilance while
on guard. Under cover of the darkness it was a favourite pastime with the
Russians to make sorties in little parties of three and four from the
fortress, in the hope of surprising the harassed sappers as they took a
brief and well-earned rest.

So came three Russians one bitterly cold December night in 1854 to a
small outlying picket of the 7th Royal Fusiliers. Private Norman, on
single sentry-go, caught sight of the grey figures creeping stealthily
towards him. Firing his rifle to sound the alarm, he rushed forward and
leaped boldly into the trench where the enemy had taken cover. Two he
seized and held prisoner, conducting them back to the British lines, but
the third escaped. The plucky Fusilier got the Cross for this action when
the time came to reckon up those who were most worthy of the honour.

But to narrate the several exploits of the heroes of the trenches is to
tell much the same story over and over again. A score or more of gallant
fellows--Moynihan, Coleman, Alexander, McWheeney (who was never absent
for a single day from his duties throughout the war), and others--braved
the Russian fire to dash out into the open and rescue from certain death
some wounded officer or private who lay exposed on the field. The V.C.
was often earned many times over by these.

Only a few stand out from the rest by reason of some special feature,
such as Private John Prosser of the 1st Regiment, who, seeing a rascally
soldier wearing the Queen’s scarlet in the act of deserting to the
Russian lines, jumped out of his trench and chasing the fugitive under a
heavy cross fire collared him and brought him back to camp--and, let it
be hoped, swift justice. For this, and for rescuing a wounded comrade
later on, Prosser gained his V.C.

There were, too, the “heroes of the live shell” to whom I made reference
some pages back. Sergeant Ablett, of the Grenadiers, with Privates
Strong, Lyons, Coffey, McCorrie, and Wheatley, received the decoration
for this act of valour. Plump into the trench in which each delved
dropped a fizzing shell, and without a moment’s hesitation the plucky
fellow lifted it up and flung it over the parapet, to burst more or less
harmlessly outside.

Sergeant Ablett’s shell fell right among some ammunition cases and powder
barrels, and but for his prompt action a terrible explosion would have
taken place with much loss of life. In Wheatley’s case the stalwart
private attempted first to knock out the burning fuse, but failing to do
this he coolly dropped his rifle and disposed of the unwelcome intruder
with his hands.

Of the dashing sorties upon the Russian rifle-pits pages might be
written. I have only space to tell of one such. It may well serve as
characteristic of all. Privates Robert Humpston, Joseph Bradshaw, and R.
McGregor of the Rifle Brigade are my heroes.

Far out on the Woronzoff Road, near some formidable quarries that had
served the Russians well, was a strongly protected rifle-pit whence
sharpshooters directed a deadly fire against a battery in process of
formation by our men. It was essential that this “wasps’ nest” should be

Humpston particularly chafed over the seeming impossibility of doing
this, and at last proposed to two comrades (Bradshaw and McGregor) that
they should “rush” the pit. The two agreed, being much enraged, it is
said, by the recent sniping of a bandsman who was a special favourite.

Accordingly, without asking for the leave which they knew would be denied
them, the three stole out of camp one morning before daybreak, and crept
unobserved towards the death-dealing pit. When within a few yards of it
they gave a wild cheer and charged straight at the surprised Russians.

It was bayonet work, stab and thrust wherever a greycoat showed. How many
they killed between them is not recorded, but the rifle-pit was cleared
once for all and its destruction accomplished.

All three privates were awarded the Victoria Cross, and Humpston, as the
leader, received prompt promotion, together with the sum of £5.

     *       *       *       *       *

Before closing this chapter and passing on to tell of the Crimean naval
Crosses, I cannot refrain from noting just two daring deeds that gained
the V.C. for two gallant gunners during the operations before Sebastopol.
They are written large in the annals of the Order.

Gunner and Driver Arthur, of the Royal Artillery, was in an advanced
battery at an engagement near the Quarries, when the 7th Fusiliers
fighting near by him ran out of ammunition. Arthur promptly volunteered
to supply them, and although he had to cross repeatedly an open space on
which a hot fire was concentrated, he carried the ammunition stores to
the waiting men. But for his assistance the Fusiliers must have had to
abandon the position they had captured.

Equally dashing was Captain Dixon’s defence of his battery. The latter
was wrecked by a shell which, bursting in the magazine, blew it up and
destroyed five guns, besides killing nearly all the gunners. It was a
great event for the Russians, who cheered and danced with joy at the
result of the shot.

But they counted without Dixon. The sixth gun of the battery, although
half buried in earth, was still workable. With some help he got the gun
into position again, loaded and sent an answering shot hurtling into the
enemy’s battery, much to their surprise and discomfiture.

And it is to Dixon’s lasting glory that he worked that single piece
until darkness ended the duel. The chagrined enemy peppered him without
cessation throughout the rest of that day, but he bore a charmed life.
The artillery captain rose to be a Major-General in after years, with
C.B. after his name besides the letters V.C., while France honoured him
by creating him a Knight of the Legion of Honour.



The record of our Bluejackets afloat and ashore in the Crimean War is one
of which the senior service has good reason to be proud. While the siege
of Sebastopol was in its early stages a British fleet sailed up to the
Baltic, but without achieving much result, though a second expedition
succeeded (in 1855) in doing considerable damage to the fortress of
Sveaborg. At the same time another fleet harassed the enemy in the Black
Sea and the Sea of Azov. On land the Naval Brigade did yeoman service at
Inkerman, and in the protracted fighting around Sebastopol.

“Handy Man Jack” has never missed an opportunity of going ashore to have
“some shooting with them redcoats,” in our big and little wars. From the
days of Nelson, when they slung their 24- and 18-pounders on to Diamond
Rock, to the recent Boer War, he has proved himself a rare fighter, quite
as efficient with rifle and bayonet as his brother-in-arms. And the way
he handles his field-guns must be the envy of the artillery.

In the history of the V.C. the Navy not only figures very prominently but
enjoys the proud distinction of having the first Cross for Valour placed
to its credit. The senior winner of the decoration is Rear-Admiral C. D.
Lucas, R.N., and the scene of his exploit was Bomarsund, in the Baltic.

While the bombardment of this port of the Äland Islands, which are
situated just off the coast of Finland, was being carried on by our
warships under Admiral Napier’s command, a live shell suddenly dropped on
to the deck of H.M.S. _Hecla_. It was a moment of frightful suspense for
every one on board who watched the grim messenger of death fizzing there
within a few yards of them. But there was one man on deck who saw what to

Acting-mate Lucas, on duty near one of the guns, promptly ran forward
and with iron nerve picked up the shell, dropping it instantly over the
ship’s side. The burning fuse sputtered out in the water, and the shell
sank harmlessly to the bottom.

Captain Hall, his commander, brought the plucky deed under the notice of
Admiral Napier, who, in writing to the Admiralty about the young sailor’s
bravery, trusted that “their Lordships would mark their sense of it by
promoting him.” This recommendation was acted upon, Lucas being at once
raised to the rank of lieutenant. When later on the Victoria Cross was
instituted the young officer’s name figured duly in the _Gazette_.

Two other sailors who gained the V.C. for similar actions were Captain
William Peel, the dashing leader of the Naval Brigade, and Chief Gunner
Israel Harding of H.M.S. _Alexandra_, also a Crimean veteran.

Whole pages might be written about Captain Peel’s exploits. All the time
the naval men were engaged with the troops round Sebastopol he was ever
to the fore, leading forlorn hopes and fighting shoulder to shoulder
with his soldier comrades whenever opportunity offered. At Inkerman, at
the fierce attack on the Sandbag Battery, he was in the thick of it, and
again at the Redan assault.

Peel loved danger for danger’s sake. There was no risk that daunted
him. At the attack on the impregnable Shah Nujeef, at Lucknow, in the
Indian Mutiny, two years later, he led his gun detachment right up to
the loopholed walls, which were crowded with rebel sharpshooters. He
behaved, said Sir Colin Campbell, “very much as if he had been laying the
_Shannon_ alongside an enemy’s frigate.”

It was Peel who first demonstrated the practicability of fighting with
big guns in the skirmishing line. “It is a truth, and not a jest,” he
once wrote home, “that in battle we are with the skirmishers.” The way
in which the sailors handled their great ship’s cannon, 8-inch guns,
24-pounders, and the like, was marvellous. A military officer, in a
letter that was written at the front, gives an interesting reminiscence
of the Naval Brigade. “Sometimes in these early days of October 1854,” he
says, “whilst our soldiery were lying upon the ground, weary, languid,
and silent, there used to be heard a strange uproar of men coming nearer
and nearer. Soon the comers would prove to be Peel of the _Diamond_ with
a number of his sailors, all busy in dragging up to the front one of the
ship’s heavy guns.”

In a future chapter we shall meet again this intrepid son of Sir Robert
Peel, the great statesman, winning glory and renown under Campbell and
Havelock. For the present I must confine myself to his career in the

The most notable of the three acts, the dates of which are inscribed
on his Cross, was performed in October 1854, at the Diamond Battery
which some of the Naval Brigade were holding. The battery needing fresh
ammunition, this had to be brought in by volunteers, for the horses of
the waggons refused to approach the earthworks owing to the heavy Russian

Case by case it was carried in and stacked in its place, and right into
the midst of it all, like a bolt from the blue, dropped a shell. Peel
jumped for it like a flash. One heave of his shoulders and away went the
“whistle-neck” to burst in impotent fury several yards off--outside the
battery’s parapet.

The second date on his Cross notes the affair at the Sandbag Battery,
where he joined the Grenadier officers and helped to save the colours
from capture. On the third occasion when his bravery was commended for
recognition he headed a ladder-party in that assault on the Redan in
which Graham and Perie won such distinction.

In this attack the gallant captain was badly wounded in the head and arm,
a misfortune which was the means of gaining the V.C. for another brave
young sailor. From the beginning of the war Midshipman Edward St. John
Daniels had attached himself to Captain Peel, acting as the latter’s
aide-de-camp at Inkerman. During the battle he was a conspicuous figure,
as, mounted on a pony, he accompanied his leader about the field.

In the Redan assault he was still by Peel’s side, and caught him as he
fell on the glacis. Then, heedless of the danger to which he was exposed,
he coolly set to work to bandage the wounded man, tying a tourniquet on
his arm, which is said to have saved Peel’s life. This done, he got his
chief to a place of safety.

Daniels did another plucky action some months earlier, when he
volunteered to bring in ammunition from a waggon that had broken down
outside his battery. The fact that the waggon became immediately the
target for a murderous fire from the Russian guns weighed little with
him. He brought in the cartridges and powder without receiving a scratch,
and the battery cheered to a man as the plucky little chap scrambled over
the parapet with his last armful.

Along with Peel and Daniels must be named that popular idol William
Nathan Wrighte Hewett, known to his messmates as “Bully Hewett.” He was
nearly as picturesque a character as his commander.

At Sebastopol, the day following Balaclava fight, Hewett (he was
acting-mate at the time), fought a great long-range Lancaster gun that
had been hauled up from his ship, H.M.S. _Beagle_. The gun drew a
determined attack on its flank from a very large force of Russians, and
orders were sent to Hewett by a military officer to spike the gun and
abandon his battery. The odds were too overwhelming.

In emphatic language the young sailor declared that he’d take no orders
from anyone but his own captain, and was going to stick to his gun.

The other “Beagles” were quite of his opinion. In quick time they knocked
down a portion of the parapet that prevented the huge Lancaster bearing
on the flank and slewed the piece round. Then, loading and firing with
sailorly smartness, they poured such a hot fire into the advancing horde
of Russians that the latter beat a retreat.

They used the big gun with great advantage at Inkerman, but the young
mate’s splendid defence of his battery was enough by itself to win him a
well-deserved V.C. Hewett died eighteen years ago, a Vice-Admiral and a

A page or two back I mentioned Israel Harding, chief gunner, as a third
naval hero of the live shell. It was many years after the Crimean War
that his opportunity came, but his exploit may well be noted down here.

Harding was a gunner on board H.M.S. _Alexandra_, when, in July 1882, Sir
Beauchamp Seymour (afterwards Lord Alcester) with his fleet bombarded
Alexandria. On the first day of the action (the 11th), a big 10-inch
shell from an Egyptian battery struck the ironclad and lodged on the
main deck. The alarm was raised, and at the cry “Live shell above the
hatchway!” Harding rushed up the companion. There was luckily a tub of
water handy, and having wetted the fizzing fuse he dumped the shell into
the tub just in the nick of time.

As in Lucas’s case, promotion quickly followed with the gunner, while the
V.C. was soon after conferred upon him. The shell, it may be of interest
to note, is now among the treasures of her Majesty the Queen.

So many naval heroes call for attention that I must hurry on to speak of
Lucas’s comrades in the Baltic who also won the coveted decoration.

There was Captain of the Mast George Ingouville, serving in the
_Arrogant_. On the 13th of July 1855, the second cutter of his vessel got
into difficulties while the fleet was bombarding the town of Viborg. A
shell having exploded her magazine, she became half swamped and began
to drift quickly to shore. Observing this, Ingouville dived off into the
sea and swam after the runaway. He was handicapped with a wounded arm,
but being a strong swimmer he reached the cutter just as it neared a
battery. With the painter over his shoulder he struck out again for the
_Arrogant_, and towed his prize safely under her lee.

At about the same time a gallant lieutenant of Marines--now Lieut.-Col.
George Dare Dowell, R.M.A.--did much the same thing. When a rocket-boat
of the _Arrogant_ was disabled he lowered the quarter-boat of his ship
the _Ruby_, and with three volunteers rowed to the other’s aid. Dowell
not only succeeded in saving some of the _Arrogant_ men, but on a second
journey recaptured the boat.

It was a lieutenant of the _Arrogant_, however, who eclipsed both these
deeds, brave as they were. The exploit of John Bythesea and his ship’s
stoker, William Johnstone, on the Island of Wardo, reads more like
fiction than sober fact. This is the story of it.

Early in August of 1854 Lieutenant Bythesea learned from a reliable
source that some highly important despatches from the Tsar, intended
for the General in charge of the island, were expected to arrive with
a mail then due. At once he conceived the daring idea of intercepting
the despatch-carrier and securing his valuable documents. His superior
officers thought the project a mad one when he first broached it, but
Bythesea would not be gainsaid. The thing was worth trying, and he and
Johnstone (who had volunteered his services) were the men to carry it
through with success. In the end he had his way, though when the two
plucky fellows quitted the ship on their hazardous errand their shipmates
bade them good-bye with little expectation of ever seeing them again.

The lieutenant and the stoker had disguised themselves very effectively
in Russian clothes, and managed to get to land safely. Here they learned
from their informant, a Swedish farmer, that the mail had not yet
arrived, but was expected at any hour. When darkness fell, therefore, the
two Englishmen found a good hiding-place down by the shore, and commenced
their vigil.

This was the evening of the 9th of August. It was not until the 12th that
the long-awaited mail came to land. For three whole days and nights they
had not ventured from their concealment, save once or twice when the
vigilance of Russian patrols had forced them to take to a small boat and
anchor about half a mile off the coast.

On the morning of the 12th, Johnstone, who spoke Swedish fluently,
learned from the friendly farmer that the mail had arrived, and was to be
sent to the fort that night. Great caution was to be observed, the farmer
added, as it was known to the Russians that someone from the British
fleet had landed. At dark, therefore, the two took up their position at
a convenient spot and awaited the coming of the mail-bags. In due course
they heard the grating of a boat’s keel on the beach. A few Russian words
of command were given, and then sounded the tramp of feet on the road
that led up to the military station.

OF DANGER.--_Page 53._]

The lieutenant and his companion were ready at the instant. A hasty
glance at their weapons satisfied them that these were in order,
and moving a bit nearer to the roadway they waited until the escort

In the dim light they perceived that the Russian soldiers in charge of
the bags numbered five. It was heavy odds, but the prize was great. They
could not dream of drawing back. The escort came swinging up the road
without a suspicion of danger, and just as they passed the spot where a
clump of bushes provided secure shelter out leapt the two Englishmen with
cutlass and revolver.

The cold steel did the work effectively; a pistol shot would have raised
the alarm. Three of the soldiers were cut down in the surprise attack,
while the remaining two yielded themselves prisoners to these redoubtable
assailants. As quickly as possible prisoners and mail-bags were hurried
to the water’s edge, where a boat lay in readiness for them.

In half an hour’s time the despatches were being examined in the
captain’s cabin on board the _Arrogant_, their contents proving to be
of the utmost importance. Bythesea had captured the details of certain
extensive operations planned against the Baltic fleet of the Allies and
the army in the South. Such a service was worthy of the highest honour,
and both the lieutenant and Stoker Johnstone received the Cross for
Valour for that desperate night’s work.

     *       *       *       *       *

Down in the South, in the Sea of Azov, which the map shows us to lie
just north of the Black Sea, our Bluejackets were doing splendid service
in the latter months of 1855. The towns of Genitchesk and Taganrog were
shelled with great loss to the Russians, but as they moved their stores
farther inland the occasion arose for individual expeditions which aimed
at destroying these. The story of the fleet’s operations in this quarter,
therefore, resolves itself into a relation of the several attempts,
successful and otherwise, to harass the enemy in this way.

That the task of setting fire to the store buildings was attended with
tremendous risk was proved over and over again. One or two daring
spirits, including a French captain, were caught and shot by Cossack
patrols. But there are always men to be found ready--nay, anxious--to
undertake enterprises of so desperate a nature.

Wellington had the renowned scout, Major Colquhoun Grant (whose
adventures in the Peninsula teem with romance), doing wonderful
“intelligence” work for him; and to come to more recent times, we may
call to mind Lord Kitchener’s daring journey through the Soudan in
1884, disguised as an Arab, for the purpose of learning what were the
intentions of the various tribes with regard to Egypt.

In the Crimea such men as Lieutenants Day, Buckley, Burgoyne, and
Commerell acted as the eyes and ears of their commanders, and volunteered
for those little jobs that so infuriated the Russians when the red glow
in the midnight sky showed them where stacks of forage and other stores
blazed merrily.

Day’s V.C. was awarded him for a most valuable piece of work. His
ship was stationed off Genitchesk (frequently spelt Genitchi), in the
north-eastern corner of the Crimea, and it was deemed necessary to
reconnoitre the enemy’s lines to ascertain the full strength of the
Russians. For this dangerous service the young lieutenant volunteered.

Accordingly, one night he was landed alone on the Tongue, or Spit, of
Arabat, at the spot he had chosen whence to start. Cossacks, singly or
in small companies, policed the marshy wastes, but Day wriggled his way
between their posts and eventually got close to the Russian gunboats. The
dead silence that prevailed misled him as to the numbers thereon, and
convinced that the vessels were deserted he returned to report the facts
to his captain.

The next day circumstances induced him to suppose that he had been
mistaken. He decided to make a second journey without loss of time,
and one night very soon afterwards saw him again on the Spit. Day soon
discovered that large reinforcements had arrived on the mainland, and at
once made haste to return to his ship.

The long detours he was now obliged to make, to avoid contact with the
Cossack sentries, led him through quagmires and over sandy stretches
that severely tried his endurance. When he reached the shore at last,
well-nigh exhausted, nearly ten hours had elapsed since his start, and it
is not surprising that, having heard shots fired, his comrades had given
him up for lost. He got back after a most providential escape, however,
and made his report. But for his discoveries an attempt would certainly
have been made to seize the Russian boats, in which case the result must
have been disastrous.

Lieutenants Buckley and Burgoyne distinguished themselves by landing near
Genitchesk at night and firing some immense supplies of stones. With
the seaman, Robarts, who accompanied them, they were nearly cut off by
Cossacks on their return, and only a fierce fight enabled them to escape.
All three won the V.C. for this daring piece of work.

Lieutenant Commerell (afterwards Admiral Sir J. E. Commerell, G.C.B.)
performed a like action later on the same year, which gained the V.C. for
him and one of his two companions, Quartermaster Rickard.

Their objective was the Crimean shore of the Putrid Sea, on the western
side of the Spit of Arabat. They accomplished their task successfully,
setting fire to 400 tons of Russian corn and forage, but were chased by
Cossacks for a long distance. In the helter-skelter rush back for the
boat, about three miles away, the third man of the party, Able-Seaman
George Milestone, fell exhausted in a swamp, and but for Commerell’s and
Rickard’s herculean exertions must have fallen a victim to the enemy.

Making what is popularly known as a “bandy-chair”, by clasping each
other’s wrists, the two officers managed to carry their companion a
considerable distance. A party of Cossacks at this juncture had nearly
succeeded in cutting them off, but the sailors in the boat now opened
fire, while Commerell, dropping his burden for a moment, brought down
the leading horseman by a bullet from his revolver. This fortunately
checked the Cossacks, who were only some sixty yards away, and by dint
of half carrying, half dragging Milestone, the plucky lieutenant and
quartermaster eventually got him to the boat, and were soon out of reach
of their pursuers.

The foregoing deeds of derring-do worthily uphold the finest traditions
of the Royal Navy. How more largely still was the “First Line” to
write its name in the annals of the Victoria Cross will be seen in the
succeeding pages.



Among our little wars of the last century that with Persia must not be
passed over here, inasmuch as it was the means of three distinguished
British officers winning the V.C. These were Captain John Wood, of the
Bombay Native Infantry, and Lieutenants A. T. Moore and J. G. Malcolmson,
of the Bombay Light Cavalry.

The war originated in the persistent ill-treatment of British residents
at Teheran, and in the insults offered to our Minister at the Persian
Court, Mr. Murray. No apologies being forthcoming, diplomatic relations
were broken off early in 1856. In November of the same year, after
fruitless attempts had been made to patch up the quarrel, Persia revealed
the reason for her hostility by violating her treaty and capturing Herat,
and war was declared.

Herat from time immemorial had been subject to Afghanistan, and as, from
its position on the high road from India to Persia, it formed the key of
Afghanistan, it was long coveted by the Shah. He laid violent hands upon
it in 1838, but the British Government made him withdraw. This second
insolent defiance of our warnings could not be borne with equanimity; a
force comprising two British and three native regiments was despatched
from India to read the Persian monarch a lesson. Sir James Outram
commanded the expedition. The capture of Bushire was the first success
scored by the British troops, and it was in the attack on this coast town
in the Persian Gulf that Captain Wood gained his Cross.

At the head of a grenadier company Wood made a rush for the fort. Persian
soldiers were in force behind the parapet, and a hot rifle-fire was
poured into the advancing infantry, but under the inspiration of their
leader they held bravely on. The captain was the first to mount the wall,
where his tall figure instantly became a target for the enemy. A score of
rifles were levelled at him, and some six or seven bullets found their
mark in his body.

Badly wounded as he was, Wood jumped down into the midst of the enemy,
killing their leader and striking terror into the hearts of the rest.
This desperate charge, completed by his men, who had quickly swarmed up
the parapet after him, carried the day. The fort was surrendered with
little more opposition.

The feat of arms, however, which led to Lieutenants Moore and Malcolmson
being decorated, was of even greater brilliancy. To Moore belongs the
almost unique distinction of having broken a square.

It was at Khoosh-ab that his act of heroism took place. Near this
village, some way inland behind Bushire, the Persians were massed about
eight thousand strong. Outram’s little army had made a successful advance
into the interior and routed the Persian troops with considerable loss
on their side, and was now making its way back to the coast. Surprise
attacks at night had been frequent, but this was the first attempt to
make a determined stand against our troops.

It was by a singular irony of fate that in this war we should have had
to fight against soldiers trained in the art of war by British officers.
But so it was. After Sir John Malcolm’s mission to Persia in 1810, the
Shah set to work to remodel his army among other institutions, and
British officers were borrowed for the purpose of bringing it to a state
of efficiency. The soldiers who gave battle to our troops at Khoosh-ab,
therefore, on February 8th, 1857, were not raw levies. But, for all that,
when it came to a pitched battle the Persians showed great pusillanimity.
At the charges of the Bengal Cavalry their horsemen scattered like chaff
before the wind.

Most of the infantry, too, fled when Forbes’ turbaned sowars of the 3rd
Bengals and Poonah Horse rode down upon them, as panic-stricken as the
cavalry. But there was one regiment that, to its honour, stood firm. In
proper square formation they awaited the onset of the charge, the front
rank kneeling with fixed bayonets, and those behind firing in volleys.

With his colonel by his side, Lieutenant Moore led his troop of the
Bengals when the order was given to charge, but Forbes having been hit
the young officer found himself alone. He had doubtless read of Arnold
Winkelried’s brave deed at Sempach, when “in arms the Austrian phalanx
stood,” but whether this was in his mind or not he resolved on a bold
course. He would “break the square.”

As he neared the front rank of gleaming steel, above which, through the
curls of smoke, appeared the dark bearded faces of the Persians, Moore
pulled his charger’s head straight, drove in his spurs, and leapt sheer
on to the raised bayonets. The splendid animal fell dead within the
square, pinning its rider beneath its body; but the lieutenant was up and
on his feet in an instant, while through the gap he had made the sowars
charged after him.

In his fall Moore had the misfortune to break his sword, and he was
now called on to defend himself with but a few inches of steel and a
revolver. Seeing his predicament, the Persians closed round him, eager
to avenge their defeat on the man who had broken their square. Against
these odds he must inevitably have gone under had not help been suddenly

Luckily for him, his brother-officer, Lieutenant Malcolmson, saw his
danger. Spurring his horse, he dashed through the throng of Persians to
his comrade’s aid, laying a man low with each sweep of his long sword.
Then, bidding Moore grip a stirrup, he clove a way free for both of them
out of the press. What is certainly a remarkable fact is that neither of
the two received so much as a scratch.

Malcolmson’s plucky rescue was noted for recognition when the proper time
came, and in due course he and Moore received their V.C.’s together. The
former died a few years ago, but Moore is still with us, a Major-General
and a C.B.



The early part of the year 1857 saw the outburst of the Indian Mutiny
which was to startle the world by its unparalleled horrors and shake to
its foundations our rule in India. Never before was a mere handful of
white men called upon to face such a fearful ordeal as fell to the lot of
the 38,000 soldiers who were sprinkled all over the North-West Provinces,
and the record of that splendid struggle for mastery is one that thrills
every Englishman’s heart with pride.

There are pages in it that one would willingly blot out, for from the
outset some terrible blunders were committed. Inaction, smothered in “the
regulations, Section XVII.,” allowed mutiny to rear its head unchecked
and gain strength, until the time had almost passed when it could be
stamped out. But if there were cowards and worse among the old-school
British officers of that day, there were not wanting those who knew how
to cope with the peril. We are glad to forget Hewitt and those who erred
with him in the memory of Lawrence, Nicholson, Edwardes, Chamberlain, and
the many other heroes who came to the front.

In every great crisis such as that which shook India in 1857 the
occasion has always found the man. The Sepoy revolt was the means of
bringing into prominence hundreds of men unsuspected of either genius or
heroism, and of giving them a high niche in the temple of fame. Young
subalterns suddenly thrust into positions of command, with the lives
of women and children in their hands, displayed extraordinary courage
and resource, and the annals of the Victoria Cross bear witness to the
magnificent spirit of devotion which animated every breast.

One hundred and eighty-two Crosses were awarded for acts of valour
performed in the Mutiny, the list of recipients including officers of
the highest, and privates of the humblest, rank; doctors and civilians;
men and beardless boys. In the following pages I shall describe some of
the deeds which won the decoration and which stand out from the rest as
especially notable, beginning with the historic episode of “the Gallant
Nine” at Delhi.

     *       *       *       *       *

The Indian Mutiny was not in its inception the revolution that some
historians have averred it to be. It was a military mutiny arising from
more or less real grievances of the sepoys, to which the affair of the
“greased” cartridges served as the last straw. Moreover, it was confined
to one Presidency, that of Bengal, and it is incorrect to say that the
conspiracy was widespread and that a large number of native princes and
rajahs were at the bottom of it.

As a matter of fact only two dynastic rulers--the execrable Nana Sahib
and the Ranee of Jhansi--lent it their support. The majority of the
native princes, among them being the powerful Maharajah of Pattiala,
sided with the British from the first, and it was their fidelity, with
their well-trained troops, which enabled us to keep the flag flying
through that awful time.

“There were sepoys on both sides of the entrenchments at Lucknow,” says
Dr. Fitchett in his _Tale of the Great Mutiny_. “Counting camp followers,
native servants, etc., there were two black faces to every white face
under the British flag which fluttered so proudly over the historic
ridge at Delhi. The ‘protected’ Sikh chiefs kept British authority from
temporary collapse betwixt the Jumna and the Sutlej. They formed what
Sir Richard Temple calls ‘a political breakwater,’ on which the fury
of rebellious Hindustan broke in vain.” Had the Mutiny indeed been a
_national_ uprising, what chances would the 38,000 white soldiers have
had against the millions of natives who comprised India’s population?

It is important to bear all this in mind while following the course of
events which marked the progress of revolt. We shall not then get such a
distorted picture of the whole as is too frequently presented to us.

The Mutiny was a military one, as I have said. It began prematurely in
an outbreak at Barrackpore, on March 29, 1857. Here a drunken fanatical
sepoy, named Mungul Pandy, shot two British officers and set light to
the “human powder magazine,” which was all too ready to explode. On the
10th of May following came the tragedy of Meerut, where the 3rd Bengal
Light Cavalry, the 11th and 20th Regiments of Native Infantry rose and
massacred every European not in the British lines, and this despite the
presence there of a strong troop of horse artillery and a regiment of
rifles, 1000 strong!

After the carnage at Meerut the mutinous sowars poured out unchecked
along the high road to Delhi, to spread the news of their success and
claim in the old, enfeebled pantaloon Mogul king in that city a political
head to their revolt. Delhi received them open-armed. There were no
British troops there, by special treaty, only a few Englishmen in charge
of the great magazine and its stores.

It is quite clear that the 31st of May (a Sunday) was the day fixed for
the sepoy regiments in Bengal to rise simultaneously. Unforeseen events
had precipitated the catastrophe by a few weeks. In Delhi, which was a
nest of treason and intrigue, arrangements had been perfected for the
outbreak there, one of the first objects to be attained being the seizure
of its arsenal. Hither, then, the mutineers turned at once after their
triumphant entry.

The magazine of Delhi was a huge building standing about six hundred
yards from the main-guard of the Cashmere Gate. Within its four walls
were guns, shells, powder, rifles, and stores of cartridges in vast
quantities, from which the mutineers had relied upon arming themselves.
And to defend this priceless storehouse there was but a little band of
nine Englishmen, for the score or so of sepoys under their command could
not be depended on.

The Nine comprised Lieutenant George Willoughby, Captains Forrest and
Raynor, Sergeants Stuart and Edwards, and four Conductors, Buckley,
Shaw, Scully, and Crowe. Willoughby was in charge, a quiet-mannered,
slow-speaking man, but possessed of that moral courage which is perhaps
the highest of human attributes. When the shouting horde from Meerut
swarmed in and began to massacre every white person they met, he called
his assistants inside the courtyard and locked the great gates. At all
costs the magazine must be saved from falling into the hands of the

There was not a man of the eight but shared his leader’s determination.
With set, grim faces they went about their work, preparing for the
attack which must come sooner or later. There were ten guns to be placed
in position, several gates to be bolted and barred, and, last of all,
the mine to be laid beneath the magazine. Help would surely come--come
along that very road down which the sowars of the 3rd Bengal Cavalry had
galloped with bloodstained swords and tunics. But if it did not, the Nine
knew their duty and would not flinch from doing it.

With all possible speed the front entrance and other important vulnerable
points were covered with howitzers, loaded with grape-shot. Arms had been
served out to all, including the native employees, but the latter only
waited the opportunity to escape. In the meantime Conductor Buckley saw
to the laying of the mine, connecting it with a long thin line of powder
that ran out to the centre of the courtyard under a little lemon tree.

Conductor Scully begged for the honour of firing the train when the fatal
moment came, and obtained his desire. A signal (the raising of a cap) was
then arranged to be given, at which he was to apply his port-fire to the

All being at last in readiness, the Nine stood at their several posts
waiting for the enemy to make the first move. They had not to wait long.
Within half an hour came an urgent messenger from the Palace bearing a
written summons to Willoughby to surrender the magazine. The Head of the
Nine tore up the paper and gave his answer.

Soon after appeared a body of sepoys, men of the Palace Guard and of the
revolted Meerut regiments, with a rabble of city people.

“Open the gates!” they cried. “In the name of the King of Delhi, open the

Getting the same curt refusal that had greeted the previous summons, some
went off for scaling-ladders, and as they heard these being fixed against
the outer wall the Nine knew the moment for action had come. The sepoy
employees of the Arsenal were in full flight now, but Willoughby let them
go. He had no shot to spare for them. So over the walls they scrambled,
like rats deserting a sinking ship, to join their compatriots without.

As the last man of them disappeared the rush of the mutineers began.
Swarming up the ladders they lined the walls, whence they fired upon the
brave group of defenders, while the more intrepid among them leapt boldly
down into the yard. The rifles of the Nine rang out sharply; then at the
word “Fire!” the big guns poured their charges of grape into the huddled
mass of rebels.

By this time a gate had been burst open, and here the 24-pounder was
booming its grim defiance. The sepoys hung back in check for some minutes
before the rain of shot. Behind them, however, was a rapidly increasing
crowd, filling the air with the cry of faith--“Deen! Deen!” and calling
on their brothers in the front to kill, and kill quickly. At this, though
the ground was littered with dead, the rushes became more daring and the
yard began to fill with dusky forms, driving the Englishmen farther back.

The end was very near now. The sepoys were dangerously close to the guns,
and Willoughby realised that in a few moments he would have to give the
fatal signal. One last quick glance up the white streak of road showed
him no sign of approaching aid. They were helpless--doomed!

Willoughby threw a last charge into the gun he himself worked.

“One more round, men,” he said, “and then--we’ve done.”

The big pieces thundered again in the face of the dark crowd by the
broken gate, and at the groups along the wall. Then, dropping his fuse,
Scully ran swiftly to the lemon tree where the post of honour was his.

It had been arranged that Buckley should give the signal at a word from
Willoughby, but the brave conductor was bowled over with a ball in his
elbow. It fell to Willoughby himself, therefore, to make the sign. He
raised his cap from his head, as if in salute, and the same moment Scully
bent down with his port-fire over the powder train.

There was a flash of flame across the yard to the door of the big store
building, a brief instant of suspense, and then, with a deafening roar
which shook Delhi from end to end, the great magazine blew up.

A dense column of smoke and débris shot high up into the sky, which was
lit with crimson glory by the leaping flames. The smoke hung there for
hours, like a black pall over the city, a sign for all who could read
that the Huzoors, the Masters, had given their first answer of defiance
to Mutiny.

In that tremendous explosion close on a thousand mutineers perished,
crushed by the falling walls and masonry. Of the devoted Nine five
were never seen again, among them being Conductor Scully. The four
survivors, Willoughby, Buckley, Forrest, and Raynor, smoke-blackened and
unrecognisable, escaped into the country outside the walls, and set off
for Meerut, the nearest British cantonment.

Forrest and Buckley, both badly wounded, arrived safely there with
Raynor, to tell the story of their deed; but Willoughby, who had
separated from them, was less fortunate. His companions learned of their
brave leader’s fate some time after, when a native brought news of how
some five British officers had been waylaid and cut to pieces near
Koomhera. Willoughby formed one of the doomed party.

It was a sad ending to a fine career, and throughout India and England
the keenest regret was felt that he had not lived to receive the V.C.
with which, in due course, each of his three comrades was decorated.



The siege of Delhi, which was begun a month after the rebellion had
broken out, ranks with the most historic sieges of modern times. In its
course it yielded many notable Crosses.

Defended by high bastions and walls of solid masonry, the city proved a
hard nut to crack, and Generals Barnard and Wilson, who conducted the
operations with an army of British, Afghan, Sikh, and Ghurka troops,
spent several months before reducing the stronghold. Even then its
capture was only made possible by the arrival of a siege train under
Brigadier-General John Nicholson.

To Nicholson belongs a great share of the credit for the fall of Delhi.
By a series of remarkable forced marches he brought a strong force of
artillery and British and Sikh soldiers from the Punjab to the Ridge at
Delhi, which added greatly to the strength of the army there encamped.
And by his impetuosity in council he compelled the wavering General
Wilson to decide on the final assault in September.

Before I come to this point, however, I have to tell of some gallant
deeds that were performed in the fighting round Delhi. While the army
lay on the Ridge preparing for its leap upon the rebel city, a number
of engagements with the enemy took place. These were mostly of a very
desperate character, and the individual deeds of some who distinguished
themselves therein were fittingly rewarded with the Cross for Valour.

In one of the sorties made by the sepoys at Delhi in July of that year,
1857, Lieutenant Hills and Major Tombs, of the Bengal Horse Artillery,
had a fierce encounter with the rebels, which gained the V.C. for each of

With a cavalry picket and two guns, Hills was on outpost duty on the
trunk road, near a piece of high ground called the Mound, when a large
body of sepoy sowars from the city charged upon him. The picket, taken by
surprise, took to flight and left the guns undefended, but Hills remained
at his post. To save his guns and give the gunners a chance of opening
fire was the plucky lieutenant’s first thought, so clapping spurs to his
horse he bore down alone on the enemy.

In narrating the incident himself he says: “I thought that by charging
them I might make a commotion, and give the guns time to load, so in
I went at the front rank, cut down the first fellow, slashed the next
across the face as hard as I could, when two sowars charged me. Both
their horses crashed into mine at the same moment, and, of course, both
horse and myself were sent flying. We went down at such a pace that I
escaped the cuts made at me, one of them giving my jacket an awful slice
just below the left arm--it only, however, cut the jacket.

“Well, I lay quite snug until all had passed over me, and then got up and
looked about for my sword. I found it full ten yards off. I had hardly
got hold of it when these fellows returned, two on horseback. The first
I wounded, and dropped him from his horse. The second charged me with his
lance. I put it aside, and caught him an awful gash on the head and face.
I thought I had killed him. Apparently he must have clung to his horse,
for he disappeared. The wounded man then came up, but got his skull
split. Then came on the third man--a young, active fellow.

“I found myself getting very weak from want of breath, the fall from my
horse having pumped me considerably, and my cloak, somehow or other, had
got tightly fixed round my throat, and was actually choking me. I went,
however, at the fellow and cut him on the shoulder, but some ‘kupra’
(cloth) on it apparently turned the blow. He managed to seize the hilt of
my sword and twisted it out of my hand, and then we had a hand-to-hand
fight, I punching his head with my fists, and he trying to cut me, but I
was too close to him.”

At this critical moment Hills slipped on the wet ground and fell. He lay
at the sowar’s mercy, and nothing could have saved him from death had not
Major Tombs come within sight of the scene. The major was some thirty
yards away, and had only his revolver and sword with him. There was no
time to be lost, so resting the former weapon on his arm he took a quick
steady aim and fired. The shot caught the sepoy in the breast, and as his
uplifted arm fell limply to his side he tumbled dead to the ground.

Thanking Heaven that his aim had been true, Major Tombs hastened to
assist Hills to his feet and help him back to camp. But as they stood
together a rebel sowar rode by with the lieutenant’s pistol in his hand.
In a moment Hills, who had regained his sword, dashed after the man, who
proved no mean adversary.

They went at it cut and slash for some time; then a smashing blow from
the sowar’s tulwar broke down the lieutenant’s guard and cut him on the
head. Tombs now received the sepoy’s attack, but the major was among the
best swordsmen in the army, and closing with his opponent he speedily ran
him through.

Both the officers had had their fill of fighting for the day, and
fortunately, perhaps, for them, no more rebels appeared to molest them
on their return to the camp. The lieutenant, I may note in passing,
is now the well-known Lieut.-General Sir J. Hills-Johnes, G.C.B.; his
fellow-hero of the fight died some years ago, a Major-General and a K.C.B.

Another veteran of the Indian Mutiny still alive, who also won his V.C.
at Delhi, is Colonel Thomas Cadell. A lieutenant in the Bengal European
Fusiliers at the time, Cadell figured in a hot affray between a picket
and an overwhelmingly large body of rebels. In the face of a very severe
fire he gallantly went to the aid of a wounded bugler of his own regiment
and brought him safely in. On the same day, hearing that another wounded
man had been left behind, he made a dash into the open, accompanied by
three men of his regiment, and succeeded in making a second rescue.

The heroes of Delhi are so many that it is difficult to choose among
them. Place must be found, however, for brief mention of the dashing
exploit of Colour-Sergeant Stephen Garvin of the 60th Rifles. The Rifles,
by the way, now the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, have the goodly number of
thirteen V.C.’s to their credit.

In June 1857 the British army on the Ridge was greatly harassed by
rebel sharpshooters who took up their position in a building known as
the “Sammy House.” It was essential that this hornet’s nest should
be destroyed, and volunteers were called for. For this service
Colour-Sergeant Garvin promptly stepped forward and, with a small party
of daring spirits, set out on what looked to most like a forlorn hope.

What the rebels thought of this impudent attempt to oust them from
their stronghold we cannot tell, for but one or two of them escaped to
the city with their lives. Such an onslaught as they received at the
“Sammy House,” when Garvin and his valiant dozen rushed the place, quite
surpassed anything in their experience. The colour-sergeant is described
as hewing and hacking like a paladin of romance, and for his bravery and
the example he set to his followers he well deserved the Cross that later
adorned his breast.

At Bulandshahr, a little to the south of Delhi, in September of the same
year, there was a gallant action fought by a body of the Bengal Horse
Artillery, which resulted in no fewer than seven V.C.’s being awarded;
but there is, I think, no more heroic act recorded in the annals of this
famous corps than that of brave Gunner Connolly at Jhelum, two months

While working his gun early in the action he was wounded in the left
thigh, but he said nothing about his wound, mounting his horse in the
team when the battery limbered up to another position. After some hours’
hot work at this new post, Connolly was again hit, and so badly that his
superior officer ordered him to the rear.

“I gave instructions for his removal out of action,” says Lieutenant
Cookes in his report, “but this brave man, hearing the order, staggered
to his feet and said, ‘No, sir, I’ll not go there whilst I can work
here,’ and shortly afterwards he again resumed his post as a spongeman.”

Throughout the fighting that day Connolly stuck to his gun, though his
wounds caused him great suffering and loss of blood, and it was not until
a third bullet had ploughed its way through his leg that he gave up. Then
he was carried from the field unconscious. That was the stuff that our
gunners in India were made of, and we may give Connolly and his fellows
our unstinted admiration. For sheer pluck and devotion to duty they had
no peers.

A highly distinguished artilleryman, who won his Cross in a different
way, was a young lieutenant named Frederick Sleigh Roberts, now known
to fame as Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, K.G. The scene of his valour was
Khudaganj, near Fatehgarh, in the Agra district, and the date the 2nd of
January 1858.

Some five thousand rebels under the Nawab of Farukhabad being in force
in the neighbourhood, Sir Colin Campbell pushed on with his troops to
disperse the enemy. Lieutenant Roberts was attached to Sir Hope Grant’s
staff, and with his leader came into contact with the rebels at the
village of Khudaganj. Here a sharp engagement took place, which resulted
in the Nawab’s army being completely routed.

At the end of the fight, while the mounted men were following up the
fugitives, the young lieutenant saw a sowar of the Punjab Cavalry (a
loyal native regiment) in danger of being worsted by a sepoy armed
with fixed bayonet. Wheeling his horse in their direction, he quickly
thrust himself between the two and, with a terrific sweep of his sword
across the other’s face, laid the sepoy low. A minute or two later he
caught sight of a couple of rebels making off with a standard. Roberts
determined that this should be captured, so setting spurs to his horse he
galloped after them.

He overtook the pair just as they were about to seek refuge in a village
close by, and engaged them both at once. The one who clutched the
standard he cut down, wrenching the trophy out of the other’s hands, but
the second sepoy, ere he could turn, placed his musket close to the young
officer’s body and pulled the trigger. Fortunately for him, the musket
missed fire (it was in the days of the old percussion caps), whereupon
the sepoy made off, leaving Roberts to return in triumph.

In other engagements like those at Bulandshahr and Khudaganj many young
cavalry officers who came to high honour in later years distinguished
themselves by personal bravery. Prominent among these were Captain
Dighton Probyn and Lieutenant John Watson, both of the Punjab Cavalry.
Their exploits are well worth narrating.

At the battle of Agra Probyn at the head of his squadron charged a body
of rebel infantry, and in the mêlée became separated from his men. Beset
as he was by a crowd of sepoys, he cut his way through them and engaged
in a series of single combats of an Homeric kind. In one instance he rode
down upon a cluster of sepoys, singled out the standard-bearer, killed
him on the spot, and dashed off again with the colours. His gallantry on
this and other occasions was, as Sir Hope Grant said in his despatch, so
marked that he was promptly awarded the V.C.

Lieutenant Watson had a similar heroic encounter with a rebel on November
14th, 1857, when just outside Lucknow he and his troop of Punjabis came
into contact with a force of rebel cavalry which far outnumbered them.

As they approached the Ressaldar in command of the rebels rode out in
advance of his men with half a dozen followers. He is described as
having been “a fine specimen of the Hindustani Mussulman,” a stalwart,
black-bearded, fierce-looking man. Here was a foeman worthy of one’s
steel. With all the daring that had already made him beloved by his
sowars and feared by the enemy, Watson accepted the challenge thus
offered, and rode out to give the other combat.

He had got within a yard or so of his opponent when the Ressaldar fired
his pistol point blank at him, but luckily the shot failed to take
effect. It can only be supposed that the bullet had fallen out in the
process of loading, for the two were too close together for the rebel
leader to have missed his mark. Without hesitating, the lieutenant
charged and dismounted the other, who drew his tulwar and called his
followers to his aid.

Watson now found himself engaged with seven opponents, and against their
onslaught he had to defend himself like a lion. It is not recorded that
he slew the Ressaldar, though it is to be hoped that he did so, but he
succeeded in keeping them all at bay until his own sowars came to the
rescue with some of Probyn’s Horse who had witnessed the combat. And
when the rebels were put to flight the brave lieutenant’s wounds bore
evidence of the fierce nature of the combat. A hideous slash on the head,
a cut on the left arm, another on the right arm that disabled that limb
for some time afterwards, and a sabre cut on the leg which came near to
permanently laming him, were the chief hurts he had received, while a
bullet hole in his coat showed how nearly a shot had found him.

There were many tight corners that the young cavalry leader found himself
in before the Mutiny came to an end, and despatches recorded his name
more than once for distinguished services, but if you were to ask General
Sir John Watson (he is a G.C.B. now, like his brother-officer, Sir
Dighton Probyn) to-day, I doubt if he could remember another fight that
was so desperate as that hand-to-hand combat with the mighty Ressaldar.

And if it should ever come to fade from his memory he has only to look at
a little bronze Maltese cross which hangs among his other medals on his
breast, to remind himself of a time when it was touch-and-go with death.



The final assault of Delhi, the leap of a little army of five thousand
British and native soldiers upon a strongly fortified city held by fifty
thousand rebels, forms one of the most exciting chapters in the history
of the Indian Mutiny, and the blowing up of the Cashmere Gate one of its
most heroic incidents. Once more did the gallant “sappers and miners,”
whom we last saw doing noble work in the trenches at Sebastopol, here
show themselves ready to face any peril at duty’s call.

The decision to make the attack was come to at that historic council on
September 6th, 1857, to which Nicholson went fully prepared to propose
that General Wilson should be superseded did he hesitate longer. On the
following day the engineers under Baird-Smith and his able lieutenants
set to work to construct the trenching batteries, and by the 13th enough
had been done to warrant the assault.

We have a very vivid picture drawn for us by several writers of how, on
the night of the 13th, four Engineer subalterns stole out of the camp on
the Ridge and crept cautiously up to the walls of the enemy’s bastions to
see what condition they were in. Greathed, Home, Medley, and Lang were
the names of the four; one of them, Lieutenant Home, was to earn undying
fame the next day at the Cashmere Gate.

Armed with swords and revolvers, the party--divided into two
sections--slipped into the great ditch, sixteen feet deep, and made for
the top of the breach. But quiet as they were, the sepoy sentries on the
wall above had heard them. Men were heard running from point to point.
“They conversed in a low tone,” writes Medley, who was with Lang under
the Cashmere Bastion, “and presently we heard the ring of their steel
ramrods as they loaded.”

Huddled into the darkest corner of the ditch, the two officers waited
anxiously for the sepoys to go away, when another attempt might be made;
but the alarmed sentries held their ground. The engineers, however, had
seen that the breach was a good one, “the slope being easy of ascent and
no guns on the flank,” so the four of them jumped up and made a bolt for
home. Directly they were discovered a volley rattled out from behind
them, and the whizzing of balls about their ears quickened their steps
over the rough ground. Luckily not one was hit.

There was one other man engaged in reconnoitring work that same night of
whom little mention is made in accounts of the siege. This was Bugler
William Sutton, of the 60th Rifles, a very brave fellow, as had been
proved some weeks previously during a sortie from Delhi. On this occasion
he dashed out from cover and threw himself upon the sepoy bugler who was
about to sound the “advance” for the rebels. The call never rang out, for
Bugler Sutton’s aim was quick and true, and the rebels, in some disorder,
were driven back.

Volunteering for the dangerous service on which the four engineers
above-named had undertaken, Sutton ventured forth alone to spy out the
breach at which his regiment was to be hurled next morning, and succeeded
in obtaining some very valuable information for his superiors. The 60th
Rifles gained no fewer than eight Victoria Crosses during the Mutiny, and
one of them fell to Bugler Sutton, who was elected unanimously for the
honour by his comrades.

But it is of the Cashmere Gate and what was done there that this chapter
is mainly to tell. According to the plans of the council, four columns
were to make the attack simultaneously at four different points in the
walls. The one under Nicholson was to carry the breach near the Cashmere
Bastion, while another column, under Colonel Campbell, was to blow up the
Cashmere Gate and force its entrance through into the city. The duty of
performing the first part of this operation fell to Lieutenants Home and
Salkeld of the Engineers.

There was a little delay on the morning of the assault, for it was found
that the sepoys had been hard at it in the night blocking up the holes
in the breaches with sandbags, and otherwise repairing the damage done
by our batteries. But at last everything was in readiness. The signal to
advance was given, and the columns moved eagerly forward.

At the head of the third column (Campbell’s), well in front of the rest,
ran Home, Salkeld, two sergeants, also of the Bengal Engineers,--let
their names be given, Smith and Carmichael,--Corporal Burgess, and Bugler
Hawthorne of the 52nd Regiment, together with Havildar Pelluck Singh and
eight sappers. Salkeld had a slow match in his hand (not a port-fire, as
is often stated); the sergeants and the other men each carried a 25 lb.
bag of powder. Behind, to cover them, followed close a small firing party.

It is not difficult to conjure up the scene before our eyes. As the
little company nears the Gate it sees that the bridge which formerly
spanned the ditch has been broken down. Only a single beam stretches
across. Nothing daunted, Lieutenant Home leads the way, stepping lightly
over the shaking beam and dropping his powder bag at the foot of the Gate
ere he leaps down into the ditch.

Peering through the wicket, the sepoys stare in sheer astonishment at
this handful of mad Englishmen charging at them, and four or five of the
party have got safely across, each depositing his precious bag in its
place, ere the rebel muskets speak out. Then the slender wooden beam
becomes indeed a bridge of death. A sheet of flame flashes from the
wicket of the Gate, and one man after another falls, wounded or killed
outright. Enough bags, however, have been flung down into position, and
Home calls upon Salkeld to finish the job.

With Sergeants Smith and Carmichael, and the corporal by his side,
Salkeld, who has been in waiting, dashes for the frail bridge. He gains
it and is over, as a volley rattles out from the Gate, but before he can
light the fuse he falls, shot through leg and arm.

“Here you are, Burgess!” he cries, holding out the slow match. “Quick,

The corporal takes the slow match in turn and bends low over the powder,
only to fall back the next instant mortally wounded. We have it on Lord
Roberts’ authority that Burgess actually succeeded in lighting the fuse,
but opinions are at variance on this point. It seems probable, however,
that he did perform his task, for when Sergeant Smith, seizing the slow
match in his turn, now goes forward to ignite the powder, he sees that
the fuse is fizzling.

A leap into the ditch, where he lands beside Home and Bugler Hawthorne,
saves him just in time. A moment later and there is a loud explosion, a
cloud of smoke, and stones, pieces of wood, and other débris raining down
all around. In the noise of the firing and the confusion that prevails,
the bugler is meanwhile sounding the “advance,” not once but thrice,
though it is extremely doubtful if it is heard at all.

Colonel Campbell has seen the explosion, however, and the storming party,
straining like hounds in leash, are no more to be held back. With a wild
cheer they spring forward, to find--not the big Gate itself destroyed,
but the little wicket, which was all that had been blown in. One by
one they creep through, stepping over the scorched bodies of the sepoy
wardens within, and form up in the open space by Skinner’s Church, where
all are to meet.

But what of the survivors of the explosion left behind in the ditch? Home
is alive, and so are Hawthorne, Smith, Burgess, and Salkeld, though the
two last are grievously wounded. Carmichael and several others lie still
for ever on the damp ground.

With some assistance, brave John Smith and Bugler Hawthorne get
Lieutenant Salkeld into the doctor’s hands, though it is evident nothing
can be done for him. Burgess, too, has a mortal wound, and he is dead
before friendly hands have carried him a score of yards. Of the wounded
only the havildar, who had fallen with Carmichael before the deadly rain
of bullets, has any hope of recovery.

     *       *       *       *       *

There is not much more to be said. Lieutenant Philip Salkeld died a few
days later, but not before he knew that the Cross for Valour had been
conferred upon him. Sergeant Smith and the bugler were the only two
destined to wear the coveted decoration in memory of that day’s desperate

Lieutenant Duncan Home figures in the list of V.C. heroes with his
brother-lieutenant by reason of the Cross having been provisionally
bestowed upon him by General Wilson. His end, which came scarcely three
weeks later, was a dramatic one.

In the attack on Fort Malagarh it was expedient to lay a mine and make a
breach in the wall. Home superintended this operation, and lit the slow
match himself. The fuse appearing to have gone out, he went forward to
examine it and relight it if necessary, but at the moment he stooped the
light reached the powder and the mine blew up.



The scene of the incident which I am about to narrate was Kolapore (or
Kolhapur, as the modern spelling has it), an important town in the Bombay
Presidency. Even before the Mutiny broke out there had been no little
disaffection among the people in that quarter of India, and when the news
of the revolt at Meerut and Delhi reached the Presidency grave fears were
entertained lest the native troops there should join the rebels.

It was characteristic of most English officers attached to native
regiments in those days that they firmly believed in the loyalty of their
men. Only at the last moment, when the soldiers they had drilled and
taught broke into open mutiny, could they grasp the truth, and then it
was often too late. But in Bombay there was one officer whose trust was
not belied. This was Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr, of the Southern
Mahratta Irregular Horse.

“I know my men,” he would say, when the question of loyalty was raised,
“and I know they are true. I’ll answer for _my_ troopers at any time.”

Rather short men were these Mahrattas, but sturdy, stocky fellows with
somewhat flat features, long jet black hair, and bronze faces, out
of which small fiery black eyes gleamed at one. They were excellent
fighters, as many a hill fight had proved, and there were not a few
officers in India who would as soon have had a company of wild Mahratta
warriors at their back as Sikhs or Punjabis, when it came to a tussle.

Lieutenant Kerr certainly held this opinion. Long service with them had
made him acquainted with their courage and faithfulness.

“The Bombay Infantry may rise, but not my Mahrattas,” he affirmed. “There
isn’t a man among them who wouldn’t follow me to the ends of the earth!”

He was stating this fact for the hundredth time at a memorable council
that was held in the officers’ mess at Satara on the night of July 8th,
1857, when the startling news was flashed over the wires that the 27th
Bombay Native Infantry had revolted at Kolapore. The message ran that
nearly all their English officers had been killed, only a few escaping to
find uncertain refuge in the Residency. Help was needed urgently.

What was to be done? The officer commanding at Satara faced his staff
with a grave face. Here was confirmation of their worst fears. The looks
that met his were full of foreboding; all, that is, save Kerr’s.

Rising to his feet, the young lieutenant turned quickly to his superior.

“Give me leave, sir,” he said, “and I’ll undertake with a company of our
sowars to clear every mutineer out of Kolapore.”

It was the chance he longed for, the chance to prove the loyalty of his

The colonel pondered some moments, for the little force at Satara was not
over strong.

“I can give you fifty men,” he said at last; “a troop of fifty, no more.
Can you manage with that?”

“I can and I will,” answered Kerr tersely. And half an hour later saw him
spurring fast southward with his Mahrattas behind him, in all the glory
of their gold-braided green coats and scarlet turbans.

Kolapore lay seventy-five miles due south, as the crow flies, but their
way led through unfrequented roads and jungle paths, with swollen rivers
and flooded nullahs to swim across, for the rains had been heavy of
late and the fords were gone. Swamps impeded their progress, clutching
at the feet of the wiry hill horses to drag them down, but they were
clear at last, and galloped breathless into Kolapore in rather less than
six-and-twenty hours from their start.

The mutineers of the revolted 27th Regiment had entrenched themselves
in a strongly built stone fort on the outskirts of the town. The main
entrance to this was a massive wooden door which would need to be forced
open, for inside there were heavy bolts and bars to secure it. So Kerr,
choosing the quickest way, borrowed a couple of antique cannon from the
Rajah of the place and pounded away to break the outer wall; but the guns
turned out to be worthless and had to be abandoned.

There now remained the door to be broken open. That offered the best,
indeed the only, means of effecting an entrance. Night was fast drawing
nigh, and the lieutenant was determined to take action at once. It would
not do to give the rebels breathing space.

Halting his Mahrattas some distance from the fort, Kerr picked seventeen
of his most trusted men and bade them dismount and follow him to the
attack. For himself and a trooper whose name, strangely enough, was
Gumpunt Rao Deo Ker, he had obtained two stout iron crowbars with which
to force open the door, and at a signal from him the little party dashed
eagerly forward.

From their loopholes and from the top of the wall the sepoys poured
an irregular fire upon the besiegers below. But Kerr and Gumpunt Rao,
working away desperately with their bars, very soon made a hole in the
door near the ground. A few more blows enlarged it sufficiently to allow
one man to crawl through on his hands and knees.

That was enough for Kerr.

“In we go, men,” he cried; “after me! Have your swords ready!” And the
little fierce-eyed men grinned with delight as they saw their leader
wriggle like a snake through the hole with the faithful Gumpunt at his
heels. What a fight there was going to be!

They guessed truly. The instant Kerr showed himself inside the courtyard
he was greeted with a volley of musketry, but the sepoys aimed too high,
and every bullet crashed harmlessly into the woodwork over his head.
Springing to his feet, the lieutenant made a rush at his assailants
that sent them flying before him. And then, the scarlet turbans having
followed safely through the aperture one after another, the mutineers
were slowly driven back, leaving several heaps of dead and wounded in
their wake.

The fighting blood of the wild Mahrattas was up now. A battalion of
rebels could not have stayed them. Before their fierce onslaught the
mutineers fled to the refuge of a house that covered the second entrance
to the fort, but the building was set on fire, and off they scampered
again for dear life, though a few perished in the flames.

Their next retreat was behind a gateway which led to the inner portion of
the fort. Here the shaken remnant was joined by the men of the garrison,
who had been spectators of the affray. This reinforcement gave them
renewed confidence, and they opened a fresh fire upon Kerr and his little
band. The Mahrattas needed no call from their valiant leader. Two or
three of them bit the dust under the hail of bullets, but the rest leapt
to the gate where Lieutenant Kerr was already at work with his crowbar.
Again a hole was made, and again the plucky officer--always first--crept
through with his followers.

In the terrible hand-to-hand fight that ensued within Kerr had the chain
of his helmet cut by a bullet, while another ball struck his sword. A
sepoy, too, thrust his musket almost into the lieutenant’s face, the
discharge blinding him for an instant, but Kerr ran his sword through the
man’s body ere he could reload.

The thrust was a mighty one, and the effort to withdraw his weapon was so
great that it gave time for a watching rebel to deal him a stunning blow
on the head with the butt end of a musket. Down went Kerr like a felled
log, and but for Gumpunt Rao he would have been shot where he lay. Just
in the nick of time the Mahratta sprang between them and sent the sepoy
to his last account.

Kerr’s storming party was sadly reduced in numbers by this time, and of
those who had survived not one had escaped being wounded. But as soon as
their leader had come to his senses, they went forward once more, cutting
down the mutineers with their keen-edged curved swords, and striking
terror into the hearts of those who yet again fled before them.

In their extremity the rebels made for an empty disused temple, hastily
barricading its door with stones and anything that would help to keep
those dreaded greencoats at a safe distance. They still had a good supply
of cartridges left, and with these did such execution that several more
of the Mahratta warriors were laid low.

But they had to reckon with a man who was bent on teaching them such a
lesson as they and every mutineer in the Presidency should never forget.
Seven sowars alone were left to Kerr for his last attack, seven out of
the chosen seventeen who had followed him through that first hole in the
outer door. Yet he did not wait to be reinforced. With this mere handful
of men he flung himself on the temple door, which at once rang under the
quick blows of his iron bar.

The entrance to the building, however, was made of stouter material than
the other doors had been. Neither he nor Gumpunt Rao could burst through
the wood. The lieutenant glanced round for another weapon, and now to his
delight saw a heap of hay lying by a side wall. Here was the very thing
he wanted.

“Quick, Gumpunt!” he shouted. “Bring that hay over here. We’ll burn the
door down an’ finish ’em!”

And finish them they did. As the flames crackled up and the door fell in,
Kerr, Gumpunt Rao, and the other six leapt inside. A grim-looking band
they must have appeared, with their smoke-blackened faces, their slashed
and bloodstained tunics, and doubly so to the panic-stricken mutineers
who cowered in the dark corners of the temple.

“No quarter!” the wild Mahrattas had begged of their “sahib,” while they
waited for the fire to do its work. “Death to every rat caught in the
hole!” But Kerr would not grant them their wish. All who would yield were
to be taken prisoners; he had a different fate in store for them.

So when the eight emerged again from the now silent building, more
bloodstained than ever, for a few of the rats at bay had shown their
teeth, they brought with them a bare dozen of trembling sepoys, all that
remained of the mutinous garrison of Kolapore Fort. And with these in
their midst the little swarthy hill-men in the green coats some hours
later rode triumphantly back to Satara, with Kerr at their head, to tell
of that grim night’s work.

The sparks of mutiny that might so easily have burst into a flame in
Bombay may be said to have been stamped out by Lieutenant Kerr’s prompt
and vigorous action. Subsequent attempts were made to create a rising,
but they were fitful and half-hearted. The lesson of Kolapore had been a
stern one.

For his dashing exploit Lieutenant Kerr received the V.C., a decoration
which, I am glad to say, he is still alive to wear. The brave Mahratta,
Gumpunt Rao Deo Ker, though he deserved to share the same honour, was
rewarded in a different fashion.

That is the story of Kolapore Kerr. It is, to my mind, a theme every
whit as inspiring to a poet’s pen as the stand of the Guides at Cabul or
Gillespie’s ride to “false Vellore.” Perhaps some day a poet will arise
who will commemorate for us in stirring verse Kerr’s gallant deed, and
tell how once and for all the Southern Mahratta Irregular Horse proved
their loyalty to the British Raj.



In the preceding chapters I have told of many heroes who have won
imperishable glory at the cannon’s mouth, “i’ the imminent deadly
breach”; at the head of charging squadrons; or in Homeric personal
combat. Valiant men were they all, and worthy of high admiration;
but I come now to speak of other brave men, whose deeds though less
ostentatious should appeal to our imagination no less forcibly--the
devoted surgeons of our Army.

In the bead-roll of Britain’s heroes there are no more honoured names
than theirs, and very high up among them I would place those of Surgeons
Jee, McMaster, Home, and Bradshaw. Their work was not to lead storming
parties or join in the press of battle, but to follow in the wake of the
fight, to relieve the sufferings of the wounded, to bind up shattered
limbs and bandage the ghastly hurts that round-shot, sabre, and musket
had inflicted in the swirl of evil human passions thus let loose.

It was work that demanded devotion and courage of the highest order,
for it was carried on mostly under fire, when bullets rained pitilessly
around, and the very hand that one moment eased a sufferer’s pain might
the next itself be stilled in death. Let the tale of what was done in
Lucknow streets on that historic September day in 1857 when Havelock and
Outram fought their way into the besieged city, testify to the pluck and
noble self-sacrifice of which our Army doctors are capable at duty’s call.

Surgeon Joseph Jee was attached to the 78th Highlanders, the old
“Ross-shire Buffs,” now known (with the 72nd Foot) as the Seaforth
Highlanders. He had followed his regiment to Cawnpore to avenge Nana
Sahib’s ghastly massacre, and thence to Lucknow, which, under the gallant
Henry Lawrence, was holding out until relief came.

From the Alumbagh, the pleasure-house that was built by a Begum of the
ex-King of Oudh about two miles out of the city, and was now garrisoned
by some 12,000 sepoys, the relieving force, as is well known, fought
their way steadily across the Charbagh Bridge, and so on to the Chutter
Munzil Palace and the Bailey Guard Gate, and eventually gained the
Residency itself.

It was on the morning of the 25th of September that Lucknow was actually
reached. At the Charbagh Palace, near the bridge, the 78th Highlanders
were left to hold that position, while the main body threaded its way
through the narrow, tortuous lanes leading to the Residency, and here
Surgeon Jee and Assistant-Surgeon McMaster quickly found work for their
hands. All the streets and houses in the vicinity were strongly occupied
by mutineers. Desperate charges had to be made to carry the rebel guns
which poured a devastating fire upon our troops, and though the cannon
were captured and toppled over into the canal, the casualties were
exceedingly heavy.

While the wounded remained to receive attention from the busy doctors,
the regiment, following up its last attack, disappeared round the bend of
the canal, and Jee and his assistants found themselves suddenly exposed
to the enemy’s fire. Having obtained some men to act as bearers, the
surgeon got his patients lifted up and carried to where a few dhoolies
were. These were filled in no time, one of them by Captain Havelock, son
of the General, who was badly hit in the arm; the rest of the wounded
were placed in carts drawn by bullocks. The latter, however, met with a
heartrending fate ere they had gone far; for the sick train coming to a
standstill in the road where it was blocked, all the occupants of the
carts were massacred by sepoys before their comrades’ eyes.

The regiment was caught up at last, and a company under Captain
Halliburton detailed to guard the dhoolies. But misfortune dogged the
little party’s steps. They lost their way in the city, were led by a
blundering guide right into an enemy’s battery, which shelled them
mercilessly, and wandered about for hours continually under fire, until
they took refuge in the Moti-Mahal (the Pearl Palace). Here was a square
courtyard having sheds all round it and two gateway entrances. As it was
already packed with soldiers, camp followers and camels, the surgeons
were hard put to it to find accommodation for their wounded.

Of the horrors of that night Surgeon Jee has told us in his own words.
The firing was deafening, gongs were sounding the hours, while there
was a hubbub of shouting through which the groans of the wounded could
nevertheless be heard. An alarming rumour came that all the 78th had been
killed, and, what added to the terrors of the situation, no one knew how
far off the Residency was. But Jee stuck to his post, and many a poor
fellow lived through that inferno to bless the brave, tender-hearted
doctor to whom he owed his life.

At daylight some tea was made (they had had neither food nor drink since
leaving the Alumbagh the morning before), and then preparations were made
to defend the place. Loopholes had to be pierced in the walls, and the
best marksmen stationed there to pick off the sepoys who raked the square
from house and gateway. Jee himself had many a narrow escape as he dodged
about dressing the wounds both of the artillery and his own men, and he
recounts how Brigadier Cooper was shot through a loophole close to where
he was standing.

In this extremity Jee boldly volunteered to attempt to get his wounded
into the Residency by taking them along the river bank, leaving Captain
Halliburton to hold the Moti-Mahal. Nothing could dissuade him from this
course once his mind was made up, so with his dhoolies he set out to run
the gauntlet.

What the little company of dhoolies passed through ere it reached its
destination we do not know, but we can picture to ourselves that terrible
journey through the winding tangled streets in which nearly every house
contained sepoy riflemen. There was, too, a stream to be crossed, and
at this spot they were exposed to the fire of the rebel guns at the
Kaiserbagh Palace.

They reached the Residency at length, after much going astray, and
reached it sadly depleted in numbers. As elsewhere in Lucknow that same
night, the cowardly sepoys made a special mark of the dhoolies, shooting
the defenceless wounded in cold blood. On their arrival General Havelock
warmly congratulated the plucky surgeon on his success in getting
through, for he had heard that Jee had been killed.

Honour was slower in coming to the brave Army doctors than to many
others who distinguished themselves in the Mutiny, for it was not until
three years later that Jee was gazetted V.C. But such services as his
could not be overlooked, and there was universal satisfaction when his
name was added to the Roll of Valour. He died some years ago, a Deputy
Inspector-General and a C.B.

     *       *       *       *       *

On the night of the same day that Jee was conveying his wounded to the
Residency, a somewhat similar scene was being enacted in another quarter
of Lucknow. By the Moti Munzil Palace lay a number of wounded officers
and men of the 90th and other regiments in the charge of Doctors Home
and Bradshaw of the 90th. Left behind by the relieving force as it held
straight on to its goal, the dhoolies had to rely for protection on a
small escort of a hundred and fifty men. By great good fortune they
escaped the notice of the mutineers during the first part of the night,
but ere dawn had broken a fierce attack was made upon them. Off they
started, then, on a slow, laborious journey, which was to cost many
valuable lives before its end.

“To the Residency!” was the cry, a young civilian named Thornhill having
undertaken to guide them thither. But between them and Havelock’s house
was a network of streets and lanes that had to be threaded, and these
were still overrun with sepoys. It was a true _via dolorosa_ that lay
before them.

The order having been given, the dhoolies were picked up by very
reluctant native bearers, the surgeons closed in round their charges,
and they started off, while the escort covered their progress as best
they could. After a terrible hour’s journeying, with sepoys hanging on
flank and rear, the little company eventually reached the Martinière
(a building erected by a French soldier of fortune in the eighteenth
century). Their stay here was short, however, for a well-directed
cannonade drove them once more afield. A flooded nullah was next crossed,
and beyond this seemed to lie safety, but a fatal blunder on the part of
their guide led them into a veritable death-trap.

The street into which they filed appeared to be deserted. As a matter of
fact it was full of sepoys, who were concealed in the houses on either
side. This was the narrow street leading to the Bailey Guard Gate, the
entrance to the Residency; along its three-quarters of a mile, some
hours previously, the 78th Highlanders and Brasyer’s Sikhs had won their
way through a perfect tempest of shot. A similar reception awaited the

As the ill-fated train passed through and gained the square at the
farther end, the storm of musketry broke into full blast over their
heads. In a moment the panic-stricken bearers dropped the dhoolies and
fled for dear life, leaving the wounded men in the middle of the square
exposed to every sepoy marksman. The fire of close on a thousand muskets
must have been concentrated on that small enclosure, but Surgeon Home
managed, with nine men of the escort, to get half a dozen of the wounded
within the shelter of a building before which was a covered archway.

Surgeon Bradshaw, meanwhile, who had been in the rear of the train, had
collected his dhoolies as soon as the nature of the trap was disclosed,
and turned hastily back to seek the turning that their guide ought to
have taken. The luckless Thornhill had been killed, having been one of
the first to be shot down. It is satisfactory to add that Bradshaw was
successful in bringing his dhoolies to safe quarters without further

Would that such had been the case with Surgeon Home! He and his party
had gained shelter for the time, but none could say how long it would
be before the horde of sepoys would storm it. The most daring of the
mutineers had already ventured out into the square to kill those of the
wounded whom they could reach and to fire through the windows of the

The heroes of what became known afterwards as Dhoolie Square were,
besides Home, Privates McManus, Ward, Ryan, and Hollowell. These gallant
fellows, but for whom the whole company must have been massacred, formed
part of the military escort. Patrick McManus, who was an Irishman of
the Northumberland Fusiliers, was a noted shot. Taking up a position
immediately behind one of the pillars of the archway, he coolly fired
shot after shot until a number of sepoys had fallen victims to his
unerring aim. The rest of the rebels retreated before his rifle and
sought shelter within the houses.


This pause afforded an opportunity for rescuing those of the wounded who
lay within reach. With his deadly rifle in his hand, McManus now rushed
out, accompanied by Private John Ryan (a Madras European Fusilier), and
carried in Captain Arnold, who had been shot in both legs. A second time
they ventured out, and in the rain of bullets they drew upon themselves
succeeded in dragging another poor fellow from the slender security
of his dhoolie to more certain safety. But their errand of mercy was
in vain: though neither of the rescuers was hit, Arnold and the other
wounded man (a private) were struck again and again, both dying soon

Private Ward, a 78th Highlander but a Norfolk man by birth, had a little
previously saved the life of Lieutenant Havelock. The dhoolie in which
the young officer lay would have been abandoned had not Ward, by force of
blows, compelled the native bearers to carry it behind the pillars of the

Inside the house that sheltered Home and the others the surgeon was hard
at work attending to his wounded, most of whom were in worse case than
when they started on their journey. If he stopped in his task it was only
to snatch up a rifle and take a shot at some sepoy who was within sight.
With consummate daring the rebels braved McManus and crept up to the
window of Home’s room. One man, whom he shot with his revolver, was no
more than three yards away from him at the time.

So some hours wore away. Then the sepoys, furious at their ineffectual
attempts to get at their prey, brought up a large screen on wheels, with
thick planks in front, and with this shut off what was apparently the
little garrison’s only exit. It was their intention to fire the roof and
burn the Englishmen in their trap.

There was another door at the side of the house, however, and while the
flames crackled and the choking smoke filled the rooms, Home and all the
able men with him seized hold of the wounded and made a dash through this
across the square to a small shed that appeared to be empty. They reached
it, but only half a dozen were in a condition to handle their rifles.
The remnant that had struggled through with them could hardly raise
themselves from the floor.

The shed being loopholed, McManus and his comrades Ward and Ryan,
together with another 78th man, named Hollowell, were able to keep the
sepoys at a distance. They could not prevent, however, the ghastly murder
of the wounded, who still lay in the dhoolies at the farther end of the
square. One after another the unfortunate men were shot or bayoneted as
they lay, only one (an officer of the 90th), it is recorded, escaping by
a miracle.

All the rest of that fearful day, and throughout the night, the brave
surgeon and his handful of men held their fort against the swarms of
mutineers who surged again and again to the attack. In the darkness they
heard the sepoys tramping about on the roof, but a few well-aimed shots
put these daring spirits to flight. The lack of water was now keenly
felt, some of the wounded suffering terribly for want of it. Moved
to desperation by their piteous cries, and hoping to secure a safer
position, Home and a private at last stole out into the square and made
their way to a mosque some yards distant. They obtained some water, but a
vigilant sepoy espied their movements, and the plucky pair only just got
back to the shed in time.

“The terrors of that awful night,” says Dr. Home in his account of his
experiences, “were almost maddening: raging thirst, uncertainty as to
where the sepoys would next make an attack; together with the exhaustion
produced by want of food, heat, and anxiety.”

But morning saw them still alive, and with the daylight came the welcome
sound of rifle volleys, unmistakably British. Ryan, who was acting
as sentry at a loophole, sprang excitedly to his feet and roused his
comrades with the shout, “Oh, boys, them’s our own chaps!”

And a few minutes later into the corpse-strewn square swept a column of
redcoats, driving the sepoys before them in wild confusion. With Home
leading them, the heroes of Dhoolie Square gave as loud a cheer as their
feeble voices could raise, and flinging open the door of their refuge,
rushed out to greet their rescuers.

Surgeon Home (he is now Sir Anthony Dickson Home, K.C.B.), and Privates
McManus, Ward, Ryan, and Hollowell, all received the Cross for Valour for
their splendid devotion and bravery; and never, surely, did men deserve
the honour more. To have held something like a thousand rebels in check
for a day and a night, and to have protected as many of their wounded as
they did, was a feat that they might well be proud of.



On the 8th of July 1859 an interesting announcement appeared in the
_London Gazette_ to the effect that her Majesty the Queen had been
pleased to declare that Non-Military Persons who, as Volunteers, had
borne arms against the Mutineers, both at Lucknow and elsewhere, during
the late operations in India, should be considered as eligible to
receive the decoration of the Victoria Cross, subject to the rules and
ordinances, etc. etc.

Under this new clause Mr. Ross Lowis Mangles, of the Bengal Civil
Service, Assistant-Magistrate at Patna; Mr. William Fraser McDonell,
Magistrate of the Saran District; and Mr. Thomas Henry Kavanagh,
Assistant-Commissioner in Oudh, were gazetted, for distinguished services
rendered at Arrah and Lucknow.

The defence of Arrah, a town in the Shahabad District of Bengal, about
thirty-six miles from Patna, was one of the most thrilling incidents of
the Indian Mutiny. Here for a whole week a dozen Englishmen and a small
body of Sikhs, shut up in a two-storeyed house, successfully kept off
over two thousand sepoys until a relief force came to their rescue. One
young lieutenant of the Southern Mahratta Irregular Horse, with a few
sowars at his back, might storm a seemingly impregnable fort strongly
garrisoned by mutineers, and kill or capture every man of them, but
reverse the positions and a very different story was told. The history of
the Great Mutiny contains many instances of a mere handful of Englishmen
holding their own against tremendous odds, as was done at Arrah.

When news came of the outbreak at Arrah and the predicament of the white
residents there, a relief expedition was hastily organised at Dinapur
under the command of Captain Dunbar. It was destined to fail in its
mission, but it was a gallant and notable attempt. The force comprised
four hundred men, drawn from the 10th and 37th Regiments, with a
sprinkling of volunteers. Among the latter were Messrs. Ross Mangles and
McDonell, whose intimate knowledge of the district made them invaluable
as guides.

All went well with the expedition in its journey up the Ganges and, on
landing, it marched several miles without serious molestation. But when
within a few miles of Arrah it was obliged to pass through a thick piece
of jungle in which the sepoys had laid an ambuscade. Darkness had fallen
as the soldiers pushed their way through the maze of trees and dense
undergrowth, and the murderous fire that suddenly broke out threw them
into confusion.

All through the night the unequal fight went on, but the loss on the
British side was so heavy that when morning dawned the surviving officers
saw it would be impossible, or at least unwise, to continue the advance.
Captain Dunbar, unfortunately, had been among the first to fall. Very
reluctantly, therefore, the order to retreat was given, and the little
force, still firing on its foes, slowly fell back. Other sepoys had
arrived on the scene in the meantime, and the exhausted soldiers now
found themselves compelled to run the gauntlet between two lines of fire.
In these conditions something like a panic at last set in; the ranks
broke up in disorder.

“But, disastrous as was the retreat,” says one account, “it was not
all disgraceful. There will always be acts of individual heroism when
Englishmen go out to battle. It may be a soldier or it may be a civilian,
in whom the irrepressible warrior instinct manifests itself in some
act of conspicuous gallantry and devotion, but it is sure never to be

In this instance it was the civilian who rose to the occasion. Early in
the engagement Mr. Mangles had been hit by a musket ball, but the shot
had luckily only stunned him. Quickly recovering, he lent a hand in
helping the wounded, and on the retreat commencing he played an active
part in beating off the sepoys. With a number of men round him to reload
and supply him with muskets, he shot sepoy after sepoy, the sure eye and
hand which had made him a noted tiger shot not failing him in this hour
of need.

The especial act for which he was awarded the Cross, however, was the
gallant rescue of a wounded private of the Hampshires (the 37th Foot). At
the man’s piteous appeal to his comrades not to leave him there helpless
to be hacked to pieces by the sepoys, Mangles nobly rushed to his side,
bound up his wounds, and then lifted him on to his back. With this heavy
burden the brave civilian trudged on among the others.

It was rough going for the greater part of the six miles to the river,
the ground being very swampy, and overhead was a broiling July sun.
Despite these disadvantages, and the fact that he had not slept for
forty-eight hours, Mangles bore the helpless private the whole of the
way, only stopping now and then to place his charge on the ground and
take a pot-shot at the pursuing rebels. “I really never felt so strong in
my life,” he used to say afterwards in referring to this incident. When
the waters of the Ganges were reached he plunged in and swam out to the
boats with his now unconscious burden. Then, when all the survivors were
aboard, the flotilla started on its sad return journey.

Mr. McDonell all this time had been ever to the front, assisting
the officers to keep the men together. An excellent shot, like his
fellow-magistrate, he accounted for many a rebel ere the river-side was
reached, but he did not escape unscathed. A musket shot had lodged in his

In the wild rush for the half-dozen country boats moored close to the
river bank, McDonell gave no thought to himself. There were several men
very badly hit, and it was not until he had seen these safely over the
thwarts that he jumped in and cast the mooring adrift. He was the last
man aboard his boat, which was crowded with thirty-five soldiers.

Out into the stream they floated, but now a fresh danger faced them. The
rebels had removed the oars from the boat and lashed the rudder tightly,
so that the little craft was helpless. To their horror it began to drift
back again to the southern bank, on which the sepoys were clustered in
joyful expectation of emptying their muskets into the boatload of sahibs.
Something had to be done at once, or they were doomed.

To show his face above the gunwale was to court instant death, but
McDonell took the risk. With a knife in his hand, he climbed outside
on to the canvas roof, worked his way to the stern and with a few deft
slashes cut the ropes that held the tiller fast. Bullets pattered all
round him as he lay outstretched there, and one passed clean through his
helmet, but he was otherwise untouched. Having regained his seat safely,
he steered the boat and its precious freight to the opposite bank, where
they landed--three men short. The sepoys’ fire had not been all in vain.

While, as I have said, both Mangles and McDonell received the V.C. for
their bravery on this occasion, it is a remarkable fact that the former’s
exploit would have passed unnoticed by the authorities but for a happy
chance. The private whose life he had saved and who had passed some
months in Dinapur Hospital before being invalided home, had told the
story of his rescue to a surgeon. This worthy noted it down at the time
in his journal, and just twelve months later made the true facts public.

It was only in March of last year that Mr. Ross Lowis Mangles died at his
home in Surrey, where, after long service in India, he had settled down
to spend the remaining years of his life.

     *       *       *       *       *

Of the three civilians who have won the V.C. “Lucknow” Kavanagh is the
most famous. The story of his daring journey in disguise through the
rebel lines in order to act as guide to Sir Colin Campbell’s relief force
has been told over and over again, but one can never tire of hearing it.
It thrills our pulses now as much as ever it did.

Thomas Henry Kavanagh was an Irishman in the Indian Civil Service. At
the time the Mutiny broke out he held the post of Superintendent of the
office of the Chief Commissioner of Oudh, and took up his residence in
Lucknow. Here with his wife he played no mean part in these fateful
months before and after Havelock and Outram had fought their way to the
aid of the Residency garrison, taking his share of work in the trenches
or at the guns as required.

Early in November 1857, Sir Colin Campbell, marching with a large army to
the relief of Lucknow, got as far as the Alumbagh. To save the General
from having to make the perilous passage through the narrow streets and
lanes which had cost him so many men two months earlier, Outram by means
of a native spy sent plans of the city and its approaches to Campbell,
and suggested the best route to be followed. There was still the danger,
however, of some dreadful blunder being committed, and Outram expressed a
wish that he were able to send a competent guide.

This coming to Kavanagh’s ears, he promptly went to Outram’s Chief of
Staff, Colonel Robert Napier,[2] and volunteered his services in this
capacity. The colonel stared at him in blank astonishment, as well he
might, for of all men in Lucknow Kavanagh looked to be the one least
suited to play the rôle of spy. He was a tall, big-limbed man, with fair
complexion, “aggressively red hair and beard, and uncompromisingly blue
eyes.” To transform this healthy specimen of an Irishman into a native
seemed an utter impossibility.

But Kavanagh persisted that he could get through to the British lines. He
would be disguised, of course and his knowledge of Hindustani and local
dialects was perfect. He persisted more strenuously still when, on his
being ushered into Outram’s presence, the General refused point blank to
consent to his going. After much arguing, he at length persuaded Outram
to listen to his plan, and extorted a half-hearted permission to make the
attempt. It remained for him to convince his chief of the impenetrability
of his disguise.

Kavanagh has told us in his own account of the adventure, how the same
evening (Nov. 9th), with face, neck, and arms blackened with lamp-black,
his red hair hidden beneath a cream-coloured turban, and the rest of
his person disguised in the silk trousers, yellow _koortah_, or jacket,
white cummerbund, and chintz mantle of an irregular native soldier, he
sauntered with sword and shield into Napier’s quarters.

The experiment was an immense success. Seeing what was evidently a
_budmash_ (a worthless fellow) thus insolently thrusting himself upon
them, the officers present bade him begone, and a very pretty squabble in
low-class Hindustani ensued. In the midst of it Sir James Outram entered
the room, and having sufficiently tested his disguise Kavanagh made
himself known. To his joy, no opposition was now raised to his plan.

Half an hour later, with the native spy Kunoujee Lal, who was returning
to the Alumbagh with a letter from Outram, he bade good-bye to his
friends, forded the river Goomtee, and started on his perilous mission.

“My courage failed me,” he confesses, “while in the water, and if my
guide had been within my reach I should perhaps have pulled him back and
abandoned the enterprise. But he waded quickly through the stream, and,
reaching the opposite bank, went crouching up a ditch for three hundred
yards to a grove of low trees on the edge of a pond, where we stopped to

His confidence having returned, Kavanagh went boldly forward, tulwar on
shoulder, and even dared to accost a matchlock man near a hut with a
remark that the night was cold. A little farther on they were pulled up
by the officer of a native picket, and Kunoujee Lal, acting as spokesman,
explained that they had come from Mundeon (“our old cantonment”) and were
making their way to their homes in the city. This satisfied the sepoy
officer, and they passed on with no little relief.

Recrossing the river by the iron bridge, they safely negotiated the
streets of Lucknow, though the place swarmed with sentries and armed men,
and issuing at last from the city on the other side, breathed more freely.

“I was in great spirits when we reached the green fields, into which I
had not been for five months,” says Kavanagh. “Everything around us smelt
sweet, and a carrot I took from the roadside was the most delicious I had
ever tasted.”

A wrong turning now led them astray into the Dilkusha Park, where the
rebels had a battery. Much against his companion’s will, the daring
Irishman insisted on inspecting these guns, and Kunoujee Lal was in
considerable trepidation until after two hours’ weary tramping across
paddy fields and canal cuttings they regained the right road.

At two o’clock in the morning, after several alarms from suspicious
villagers who chased them some distance, they stumbled upon a picket of
twenty-five sepoys on the outskirts of the city. Kavanagh was for the
bold course of going up and questioning the men, but Kunoujee Lal lost
heart and threw away the letter entrusted to him for Sir Colin Campbell.
Kavanagh kept his still concealed in his turban.

The picket was in some alarm at their approach, but it proved to be fear
lest the pair were Englishmen from the Alumbagh camp, only a mile or
two in advance of them! With this cheering news, the two spies pushed
on, a friendly sepoy having put them on the right road on hearing that
they were “walking to the village of Umroula on a sad errand, namely,
to inform a friend that his brother had been killed by a ball from the
British entrenchments at Lucknow.”

A nasty tumble into a swamp, which washed the black from Kavanagh’s
hands, was their next most serious _contretemps_. For some time they
waded through it waist-deep, having gone too far to recede before they
discovered it was a swamp. An hour afterwards they stole unobserved
through two pickets of sepoys and gained the shelter of a grove of trees,
where Kavanagh insisted on having a good sleep. Kunoujee Lal, by no means
assured that they were out of danger, kept a fearful watch, but nobody
came near them save some flying natives, who stated that they had been
pursued by British soldiers.

Kavanagh having been roused, the two went on once more. Another mile or
so was traversed, and then (it being about four o’clock in the morning of
the 10th) the welcome challenge “Who goes there?” rang on their ears. It
was a mounted patrol of Sikhs. They had reached the British outposts.

Two men of the patrol guided Kavanagh and his companion to the camp,
where they were immediately conducted into the presence of Sir Colin
Campbell. When he learned that Kavanagh had come through the rebel
lines, the Commander-in-Chief could not find enough words to express his
admiration. “I consider his escape,” he wrote in his despatch, “at a time
when the entrenchment was closely invested by a large army, one of the
most daring feats ever attempted.”

For his part, Kavanagh paid a generous tribute to his fellow-spy,
Kunoujee Lal, who had displayed wonderful courage and intelligence in
their trying journey. When they were questioned, it was the native who
did most of the speaking, and he always had a ready answer for the most
searching interrogation.

The news of Kavanagh’s arrival was signalled to Lucknow by means of
a flag from the summit of the Alumbagh, and Outram’s mind was set at
ease. In due course the plucky Irishman guided Sir Colin into the city,
being present through all the fierce fighting at the Secunderabagh and
the Moti-Mahal, and further distinguishing himself by saving a wounded
soldier’s life. Nor does this close the tale of his adventures, for he
passed through many exciting experiences in rebel-hunting ere the Mutiny
was suppressed.

Kavanagh lived to wear the Victoria Cross for twenty-three years, dying
in 1882 at Gibraltar. His Cross was presented by his son to the N.W.P.
and Oudh Provincial Museum at Lucknow, while the tulwar, shield and
pistol he bore on his journey, together with other articles of his
disguise, are preserved in the Dublin Museum.

[2] Afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala.



The full tale of the Crosses of the Mutiny (do they not number one
hundred and eighty-two in all?) is a long one, and cannot be told here.
But before bringing this chapter of V.C. history to a close I must tell
of yet a few more and the manner of their winning, for they call to mind
deeds which we ought not willingly to let fade from our memories.

I would like much to dwell, did space permit, on Lawrence’s heroic stand
at the Lucknow Residency; to tell of Lieutenant Robert Aitken of the
Bailey Guard “Post,” who won the V.C. many times over in that six-months’
siege; of brave Commissioner Gubbins; and of Captain Fulton, the garrison
engineer, who had a countermine for every mine that the rebels drove
under the British defences, and to whom the dangerous game of sepoy
hunting above and below earth was “great fun and excitement.” They
were gallant fellows all, and the record of their exploits is truly an
inspiring one; but I must hurry on to the taking of Lucknow, and to the
story of the V.C.’s gained in that last desperate struggle for supremacy.

When Sir Colin Campbell started on his march to the relief of Havelock
and Outram he had an army of only some 4700 men, but in this force were
picked regiments such as the 93rd Highlanders, the 9th Lancers, Hodson’s
Horse, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and the 53rd Foot (the “Shropshires”),
together with some squadrons of Sikh cavalry and two regiments of Punjab
infantry. The famous 93rd were Sir Colin’s special favourites. They had
been with him in the Crimea, and had formed the “thin red line” which
had so successfully routed the Russian cavalry. “You are my own lads,
Ninety-third!” he said, addressing them at the parade at Buntera, “and
I rely on you to do the work;” to which the stern-faced Highlanders,
mindful of what had been done at Cawnpore, responded with a mighty shout.

How well the 93rd acquitted themselves is to be read in any history; what
is of particular interest here is that they gained no fewer than seven
Crosses in the Lucknow fighting.

Four of these belong to the fierce assault on the Secunderabagh, the
first and most formidable rebel position to be attacked. When the
artillery had made a breach in the face of the fortress wall there was a
race between Sikhs and Highlanders to be the first in. Accounts differ as
to the result; some say a Sikh won the honour, being shot dead instantly;
others a Highlander, who suffered the same fate. However that may be,
it is pretty certain that Lance-Corporal Dunley of the 93rd (Archibald
Forbes writes him down an Irishman) was the first man of his regiment to
reach the goal and get through alive.

Behind him streamed Highlanders and Sikhs, tumbling in with bayonets
fixed, before which the sepoys fell in scores. There were upwards of 2000
rebels in the Secunderabagh, and but three or four, says Lord Roberts,
dropped over the wall on the city side and escaped. Every other man of
them was killed. The carnage that took place within the courtyard almost
passes description.

In the first terrible rush, which resolved itself into a series of
personal combats, Private P. Grant and Colour-Sergeant J. Munro
distinguished themselves by saving the lives of two officers. Grant saw
his officer in difficulties with a crowd of sepoys whose colour he had
captured, and rushing up cut down five of the rebels. That was not the
only sepoy ensign taken that day, for Private D. Mackay secured one after
a fierce contest and bore it triumphantly away.

Dunley, Grant, Munro, and Mackay were elected by their comrades as
most worthy to be decorated when their regiment was singled out for
distinction, and each duly received the V.C.

There was a Punjabi Mahommedan, by the way, Mukarrab Khan by name, who
in this same Secunderabagh fight earned the V.C. as much as did any man.
Lord Roberts, who was an eye-witness, tells the story of his bravery. The
enemy, he says, having been driven out of the earthwork, made for the
gateway, which they nearly succeeded in shutting behind them. But just
as the doors were closing Mukarrab Khan pushed his left arm, on which he
bore a shield, between them. A sword-cut slashed his hand, whereupon the
dauntless Mahommedan, withdrawing his left arm, thrust in his right, and
had his other hand all but severed at the wrist. He gained his object,
however, for he kept the doors from being closed until his comrades
rushed to his help and forced them open.

It was an act of heroic devotion, and it is satisfactory to know that
Mukarrab Khan was awarded the Order of Merit, which is the Indian
equivalent of the V.C., and carries with it an increase of pay.

At the taking of the Shah Nujeef, on the same day, the 16th of November
1857, Sergeant John Paton, of the 93rd, did a daring thing, which added
another V.C. to the regimental record.

The Shah Nujeef was a mosque built over the tomb of an old king of Oudh,
a massively built structure with loopholed walls, and the guns of the
Naval Brigade, under Captain Peel, were unable to make a breach. As night
was fast coming on, Sir Colin Campbell determined to make a bold effort
to carry the place by storm, and called on the Highlanders to follow him.
That the 93rd would have scaled the walls of the mosque though half of
them fell in the task need not be doubted, but fortunately they were not
called on to do so.

Soon after the order to advance had been given, Sergeant Paton came
tearing down the ravine with the news that he had discovered a breach in
the north-east corner of the rampart, close by the river Goomtee. “It
appears,” says Forbes-Mitchell of the 93rd, who records the incident,
“that our shot and shell had gone over the first breach, and had blown
out the wall on the other side in this particular spot. Paton told how he
had climbed up to the top of the ramparts without difficulty, and seen
right inside the place, as the whole defending force had been called
forward to repulse the assault in front.”

A detachment was promptly sent round to this point with the sergeant as
guide, and an entrance to the position effected. But the sepoys, finding
themselves thus taken in the rear, gave up the fight and fled with all

The other two V.C. heroes of the Highlanders were Captain Stewart, who
headed a splendid charge against the rebel guns at the position known as
the Mess-house; and Lieutenant and Adjutant William M’Bean, who at the
onslaught on the Begumbagh Palace bore himself like a paladin of old, and
was seen to slay eleven sepoys single-handed. M’Bean was a mighty figure
in a corps wherein every man was a doughty fighter, and the tale of his
exploits is a notable one. An Inverness ploughman before he enlisted, he
rose to command the regiment which he had entered as a private, and died
a Major-General.

I have mentioned the Naval Brigade in connection with the attack on the
Shah Nujeef. Peel’s gallant bluejackets, whom we last met doing great
things at Sebastopol, had been hurried to India from their station at
Hong Kong, immediately news arrived of the outbreak of the Mutiny; and
after smelling powder at Cawnpore and other places they accompanied the
relief army to Lucknow.

Right up under the frowning walls of the mosque did they run their useful
24-pounders, as coolly as if “laying alongside an enemy’s frigate,” to
use Sir Colin’s own words. But the guns were not powerful enough to
break down the masonry. Despite the obvious hopelessness of the task,
however, Lieutenant Young and Seaman William Hall (a negro, be it noted)
fearlessly stood by their gun, reloading and pounding away at the wall
under a most deadly fire, and only desisting when the order eventually
came to fall back. They both got the V.C. for that gallant action.

The other Crosses that fell to the Naval men in the same fight were won
by a young lieutenant whose name still figures on the Active List as
Admiral Sir Nowell Salmon, G.C.B., and Boatswain’s Mate John Harrison.
These two pluckily volunteered to climb trees that overlooked the mosque
walls and reconnoitre the rebel position, at the same time picking off
the sepoys with their rifles. A mark at once for the rebel sharpshooters,
who quickly espied them, both men drew upon themselves a heavy fire,
but though they were wounded they accounted for several mutineers ere
clambering down from their perches, and secured valuable information for
their commander.

In the taking of Lucknow young Lieutenant Henry Havelock, son of the
famous General, played a prominent part, leading a storming party that
captured a palace close to the rebel citadel, the Kaisarbagh. But he had
won his V.C. before this, at Cawnpore, where he captured a rebel gun in
the face of an appalling fire; and at the Charbagh Bridge, Lucknow, while
serving under his father.

His action at the latter place was characteristic of his impulsive
bravery. Neill, who held a position by the bridge, would not move to
“rush” the sepoys and their guns without orders from Outram. Wheeling
his horse, it is said, young Havelock rode off in the direction of the
General and his staff, but soon after turning the bend in the road he
galloped hastily back to trick Neill into taking action. Giving a salute,
he said, “You are to carry the bridge at once, sir!”

Taking this to be an order from the General, Neill gave the word to
advance, and Arnold of the Madras Fusiliers led his men forward in a
gallant charge, being shot down almost immediately. A storm of grape
swept the bridge clear, and Havelock found himself the only officer--and
almost the only man--standing there alive. With a wave of his sword and
a shout to the rest of the Fusiliers whom the guns had checked, he led a
second charge, and this time the bridge was won.

Young Havelock’s gallantry in the Indian Mutiny marked him out for a
distinguished career, and he did not disappoint those who prophesied
thus concerning him. As is well known, he became in after years
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Bart., K.C.B.

Among the many other pictures of the Mutiny that present themselves
vividly to my mind is one of a young Fusilier officer swimming the river
Goomtee in plain sight of any sepoys who might be upon the farther
bank, and audaciously climbing up the parapet of a rebel battery. It
had been shelled by our troops, but with what success was not known. He
stands there on the wall signalling to his impatient comrades that it is
abandoned, but it is some time ere their officers will let them follow
where he has led. The Highlanders and Sikhs get across the river at last,
however, and with a laugh at the discomfited sepoys who have been vainly
trying to “pot” him from an adjacent battery, the young officer--Butler
by name--hands over his captured position to the new-comers, and swims
back to his own regiment.

That was a V.C. exploit, and it holds the imagination as much as does
that which won the decoration for Ensign Patrick Roddy of the Bengal
Army. The scene of Roddy’s achievement was Kuthirga, and the date
September 27, 1858. At the close of an action with a rebel force at this
place some of the cavalry were kept at bay for some time by a determined
sepoy subadar of a revolted regiment, a tall, powerful fellow. This man
knelt alone in the middle of the road and with musket at shoulder covered
his enemies.

While his sowars hung back, afraid to face that gleaming barrel, young
Roddy did not hesitate. Spurring his horse, he charged straight upon the
rebel subadar, who firing at close range brought down the ensign’s horse.
Roddy had some difficulty in freeing himself from the stirrups as he lay
on the ground, but ere the sepoy could get really to grips with him he
managed to draw his sword, and in the tussle ran the fellow through the
body. Sir Hope Grant had had occasion previously to remark on the young
ensign’s conspicuous bravery, and he took care that this special feat was
fittingly rewarded.

Mention of Roddy’s hand-to-hand combat reminds me of the great fight
between Sapper Sam Shaw, of the Rifle Brigade, and a white muslin-clad
Ghazi, at Nawabgunge. It was after the sharp action at that place in June
1858 that the fanatic was seen to enter a grove of trees. A dozen men
hastened in pursuit, but Shaw was easily the first, and coming up with
his man he engaged him with the short sword that sappers carry.

A Ghazi at best is a dangerous fellow to tackle, and a Ghazi wounded
and at bay, as this one was, might well have made Sam Shaw hesitate
before venturing to attack him alone. But the sapper was not a man to
think twice of danger, and in he went, sword against tulwar, until after
several minutes’ fierce hacking and thrusting he saw his chance to close,
and finished the affair with a mighty lunge.

It was a great fight, as I have said, and Sapper Shaw well earned the
V.C. he got for it. But against his decoration he had to put a terrible
slashing cut on the head from that keen-edged tulwar, a wound that came
very near to ending his career then and there.

Last on my list of Mutiny V.C.’s come Lance-Corporal William Goate, of
the 9th Lancers, and that popular hero, Sir Evelyn Wood, whose names
still figure in the list of surviving recipients of the Cross for Valour.

Goate had just been three years and a half in the Lancers when the
Mutiny broke out. His regiment was stationed at Umballa at the time, and
proceeded at once to Delhi. After the fall of the old Punjab capital
he was at the second captures of Cawnpore and Lucknow, taking part in
some of the fiercest engagements of the campaign, and it was here--at
Lucknow--that he performed the deed of valour which won him the Cross.

On the 6th of March--a blazing hot day, it is recorded--there was a bold
sortie from the rebel lines which a British brigade was sent to repulse.
The 9th Lancers was one of the regiments ordered to charge, and away they
went, neck and neck with the 2nd Dragoons, for the enemy who had taken up
their position on the racecourse. The sepoys broke before the onset of
the cavalrymen, but the latter at length had to retire owing to a heavy
fire from artillery and battery.

In the ride back Major Percy Smith, of the Dragoons, was shot through the
body and fell from his horse. Corporal Goate was close by, and springing
to the ground he quickly lifted the major on to his shoulder and ran with
him thus alongside his horse. The major was a heavy weight, however;
Goate found himself lagging behind with several of the enemy close upon
him. Clearly he couldn’t get away with his burden, so he determined to do
what he could for himself and the major. Placing the wounded officer on
the ground, he sprang into his saddle and rode at his foes.

“I shot the first sepoy who charged,” he says in his account of the
incident, “and with my empty pistol felled another. This gave me time to
draw my sword, my lance having been left on the field. The sepoys were
now round me cutting and hacking, but I managed to parry every slash and
deliver many a fatal thrust. It was parry and thrust, thrust and parry
all through, and I cannot tell you how many saddles I must have emptied.
The enemy didn’t seem to know how to parry.”

So our brave corporal (he was only a little more than twenty, mind you)
“settled accounts with a jolly lot,” and was still hard at it when some
of his comrades came to his assistance. In the fight his horse had
carried him some distance from where the major lay, and when the rebels
had been forced back he went out again to look for him. Poor Major Smith
was found after a long search, but it was a mutilated corpse that was
brought sadly and reverently back to the camp.

Sir Colin Campbell and Sir Hope Grant had seen Goate’s gallant attempt at
rescue, and after the action there was a cordial handshake for him from
both the veterans, with many compliments upon his pluck that filled the
corporal with just pride.

The scene of Sir Evelyn Wood’s principal exploit was the wilds of
Sindhora, near Gwalior. It was at the close of the Mutiny, when the
rebels had been split up and only kept the fires of rebellion burning in
detached districts. After a fatiguing pursuit of some mutineers one day,
news came to the young officer’s ears (he was a lieutenant in the 17th
Lancers then) that a potail--a loyal native named Chemmum Singh--had been
carried off by a band of these marauders. With a duffadar, two or three
sowars of Beatson’s Horse, and half a dozen sepoys of the Bareilly Levy,
he started off promptly in pursuit.

The mutineers were discovered at night in the jungle, twelve miles away,
preparing to hang their captive. Creeping up unseen, Lieutenant Wood and
his few followers sprang upon them from several points at once, firing a
volley and shouting as if they had a whole company behind them. This was
enough for the rebels. They took to their heels incontinently, and before
they could rally and discover the numbers of their assailants Wood and
his men were riding swiftly back with the released potail.

That daring adventure, together with a very notable rout of rebel cavalry
at Sindwaho a little earlier, was sufficient recommendation for the V.C.,
and the honour, though slow in coming, was eventually bestowed upon him.

It is curious to note how persistently the authorities refused to
recognise Evelyn Wood’s valour. In the Crimea, where as a middy he
served with the Naval Brigade, he was singled out for distinction for
his bravery at the Redan assault; but his claim was ignored, despite the
strong protests of his commander, Captain Lushington.

His subsequent career, after he had abandoned the Navy for the Army,
should be well known to every British boy. There has not been a war since
the Mutiny in which he has not played a leading part,--witness the
Ashanti, Zulu, Transvaal, and Egyptian campaigns,--and to-day there is
no finer soldier in the service than the ex-Sirdar of the Egyptian army,
Field-Marshal Sir Henry Evelyn Wood, G.C.B.



The principal war in which we were engaged in the sixties was that waged
against the Maoris in New Zealand, but that demands a chapter to itself.
For the present I will confine myself to some of the smaller campaigns of
the same period which yielded several notable V.C.’s.

Towards the end of 1859 trouble broke out afresh with China, immediately
after the conclusion of what is known as the Second Chinese War. Sir F.
Bruce, the British Commissioner, while sailing up the Pei-ho to Pekin
to ratify the treaty just made with the Emperor, was fired upon by the
Taku Forts at the mouth of the river. No apologies being forthcoming, an
expedition under General Sir James Hope Grant was despatched to teach the
Chinese a salutary lesson.

The expedition, which was strengthened by a French force, was ready to
begin operations against the Taku Forts by July 1860, but owing to the
swampy nature of the country around them a halt had to be called while
the engineers set to work to make roads. These were completed by the
middle of August, and then the attack commenced in real earnest.

Under a heavy fire from the Chinese gunners English and French vied with
each other to be the first to cross the ditches in front of the forts.
Scaling-ladders and pontoon bridges were requisitioned, but the delay in
placing these in position galled a number of our men to such an extent
that privates and officers alike plunged boldly into the water and swam
across. The first to reach the walls were Lieutenant Robert Rogers, of
the 44th Regiment, two Lieutenants of the 67th, E. H. Lenon and Nathaniel
Burslem, with Privates John M’Dougall and Thomas Lane. Up through the
embrasures they all clambered, Burslem and Lane being specially noticed
as they knocked away a portion of the wall and enlarged the opening
sufficiently to enable them to scramble through, just as did Dunley at
the Secunderabagh fight.

Where they showed the way their comrades quickly followed, the while
some of the French with ladders vainly attempted to climb the walls.
At the head of the 67th Regiment came Ensign Chaplin, bearing proudly
the colour which he was determined to plant first upon the fort. He had
hardly gained the ditch, however, when a bullet struck him in the arm,
making him drop the standard. There was a brief pause while he bound a
handkerchief tightly round his wound, then on he went again, colours
raised aloft.

A French regiment of infantry was pressing forward at the same time, and
Chaplin playfully called to their colour-bearer to race him to the fort.
The challenge was promptly taken up. As soon as the breach was clear the
ensign dashed for it, and by strenuous effort forced his way inside.
Before him were Chinese riflemen and pikemen, but he cut his way through
them with his sword, and hurried on to his goal.

Suddenly a second bullet caught him, making him stagger, at which a
private clutched at the swaying standard pole.

“Hands off!” cried Chaplin vehemently, for he saw that the French
colour-bearer was now close behind him. And, pulling himself together
gamely, he made a last spurt for the summit, which he reached well in
advance of all others. In a moment the flag was planted, amid a ringing
British cheer; then the brave young ensign was seen to fall. A shot in
the leg had brought him down at last.

Seeing him prone on the ground at their mercy, the Chinese made a rush
for him, but they were luckily too late. The 67th swarmed up the hill,
and Chaplin was rescued to survive that engagement and many others, and
wear on his breast the Cross for Valour in token of his gallantry. At
the same time that he was gazetted the names of Rogers, Lenon, Burslem,
M’Dougall, and Lane also appeared, the V.C. having been bestowed upon
them for that bold dash at the breach.

The obvious similarity of the incidents makes it unnecessary for me to
more than just refer here to the deed for which Midshipman D. G. Boyes
and Captain of the After-Guard Thomas Pride, of H.M.S. _Euryalus_, won
the Cross. Their vessel formed one of the fleet under Vice-Admiral Kuper
which was sent to Japan in 1863 to demand reparation from the Mikado’s
Government for certain outrages committed. At the attack on Shimonoseki
Boyes carried the colour of the leading regiment, with Pride as one of
his colour-sergeants (the other fell mortally wounded in the thick of the
fight), and was almost the first to get inside the enemy’s stockade. That
the middy ran a terrible risk is evident from the fact that the colour
he carried was pierced no fewer than six times by musket balls.

Out in the Indian state of Bhotan in 1865 an act of remarkable daring
was performed, which brought the V.C. to two distinguished engineer
officers, Captain (now Major-General) William Spottiswoode Trevor and
Lieutenant James Dundas. In that year war broke out with the independent
Bhotias, originating in a quarrel over frontier territories in Assam, and
a British force under Major-General Sir Harry Tombs, V.C., the hero of
a little outpost skirmish at Delhi, already recorded, was despatched to
restore order.

On the 30th of April a sharp engagement at Dewangiri, down in the
south-east corner of the little hill-state, resulted in the Bhotias being
driven out of their position; but a remnant of them, some two hundred in
all, obstinately barricaded themselves in a strongly-built, loopholed
blockhouse. This little fortress, standing at the summit of a rocky path,
was the key to the position, and it was essential that it should not be
held to serve as a rallying-point for the routed enemy.

Turning to his Sikhs, General Tombs asked them to make a dash for the
walls and carry the place by storm, but, courageous fighters though they
were, they looked at the rows of deadly loopholes and stood still. They
only waited for a leader, however. With an “officer sahib” at their head,
the big, black-bearded Punjabis were ready for the most forlorn of hopes.
And they followed with alacrity when, at Tombs’ call, Captain Trevor and
Lieutenant Dundas showed them the way.

Taking the path at a rush, the two officers gained the wall of the
blockhouse unscathed, and though from every loophole came the crackle of
a rifle they began to scramble up the wall. The latter was fourteen feet
high, no mean obstacle to surmount; but they got up at last, the captain
leading, and found themselves on a level with the roof of the blockhouse.
Between the top of the wall and the roof was an opening not more than two
feet wide. Through this was their only chance of getting inside, and they
took it.

Head foremost they wriggled in through the narrow hole, one after the
other, and dropped like snakes from the thatch into the midst of the
surprised garrison. At the first discharge of muskets both of the
intrepid officers were wounded, but the Sikhs thronging in behind them
quickly finished the business. Within a few minutes the blockhouse was
swept clear.

The following year, 1866, saw us involved in trouble with a West African
tribe in the Gambia district. A punitive expedition having been organised
under the command of Colonel D’Arcy, the Governor of Gambia, the kingdom
of Barra, in which the turbulent tribe resided, was invaded. One of the
first actions in this campaign was the assault on the stockaded town
of Tubabecolong, and here Private Samuel Hodge, of the 4th West India
Regiment, behaved with such gallantry that he became the second man of
colour to receive the V.C.

When the little force reached the town, Colonel D’Arcy called for
volunteers to break down the stockade with axes. Hodge and another
pioneer, who was afterwards killed, answered the call, and plied their
axes bravely in the face of the negroes’ fire until a breach had been
made. Through this the regiment struggled, but the negroes had been
reinforced, and so strongly that they were able to beat the besiegers off
for a time.

Colonel D’Arcy relates that he found himself left alone in the breach
with only Hodge by him. Here he kept firing at the negroes, while the
big West Indian, standing coolly at his side, conspicuous in his scarlet
uniform with white facings, supplied him with loaded muskets. After a
little time the rest of the men re-formed and came once more to the
attack, whereupon Hodge went ahead again, breaking a way for them through
the bush-work defences.

To give his comrades a better chance of storming the place, he at last
ran round to the principal entrance, drove off such of the negroes as
thrust themselves in his path, and forced open the two great gates which
had been barricaded from within. Through these the West Indian Regiment
charged with their bayonets, and when they emerged at the other side of
the smoke-enveloped village they left some hundreds of negroes dead and
dying in their wake.

Colonel D’Arcy had done great deeds of valour that day, deeds which were
suitably recognised later by the merchants of Bathurst, who presented him
with a sword of honour, but he modestly disclaimed the praise due to him.
To Private Hodge, he said, belonged the chief honours of the attack, and
at the close of the action, before the whole regiment, he saluted the
proud pioneer as “the bravest man in the corps.”

By a curious coincidence it was in the same quarter of Africa that,
twenty-six years later, the third coloured man to be decorated won his
V.C. This was Corporal William James Gordon, also of the West Indian
Regiment. His act of special gallantry was to save his officer (Major
Madden) from certain death at the storming of the town of Toniataba, on
the Gambia. Gordon thrust himself between the major and the enemy’s rifle
barrels as they were suddenly poked out of the loopholes at the officer’s
back, receiving a bullet through his lungs that went within an ace of
killing him.

The other notable Crosses of the sixties were awarded for deeds of
bravery that necessitated the issue of an additional Royal Warrant to
cover deeds performed not in action but “under circumstances of extreme
danger, such as the occurrence of a fire on board ship, or of the
foundering of a vessel at sea, or under any other circumstances in which,
through the courage and devotion displayed, life or public property may
be saved.” By this special provision a brave Irishman, Timothy O’Hea by
name, a private in the Rifle Brigade, was awarded the V.C., together with
Dr. Campbell Douglas, and four privates of the South Wales Borderers,
then styled the 24th Regiment.

O’Hea’s exploit was performed at a railway siding between Quebec and
Montreal in June 1866, while he was acting as one of an escort in charge
of an ammunition van. To everybody’s alarm a fire broke out, enveloping
the car in flames and smoke. Inside were kegs of powder and cases of
ammunition, which, did they ignite, would cause a most terrible explosion.

While the others hesitated O’Hea snatched the keys from the sergeant’s
hand, opened the door of the van and called for volunteers to bring him
water and a ladder. The latter was quickly procured, and standing on this
the plucky private emptied bucketful after bucketful upon the burning
wood. It was a touch-and-go business, as the tongues of flame shot out
every now and then, coming dangerously near to the powder kegs, but O’Hea
stuck to his post and he fought the fire under.

Though the Rifle Brigade has fourteen Crosses to its credit, won in the
Crimea, in India, and in South Africa, I rather fancy that not one of
them was gained in circumstances of more deadly peril, and his comrades
were well pleased when Private Timothy O’Hea’s name went to swell the
proud list of V.C. heroes. O’Hea, it may be added, met with a sad fate in
after years. He was lost in the Australian bush, and never heard of again.

Dr. Douglas and the four men of the 24th Regiment referred to--Privates
Murphy, Cooper, Bell, and Griffiths--earned their distinction at the
Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, in May of 1869.

A small expedition had been sent thither to ascertain the fate of the
captain and crew of the _Assam Valley_, who, it had been reported, had
fallen victims to the natives. The graves of the unfortunate men were
found on the Little Andaman, but when the search party returned to the
shore they found themselves cut off from their ship by a tremendous
high-running surf.

Their predicament having been observed, Dr. Douglas with the four
privates named manned a gig and pulled in to their rescue. The first
attempt to get through the breakers half swamped the boat, but a second
attempt enabled them to save five men. On the third and last trip the
remaining twelve members of the party were safely got off.

To read the bare official account of the affair is to gain but a poor
impression of the bravery displayed by Dr. Douglas and his helpers. For a
proper understanding of the daring nature of the deed one must have seen
the immense surf rollers thundering on to the beach, and have appreciated
the very slender chances of living through the boiling waters that a man
would have if capsized from a boat. It was no ordinary rescue, and all
five nobly earned their Crosses.



The years 1860 to 1865 witnessed a very stubborn war in New Zealand
between the British and the Maoris, the original natives of the country.
Many causes combined to make this war unduly long. In the first place
the importance of the outbreak was underestimated, and the small force
already in the islands was considered strong enough to cope with it;
secondly, it was forgotten, or overlooked, that the Maoris, although
incorrigibly lazy in times of peace, were a race of born fighters, to
whom war was almost the chief end of existence; and thirdly, there was
the difficult nature of the country itself, with its many forests and
swamps, and miles on miles of dense, tangled bush. The odds were all in
the Maoris’ favour at the outset.

For many years we had been at peace with the natives, a treaty having
been signed by which we bound ourselves to respect the chiefs territorial
rights. By 1860, however, a good deal of friction had arisen over
purchases of land by the colonists, it being claimed by the Maoris that
some of these transactions took place without the full consent of all the
parties interested.

Especially was this the case in the transfer of a piece of land at
Taranaki, in the Northern Island. It was only a small plot that was
in dispute, but the Waikato tribe who claimed possession would not be
pacified, and made a desperate resistance when an attempt was made to
oust them. Their success in repulsing the few British troops sent against
them incited the tribe and their friends to proceed still further. Old
feuds were now revived, and the insurrection at Taranaki quickly spread
into a general movement against the colonists, which in turn resolved
itself into a wholesale rebellion of the Maori race.

In the fighting that ensued twelve Victoria Crosses were gained, mostly
for gallant rescues of wounded men struck down in the bush or in the
pahs, the native palisade-fortified villages. The Maoris have always been
exceptionally cruel to their prisoners in war, and the knowledge that a
fallen foe would receive no mercy at their hands spurred our soldiers to
make every effort to save a wounded comrade.

One of the first Crosses to be won fell to Colour-Sergeant John Lucas,
of the 40th Regiment (the South Lancashires). Early in 1861 he was
fighting up in the Taranaki district, near to the Huirangi Bush. During
one afternoon, while out skirmishing, he and his party were suddenly
subjected to a terribly fierce fire from a hidden enemy. Men began to
drop quickly as the bullets pinged across the ravine, and Lieutenant Rees
fell badly wounded.

The officer having been carried to the rear, Lucas stood guard over the
other wounded, towards whom the Maoris, breaking cover for the first
time, made an ugly rush. The colour-sergeant had several rifles at hand,
and adopting savage tactics, he got behind a tree, only showing himself
to neatly “pot” an enemy. It was one man against a hundred; but, like
Private McManus in “Dhoolie Square,” he made himself properly respected
by the natives, and he held his position until a reinforcement arrived to
relieve him of his charge.

A more exciting experience fell to the lot of a sergeant of the York and
Lancaster Regiment (the old 65th) two years later. While in action with
a large body of Maoris both his superior officers, Captain Swift and
Lieutenant Butler, were wounded, and the duty of withdrawing the little
force devolved upon him.

Sergeant Edward McKenna, who had a strong strain of Irish blood in him,
showed himself the man for the occasion. The district was a broken and
rugged piece of country near Camerontown, and swarmed with Maoris. If he
wished to save his officers’ lives and the lives of the whole detachment,
he had to act boldly.

Accordingly, leaving Corporal Ryan and three or four men to protect the
wounded captain and lieutenant, and relying on the main body of the
troops soon finding them, he went slap-dash at the Maoris on the hill in
front of him. The charge scattered the natives to a safe distance. Then,
night coming on, McKenna and his party camped in a convenient spot in the
bush. Very soon, however, this position became unsafe. So back along the
bush path they trailed, firing at their invisible enemy as they went, and
having some other wounded now thrown on their hands.

Owing to the darkness and the intricacies of the bush, the sergeant
eventually lost his way, and, as he said afterwards, there was nothing to
do but to sit down and wait for daylight. So all through the night they
squatted on the ground, McKenna mounting guard with ears alert for the
faintest sound of an enemy; but fortunately none came. And in the morning
he had the satisfaction of leading his party back to camp to report that
only one was killed and two were missing out of the thirty-eight men he
had manœuvred so skilfully.

Sergeant McKenna received a warm word of commendation in the despatches
from General Cameron, the Commander-in-Chief, for that piece of business,
together with the Victoria Cross, the same honour falling to Corporal
Ryan, whose devotion to Captain Swift, however, failed to save that
gallant officer’s life. Several of the others who figured prominently in
the affair were rewarded with the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Two very brilliant individual exploits that I may note here won the V.C.
for Major C. Heaphy of the Auckland Militia, and Lieutenant-Colonel
(afterwards Major-General Sir) John Carstairs McNeill, of the 107th

Major Heaphy was engaged in a skirmish with Maoris on the banks of the
Mangapiko River, Auckland, when a wounded private tumbled into the
midst of a party of natives concealed in a hollow. Without a moment’s
hesitation the major leaped down after him. Though wounded himself, with
a dozen shot-holes in his clothes and cap, he stuck by his man, and in
time got him safely away.


The story of Colonel McNeill’s rescue is the story of a ride for life
which finds a close parallel in the deed for which Lord William
Beresford gained the V.C. in Zululand, as will be told hereafter. The
colonel was returning from Te Awamuta, whither he had been sent on
special duty, with two orderlies, Privates Gibson and Vosper, both of
the Colonial Defence Force, when a body of the enemy was descried some
distance ahead. Despatching Gibson to the nearest camp (at Ohanpu) for
assistance, he rode a little way up the road to the summit of a hill to

As McNeill, with Vosper by his side, trotted on, unsuspecting any ambush,
keen eyes watched them from the thick ferns that bordered the road, and
presently some fifty Maoris sprang out to intercept them. The moment the
natives appeared the two horsemen wheeled and galloped back down the
hill. They got a flying start, but an unlucky step into a hole brought
Vosper’s horse to his knees, sending his rider head over heels into the

Then the colonel did a plucky thing. Reining in his horse, he turned
to catch Vosper’s, which was galloping in the opposite direction, and
leading it back helped the orderly to remount. He was just in the nick of
time. A few seconds later, and the Maoris would have been on them. As it
was, only a mad gallop at top speed carried them clear out of range of
the bullets that whistled round them.

Vosper spoke nothing but the plain truth when he said that he owed his
life entirely to his colonel; for he could not have caught his horse, on
foot as he was, and the Maoris would have made short work of him.

The New Zealand War was brought to a close in 1864 by General Sir Trevor
Chute, who broke the Maori power and stamped out the rebellion. Four or
five years later there were renewed disturbances, massacres of settlers
and raids upon outlying farms, but these were isolated cases. Since 1870
the natives have been content to live peaceably under the British rule.

In 1864, a few months before the Maori chiefs gave in their submission,
a memorable fight took place near Tauranga, Auckland, memorable for the
disgrace which it brought upon a British regiment, and for the act of
heroism which gained the V.C. for an Army surgeon and a bluejacket. The
story of it is as follows.

On the peninsula of Te Papa, in the Poverty Bay district of East
Auckland, the Maoris had entrenched themselves in a very strong position.
They had built a long stockade along the narrow strip of land connecting
the peninsula with the coast, at Tauranga, with rifle-pits extending
almost the whole length. This formidable fort was known as the Gate Pah,
because it commanded the entrance to that region.

The natives chose the place for their stronghold wisely. The Gate Pah
was guarded by great swamps on both sides, which rendered a flank attack
impossible. The assault must come either from the front or rear. Fully
alive to the difficulties of the task, General Cameron proceeded to
attack this position on April 28th with a force of infantry (the 68th and
43rd Regiments) and two hundred seamen from the warships off the coast.

While some of the Naval Brigade and the 68th Regiment (the Durham Light
Infantry) stole round at night to the rear of the stockade, the artillery
the next morning opened fire in front, pouring shot and shell unceasingly
for eight and a half hours into the pah. The Maoris responded at
first with a brisk rifle-fire, but after a time this stopped. Dead
silence reigned over the stockade, as if most of its inmates had been
killed. Believing this to be the case, the 43rd Foot (the Oxfordshire
Light Infantry, known popularly as “the Light Bobs” and “the Fighting
Forty-third”) moved forward with a number of bluejackets to carry the
place by storm.

That the fight was practically over seemed evident from the ease with
which the troops drove out the few Maoris remaining in the pah. But
the wily natives had laid a subtle ambush, to the success of which a
regrettable accident contributed. As the Oxfordshires and the naval
men followed up the pursuit in the gathering darkness, the detachment
sent previously to the rear began firing into the medley of Maoris and
British. Considerable confusion was caused, and both the 43rd and the
sailors were ordered to retire.

This was done promptly, the troops regaining the shelter of the stockade.
Here they had no fear of danger, for the place was apparently deserted,
and only the fugitive Maoris, who had rallied, menaced them. They
wandered about the pah in careless disorder, some even laying aside their
rifles, when suddenly from the ground beneath them a whole host of native
warriors appeared, rising like apparitions in their midst. In cunningly
concealed holes and rifle-pits, covered over with branches and pieces of
turf, the Maoris had awaited the coming of the _pakehas_.

Before this mysterious ghostly enemy, who fell upon them with rifle and
war-club, the soldiers and sailors fled in wild confusion. A perfect
panic set in, and every man sought to save his own skin.

It is difficult to locate the blame in instances of this kind. British
troops and British officers have been seized with panic before under
the stress of great excitement, and the same thing will probably happen
again. Human courage is, after all, an uncertain quantity; an admittedly
brave man has more than once failed at a critical moment through lack
of nerve or some less explicable reason and turned coward. Was there
not the well-known case of a lieutenant-colonel (his name is charitably
concealed) in the Indian Mutiny, whose conduct Sir Colin Campbell
characterised in a vigorous despatch as “pusillanimous and imbecile to
the last degree,” before dismissing him from the service? This officer
had a distinguished record, but a momentary weakness led him to surrender
an important position without cause and blasted his whole career.

In the panic that set in when the hideous tattooed faces of the Maoris
rose up so uncannily from the depths of the earth the slaughter of our
men was terrific. Officers and privates alike fell easy victims to the
well-armed natives. Then it was that Assistant-Surgeon William G. N.
Manley, R.A., and Samuel Mitchell, captain of the foretop of H.M.S.
_Harrier_, won glory for themselves by a gallant rescue.

Commander Hay, of the Naval Brigade, fell badly wounded at the first
discharge, and lay groaning in the middle of the pah. All were in full
flight, but seeing his officer helpless on the ground Mitchell ran to his
side, picked him up in his strong arms and bore him outside the stockade.
Here he found Dr. Manley, who oblivious to the bullets that fell thickly
around, bound up the commander’s wounds. That done, he and Mitchell
conveyed the dying man back to camp.

Not content with having done that duty, the brave surgeon returned
voluntarily to the pah and coolly set about tending the wounded. They lay
there in heaps, alas! and he had all his work to do to get them removed
to a place of safety. The fire which swept the stockade is said to have
been terrible, yet not a scratch did he receive the whole time, and he
was the last to leave the pah. Both Dr. Manley and Mitchell were awarded
the Cross for Valour some months later, for the heroism that in part
redeemed the Gate Pah disaster.

As for the Fighting Forty-third, whose colours bore the names of Corunna,
Badajoz, Vittoria, and many another famous fight of the Peninsular War,
the memory of that night of panic rankled deep in their minds. They swore
a solemn vow that the next time they came to grips with the Maoris the
enemy should remember it. It was at Tuaranga that they got their chance,
on June 21st of the same year, and on this day one of their officers,
Captain Frederick Augustus Smith, won the Cross for leaping into a
rifle-pit and routing a number of the Maoris single-handed.

This made the second V.C. that the 43rd won, by the way, the first having
been given in 1859 to Private Addison for saving the life of an officer
in India.



It is a big leap from Maoriland to West Africa, but it is there, to
Ashanti, that we must go to see how the next Crosses on the roll were won.

Ashanti, as the map shows, is in the Upper Guinea district, immediately
inland of the Gold Coast. Seventy thousand square miles in extent, it
is thickly covered with forests of mahogany, ebony, and other valuable
hardwood trees, except where it is given up to vast mangrove swamps
that are no good to anybody. Its people are pure negroes, thick-lipped,
flat-nosed, with woolly hair and projecting jaws. They are a savage,
cruel race, fetish-worshippers like most of the tribes in West Africa,
who have been notorious for the revolting form of their religious rites.

Until the custom of making human sacrifices was put down with a strong
hand by Great Britain, Coomassie, the capital, was as much a City of
Blood as was the ill-famed Benin, a very different place from the town of
to-day, with its wide, regular streets and stuccoed houses painted red
and white.

With this country of Ashanti we have come repeatedly into conflict from
the early days of last century, when trading stations became established
on the coast. The Dutch, too, found their way thither with the same
object in view, and out of the rivalry between them and us trouble arose
that came to a head in 1872. In that year the Dutch traders who had
established themselves on the Gold Coast were bought out by us, their
possessions being transferred to this country in return for some land
concessions in the island of Sumatra. To this arrangement King Coffee of
Ashanti took exception, as he lost thereby certain annual tributes which
the Dutch had hitherto paid him, and by way of showing his resentment he
carried off several missionaries and attacked our allies the Fantis.

It was necessary to bring King Coffee and his turbulent subjects to
reason, so in September 1873 Sir Garnet Wolseley was sent out to Ashanti
with an expedition. The task was no easy one, for before Coomassie was
reached the troops had to fight their way through the bush, and the
African bush is not to be treated lightly, with its tangled masses of
vegetation, dark belts of forest, rivers and morasses. Moreover, the
campaign had to be completed before the hot season came on, when the
terrors of pestilence and fever would have to be faced.

That Sir Garnet Wolseley did accomplish the task set him is a matter of
history. By February of the following year King Coffee was forced to make
peace, one of the terms being that he should discontinue human sacrifices.

In this five months’ campaign four Victoria Crosses were won, and of
these the first two fell to Lieutenant the Hon. Edric Gifford (the
present Lord Gifford) and Lance-Sergeant Samuel McGaw of the 42nd
Regiment. The latter earned his distinction at the battle of Amoaful,
the first victory of any consequence, when the Ashantis were completely
routed. At that engagement McGaw led his company through the dense
bush in splendid style, himself fighting all through the day, although
suffering from a very severe wound received at the commencement of the

Lord Gifford’s Cross was won for a long series of useful services
rendered to his commander, though more particularly for his exceptional
bravery at the taking of the town of Becquah on February 1st, 1874. At
the beginning of the campaign (his first taste of active service, by the
way) he organised a body of scouts, loyal natives who knew the country
well and could be relied on. With this little band he ranged ahead of
the army, hanging upon the enemy’s skirts, so to speak, and ferreting
out their intentions by means of his spies. It was dangerous, highly
dangerous, work, for it meant thrusting himself almost into the very arms
of a foe who showed no mercy in war.

“It is no exaggeration,” says the official account, “to say that since
the Adansi Hills were passed he daily carried his life in his hands in
the performance of his most hazardous duty.” With no other white man by
him, Lieutenant Gifford captured many prisoners, and the information he
was able to procure for his chief was naturally of the utmost value.

If he carried his life in his hand while out scouting there is no doubt
that he did the same at the taking of Becquah. Gifford and his scouts
were through the stockade and into the town some time before the troops
stormed it, and were in the thick of the fighting throughout. Of that
day’s work, as well as of the scouting in the bush, Sir Garnet took full
note when sending his despatches, and the young lieutenant of the South
Wales Borderers saw himself duly gazetted.

Major Reginald Sartorius (now a Major-General) is another V.C. man who
gained his decoration in far-off Ashanti. At the attack on Abogoo he
bravely risked his life to save a wounded Haussa sergeant-major who had
fallen under a heavy fire; and he is also famous for a most plucky ride
through the heart of the enemy’s country to establish connection between
the main body and Captain Glover’s column.

The name of Sartorius, it may be mentioned, is like that of Gough in
figuring twice in the honoured list of V.C.’s, and in each case it is two
brothers who have thus won double distinction. Major-General Euston Henry
Sartorius received his Cross for an exploit in Afghanistan, mention of
which will be found in the next chapter.

Next on my list of Ashanti heroes comes Colonel Mark Sever Bell, a
distinguished Engineer officer of many campaigns. The battle at Ordahsu
in January of 1874 saw him in the very fore-front of the British line
alone with a working gang of Fantis, digging a trench. A severe fire from
both front and rear played upon them, and--what is said to be an almost
unparalleled incident in warfare--they were not protected by a covering

The Fantis, to whose qualities Miss Kingsley has paid high tribute,
are not warriors of the first order, however faithful they may be as
servants; and that Lieutenant Bell (to give him the rank he then bore)
got them to work in such circumstances was due solely to his fearless and
courageous bearing. When he came in from the trench it was to receive
the generous compliments of his chief, Colonel Sir John McLeod, who had
considered his chances of getting back alive extremely slight. The V.C.
followed at the latter officer’s recommendation.

Although it is not strictly in chronological order, I may note here that
in 1900 there was again trouble in Ashanti, which resulted in two more
V.C.’s being won. Of these one went to Captain Melliss, of the Indian
Staff Corps, and the other to Sergeant (now Captain) John Mackenzie, of
the Seaforths.

Mackenzie’s gallantry was most marked. At the attack on Dompoassi in
June he found the fight progressing too slowly for him. He had been
working two Maxim guns under a hot fire (being wounded while doing so),
but the enemy held their position as obstinately as ever. So to “finish
the business” the sergeant volunteered to clear the stockades, and at
the head of a body of Haussas he charged boldly upon them. The blacks
followed his lead with spirit; before their headlong rush the Ashantis
fled into the bush, and shortly after Dompoassi was ours.

     *       *       *       *       *

Just a year after the Ashanti trouble there was an outbreak in the Malay
Peninsula which called for a punitive expedition. The little brown men
of Perak, own brothers to the head-hunting Dyaks of Borneo, had to be
taught the lesson that Great Britain will not tolerate outrages upon her

With the column that marched up through the jungle upon the Malay
strongholds was Major George Nicholas Channer, of the Bengal Staff
Corps, who had joined the Indian Army just too late to take part in the
suppression of the Mutiny, but in time to see service in the Umbeyla
campaign of 1863. Both here and in the Looshai country a few years later
he showed himself a dashing leader of native troops, and the 1st Ghurkas
were by no means ill-pleased when they learned that he was attached to
them for the Perak expedition. Major Channer, for his part, was glad of
the chance of seeing another fight, though he little guessed that it was
to afford him an opportunity of winning the V.C. and covering himself
with glory. Yet such proved to be the case.

On its way northwards the force eventually reached the Bukit Putus Pass,
the most difficult part of the journey to be traversed. All around was
dense jungle and impenetrable forest, in which a host of Malays lay in
wait to harass the troops. How numerous were the enemy could not be
ascertained, nor how strong were their defences, and it was important
that information on these points should be obtained or the column might
blunder into an ambush. Major Channer was selected as the officer best
fitted to procure this intelligence, and with a small party of his wiry
little Ghurkas he struck off one day into the wilds.

Making a long detour, he worked his way round to the rear of the enemy’s
position without any mishap. Here he found that the Malays were strongly
posted in a solid log-fort, loopholed on every side and surrounded by a
formidable bamboo palisade. As he peered at it through the trees a number
of black forms flitted busily to and fro, showing that the fort was well

Channer had learned enough to see that the troops would have considerable
difficulty in carrying the position, and might well have returned to make
his report. But he was not content with merely having done so much. He
determined to make a closer inspection to discover, if possible, where
was the weakest spot in the defences.

At night, therefore, leaving his men hidden within call in the jungle,
he crept stealthily up through the long grass to the outer stockade. All
was still, for the Malays had mounted no guard on that side of the fort.
Raising himself cautiously to his knees, he peeped between the bamboo
poles and saw that the garrison was all intent on cooking its supper. At
once a daring idea came into his head. Quickly dropping back into the
long grass, the major wormed his way towards the spot where his faithful
Ghurkas were waiting and beckoned them to join him. Then he explained
that he intended to take the Malays by surprise and rush the fort.

The Ghurkas were gleefully ready for a job like this, and at the word
followed him noiselessly to the point in the palisade whence he had
observed the unsuspecting Malays. A quick scramble over and the whole
party were inside. The first man who offered resistance Major Channer
shot dead with his revolver. The rest stood aghast at the unexpected
spectacle of a white officer in their midst, and before they could
recover from their astonishment the Ghurkas in their neat green uniforms
and little round caps were among them, using their keen _kukris_ with
deadly effect. The surprise was complete. The Malays, ignorant of the
numbers of their assailants, abandoned the fort and fled precipitately
into the jungle.

A message to the main body soon brought up the troops, when the fort was
destroyed, leaving the way clear for the march to be continued. But for
Major Channer’s bold attack the fort would have had to be carried by
a bayonet charge, as it was secure from the big guns, and much loss of
life must have been caused. His act, therefore, was one of the greatest
service to the expedition.

The gallant major, who got his Cross a few months later, afterwards
served with considerable distinction under Lord Roberts in Afghanistan,
and commanded a brigade in the Black Mountain (Hazara) expedition of
1888. He died at his home in North Devon only at the end of last year, a
General and a C.B.



The war which broke out in Afghanistan in 1878 and lasted two years was
of a far more serious nature than the campaign in Ashanti which I have
just dealt with. It was at bottom a struggle to assert our supremacy on
the Indian frontier, where Russia was beginning to menace us, and on its
result hung the fortunes of a large part of Asia. Before I tell of how
several notable V.C.’s were gained in the hill-fighting round Candahar
and Cabul it is necessary to say a few words about the war itself, in
order that we may properly understand the situation.

Trouble over Afghanistan began very early in the nineteenth century, but
Great Britain maintained a firm hold over the country and its Amir until
the advent to the throne of Shere Ali Khan. This turbulent ruler was a
very go-ahead monarch indeed. He organised a splendid army, well-drilled
and well-equipped with modern arms, and spent some years in military
preparations which could have had only one object--the ultimate overthrow
of British influence in that part of the world.

That Russia and Russian money was behind all this has been made very
clear. The go-ahead Shere Ali went ahead so far that he made overtures to
the Muscovite Government and received a Russian mission at Cabul. When
Lord Roberts reached the capital after his victorious march he found, he
says, “Afghan Sirdars and officers arrayed in Russian pattern uniforms,
Russian money in the treasury, Russian wares sold in the bazaars; and,
although the roads leading to Central Asia were certainly no better than
those leading to India, Russia had taken more advantage of them than we
had to carry on commercial dealings with Afghanistan.”

Our first move was to establish a British mission at Cabul, but this met
with failure. Then Shere Ali, after abdicating in favour of his son,
Yakoub Khan, conveniently died, and our prospects improved. A mission, at
the head of which was Sir Louis Cavagnari, was received at the capital,
and all seemed to be going well when the civilised world was startled by
the news that Cavagnari and all with him had been massacred.

Without any loss of time, Lord Roberts (then Major-General Frederick
Sleigh Roberts) started from India with an army to avenge this atrocity.
After some stiff fighting, he reached Cabul and deposed the Amir. There
were left, however, a number of minor chiefs who continued to stir up
trouble. Of these the leading spirit was the ex-Amir’s brother, Ayoub
Khan, who inflicted a defeat upon us at the battle of Maiwand and
proceeded to invest Candahar.

Upon this followed Roberts’ historic march from Cabul to Candahar which
won him a baronetcy and a G.C.B. In this descent upon Ayoub Khan he
utterly routed the Afghan leader and quieted the country. A new Amir,
Abdur Rahman (nephew of Shere Ali) was now installed, with the necessary
proviso that Afghanistan should have no foreign relations with any power
except the Government of India, and the British army was withdrawn.

     *       *       *       *       *

The first V.C. of the campaign was gained by Captain John Cook, of the
Bengal Staff Corps, for a singularly gallant rescue of a brother-officer.
It was during the month of December 1878, while General Roberts was on
his way to Cabul, whither he was escorting Cavagnari’s mission. There
had been several encounters with the Afghans, for the latter had shown
themselves hostile all along the line of route, and a decisive engagement
was fought at the Peiwar Kotal, in the Kuram district. (A “kotal,” it may
be explained, is the highest point in a mountain pass.)

At this fight a slender column was detached from the main body and
sent round to force a position in the Spingawi Kotal, where the enemy
had entrenched themselves. The attack was made at night, and although,
through the treachery of some Pathans with the column, the alarm was
given, the Afghans were driven out.

Side by side Highlanders and Ghurkas, who had been good friends
ever since they fought together in the Mutiny, charged up the steep
rocky hillside, through a forest of pines, and carried one stockade
after another. As the enemy broke before them, Major Galbraith,
Assistant-Adjutant-General to the force, was suddenly attacked by a
powerful Afghan. The major’s revolver missed fire when he aimed, and it
is more than probable that he would have been shot down at once had not
Captain Cook rushed to his rescue.

A blow from his sword having diverted the Afghan’s attention, Cook threw
himself bodily upon the man and closed with him. They struggled together
thus for some little time, locked in a deadly embrace, the Afghan
endeavouring vainly to use his bayonet and the captain his sword. Then,
gripping his opponent by the throat, Cook fell with him to the ground,
only to have his sword-arm seized by the Afghan’s strong teeth. Another
roll over gave the latter a slight advantage, but only for a moment. At
this critical juncture a little Ghurka ran up and shot the fellow through
the head.

Captain Cook was decorated for this exploit on the Queen’s Birthday in
the May following, at a grand parade at Kuram, but he did not live long
to wear his Cross. He died of a severe wound twelve months later.

In March of 1879 a gallant little action was fought near Maidanah of
which scant mention is made outside official records. It may be fittingly
recorded here, as it was the means of bringing distinction to a young
captain of Engineers who now writes himself Lieut.-General Edward
Pemberton Leach, V.C., C.B.

Leach was out on survey duty in the Maidanah district with an escort
of Rattray’s Sikhs under the command of Lieutenant Barclay. While thus
engaged a body of Afghans appeared in close proximity and endeavoured
to cut them off. The Sikhs having fallen slowly back, under orders, the
Afghans became more bold, and in still larger numbers pressed nearer.
Then there was a sudden rush, a volley, and Lieutenant Barclay fell shot
in the breast.

To get the wounded officer back to camp in safety was Leach’s first
thought. The Afghans must be kept at a safe distance. With all the
Sikhs, therefore, save the two or three needed to attend to Barclay, he
formed up and charged with bayonets fixed straight into the oncoming

They were a score or so against a hundred, but desperate men take
desperate risks. Leach himself was immediately attacked by four Afghans,
two of whom he shot in quick succession. The third grappled with him,
but another shot from the unerring revolver settled him, and the captain
turned to meet his fourth assailant. He was not a moment too soon. The
Afghan had slipped round to attack him from the rear, and as Leach’s left
arm went up in defence it received on it the blow from an Afghan knife
that was aimed at his back.

A slash from his sword laid the Pathan low. Then wounded as he was, with
blood streaming fast from his arm, the captain dashed on into the mêlée,
and gathering his men together for another fierce charge sent the enemy
tumbling backwards in confusion. But the little company was not even then
out of danger. The retreat led them along a narrow rocky road, from the
sides of which the Afghans continued to pepper them, and a last charge
was necessary to scatter them. Fortunately, just after this a cavalry
troop, attracted by the noise of firing, came up and relieved them.

Captain Leach was promptly awarded the Cross for Valour for his
bravery, but though he had succeeded in saving the party from certain
annihilation, his satisfaction was clouded over by one great sorrow. Poor
Lieutenant Barclay died soon afterwards from his wound.

The next V.C., the story of which I have to tell, is that of Lieutenant
Hamilton,--“Hamilton of the Guides,”--whose brilliant career was cut all
too short at Cabul in the massacre of Cavagnari’s ill-fated mission.
Having joined Brigadier-General Gough’s force, which was keeping clear
the line of communication between Jellalabad and Cabul, Lieutenant
Hamilton saw plenty of fighting with the hill-tribes in the vicinity. At
Futtehabad, in April 1879, there was an engagement with a considerable
body of Afghans, and in this fight he made himself conspicuous.

At the moment that the scale of victory was turning in our favour, the
Guides, led by their beloved commander, Major Wigram Battye, charged into
the Afghan ranks. Battye fell shot through the heart at the first volley,
and the leadership devolved on Hamilton, who led them on, more fierce
than ever. In the mêlée that now ensued Dowlut Ram, a sowar riding by the
lieutenant’s side, was bowled over and instantly threatened with death
from three Afghan knives. Wheeling his horse, Hamilton cut his way to the
fallen man’s side, dragged him from beneath his dead horse, and carried
him off right under the enemy’s nose.

For this act he was recommended for the Cross, but to everyone’s
disappointment it was not awarded him. Only after he had fallen beneath
Afghan swords at Cabul, five months later, was his heroism acknowledged.
Then followed the tardy announcement that had he lived her Majesty would
have been pleased to confer the honour of the Victoria Cross upon him.

Hamilton’s end was an heroic one. Early one September morning in 1879
the Residency at Cabul in which Sir Louis Cavagnari and his staff had
taken up their quarters was attacked and fired by the Afghans. The
only defenders of the place were the Guides, a mere handful of men
under Lieutenant Hamilton’s command. Soon the building was stormed, and
Cavagnari with his suite brutally massacred. Hamilton alone remained, the
last Englishman left alive in Cabul.

Driven from room to room, he and his men at last reached the courtyard to
make their last stand. In vain did the Afghans call on the Guides to join
them, saying they had no quarrel with men of their own race. The Guides
were loyal to the oath they had sworn. As one man they formed up behind
their gallant leader, dressed their ranks, and flung wide

    “The doors not all their valour could longer keep.”

Then with a cheer out they dashed at the horde before them, in the mad
endeavour to cut their way through. It was a forlorn hope. The enemy
closed round them like a dark sea,

    “And with never a foot lagging or head bent,
    To the clash and clamour and dust of death they went.”

                                  “The Guides at Cabul,” Henry Newbolt.

How Hamilton himself fell was learned afterwards from the Afghans, who
could appreciate such dauntless courage as his. They said he fought like
a lion at bay, sweeping a space clear around him with his sword; and it
was only by the reckless sacrifice of a few of their number, who threw
themselves upon him and were shot or sabred, that the rest were able to
pull him down. Then a dozen knives buried themselves in his body, and all
was over.

The record of the Afghan War teems with heroic exploits, but only a few
more can be touched on here. There was, for instance, the gallant rescue
of a wounded Bengal Lancer at Dakka, by Lieutenant Reginald Clare Hart
(now a Lieut.-General and K.C.B.). “I am going for the V.C. to-day!” he
said to his brother-officers on the morning of the engagement; and he won
it, after running some twelve hundred yards under the Afghan fire to pull
the disabled sowar out of a river bed.

At about the same time Captain O’Moor Creagh with a detachment of one
hundred and fifty men held off fifteen thousand Afghans who attacked him
near the village of Ram Dakka; a brilliant feat that was only equalled by
Captain Vousden, of the 5th Punjab Cavalry, who some time later charged
into a body of four hundred of the enemy with simply _twelve_ sowars at
his back, and dispersed them!

There were Crosses for both these brave captains, just as there was one
for Captain E. H. Sartorius (brother of the Ashanti hero) for a dashing
charge which cleared a strong force of the enemy from the Shah Juy hill
at Tazi.

Mention of Sartorius recalls the somewhat similar deeds which gained a
V.C. for a distinguished major of the 92nd Highlanders, who is now the
popular Field-Marshal Sir George Stewart White, G.C.B., etc. On his Cross
two dates figure, October 6, 1879, and September 1, 1880. The first
denotes the action at Charasiah, where the Afghans were defeated, much to
the chagrin of the treacherous Amir Yakoub Khan, who had laid plans for
the complete annihilation of the British army.

There was a hill to be taken, on which the enemy had mustered in large
numbers, and at the word of command two companies of the “Gay Gordons,”
with Major White at their head, breasted the slope and raced up. The
major was easily first. Leaving the rest to follow, he tore ahead and
bearded the Afghans single-handed, shooting their leader dead with his
revolver. This act brought him high praise from General Roberts, who went
over the ground with him next day and noted the difficulties that had to
be encountered.

On the second occasion Major White was with his Gordons at Candahar,
assisting in the rout of Ayoub Khan. At an important stage of the battle
a desperate stand was made by the Afghans at the Baba Wali Kotal, and it
became necessary to storm the position, or the wavering enemy would have
time to rally.

“Now, 92nd,” cried their leader, “just one charge more to close the
business!” The Gordons answered with a shout, and accompanied by the 2nd
Ghurkas and 23rd Pioneers they streamed up the hill to carry it with
bayonets. As always, Major White was well in front. He was the first to
reach the guns, the next man being Sepoy Inderbir Lama, who placed his
rifle on one of them and exclaimed proudly, “Captured in the name of the
2nd Ghurkas!”

That charge did “close the business.” The Afghans broke and fled, and the
troops went on to capture Ayoub Khan’s enormous camp with his artillery,
thirty-two pieces in all, among them being found two of our Horse
Artillery guns that had been taken at Maiwand in July.

I cannot close this chapter without telling how Padre Adams won his
V.C. The only clergyman to have received the decoration, he stands in
a unique position, although, as I have said already, at least one other
Army chaplain deserved it.

The Rev. James William Adams, B.A. (to give him his full title), was
attached to the Cabul Field Force and marched up to the Amir’s capital
with the troops when they went to avenge Cavagnari’s death. Liking to
be always at the front when any fighting was going on, he acted as
aide-de-camp to General Roberts on several occasions, making himself very
useful. It was in this capacity that he was accompanying Roberts when,
on December 11th, 1879, the main body of the force encountered Mahommed
Jan’s army near Sherpur and, owing to a miscarriage of plans, was obliged
to beat a temporary retreat.

In the retiring movement some of the guns were in danger of falling into
the Afghans’ hands, so a troop of the 9th Lancers, with a few of the
14th Bengal Lancers, made a gallant attempt to hold the enemy in check.
The charge was brilliant but disastrous. Men and horses went down like
ninepins, many of them falling into a deep ditch, or nullah, in which one
or two of the guns had already come to grief.

Seeing a wounded, dismounted man of the 9th staggering towards him, Adams
jumped off his charger and tried to lift the poor fellow into the saddle,
but the animal, a very valuable mare, took fright and bolted. Still
supporting the lancer, the chaplain helped him on his way to the rear,
where some of his comrades took him in charge.

Returning at once to the front, Adams observed two more men of the 9th in
the ditch who were in difficulties. Their horses had rolled over on to
them, and they were struggling vainly to get free. The advancing Afghans
were now pretty close, and General Roberts called out to the chaplain to
look after himself; but the “fighting parson,” as his men called him, was
a true hero. Leaping down into the ditch without a moment’s hesitation,
he splashed his way through the mud and water to the lancers’ rescue. A
few strong pulls of his brawny arms (he was an unusually powerful man)
quickly released the imprisoned men, and he had them safe on the top of
the bank ere the first of the Afghans had reached the nullah.

Padre Adams had long been the idol of the men to whom he ministered,
and there was general rejoicing in the Army when his name in due course
appeared in the _Gazette_. There was keen regret, too, some years later
when he bade farewell to the service he loved, and returned home to
settle down in a peaceful Norfolk rectory.

It seems only the other day that his tall well-built figure was to be met
striding along the lanes round Stow Bardolph and Downham Market, and it
is hard to realise that nearly three years have now passed since death
took “the V.C. parson” from our midst.



The one disaster of the Afghan campaign of 1878-80 was the defeat of
General Burrows’ force at Maiwand by an army of 25,000 men under the
leadership of Ayoub Khan himself. It had been expected that the Amir
would follow a certain route on his way to Ghazni and Candahar, and
Burrows had been warned to be on the look-out. That the British general
failed to stay the Amir’s progress when the two armies came into conflict
at Maiwand was due to the smallness of his force, which numbered less
than 3000 men; to the desertion of a large number of native levies; and
to the fact that the native portion of the brigade got out of hand soon
after the fight had started, and impeded the British troops.

Continuing his march after this signal victory, Ayoub Khan proceeded
to Candahar and commenced the siege of that city. How he was speedily
followed by General Roberts and in turn defeated has been already told.

     *       *       *       *       *

The battle of Maiwand was fought on July 27th, 1880. Early on the morning
of that day Burrows’ brigade, including the 66th Regiment, “the Green
Howards,” and some Royal Horse Artillery, and encumbered with a large
number of camels, baggage waggons, camp followers, etc., moved out
from the camp at Khushk-i-Nakhud. This position was about forty miles
from Candahar. The Afghan army was to be intercepted at the village of
Maiwand, eleven miles away.

Riding with the guns of the Horse Artillery that summer morning were two
men, Sergeant Patrick Mullane and Gunner James Collis, who were destined
to win no little glory in the somewhat inglorious fight. They were by no
means the only heroes of Maiwand, for many stirring deeds were done that
day; but the slaughter was terrific, and of all who earned the honour of
the V.C. only these two survived.

As an example of the courage displayed by the British troops the story
may be told of how, when our native infantry broke and fled before the
Afghan attack, the 66th Regiment was left alone to receive the onset of
the enemy. Such a small body of men could do nothing, however valiantly
they fought, and very reluctantly they obeyed the order to fall back.
Following up their advantage, the Afghans now pressed them more closely.
In among the doomed soldiers leapt the white-robed Pathans, stabbing and
slashing with their long knives until they succeeded in breaking up the
men into small parties, who could be more easily cut down.

Towards the end of the day a little company of the 66th, officers
and men, gathered together for a last stand in a little village some
distance from Maiwand. Surrounded by a yelling horde, they fired volley
after volley, but the return fire of the enemy gradually thinned their
ranks. At length, so it is recorded, ten privates and one officer alone
remained. Back to back stood the brave eleven, determined never to give
in, for the honour of the regiment and their country. And one by one they
dropped where they stood, until, it is related, but one man remained
erect, facing his foes undaunted. One man against some hundreds. Then the
Afghan rifles spoke out once more, and the last of that stricken remnant
fell with a bullet through his heart.

But it is of Mullane and Collis that I propose to speak here, and of
how they won their V.C.’s. After the fortune of the battle was decided
and the stricken British brigade commenced its retreat to Candahar the
Royal Horse Artillery made many gallant attempts to beat off the pursuing
Afghans. Indeed, but for the masterly way in which they worked their
guns, the losses on our side must have been considerably greater than
they were.

Sergeant Mullane stood by his gun on one of these occasions, and after
a round or two had been fired helped to limber up smartly to follow
the force. As the gun moved on a driver was seen to fall. The Afghans
were tearing after the fugitives at full speed, and the wounded man lay
directly in their path.

Only a daring man would have ventured to turn and face that fierce
oncoming crowd; but “Paddy” Mullane was that man. Racing back to where
the driver lay, he lifted him up in his arms and, being a big strong
fellow, quickly carried him out of the enemy’s reach. It was a narrow
squeak, however; as he turned with his burden to make for his comrades,
the nearest Afghans were within a few yards of him, and one or two wild
shots whizzed by his ears.

The next day, while the retreat continued, Mullane performed another
gallant action, which was duly noted on his Cross. Most of the troops,
and particularly the wounded, suffered terribly from thirst in the glare
of the sun, and it was impossible to obtain drink from the hostile
villages they passed through.

At last Sergeant Mullane could stand the cries of distress no longer.
“I’m off to get some water,” he announced briefly to his comrades, when
they neared another village. And, doubling to the nearest houses, he
managed to procure a good supply, with which he ran hastily back, while
the infuriated villagers peppered him hotly. Fortunately for him their
marksmanship was none too good, and not a shot struck him, though several
went so close as to make him realise the risk he had run.

     *       *       *       *       *

Of how Gunner Collis bore himself in that retreat from Maiwand we have
been told in his own words, and I cannot do better than follow the
account he gives. He was limber gunner, he says, in his battery, and when
an Afghan shell killed four of the gunners and Sergeant Wood, only three
were left to work the piece. Taking the sergeant’s place, he went on
firing, but was soon almost borne down by panic-stricken fugitives, who
threw themselves both under and on the gun.

On the native infantry and cavalry breaking up in confusion the guns
limbered up and fell back at a gallop for some two thousand yards. Here
another two rounds were fired, but again the order came to retire, for
the enemy were advancing rapidly. A mounted Afghan even caught up with
the gun on which Collis sat and slashed at him fiercely as he passed.
The sword cut the gunner over the left eyebrow. As the Afghan wheeled and
rode at him again Collis raised his carbine, and at about five yards’
range let drive. The shot struck the sowar on the chest, causing him to
fall from his horse. In doing so some money rattled out of his turban,
and Collis relates that Trumpeter Jones, R.H.A., jumped off his horse and
picked it up.

Dusk now came fast upon the fugitives, and having stepped aside at a
village to try and secure some water, Collis lost his gun. He accordingly
attached himself to No. 2, sticking to it all the way to Candahar.

By the wayside, as they went along, lay many wounded. As many of these as
he could the gallant gunner picked up and placed on his gun. He collected
ten altogether, every one a 66th man, except a colonel whom he did not
know. Presently the wounded began to beg for water, and like Mullane,
Collis could not bear to hear their cries without making an effort to
satisfy them.

At a village near Kokeran, the next day, he made a dash for some water,
which he was successful in obtaining. Here, he records, he saw Lieutenant
Maclaine, of the Royal Horse Artillery, and he was almost the last man to
see him alive. The lieutenant was captured immediately afterwards, kept a
close prisoner by Ayoub Khan, and eventually found lying with his throat
cut outside the Amir’s tent at Candahar, after the Afghan leader’s flight.

A second journey for water becoming necessary, Collis set off again for
the village. He was returning with a fresh supply when he beheld some ten
or twelve of the enemy’s cavalry approaching the gun. The gun went off,
and, throwing himself down in a little nullah, Collis waited until it
passed by. Then, with a rifle which he had obtained from a 66th private,
he opened fire upon the Afghans, in order to draw them from the gun and
the wounded.

Not knowing how many were concealed in the nullah, the Afghans halted and
answered his fire. They fortunately failed to hit the plucky gunner, but
from his vantage he scored heavily against them, killing two men and a
horse. From a distance of three hundred yards, however, they came pretty
close to him, and he must have been discovered had not General Nuttall
arrived on the scene with some native cavalry and made them turn tail.

“You’re a gallant young man,” said the General. “What is your name?”

“Gunner Collis, sir, of E. of B., R.H.A.,” answered the gunner in
business-like fashion, and the details were promptly noted in the
General’s pocket-book.

Then Collis hastened after his gun, which he caught up with after a five
hundred yards’ chase, and after running the gauntlet of the enemy’s fire
for several miles farther, went safely in with it into Candahar. He
arrived there at seven in the evening, having been marching for a whole
night and day since the battle.

There is yet another brave act to be recorded of Gunner Collis, which
contributed to gain him his well-earned Cross for Valour. While the
garrison under General Primrose were besieged in Candahar, anxiously
awaiting the arrival of General Roberts’ relief column, various sorties
were made upon the enemy. On one of these occasions, in the middle of
August, Collis was standing by his gun on the rampart of the fort when
Generals Primrose and Nuttall passed in earnest conversation with Colonel

Hearing one of the former say that he wished he could send a message to
General Dewberry, who was fighting away out in the village, the gunner
stepped up to Colonel Burnet and touched him on the arm.

“I think I can take the message, sir,” he said, giving a salute.

The officers were doubtful about allowing him to go on so dangerous an
errand, but after a little hesitation General Primrose wrote a note which
Collis slipped into his pocket. Then, a rope having been brought, the
gunner was lowered over the parapet into the ditch, about forty feet
below. He was fired at by the enemy’s matchlock men as he slid down, but
luckily they were too far off to aim accurately.

Reaching the village safely, he delivered his message to General
Dewberry, and, dodging the enemy, returned to clamber up the rope. While
half way up the Afghans tried to “pot” him again, and this time a bullet
came close enough to cut off the heel of his left boot.

At the instance of General Nuttall and Colonel Burnet, General Roberts
recommended the brave gunner for the V.C., and much to Collis’s surprise
it was presented to him on July 28th, 1881.



At the same time that the war in Afghanistan was being carried to a
successful issue serious trouble was brewing in South Africa. The Zulus
under Cetewayo, who had long been restless, now threatened to overrun
Natal and the Transvaal, and precipitate a general revolt of the black
races against the white.

To go into the whole history of the quarrel would take too long, but it
may be said that the grievances of the natives arose out of long-standing
feuds between them and the Boers over the seizure of land. The immediate
cause of the war was a dispute over a strip of territory extending along
the left bank of the Tugela River into Zululand. To this piece of land
the Zulus obstinately asserted their right, and their claim was upheld by
a Commission which was appointed to inquire into the matter.

After the annexation of the Transvaal by Great Britain in 1877 Sir
Bartle Frere had been sent out to South Africa as High Commissioner,
and unfortunately for everyone concerned he now strongly opposed the
arbitrators’ award. Regarding Cetewayo as a dangerous enemy, as a cruel,
savage monarch whose power it was necessary to curb, he withheld the
award for several months, in the course of which time the Zulu king
nursed an ever-growing resentment towards the British.

In this interval Cetewayo, who set himself to follow in the steps of his
uncle, the famous chief Dingaan, perpetrated many atrocities which showed
him to be a bloodthirsty tyrant. When he was remonstrated with for his
cruelties he insolently answered that the killing he had done was nothing
to the killing he intended to do, a reply which was taken as a warning
that the Zulus looked forward to “washing their spears” in the blood of
white men.

A raid into Natal to recapture some native women who had fled thither
for protection, and the subsequent murder of the captives, increased Sir
Bartle Frere’s determination to take strong measures against Cetewayo.
Accordingly, when the award was announced to the king it was accompanied
with an ultimatum that the vast Zulu army must be disbanded and certain
objectionable practices discontinued.

Cetewayo, looking over his impis, which numbered some 50,000
warriors--all well drilled and well armed--laughed at the proposal.
His army had measured itself against the white men already and with no
little success. So the thirty days of grace allowed him passed unheeded,
and, war having been declared, a British force crossed the Tugela into

Lord Chelmsford, who commanded the troops, divided his little army into
three main columns. One marched to an important station in the Transvaal;
another to a position near the mouth of the Tugela; and the third--the
invading force--to Rorke’s Drift, on the banks of the Buffalo River,
thence to cross over into Zululand. It was to this last column that the
great defeat at Isandhlana befell, a disaster which filled all England
with consternation when the news of it arrived. And to it belongs the
story of how Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill made that desperate dash to
escape with the regimental colours of the 24th that won them everlasting

     *       *       *       *       *

How the disaster occurred is soon told. Although advised by Boer veterans
well versed in Zulu warfare as to the necessity of laagering his waggons
every evening and of throwing out scouts well in advance, Lord Chelmsford
preferred to adopt his own tactics. He was an experienced and brave
officer, whose record of active service included the Crimean, Indian
Mutiny, and Abyssinian campaigns, but he now made the fatal mistake of
despising the enemy before him.

After one or two successful skirmishes with the Zulus, the little force
of about 1300 men marched up through the country, crossed the Buffalo
River, and encamped at the foot of a hill known to the natives as
Isandhlana, “the lion’s hill.” Here the tents were pitched but no laager
formed; no proper precautions taken to guard against an attack.

This was negligence enough, but worse was to follow. Two small
reconnoitring parties who were sent out on January 21st were alarmed
by the sight of a large body of Zulus not far away. In some haste they
sent to the camp for reinforcements. On receipt of this intelligence
Lord Chelmsford got together several companies of the 24th, some mounted
infantry and a few guns, and at a very early hour the next morning
started out to meet, as he confidently supposed, Cetewayo’s main army.
A body of Zulus was encountered and repulsed, but they did not form the
larger portion of Cetewayo’s impis. While the British commander-in-chief
was thus decoyed from his base, an army of 20,000 Zulus was hastening
fleet-footed round the hills, to swoop down upon the doomed camp.

At Isandhlana only eight hundred men had been left. These comprised
a handful of Mounted Infantry and Volunteers, seventy of the Royal
Artillery with two guns, and some companies of the 24th Regiment and
the Natal Carabineers. This puny force was under the command of Colonel
Durnford, R.E., who had been hastily summoned thither from Rorke’s Drift.

Lord Chelmsford marched out at about four in the morning. Five hours
later the advancing Zulu impis were sighted by the watchers at
Isandhlana, and an urgent message was despatched to the front. This
message the General disregarded, his aide-de-camp’s telescope having
assured him that the camp was unmolested.

Not everyone, however, shared this optimistic opinion, for Colonel
Harness and Major Black, believing the messenger’s story to be true,
started back to Isandhlana on their own account, taking four companies
with them. But, to their grief, they were peremptorily recalled. Had they
continued their journey they would have been in time to witness the end
of the death struggle which was even then in progress at the camp; though
it is doubtful if they could have done anything to save their comrades.

Eight hundred against twenty thousand. What chance had they?

By noon the crescent of the Zulu army had enveloped the camp. Drawing
closer and still closer in, the ringed warriors, the cream of Cetewayo’s
fighting men, armed with assegai, knobkerry, and rifle, burst upon
Durnford’s little company as they hastily tried to form a laager with
the waggons. Durnford himself was in the thick of it, encouraging the
troopers, placing a gun here and ordering a charge there. But it was all
in vain.

Before the fierce fire of thousands of Zulu rifles, and before the host
of assegais that hurtled through the air, the redcoats and the Basutos
of the Native Contingent went down like corn under the sickle. They
fought well, as desperate men will when driven to bay; but while they
fired and reloaded and fired again behind them came the right horn of the
overlapping Zulu army to strike at them in the rear. _That_, and not a
panic-stricken flight, accounted for the many assegai wounds which were
afterwards observed in the fallen men’s backs.

There were numerous deeds of valour performed that day, of which some
account has come down to us from the Zulus themselves. The 24th, the
South Wales Borderers, a regiment with a famous record, knew how to die,
and officers and men accounted for many a dusky foe ere they themselves
were borne down.


We have a picture of little parties of them found lying with their fifty
or sixty rounds of spent cartridges beside their dead bodies, to give
colour to the Zulus’ story that they “could not make way against the
soldiers until they ceased firing.” Then, and then only, could the
deadly assegais finish their work, as the warriors leapt in with the
fierce death-hiss.

And we have another picture given us of Captain Younghusband, of the same
regiment, standing erect in an empty waggon with three privates, and
keeping a crowd of the enemy at bay. The others fall at last, shot or
assegaied by the Zulus who clamber up the sides, but the tall, soldierly
figure holds the warriors off. Then, his last cartridge gone, he leaps
down, sword in hand, to cut his way through to liberty if it be possible.

It was not possible. But he died fighting like a lion. Said a Zulu who
took part in the attack, “All those who tried to stab him were knocked
over at once. He kept his ground for a long time, until someone shot him.”

Very few escaped alive from that camp of death. Of the gallant eight
hundred all but six lay stretched lifeless around the waggons and
overturned tents, or on the rough ground to the rear, where a line of
corpses marked the path to the river.

Lieutenant Teignmouth Melvill, Adjutant of the 1st Battalion of the 24th
Regiment, was among those who got away when all hope of rescue was given
up. To him Colonel Pulleine confided the Queen’s colours, telling him to
make the best of his way back to safety. For himself, and those with him,
said the colonel, their duty was plain. There was no thought of flight.
“Men, we are here, and here we must stop!” was his brief address to the
remnant of the 1st Battalion; and stop they did, till they and their
brave colonel had fallen.

Meanwhile, with the flag rolled and cased and firmly gripped in his
hand, Melvill spurred his horse through the press and dashed for the
river. After him panted a score or more of Zulus, pausing only in their
pursuit to stab any of the other fugitives whom they passed.

For six miles the adjutant galloped on his ride for life, gradually
leaving the Zulus behind, though their shots continued to follow him.
He had now been joined by Lieutenant Nevill Aylmer Coghill, of his own
regiment, who had cut his way through the circle of Zulus. Then the
tossing waters of the Buffalo came in view, and how the fugitives’ hearts
must have risen at the sight. For on the other side of the river lay
Natal and safety.

A last desperate spurt and the bank was gained. Down the steep slope
scrambled horses and riders, and plunged into the swirling stream. The
Buffalo runs swiftly between its high banks, the water being broken up by
large rocks, dotted here and there. Exhausted after its flight, Melvill’s
horse failed to make headway against the swift current, and in its
struggles the adjutant was swept out of his saddle.

Not far away from him, on another rock, was an officer of the Native
Contingent, named Higginson.

“Catch hold of the pole!” cried the adjutant; and the other, leaning
over, made a grab at it as the colours came within reach. But he, too,
was carried away.

By this time the foremost of the Zulus had come up, and they at once
opened fire upon the helpless men in the river. Lieutenant Coghill,
meanwhile, had swum his horse across the stream and gained the opposite
bank in safety. Reining up on the top of the slope, he looked back and
saw Melvill struggling in the water below.

There was a chance of life for him. His horse was still fresh, and the
road to Helpmakaar stretched away behind him. But Coghill gave no thought
to himself, or if he did he banished it instantly from his mind. Riding
down the bank again, he plunged into the river with a cheery call to
Melvill to “hold on.”


Then, just as he reached the other two, his horse was shot. The current
carried it swiftly down the stream, as a few moments later it bore the
colours which it had wrenched from Melvill’s grasp.

The three were now still more at the Zulus’ mercy. Bullets splashed
the water round them, and several of the warriors were scrambling down
the bank towards them. By making great efforts, however, Coghill being
hampered by an injured knee, they reached the Natal side. Here, before
they had gone far, the Zulus caught them up, and the two lieutenants
turned to make a fight for it.

I need not dwell on the last sad scene. Higginson--and we may think no
shame of him for doing so--had gone on alone. He had no revolver or
weapon of any kind with which to defend himself. Coghill and Melvill had
their revolvers.

Standing in front of an enormous rock, the two officers faced their foes,
to sell their lives as dearly as possible. And when their bodies were
discovered days later the stiffened corpses of a dozen Zulus lying almost
in a circle round them bore eloquent witness to the gallant stand for
life that they had made. They were buried side by side on the spot where
they had fallen, while a simple granite cross was raised to mark their
grave and tell to future generations the story of how Lieutenants Melvill
and Coghill died to save the colours of their regiment.

The flag itself, it may be added, was found by a search party some
distance down the river. It was brought back to England at the close of
the war and presented to her Majesty the Queen, who tenderly placed upon
it a wreath of immortelles in remembrance of the gallant pair whose lives
had been given for it.

At about the same time an announcement appeared in the _London Gazette_
to the effect that had Melvill and Coghill lived they would have received
the V.C. And so their names, too, are added to the glorious roll of

     *       *       *       *       *

On the same day that Merrill and Coghill won fame, Samuel Wassall, a
private of the 80th Regiment who had been serving with the Mounted
Infantry, earned the third Cross that is associated with Isandhlana.
Having escaped from the Zulus, he too turned his horse towards the
Buffalo River. He was pursued, but managed to outdistance his enemies,
and gained the river unharmed at a point farther east than the ford.

Just as he was about to enter the water Wassall saw another
soldier--Private Westwood--battling vainly with the current and evidently
on the point of being drowned. To jump from his horse was the work of a
moment. Then, throwing himself into the stream, he swam to the sinking
man’s rescue, brought him out, got himself and the exhausted Westwood on
to the horse, and plunged once more into the river.

Some Zulus had appeared on the rocks above him as he was in the act of
mounting, and their bullets came perilously close, but neither he nor his
burden was hit. The horse needed no urging to get across the stream, and
ere long Wassall was out of reach of his discomfited pursuers.

The Staffordshire private takes an honoured place among the wearers of
the Cross for Valour, for his courage in turning to the rescue of his
drowning comrade stamps him a true hero.



The story of Rorke’s Drift is the story of one of the most heroic
defences in our military annals. At this small post on the Buffalo River
one hundred and thirty-nine men of the 24th (South Wales Borderers)
Regiment, Durnford’s Horse, and the Natal Mounted Police, kept off a
huge army of three thousand Zulus all through the afternoon and night
following the disaster at Isandhlana.

Modern history, I believe, contains no parallel to this brilliant feat of
arms, which stands for all time as an example of the splendid courage and
devotion of which Englishmen are capable when duty calls.

     *       *       *       *       *

At three o’clock in the afternoon of that fateful January 22nd an officer
of the Royal Engineers was down at the drift watching the working of some
pontoons. This was Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard, now on active
service for the first time after seven years spent at various dockyard
stations. He had reason enough to be thoughtful, as he paced slowly
along the bank, for the drift was a position of extreme importance. At
this spot, where the river was most easily fordable, the Zulus might be
expected to cross if they attempted the invasion of Natal. And to stay
them if they came was only a small garrison of less than a hundred and
fifty men.

The post itself was about a quarter of a mile distant, an old Swedish
mission-station converted into a commissariat depôt and hospital for the
use of Lord Chelmsford’s force. From where he stood Lieutenant Chard
could see the two low buildings of which it consisted, with a small
cluster of trees in front and at one side, and behind the white tents
where the soldiers were. It looked a poor means of defence indeed.

From the mission-station his thoughts wandered to the little force which
had crossed by that same ford eleven days previously and disappeared into
the Zulu country. What had been happening behind those distant hills? He
was not to be left long in doubt. Suddenly two horsemen appeared in sight
on the other side of the river, spurring furiously towards the ford. As
they dashed up, the pontoon was pulled across and the two were ferried
over to the Natal bank.

The new-comers were Lieutenant Adendorff, of Lonsdale’s corps, and a
carabineer who had escaped with him from the Zulus. The lieutenant was in
his shirt-sleeves and hatless, his only weapon being a revolver strapped
round his breast. As soon as he reached Chard’s side he poured out his
breathless tale of horror, the tale of the Isandhlana massacre. He
himself had come straight from the camp of death to tell the news of the
disaster and to warn the little garrison at the drift that a large body
of Zulus was advancing upon it.

Sending the carabineer on to Helpmakaar, twelve miles away, where
Major Spalding, the commandant of the post, had gone to fetch another
company of the 24th Regiment, Chard proceeded with Adendorff to the
mission-station. Here he found his brother-officer, Lieutenant Gonville
Bromhead, who commanded the company of the 24th, then encamped close
by, already engaged in putting the mission-house, or store-building as
it may more properly be called, and the hospital in a state of defence.
Barricades were being prepared, and loopholes made in the walls. Bromhead
had a few minutes before received a similar message of alarm.

As quickly as possible the tents were struck, and all who were able were
set to work to build up a wall of mealie-bags, about four feet high,
from one corner of the stone cattle-kraal to the wall of the hospital
building. This afforded a protection to the front of the post. The
waggons, which all the morning had been unloading the stores they had
brought from Helpmakaar, were called into requisition and made to form a
barricade between the two buildings.

Everything that was possible was done to render the position safe against
attack, but the proximity of a high hill (the Oscarberg), and a large
patch of bushes which there was no time to cut down, gave an enemy a
decided advantage.

Having seen that his directions were being carried out, Chard, who
succeeded to the command in Major Spalding’s absence, went back to
the drift to bring up the pontoon guard. To the honour of these brave
fellows, a sergeant and six men, it is said that they offered to moor the
boats in the stream and defend the ford as long as they could; but the
lieutenant would not permit such a sacrifice. So the party went up the
bank together to the station.

Half an hour had now elapsed. The next thing to be done was to send out
scouts to watch for the Zulus, and some of Durnford’s Horse rode out on
this duty. Their officer dashed back hastily soon after four to report
that an impi was marching rapidly towards the drift, and further that his
men were bolting along the road to Helpmakaar.

With the cowards went a detachment of the Natal Native Contingent, their
“gallant” officer, Captain Stevenson, flying with them. This desertion so
enraged the others that they fired a round after them, killing a European
non-commissioned officer of the Native Contingent. The garrison was now
sadly reduced, but there were no more desertions. Every man at the post
was prepared to stand by it to the last.

The line of defence appearing to Chard to be too extended for his few
defenders, he constructed an inner breastwork of--biscuit boxes! “We soon
had completed,” he says in his brief report, “a wall of about two boxes
high.” Behind this frail barrier was to be fought as fierce a fight as
history has ever recorded.

At about twenty minutes past four the leading files of the Zulus hove
in sight, and the garrison of Rorke’s Drift flew to their several
stations. Some went to the rampart of mealie-bags, others to the windows
of the store-building, and others to the hospital where there had been
forty-five men when the alarm first came, but where only twenty-three
now remained. Among those told off to guard the wounded were Privates
Henry Hook, Robert Jones, William Jones, and John Williams, of whom more

Following the few hundred Zulus who came leaping and dancing round the
base of the hill came a host more, their ox-hide shields in different
colours marking the regiments to which they belonged. In true Zulu
fashion they tried to “rush” the place at once, but a heavy volley drove
them back. Then they began to take up positions on the hillside, where
many rocky ledges and caves afforded them vantage-points, while others
dropped behind ant-hills and bushes, or sought cover in the two little
outhouses of the hospital.

“From my loophole,” says Hook, “I saw the Zulus approaching in thousands.
They began to fire, yelling as they did so, when they were five hundred
or six hundred yards off. More than half of them had muskets or rifles. I
began to fire when they were six hundred yards distant. I managed to clip
several of them, for I had an excellent rifle, and was a ‘marksman.’”

Hook in his account recollects particularly one Zulu whom he “clipped”
at four hundred yards while running from one ant-hill to another. The
warrior made a complete somersault and fell dead. Another Zulu who
sheltered himself behind an ant-hill gave Hook some trouble, for the
Gloucester man had to sight his rifle three times ere he got his enemy’s
range. The Zulu never showed his head round the heap again, and when Hook
went round to look at him after the fight was over he found the warrior
lying there with a bullet hole in his skull.

The hospital was the first building to receive the attack, but at
the outer wall of defence a fierce hand-to-hand struggle soon ensued.
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead were fighting hard at the front, the
latter being conspicuous in many a bayonet charge at the dark-skinned
figures that climbed again and again over the mealie-bags. Prominent,
too, in repelling the Zulus at this position was one Corporal Schiess,
a Swiss, who left the hospital to join in the fight, and distinguished
himself by creeping along a wall to shoot a Zulu who was firing from the

At last it was recognised that the defenders could not hope to hold this
rampart long. They fell back accordingly behind the inner defence of
biscuit boxes, after two hours of fighting.

We may leave them there for a little time while we take note of what
is happening at the hospital. Here the gallant six defenders have been
quickly reduced to four, two of the number having been killed out on the
verandah. Four men to get the patients safely out of the building which
the Zulus have rendered untenable by firing the thatch!

Hook and John Williams come to the front first with William and Robert
Jones (the last two not being related, by the way). As the Zulus burst in
the outer doors the two Jones guard these entrances with their bayonets,
their cartridges being expended. It is quick work; stabbing and thrusting
until the pile of corpses in the doorway itself helps to check the rush.
This gives time for Hook and Williams to carry the patients from the
first room to an inner one.

There are four apartments to be gone through before the sick men can be
carried out to the shelter of the barricade, for the inner rooms do not
communicate directly with the outside. Holes have to be made in the
partitions, and the poor sufferers passed through these in turn.

Driven back and back, Hook finds himself suddenly in a room where
there are several patients. Then a wounded man comes in with a bullet
hole in his arm which has to be bound up. A minute later John Williams
appears--John Williams who has just seen his brother Joseph hauled out
and assegaied before his eyes, and who is now a still more dangerous man
to deal with.

Williams breaks a hole in the partition with his bayonet, and whilst
he does this Hook takes his stand at the door. A few moments later the
rush comes. There is a fierce hammering at the door, it gives way, and
the sturdy Gloucester private drops the first man to enter. Shooting and
lunging with his bayonet, he soon accounts for four or five. Assegais fly
past, but only one touches him, inflicting a scalp wound. One Zulu seizes
his rifle and tries to drag it away, but while they are tussling Hook
slips in a cartridge, pulls the trigger, and another body is added to the
heap at his feet.

Every now and then a Zulu makes a rush to get through, for the narrow
entrance admits one man only at a time; but none pass the grim figure on
guard there. And when all the patients have been got out save one who has
a broken leg, Hook makes a jump for the hole himself, and gets through,
dragging the last wounded man after him--“in doing which,” he says, “I
broke his leg again!”

From this last room a window opens out on to the biscuit-box defences.
The patients are quickly passed out to willing hands below, the while
Hook with his reddened bayonet stands by the hole in the wall to see
that no Zulu follows. Then, still sticking to his particular charge, he
drags him out and takes up a position behind the barricade to do some
more useful work there before the morning dawns. Of the twenty-three
wounded who were in the hospital twenty have been saved. The remaining
three are believed to have wandered back, delirious from fever, into the
rooms that had been cleared.

Although Hook and Williams have escaped injury of any serious nature, the
gallant Welshman, Robert Jones, has not been so fortunate. Three assegais
have struck him in the body. He and his namesake William, as I have said,
have been most busy in the front of the building, and how many Zulus they
have put to their account is not known, but the number is large judging
from the heaps of dead warriors whose bodies are found in the ruins of
the building next day.

In this last stage of the rescue of the wounded William Allen and
Frederick Hitch, fellow-soldiers of the 24th Regiment (to which, by
the way, the four brave privates above-named belong), make good their
claim to glory. Taking up an exposed position on some steps leading to a
granary, these two men keep the ground clear between the burning hospital
and the barricade, their accurate fire making it certain death for a Zulu
to venture near.

By their courageous stand, for which they pay dearly, every one of the
rescued twenty is brought into safety. And even when incapacitated by
their wounds from taking part in the fighting, the two brave fellows
stand by all night to serve out ammunition to their comrades.

At the rampart of biscuit boxes were several vacant places ere the
first beams of light showed in the sky. Where Hook knelt three men had
previously been shot. But under the cool direction of Chard, Bromhead,
and Assistant-Commissary Dalton, another of the garrison, the line of
defenders kept up a deadly fire against the Zulus which stayed the rushes
time and time again, and drove back the picked warriors of Cetewayo’s
army to the shelter of their rocks and ant-heaps. Thirteen hours in all
the fight lasted, until the Zulus drew off, baffled, beaten.

Several times they had seemed to be retiring, but after renewed
war-dances and that stamping of the earth peculiar to Zulu warriors,
accompanied with much shouting and waving of assegais, they came on
again with a fierce yell of “Usutu!” which is a far more fearsome cry to
hear in battle than the war-whoop of the painted Sioux. At last, just
after four a.m., there was a long pause, and then the impis were seen to
sullenly roll back out of sight behind the Oscarberg.

The grim, smoke-blackened defenders peered wonderingly after them from
behind the barricade, hardly believing that the host was actually in
retreat. But such was the case. After some time, those who went out to
reconnoitre and look for the wounded saw no signs of the enemy. The Zulus
had gone, leaving some 350 dead behind them. On our side the losses were
but fifteen, though two of the wounded died afterwards.

With the fear of a renewed attack later on, the weary soldiers laid their
rifles aside, and at once began to strengthen the defences where they had
been broken down. Lest the store-building itself should be threatened
with fire, they set to work to remove the thatch from its roof, and while
engaged in doing so the watchers announced that another large body of
Zulus were in sight some distance to the south-west. Immediately the
men flew to their stations, but the alarm fortunately turned out to
be a false one. The enemy, after advancing a little way, swung round
and disappeared behind the hills. They had seen the column under Lord
Chelmsford marching towards the drift, and had had their stomachful of

A little later the British force, which had seen the flames of the
burning hospital as far off as Isandhlana and had marched from the
fatal camp to relieve their comrades at Rorke’s Drift, came round the
Oscarberg, to be greeted with wild cheers and waving of helmets.

“Men,” said the General, as he surveyed the group before him and heard
the story of their great stand, “I thank you all for your gallant

It was not a moment for fine speeches. The hearts of all present were
too full to find utterance in words. But every man knew what was in Lord
Chelmsford’s heart as he thanked them simply for himself and for his

For that defence, gallant indeed, eleven Crosses were awarded, to
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead, to Assistant-Commissary Dalton, Corporals
Allen and Schiess, Privates Hook, Williams, Hitch, and W. and R. Jones,
and to Surgeon-Major Reynolds, whom I have not mentioned in my account,
but who showed great devotion to the wounded under fire.

Private Henry Hook, one of the principal heroes of the defence, was
called up at once before Lord Chelmsford, just as he was, in shirt
sleeves and with his braces hanging down behind, to receive the
General’s praise for his conduct. He was the only one of the eleven to
receive his V.C. at Rorke’s Drift, on the very scene of his gallantry,
Sir Garnet Wolseley pinning the little bronze Cross on to Hook’s breast
with his own hands on the following 3rd of August.

Until a few years ago Hook was a familiar figure to frequenters of the
British Museum Reading Room, where, on retiring from the service, he
obtained an appointment.

Of the rest, Lieutenant Bromhead died in 1891, and Lieutenant (afterwards
Colonel) Chard in 1897. I find only the names of Brigadier-Surgeon
Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Reynolds, and Privates J. Williams, F. Hitch,
and W. Jones, in the list of surviving recipients. To those who have
the opportunity I would say, seek out these heroes while they are still
in the land of the living and hear from their lips, if they can be led
to speak, the full story of Rorke’s Drift, which I feel I have told but
baldly here.



The progress of the Zulu campaign was marked by many ups and downs before
reinforcements arrived to strengthen Lord Chelmsford’s force and a
crushing defeat could be inflicted upon the enemy at Cetewayo’s capital,
Ulundi. But, though our troops sometimes found themselves in a tight
corner, the disaster of Isandhlana was fortunately not repeated. The
lesson of that fatal blunder had been learned.

Of the columns besides that which Lord Chelmsford himself led into
Zululand, the one commanded by Colonel Pearson had met with some success.
This officer had been despatched to a post near the mouth of the Tugela,
in the south-east corner of Zululand. Marching into the country, he
fought a decisive action by the Inyezani River, and occupied Eshowe.

The remaining column under Colonel Evelyn Wood, marching to a station on
the Upper Blood River, established its base on the Kambula Hill. From
this force a small garrison was provided for the town of Luneberg, and it
was in connection with this post that another V.C. was pluckily won on
the 12th of March.

News coming of a convoy of supplies being on its way to Luneberg, Captain
Moriarty went out to meet it with a detachment of the 80th (2nd Batt. S.
Staffordshire) Regiment. The convoy, or rather the first part of it, was
met by the Intombi River. Here a laager was formed, and the escort was
divided into two sections, one on each side of the river. Seventy-one men
were on the left bank with Captain Moriarty, while on the opposite bank
were thirty-five under Lieutenant Harward.

During the night of the 11th of March, while both of the little camps
were sleeping soundly in their tents, a thick fog rolled up, and with it
came a Zulu impi. Soon after daybreak a sentry in Moriarty’s camp gave
the alarm. Orders were promptly given for the soldiers to stand to their
arms, but ere this could be done the Zulus were upon them. Nearly all the
men on the left bank were massacred as they came flying from their tents,
their captain being almost the first to fall.

On the other side of the river the soldiers had had time to arm, and
they quickly opened fire upon the enemy. A number of the Zulus now swam
across the river, although it was much swollen by the rains, and seeing
this Lieutenant Harward did what has always been characterised as a very
cowardly thing. He left his men to take care of themselves, and galloped
off to Luneberg. His defence at the court-martial which was subsequently
held upon him was that he rode away for help, and on some technicality he
was acquitted. Lord Chelmsford, however, plainly showed that he disagreed
with the Court’s decision.

In the meantime, while their officer took to his heels, Sergeant Booth
rallied the men and assumed command. For three miles the sergeant fell
back slowly with his little company, fighting the enemy all the time
and keeping them at a respectful distance. And he brought the whole of
the thirty-five safe into Luneberg, not a single man of them having been
killed! For this conspicuous action Booth was soon afterwards decorated
with the Cross for Valour.

At the storming of the Inhlobane Mountain near Kambula, a fortnight after
the above event, several more V.C.’s were won in an exceptionally gallant
manner. Colonel Wood, as has been said, had his camp on the Kambula
Hill. Anticipating an attack from the Zulus, who were on the Inhlobane,
he decided to strike first, and despatched a little force under Colonel
Redvers Buller with instructions to surprise the enemy and dislodge them.
The attack was delivered on the night of the 27th and the morning of the
28th of March.

Leading his men, who were mostly colonials of the Frontier Light Horse,
and loyal natives, Buller climbed up the steep side of the mountain in
the mist, and with a brilliant rush drove the Zulus from their little
stone forts. The stronghold was captured, but the flying warriors took
refuge in the numerous caves with which the place abounded, and great
difficulty was experienced in routing them out of these.

One party, whose fire caused some havoc among the troops, had found a
particularly well-sheltered position. It was clear that they would have
to be dislodged. Certain orders, it is said, were given for this cave
to be stormed, but, chafing at the delay that occurred, Captain the
Hon. Robert Campbell of the Coldstreams, with Lieutenant Henry Lysons
of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and Private Edmond Fowler, of the
Perthshire Light Infantry, dashed forward to undertake the difficult
task. Many fallen boulders and thick clumps of bushes impeded their path,
and, to add to the hazard of the attempt, the approach to the cave led
between two walls of rock where the passage was so narrow that they had
to walk in single file.

Campbell took the post of honour at the head of the dauntless three and
was shot at the mouth of the cave. Leaping over his lifeless body, the
Lieutenant and Fowler sprang into the gloomy cavern, killing several
Zulus with their first shots. A number of subterranean passages opened
out from the entrance, and through these the majority of the cave’s
occupants escaped to a chasm below. Here they found themselves exposed to
the fire of the two marksmen above, and in quick time retreated down the

Their mission accomplished, Lysons and Fowler returned to their comrades
to be congratulated on their success and recommended for the V.C., which
was in due course bestowed upon them.

While these clearing operations were being performed, however, the Zulus
had received large reinforcements, and Colonel Buller saw that he was in
danger of being trapped on the mountain top. So he ordered his force to
return down the hillside to rejoin the main body.


But for their colonel’s exertions and noble disregard of self, the
retreat might soon have become a rout. As the soldiers fell back, the
Zulus swarmed up and over the top of the mountain and threw themselves
desperately upon the handful of white men in the endeavour to cut them
off. Many deeds of valour were now performed, Buller himself saving
no fewer than six lives, among those he rescued being Captain D’Arcy
of the Frontier Light Horse, Lieutenant Everitt, and a trooper of the
same company. For each of these three the brave colonel had to ride back
towards the advancing Zulus, and, while assegais and shots sped past him,
carry off the dismounted man upon his horse.

Redvers Buller is “Sir Henry” now, a General and a G.C.B. among other
distinctions, but I think he is prouder of none of his honours more than
the bronze Maltese Cross which he wears on his breast for his bravery
that day at Inhlobane Mountain. And seldom, indeed, has the V.C. been
better deserved.

At the same time Lieutenant E. S. Browne (a South Wales Borderer) and
Major William Leet, of the Somersets, gained the decoration for acts of
heroism of a similar nature, Browne having two lives placed to his credit.

The seventh of the Zulu Crosses which I have space to note in this
chapter was awarded to that truly gallant soldier the late Lord William
de la Poer Beresford. Wherever there was fighting going on Beresford of
the 9th Lancers was bound to be in it. Only eight months previously,
during the Afghan campaign, he had joined Sir Samuel Browne (another V.C.
hero) in the famous march through the Khyber Pass, having obtained a
month’s leave from the Viceroy, on whose staff he served as aide-de-camp.

How he won his Cross in Zululand was characteristic of Lord William’s
impetuous courage. With a scouting party he had ventured across the
White Umvolosi River to discover what the enemy’s movements were in the
neighbourhood of Ulundi. They made their way safely for some distance
through the long grass when suddenly a number of Zulus, who had been
lying in ambush, sprang to their feet and poured a deadly volley into the

Two of the troopers were killed instantly, but a third man who fell
(Sergeant Fitzmaurice) was seen to raise himself up from the ground where
he lay by the side of his dead horse. Of the retreating scouts Lord
William Beresford was the nearest to the Zulus, and without a moment’s
hesitation he turned his horse and galloped back to the fallen man.

The story goes--and there is no reason whatever to disbelieve it--that
Beresford flung himself from his horse and bade Fitzmaurice mount. The
sergeant refused to do so, telling his would-be rescuer to save himself.
Then the plucky Irishman seized Fitzmaurice by the shoulder and swore
that he would punch the other’s head if he didn’t do as he was told;
whereupon with some difficulty the sergeant was hoisted up into the
saddle, Beresford mounting after him.

During the altercation the Zulus had come within a few yards of the
couple, and Beresford’s horse only just managed to get away in time. Even
as it was, it is possible that they would both have been assegaied had
not Sergeant O’Toole, another Irishman, ridden out towards them and with
his revolver checked the Zulus’ rush.

When Lord William heard that the V.C. was to be awarded him for that
exploit he asked whether the sergeant had been recommended for the
distinction, and on learning that this was not the case refused to
accept the honour unless it was also given to the other. This made due
impression at headquarters, and soon after O’Toole’s name appeared in
the _Gazette_ together with that of Beresford.

Lord William met with a sad end to his career. As may be remembered,
he died in 1900 from the effects of an accident received in the

     *       *       *       *       *

With the V.C.’s won in Zululand I may well couple those which were gained
in the brief Basuto rebellion of 1879. The Basutos, an offshoot of the
Bechuanas and a very warlike race, believed themselves to be threatened
with a British invasion from Natal, and took up arms. A punitive force
from the colony had therefore to restore them to order.

One or two encounters with the rebels taught the latter a severe lesson,
but retreating to the hills they made a determined stand upon a mountain
called after their chief, Moirosi. This stronghold the Basutos made
almost impregnable by a long series of stockades on the one side of the
mountain that was accessible. On the other three sides it was perfectly

After several vain attempts this stronghold was successfully stormed,
Moirosi himself being shot and large numbers of Basutos captured. What a
terrible task the Colonials had in fighting their way up the steep slope
will be understood when I say that the troops had to storm some twelve
or fourteen of the high stone walls, or stockades, which the Basutos had
erected, the walls being loopholed for rifles.

In the ascent Trooper P. Brown and Sergeant Robert Scott, both of the
Cape Mounted Rifles, did deeds of daring which singled them out from
their comrades for distinction. The former left his cover under a most
heavy fire to carry his water bottle to some wounded men who were crying
piteously for water. He was wounded twice as he was in the act of
stooping over the sufferers, one of the enemy’s bullets shattering his
right arm and rendering it permanently useless.

Sergeant Scott was a no less brave man, though his exploit was of a
different kind. At one barricade that the troops reached the fire was
so merciless that it seemed impossible to advance against it. But
the sergeant thought of a way out of the difficulty. The enemy must
be dislodged from their position by fuse shells. Volunteering for
the dangerous work, he took some shells and ran swiftly towards the
barricade. As has happened often before when one desperate man takes his
life thus in his hands and braves a hundred, he escaped being hit. Then,
crouching under the wall, he tried to throw a shell over into the midst
of the Basutos.

The first attempt failed, but the second succeeded. Taking a third shell,
he flung this after the others, but owing to some faulty adjustment
of the fuse it burst almost immediately after leaving his hands. The
explosion was terrible. One hand of the sergeant--his right one--was
completely shattered, and he received a severe wound in his right leg.
Fortunately for his comrades, he had ordered his party to retire under
cover, a precaution which undoubtedly saved many lives.

The sergeant’s daring feat enabled the troops to drive the Basutos from
the position without much further difficulty, and when he recovered from
his wounds the V.C. was awarded him.

With Scott and Trooper Brown must be bracketed a third V.C. hero of that
attack on Moirosi’s Mountain--brave Surgeon-Major Edmund Baron Hartley,
of the same corps. His Cross was won for particular gallantry in tending
the wounded under fire, and in going out in the open to bring in Corporal
Jones, who, poor fellow, was lying badly hit only a few yards from the
Basutos’ stockade. Surgeon Hartley worthily upholds the traditions of
that noble brotherhood we have already seen doing their duty in the
Crimea, in India, and elsewhere. All honour to the brave Army doctors!



The first Boer War of 1881 reflected little credit on the British arms,
with its disastrous reverses at Laing’s Nek and Majuba; but it added some
names to the roll of V.C. heroes which call for special mention.

I do not propose to enter into the history of the war here or discuss its
justness. Briefly, it arose from the refusal of the Boers to surrender
the Transvaal as a part of the projected South African Federation. Far
from being reconciled to British rule, the Boers were united in wishing
to maintain their independence, and at the end of 1880 they resorted to
arms, proclaiming a Republic.

The command of the British force which was sent into the field was given
to General Sir George Pomeroy Colley, a veteran of many wars. On January
28th, 1881, a large force of Boers invaded Natal, and were encountered
at Laing’s Nek, a frontier mountain pass some twenty-four miles from
Newcastle, with the result that General Colley was repulsed with heavy

Laing’s Nek, which takes its name from a deserted farm on the heights
above the upper stream of the Buffalo, forms a most important position,
a large tableland at the summit giving the command of the plains below.
It was to this particular point that the British general advanced. But
the Boers had taken advantage of the mountain spurs and the low hills
which flanked the steep winding road leading to the summit, and were able
to concentrate a murderous fire upon our troops. Every effort was made
to continue the advance, Major Brownlow leading a splendid charge of the
Mounted Squadron, in which he had his horse shot under him, but it was in
vain. Very slowly, for the Boers pressed hard upon them, the troops fell

Then it was that Lieutenant Alan Hill won his V.C. for a gallant action.
Out in the open ground, knocked over by a Boer bullet, lay Lieutenant
Baillie of his own regiment (the 58th). Running to the wounded man, Hill
tried to lift him into his saddle, but finding this too difficult a feat
he carried him in his arms along the narrow road, until another bullet
put Baillie out of his misery. A little later the lieutenant turned
to face the heavy fire of the Boers again, and this time succeeded in
bringing back two wounded privates to safety, himself escaping as if by a

Very cool and brave, too, was Private John Doogan of the 1st Dragoon
Guards. Servant to Major Brownlow, he rode close to that officer in the
charge of the Mounted Squadron. When the major was dismounted and almost
surrounded by Boers, Doogan rode up and jumped off his horse.

“Take my horse, sir,” he said, “and ride off while there’s time.”

The major refused, and with still more determination when Doogan was
wounded as he stood urging his master to mount; but although the enemy
were close on them both men escaped capture. For that act of devotion
Private Doogan was decorated in due course.

Just a month later occurred the fight on Majuba Hill. Colley’s object in
occupying this position was to render the Boers’ occupation of Laing’s
Nek untenable, but he was again unsuccessful, losing his own life in the
attempt. The story of his night march up the hill and the death-trap into
which he fell need not be retold. It is a disaster one does not care to
dwell upon.

Against the gloom, however, one or two isolated acts of bravery shine
out prominently. That gallant soldier Hector Macdonald, then a sergeant
in the 92nd Highlanders, won a commission through his prowess there, and
Lance-Corporal Farmer, of the Hospital Corps, a V.C.

When Surgeon Arthur Landon stopped behind the retreating soldiers to
dress the wounds of the fallen men around him, Corporal Farmer and
another man stood by his side to assist. To their shame, be it said, the
Boers fired upon the little group, hitting the surgeon, the wounded man,
and Farmer’s comrade.

Thinking to stop the cowards, the corporal waved a bandage in the air to
show that he was engaged in an act of mercy. But it had no effect. Their
rifles cracked again, and the bandage fell as Farmer’s right wrist was

“I’ve got another arm!” he shouted, stooping to pick up the bandage with
his left hand and raising it on high. But the Boers shot at him yet once
more and with deadly effect, shattering the elbow joint of his arm.
After which the brave fellow gave up trying to teach humanity to such

     *       *       *       *       *

There were other Crosses gained in that brief but inglorious campaign
against the Transvaal Boers--at Elandsfontein and at Wesselstroom; but I
must pass on to tell of some acts of valour performed in another South
African war of rather later date. In 1896 a serious rebellion broke out
among the Matabele, who had been living peaceably under the rule of the
Chartered Company for three years, and but for the prompt action of the
Colonials in Rhodesia the consequences might have been far more terrible
than they were.

The causes of that rebellion are not hard to seek. Generally speaking,
it is said to have originated in the stringent measures enforced
against the cattle plague, the rinderpest, which was sweeping through
the country; but there were other and deeper reasons why the Matabele
rose. Since their subjection in 1893, after Lo Bengula was defeated, the
natives had been compelled to perform a certain amount of labour--paid
labour--annually, and had had to pay a very large fine in cattle. All
this bore heavily upon them. They chafed under the disgrace of being a
conquered people, they who had been a great warlike nation; and only
awaited a favourable opportunity to throw off the yoke.

The opportunity came in 1896, after Dr. Jameson, starting on his famous
Raid, had withdrawn the police force of Rhodesia, with most of the big
guns and munitions of war. Believing the white settlers to be at their
mercy now, the Matabele chiefs, who had been maturing their plans, gave
the signal to rise, and immediately the civilised world was horrified by
a series of terrible massacres, far exceeding any that had taken place in
the 1893 rebellion. Within the short space of a week not a white person
was left alive in the outlying districts of Matabeleland. Men, women, and
children, whole families in some instances, were wiped out.

Prompt action was necessary to deal with the rising. As quickly as
possible a strong laager was formed at Bulawayo, the chief town, and a
corps of mounted men enlisted. The nucleus of this force was a little
company of twenty-three Rhodesians, got together by Captain Grey and
known throughout the war as Grey’s Scouts. The rest of the body comprised
troopers from the Africander Corps and various Rhodesia Horse Volunteers.

Fine fellows were these; hard as nails, and the best riders and best
shots in the colony. For three months, until the arrival of imperial
troops, they harried the Matabele without mercy, holding their own
against tremendous odds. In this campaign the fighting was very different
from that experienced in the former war. The natives had learned the
futility of attacking fortified places, and the engagements were fought
out in the bush.

Many a tale is told of gallant rescues of isolated settlers who were
in danger of being annihilated at this time, and many an instance is
recorded of splendid devotion shown to each other by the Colonials.
“Never desert your comrade,” was the motto of the troopers, and
faithfully did they live up to it. Witness the story of Trooper Henderson.

Hearing that a party of whites at Inyati, about forty miles from
Bulawayo, were in peril, Captain Pittendrigh rode out with a few men to
the rescue, but on their way they learned that their errand was vain;
the party had been massacred. A body of Matabele having been encountered
during the journey, and news coming of a large impi being in front, the
little force halted at a store by the Impembisi River near the Shiloh
hills. Here they fortified themselves against attack while two daring
despatch riders hastened back to Bulawayo for reinforcements.

The much-needed help came. Early the next morning thirty men of the
Bulawayo Field Force galloped up. They had to report passing through a
number of Matabele at Queen’s Reef, in the vicinity, and further that two
members of their party were missing, Troopers Celliers and Henderson. The
mystery of their disappearance was not cleared up until three days later,
when both men came into Bulawayo, Celliers wounded, on horseback, and
Henderson, much travel-stained, on foot.

Celliers told the story of their adventures. In the affray with the
Matabele at Queen’s Reef his horse had been shot in five places and he
himself badly wounded in the knee. Becoming separated from their comrades
in the darkness, the two men had hidden in the bush. Then, Celliers’
horse having dropped dead and his wound making it impossible for them to
think of following the others, Henderson placed his comrade on his horse
and set off with him for Bulawayo.

Their way led through a difficult piece of country which was known to be
overrun with Matabele, and Henderson had to exercise the greatest caution
in proceeding. Long detours had to be made; now and then, as natives were
sighted, they had to conceal themselves among the hills. But though some
parties of Matabele warriors passed unpleasantly close, the two men
escaped discovery. For three whole days they wandered thus, without food,
save a few sour plums, Celliers’ wound all the time causing him great
agony; and never was sight more welcome than when the white buildings of
Bulawayo greeted their eyes.

That plucky rescue brought a well-deserved Victoria Cross to Trooper
Herbert J. Henderson, making him the eighth Colonial to receive the
decoration. Celliers, it is sad to record, died from the effects of the
amputation of his injured leg.

This affair of the Shiloh patrol occurred in March. In April there was a
brisk action fought on the Umguza River by Bisset’s Patrol, among whom
were twenty of Grey’s Scouts. Mr. F. C. Selous, who accompanied this
force and had a narrow escape of being killed by the Matabele, tells the
story of how Trooper Frank Baxter, of the Scouts, here won the V.C.,
though he lost his life in doing so.

The enemy had been driven from their position with considerable loss,
and the troops were retiring from the Umguza, when a party of Matabele
warriors who had been lying in ambush to the left of the line of retreat
suddenly opened a brisk fire upon them. The foremost of the Scouts
galloped past, while Captain Grey and a few of those in the rear halted
to return the fire. Trooper Wise was the first to be hit, a bullet
striking him in the back as he was in the act of mounting. His horse then
stumbled, and breaking away galloped back to town, leaving Wise on the

Seeing the other’s peril, Baxter immediately reined in his horse, sprang
down and lifted the wounded man into the saddle. Captain Grey and
Lieutenant Hook now went to his assistance, and got Baxter along as fast
as they could; but the Matabele came leaping through the bush and closed
in upon them.

Firing at close range, they wounded the lieutenant and almost did for
Grey, the captain being half stunned by a bullet. As Baxter, left
unprotected for the moment, ran on, another Scout, with the picturesque
name of “Texas” Long, went to his assistance, bidding him hold on to the
stirrup leather. In this fashion Baxter was making good progress towards
safety when a bullet struck him in the side, and as he fell to the ground
the savages pounced out upon him with their assegais. He was killed
before Long or any other could have saved him.

If to lay down one’s life for a friend is the test of true heroism, then
Trooper Frank Baxter has surely won a high place in the roll of our
honoured dead.

At this same fight on the Umguza other deeds of valour were performed of
which no official recognition was taken, but they are enshrined in the
memory of the colonists. John Grootboom, a loyal Xosa Kafir and a very
famous character, did wonders; and Lieutenant Fred Crewe saved the life
of Lieutenant Hook in a gallant manner.

Hook’s horse was shot and its rider thrown to the ground, causing him to
lose his rifle.

“Why don’t you pick it up?” asked Crewe, as the other came hobbling
towards him.

“I can’t; I’m badly wounded,” was the answer.

“Are you wounded, old chap?” said Crewe. “Then take my horse, and I’ll
try and get out of it on foot.”

And, having got the lieutenant up into the saddle, Crewe slowly won his
way back through the Matabele, keeping them off with his revolver, and
being hit only by a knobkerry which caught him in the back.

The third V.C. of the campaign was won by Captain R. C. Nesbitt, during
the fighting in Mashonaland. A party of miners in the Mazoe Valley
having been attacked by the natives, a patrol rode to their relief from
Salisbury, but was unable to bring them away. On the 19th of June Captain
Nesbitt was out with a patrol of thirteen men when he met a runner from
the leader of the refugees, with a note which stated that they were in
laager and urgently in need of help. A relief force of a hundred men and
a Maxim gun was asked for. The captain read the message out to his men
and proposed that they should try and rescue the party, to which the
troopers readily agreed. Sending the runner on to Salisbury, the patrol
at once turned their horses in the direction of the Mazoe Valley, and
fought their way through the cordon of Mashonas to the laager. Then, with
the three women of the party in an armoured waggon, they started on the
return journey, and after some desperate fighting brought them all safely
in to Salisbury, with a loss of only three men.

Of such sons as these, Henderson, Baxter, Crewe, and Captain Nesbitt,
Rhodesia is deservedly proud. And we “who sit at home at ease” while
these outposts of Empire are being won for us, may well be proud too,
remembering that they are of our own blood, Britons in that Greater
Britain across the seas.



Arabi Pasha’s rebellion in Egypt in 1882, which was quelled by the
British army under Sir Garnet (afterwards Lord) Wolseley, was notable
chiefly for the bombardment of Alexandria and the battle of Tel-el-Kebir.
At Alexandria, as has been noted in a previous chapter, Gunner Israel
Harding won the Cross for picking up a live shell and immersing it in
water. At Tel-el-Kebir and at Kafrdour the two other V.C.’s of the
campaign were earned in no less gallant style.

The Kafrdour hero was Private Frederick Corbett, of the King’s Royal
Rifle Corps. During the reconnaissance upon this village the leader of
his company, Lieutenant Howard-Vyse, was mortally wounded, and Corbett
obtained leave to remain by the officer’s side while the others went on.
The Egyptians were keeping up a pretty vigorous fire the while, but the
plucky private calmly sat down and bound up the lieutenant’s wounds as
best he could, afterwards carrying him off the field.

Lieutenant W. M. M. Edwards’ exploit at Tel-el-Kebir, where he captured
a battery almost single-handed, is worthy of being related at some
length. It was, perhaps, the most dashing thing done in the war. At
this hard-fought battle four miles of earthworks which the Egyptians
had thrown up in front of their position had to be carried at point of
bayonet. To the Highland Light Infantry and the Royal Irish Fusiliers
was given the post of honour, and as the word of command rang out both
regiments dashed forward at the charge.

Determined not to let the “Faugh-a-Ballagh Boys” be the first in,
Lieutenant Edwards of the Highlanders raced ahead with his storming party
towards the nearest redoubt. He reached the parapet well in advance of
the others, and pulled himself to the top. Then, jumping down among the
Egyptian gunners, revolver in one hand and sword in the other, he shot
the first who attacked him, an officer, through the head.

Another grappled with him, and this man, too, he shot; but while engaged
in this struggle a third Egyptian ran up and knocked him down with
a rammer. Three Highlanders leapt into the battery at this critical
moment, and Edwards was soon upon his feet to lead his men in a charge
upon the guns. His scabbard had been shot away in the fight, and his
claymore broken in two, so after emptying his revolver the lieutenant
took the sword of the artillery officer he had killed and carried on the
fight with that. And in less time than it takes to tell the battery was
captured with its four Krupp guns, all the Egyptian gunners being slain.

After which achievement Edwards sat down on the parapet to bind up the
scalp wound he had received with a towel, in Indian “puggaree” fashion,
afterwards marching to Tel-el-Kebir station, two and a half miles off,
with this decoration on his head. A few months later he wore another
decoration, the Victoria Cross having been bestowed upon him for his

Although it is not a V.C. exploit, I am tempted to include a remarkable
feat performed at Tel-el-Kebir by Major Dalbiac, of the Royal Artillery,
that Dalbiac who fell at Senekal twenty years later.

During the battle the battery which he commanded ran short of ammunition
and no more was to be had. In this dilemma the major resolved that at
all events his guns should not stand idle, so, with a touch of humour
characteristic of him, he ordered them to be limbered up, and took them
forward at a gallop. One can imagine the surprise of the “Gyppies” when
the entire battery came racing up one side of the earthworks and down the
other into their midst, putting them fairly to rout!

In 1883 broke out the Mahdi’s rebellion in the Soudan, which was to give
us endless trouble and to cost the life of Gordon. After Hicks Pasha
had perished miserably at Shekan, and Colonel Valentine Baker with his
Egyptians had been routed at Tokar, Gordon was sent out from England to
conquer the Soudan, and with him went Sir Gerald Graham, who defeated
Osman Digna, the Mahdi’s right-hand man, at El Teb and Tamai.

In the first of these battles, fought on February 29th, 1884, two V.C.’s
were earned; one by a quartermaster-sergeant of the 19th Hussars, who
saved his colonel’s life; and the other by a naval captain who is now the
well-known Admiral Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson, K.C.B. The latter won his
Cross for conspicuous bravery, which his chief, the gallant Sir William
Hewett, V.C., knew well how to appreciate.

The Naval Brigade contributed to form a huge square which moved steadily
down upon the massed Arabs, to whom this was a novel form of fighting. As
the troops approached closer little parties of the enemy dashed out to
fling themselves bravely but vainly upon the bayonets of the front ranks
or be shot down ere they could get so far. The principal Arab attack was
directed against the side on which the sailors were with their Gardner
guns and here Captain Wilson found his opportunity to distinguish himself.

So impetuous was the Arabs’ rush at one time that a slight gap was made
in the square. Seeing this, a fresh party dashed up to break through the
opening, but they had to reckon with Wilson. In a flash he recognised
the danger, and, springing out to meet the enemy, he engaged them

The first Arab he ran through with his sword, but with such vigour that
the blade broke off at the hilt. Nothing daunted at being thus left
weaponless, the stalwart captain clenched his fists and, as the other
Arabs ran in upon him brandishing their spears, let drive right and left
at them in true British style. One after another in quick succession the
sons of the desert were sent rolling over on the ground, and then, some
of the Yorks and Lancasters coming to his assistance, the enemy were

Wonderful as it may appear, Captain Wilson received only a few slight
wounds in this extraordinary pugilistic encounter. In all probability the
surprising nature of his attack so disconcerted the Arabs that they were
at a loss to know how to act.

At Tamai, which was fought on the 13th of the following month, there were
likewise two V.C.’s gained. The first of these fell to the 60th Rifles.
A private of the Royal Sussex having been badly hit, Lieutenant Percival
Marling of the Rifles took him up on his horse, but the poor fellow fell
off almost immediately. Dismounting, the lieutenant nobly gave up his
horse for the purpose of carrying the wounded man off the field, and
although it was a critical moment fought his way to safety on foot.

Private Thomas Edwards, the second hero of the fight, was a “Black Watch”
Highlander who was on transport service with the Naval men, having in his
charge two mules loaded with ammunition. His gun of the battery was under
the command of Lieutenant Almack, R.N., “one of the bravest officers on
the field that morning,” to use Edwards’ own words.

In a sudden rush of the enemy the gun--a Gatling--was surrounded, and of
the three standing by it one, a sailor, was instantly speared. Two of the
“Fuzzy-Wuzzies” then made for Edwards, who put his bayonet through both
of them. The lieutenant, however, was less lucky. Attacked by several
Soudanees, he succeeded in disposing of one with his sword, but before
he had time to recover another nearly sliced his right arm off with a
slashing cut.

In a twinkling Edwards shot the Soudanee dead. There then ran up, he
says in his own account of the incident, three more Soudanees, who threw
themselves upon the helpless officer as he leant against the gun-carriage
and ran their spears through his body. Seeing that Almack was killed and
that he could do nothing more, the brave Highlander, who, by the way,
received a wound on the back of his right hand, took his two mules and
retired, keeping up a fire upon the enemy as he fell back.

Yet another V.C. hero of the Soudan was Gunner Albert Smith, of the
Royal Artillery, the scene of his gallantry being Abu Klea.

The story of this fierce battle makes exciting reading. Late in December
of 1884, Sir Herbert Stewart with a “flying column” of 1500 men was
marching across the Bayuda Desert to Metemmeh, on his way to relieve
Khartoum and Gordon. He had under him a picked fighting force, including
some of the Guards, and they started out from Korti with high hopes of a
speedy march to their goal. They little dreamt of what lay before them.

The water-bottles of the men were soon emptied, and when it was necessary
to refill them it was found that the wily Mahdi had dried up the wells
along the line of route. Only after a toilsome journey of eighty miles
was water reached, though even then it was hardly worth the name. Such as
it was, however, it was priceless to the Tommies, who were half mad with
thirst, and every available receptacle was filled with water.

Another march of a hundred and twenty miles brought the column in sight
of the wells at Abu Klea, and in sight, too, of a strong force of the
enemy. All through the weary night the men waited impatiently by their
arms until morning came to give them a chance of getting at the wells.
Then, in the form of a hollow square, the column advanced, “like some
huge machine, slow, regular, and compact, despite the hail of bullets
pouring in from front, right, and left, and ultimately from the rear.”

Altogether there were over ten thousand Arabs opposed to the little
force, hemming them in all round. There was no avenue of retreat; the
column had to go forward and cut its way through.

Then it was that for the first time in history a British square was
broken. With the utmost fury the Soudanees swept down upon a corner
of the phalanx and by sheer weight of numbers forced a way inside. It
was indeed a critical moment. Colonel Fred Burnaby, of the Royal Horse
Guards, was among the first to be killed, though not before he had slain
several of his assailants; and as more spearsmen poured in, the slaughter
was terrible. But in time the troops rallied. The square was re-formed,
and not one of those daring black-skinned foemen who got inside escaped
to boast of his valour.

It was in this desperate struggle of bayonet versus spear and sword that
Gunner Smith saw his officer, Lieutenant Guthrie, prone on the ground and
at the mercy of the enemy. The gunner had only a handspike for weapon,
but with this he rushed forward, hurling himself like a thunderbolt upon
the Soudanees. He was in the nick of time. One of the warriors was in the
very act of plunging his spear into Guthrie’s breast when the handspike
crashed upon his head and stretched him lifeless.

Standing over the fallen lieutenant’s body, Smith kept the enemy at bay,
and he was still at his post when the ranks had recovered from the shock
of the onset and filled up the gap in the square. Then he was relieved of
his charge, but unfortunately his gallantry had not availed to save the
lieutenant’s life. Guthrie had been mortally wounded when he fell.

     *       *       *       *       *

Taking a leap of several years, I may fittingly tell here of how some
more recent V.C.’s of the Soudan were won. At Omdurman, where on
September 2nd, 1898, the Khalifa was finally routed, the 21st Lancers
covered themselves with glory through a famous charge, and three of their
number inscribed their names on the Roll of Valour.

It was after the Khalifa’s futile attempt to storm the zereba where the
British troops lay strongly entrenched that the Lancers’ opportunity to
distinguish themselves came. While the main body of the army marched
steadily forward in the direction of Omdurman, the 21st, under Colonel
R. H. Martin, were sent to Jebel Surgham to see if any of the enemy were
in hiding there and to prevent any attempt on their part to occupy that

Away down the bank of the Nile rode the four squadrons, A, B, C, and D,
meeting with scattered parties of dervishes who fired fitfully at them.
Just south of Surgham, behind the hills, some seven hundred or more
Soudanese cavalry and infantry were suddenly espied hiding in a khor, or
hollow, and Colonel Martin passed the word that these were to be cleared

Forming in line, the Lancers galloped forward. As they neared the khor
a sharp musketry fire broke out, which emptied a few saddles, and then
to their dismay they saw that instead of only a few hundred of the enemy
there were nearly three thousand Mahdists concealed there. There was no
time for hesitation. Go forward they must. So, rising in his stirrups,
with sword on high, the colonel cried “Charge!” and, closing in, the
squadrons dashed into their foes.

They went down a drop of three or four feet, plunging into the thick
of the Mahdists. Cutting and thrusting fiercely, they forged their way
through, and with pennons proudly flying at last gained the steep ascent
beyond. Many men, however, were left behind, and but for the devotion of
some like Private Thomas Byrne the number must have been still larger.
Byrne saw four dervishes pursuing Lieutenant Molyneux, who was wounded
and on foot, and although he was himself crippled with a bullet in his
right arm he rode back to the rescue. He tried to use his sword, but
there was no strength in his arm; the weapon dropped from his limp grasp,
and he received a spear wound in the chest. By this time Lieutenant
Molyneux was out of danger, so Byrne galloped off to his troop, which he
regained without further injury. The brave Irish private got the Cross
for his pluck, and, as Mr. Winston Churchill comments in his account of
the deed,[3] Byrne’s wearing it will rather enhance the value of the

One of the officers to fall in the charge was Lieutenant Robert Grenfell.
To save him, or at least recover his body, Captain P. A. Kenna and
Lieutenant de Montmorency, accompanied by Corporal Swarbrick, dashed back
into the midst of the enemy. They were unsuccessful, De Montmorency’s
horse bolting as they tried to lift poor Grenfell on to it; but the
attempt was a courageous one, and both officers were gazetted V.C. a
little later, Corporal Swarbrick being awarded the Distinguished Service
Medal. Just before this gallant action, I may mention, Captain Kenna had
distinguished himself by saving the life of Major Crole Wyndham, whose
horse had been shot under him, an act which alone entitled him to the

[3] _The River War_, vol. ii. p. 141.



The closing years of the eighties and the opening years of the nineties
saw a good deal of fighting at different places on our Indian frontier.
Through internal dissensions or the interference of some foreign power,
some of the turbulent hill tribes were in a state of continual ferment,
and order had to be restored within their boundaries by force of arms.

In 1888 there was trouble in Upper Burmah. The Karen-ni, or Red Karens,
who form a group of semi-independent tribes down by the Siamese border,
took to dacoiting again in a bold manner. An expedition was accordingly
sent into their district, with the result that the disturbances were
quickly quelled. This “little war” comes within the scope of this book
for a notable display of devotion on the part of an Army doctor which
gained him a V.C.

With the Indian troops that went into action against the Karens near
Lwekaw on New Year’s Day, in 1889, was Surgeon (now Lieutenant-Colonel)
John Crimmin, of the Bombay Medical Service. He soon had an opportunity
for putting his skill to some use, for several of the Bombay infantrymen
were bowled over by the dacoits. Regardless of his own danger, the
surgeon proceeded to kneel by the fallen men’s sides and dress their

In the bamboo clumps very near to him the Karens were being chased and
cut down by the troops, but now and then a red-turbaned, red-robed figure
would peep out of a patch and take a flying shot at the doctor. Luckily
for him and his patients, they were poor marksmen.

Having joined the firing line again, Crimmin made himself useful with his
revolver. Not for long, however; the Red Karens are savage fighters, and
our sepoys had to pay for their victory dearly. The surgeon was very soon
busy once more, bandaging shot wounds and knife cuts.

A mounted sepoy had been told off to stand by him, but he was slight
protection. At one time the surgeon was set upon by nearly a dozen of
the enemy, who leapt out of the bamboos upon his right with wild yells.
Dropping his lint and bandages, Crimmin whipped out his sword, ran the
first man through, and was hard at work with another while the sepoy
dropped a third. This warm reception disheartened the Karens, and with a
parting shot or two they disappeared as quickly as they came. Then the
surgeon coolly went on with his work, the wounded men murmuring many a
“God bless you, doctor sahib,” as he bent over them.

The winter of 1891 is memorable for the brilliant little Hunza-Nagar
campaign, which was brought about by Russian intrigues with the rulers of
some petty states on the northern frontier of Cashmere. In the storming
of the mountain strongholds in Hunza and Nagar three V.C.’s were won, by
Lieutenant Guy Boisragon, Lieutenant John Manners Smith, and Captain
Fenton John Aylmer, while many more were earned.

The most striking event in Indian history of that year, however, was
the revolt in Manipur, where the British Resident, Mr. Frank St. Clair
Grimwood, and other Europeans in the capital were brutally murdered.
In connection with this tragedy a young officer attached to the 2nd
Burmah Battalion of the Punjab Infantry, Lieutenant Charles J. W. Grant,
performed a dashing deed which made him talked of far and wide as “the
hero of Manipur,” and added his name to the list of those decorated “for

The state of Manipur lies up among the hills between India and Burma. It
is semi-independent, like many of its neighbours, the Maharajah being
subjected to the control of a British Resident. In 1890 a family quarrel
in the Maharajah’s own household led to his deposition, his brother the
Senaputty (commander-in-chief of the army) placing another brother on the
throne as Regent.

This turn of affairs was tacitly acquiesced in by the Indian Government,
who recognised that the change was for the better, but on the late
Maharajah, Soor Chandra Singh, complaining to the authorities of the
bad treatment he had received (and deserved, by the way), some notice
of it had to be taken. So Mr. Quinton, Chief Commissioner of Assam, was
despatched to Manipur with instructions to arrest the head and front of
the offending, the Senaputty.

This gentleman, however, firmly declined to comply with the request that
he should surrender himself. An attempt was then made to seize him in
the palace, but without success, and diplomacy was again resorted to. A
meeting was arranged for the discussion of the matter, and one evening
Quinton, Grimwood, and several of the British officers had an interview
with the Regent and the Senaputty. Not one of them was ever seen again
alive. On their refusal to accept the terms proposed by the Manipuri
chiefs they were all massacred.

Mrs. St. Clair Grimwood, who was one of those who escaped from the
besieged Residency immediately after the tragedy, has given us a graphic
account of her experiences. She was ignorant of the real facts when
forced to flee by her companions, the first news being that her husband
had been taken prisoner with the others. Only at the end of her journey
did she learn the awful truth.

Down in the cellar of the house Mrs. Grimwood, like the brave lady she
was, carefully tended the wounded amid the crackle of musketry and the
crash of bursting shells. She was hit in the arm, though fortunately not
seriously, and only desisted from her task when it became evident that
they must all leave the place. The rebels had set the Residency on fire.

With the wounded and an escort of sepoys, Mrs. Grimwood and the officers
who had survived made a dash for the road, reaching it in safety. “I had
not even a hat,” she remarks, “and only very thin house-shoes on. One of
these dropped off in the river, where I got wet up to the shoulders. We
were fired at all the way. I lay down in a ditch about twenty times that
night while they were firing, to try and escape bullets.”

After ten days’ marching through the jungle-covered country, fording
rivers and scrambling through swamps, not to mention a sharp encounter
with their enemies, the little party reached British territory. They had
just two cartridges left by that time; one of them being reserved, it is
noted, to save Mrs. Grimwood from falling alive into the hands of the

One is tempted to dwell at greater length on the story of that dramatic
flight from the Residency, but it is with Lieutenant Grant that we are
mainly concerned.

Grant was at Tammu, a Burma village station some distance to the south,
when word arrived of the outbreak in Manipur. No details of the massacre
or the escape were known, but in the hope of being able to effect a
rescue the young officer obtained permission to lead a small force up to
Manipur. He took with him eighty men in all, Punjabis and Ghurkas, with
three elephants as carriers.

Through the teak forests they marched steadily though slowly towards
their goal, having to constantly beat off the Manipuris as they
approached nearer. At Palel a sharp engagement took place, in which the
gallant eighty dispersed a large number of the enemy. From prisoners that
were captured here Grant learned for the first time of how Quinton and
Grimwood had been murdered.

Believing still that Mrs. Grimwood and several others were besieged in
the Residency, he pushed on with all speed, and at last reached the town
of Thobal, about half-way between Tammu and the capital. At this place
the Manipuris, a thousand or more strong, offered a stout resistance to
his progress, but a furious charge at the head of his followers cleared
the entrenchments by the river-side, leaving them free to be occupied by

These trenches the lieutenant at once strengthened, building up the walls
with mud, rice-baskets, ration-sacks and everything that would answer the
purpose, even using his own pillow-case as a sandbag. Provisions were
fortunately to be had with little difficulty, for behind them, on the
other side of the river, were some paddy fields.

The siege of his fortified position soon began, and the enemy’s guns
threw shell after shell into the trenches before the Ghurkas could drive
them off. A brief halt was made in the hostilities while Grant, as he
records, had a lively correspondence with the Regent and the Senaputty
anent certain prisoners whom they threatened to murder unless he retired.
Negotiations fell through eventually, and the attack was renewed.

In all the fighting Grant played a heroic part, making sallies with a few
of his Ghurkas, and striking terror into the hearts of the Manipuris.
“Found myself in a bit of a hole,” he writes at one place in his journal;
“for thirty or forty were in a corner behind a wall, six feet high, over
which they were firing at us.” This wall had to be cleared, so Grant and
seven men charged down on it headlong, and had “the hottest three minutes
on record.”

The Ghurkas had a very proper appreciation of their leader’s bravery.
“How could we be beaten under Grant Sahib?” they asked, when questioned
about this and similar exploits. “He is a tiger in fight!”

The struggle at Thobal lasted a week. At the end of that time, just as
Grant was noting with dismay that ammunition was running very short, a
summons came to him from Burma to retire.

The little force, without any further interference from the enemy, who
had suffered pretty severely, left their entrenchments one evening during
a terrible thunderstorm, and set off on their return journey. An advance
party of a hundred and eighty men met them near Palel, at which place
some hours later they fought another brisk action with the Manipuris.

In all this fighting Grant had escaped unhurt, but a few weeks
afterwards, while again under fire at Palel, he had a very narrow shave,
a bullet passing through the back of his neck. As he said himself, his
luck all through was marvellous: “Everything turned up all right.”

At the same time, making full allowance for the element of luck, there
is much, very much, to be placed to his credit on the score of pluck and
skill. The difficulties before him when he set out for Manipur on his
gallant attempt at rescue were tremendous, and only his undaunted courage
and resourcefulness carried him successfully through.

The young lieutenant is now Major Grant, V.C., having been gazetted two
months after his dashing exploit; and it is pleasing to note that every
one of his men who survived the march were also decorated, receiving the
Indian Order of Merit for their devotion and heroism.



There was some consternation in the quaint-looking, five-towered fort at
Chitral on the evening of the 3rd of March 1895. Sher Afzul, the usurping
chief of the little mountainous state in the north-west of India, was
approaching with a large force, and some two hundred of the 4th Cashmere
Rifles had gone out under Captain Townshend to try conclusions with the
rebels. After several hours’ brisk fighting in the villages nestling at
the foot of the hills, the troops had withdrawn to the fort, but some men
of one section still remained to be accounted for.

Captain Baird, with about a dozen Ghurkhas, had not returned. He
was lying somewhere out in the darkness, on the hillside, where the
white-robed Chitralis were still firing. And with him was Surgeon-Captain
Whitchurch, who had bravely hastened to his assistance on hearing that
the captain was wounded.

“Where is Whitchurch? Where is Baird?” Captain Gurdon and the other
members of the little garrison asked the question of each other anxiously
from time to time, hoping that the missing men had found their way into
the fort. The surgeon especially was needed, for Captain Townshend’s
reconnoitring party had brought many wounded back with them. But the
answer still came, with an ominous shake of the head, “Not in yet.”

In the meantime, while the occupants of the fort set about preparing for
the expected siege, the few stars that were beginning to peep out of the
clouded sky looked down upon a strange scene in a little orchard nearly
two miles away from the fort. There, under the trees, a wounded officer
was being bandaged by the skilful hands of another who bent over him, a
dozen sepoys and four stretcher-bearers standing patiently by.

The operation finished, the sufferer was lifted tenderly into a dhoolie.
Then two bearers raised it from the ground, the escort ranged itself
alongside, and the little party started out for the road leading to the

“Feel any easier now, old chap?” asked the surgeon, who was striding by
the dhoolie.

“Yes, thanks, Whitchurch; much easier,” replied Captain Baird,
suppressing a groan as one of the bearers stumbled over a stone.

Contrary to the general opinion expressed at the fort, neither of the
two missing men had been killed or captured by the enemy. When Baird had
fallen with a bullet in his side, his men had carried him quickly to the
shelter of an orchard close at hand, and here they had escaped notice.
All around them, however, lurked the Chitralis, on the look-out to cut
off any stragglers from the retreating force.

In a few minutes Whitchurch’s party had filed down the hillside and
reached the road, but a cry of warning from the native officer in front
pulled them up short.

“We’re cut off, sahib,” he exclaimed, as the surgeon hastened to his
side. “The enemy have got in front of us!”

It was, alas! too true. Although he could see nothing through the gloom,
the shouts and occasional shots that reached his ears told Whitchurch
plainly that the Chitralis were on the road ahead. What was to be done?

A sudden thought occurred to him. “Isn’t there a way round to the fort by
the river, Bidrina Singh?” he asked of the officer.

The other nodded affirmatively. There was a track along the river bank,
he said, but it would take them a mile out of their way and across some
very difficult ground.

“Never mind,” said the surgeon briskly. “We’ve got to get to the fort
to-night. So pull your men together, Bidrina Singh, and make for the
river at once.”

From his dhoolie Captain Baird called Whitchurch over to him, and begged
that he would consider his own safety first. “I’m badly hit, old chap,”
he said; “I know I’m done for----” But Whitchurch shut him up quickly.
While there was breath in his body he meant to stick to his comrade;
there was to be no talk of running away. So, picking up the wounded man
again, the native bearers took their place in the middle of the escort,
the latter closed up, and on they moved across the polo ground towards
the river on their left.

Thanks to the dense darkness, they made good progress on their way for a
quarter of an hour or so. Then a scouting party of Sher Afzul’s followers
suddenly appeared in front, and with a joyful shout gathered round them.
At Whitchurch’s quick word of command the sturdy little Ghurkas closed in
and fired a volley into the midst of their foes. There were yells of pain
which told that some of the shots had taken effect, but the yells drew
other Chitralis who were prowling near, and the answering shots of the
enemy became more frequent.

Whitchurch’s revolver spoke more than once with good effect, and his
“Steady, men! Aim low,” rang out encouragingly above the din. The
Chitralis, thank goodness, were firing somewhat at random, not knowing
the strength of those opposed to them; but one bullet at last found its
mark. A bearer dropped his end of the stretcher with a cry, and tumbled
over backwards, dead. The jolt of the fall wrung a groan from poor Baird,
in spite of his iron nerve. Then another stretcher-bearer stepped forward
and lifted the dhoolie, and on the little party pressed again.

Firing steadily in volleys, the gallant Ghurkas gradually cleared the
way before them. The Chitralis had no wish to stand in the way of those
deadly levelled barrels, preferring to circle round their prey and drop
in a shot as opportunity offered. Two more bearers were killed, together
with two or three sepoys, and the surgeon now took one end of the dhoolie

They had gone nearly half the distance when the enemy rallied in stronger
force and barred the track ahead. Things were beginning to look serious.
“Fix bayonets!” Whitchurch called out, and there was a rattle of steel in
the sockets. “Charge!” And with a cheer the Ghurkas dashed at the cluster
of white-robed figures, sending them scattering right and left, while a
few lay writhing on the ground.

That charge taught the Chitralis to keep at a more respectful distance,
but a little later some daring spirits ventured nearer, and the last
of the bearers fell shot through the body. Whitchurch put the dhoolie
down and lifted up the wounded man in his strong arms. The Ghurkas were
wanted, every man of them, to protect Baird with their rifles; not one
could be spared for bearer-work.

Again, it is said, the captain implored Whitchurch to leave him and make
a run for it to the fort. Perhaps he felt already that his wound was
mortal. But again the brave surgeon refused to hear a word. With Baird in
his embrace, he struggled gamely after the sepoys.

Along the rough, rock-strewn path the party stumbled, working their way
ever nearer and nearer to the fort. A low wall confronted them thrice, a
wall behind which the enemy were quick to post themselves. But jumping
over with the surgeon to lead them, the nimble Ghurkas swept the way
clear each time, and Whitchurch, having returned to pick up Baird, half
carried and half dragged his weighty burden to the more open ground.

At last, after another fifteen minutes’ struggle, a dark mass of trees
loomed up ahead. It was the grove of cedars by the eastern wall of the
fort. They were within sight of safety now. Still the Chitralis hovered
round, however, and a chance shot hit Baird as he hung limp in the
surgeon’s arms.

“Make for the garden entrance!” cried Whitchurch; and the Ghurkas turned
to pass through the grove. On their right, by the main gates, was a
confused sound of shouting and firing. The enemy had already gathered in
force there.

As they neared the entrance in the garden and gave a ringing cheer, the
sentries saw them. In a minute the gate was unbolted, and the little
party scrambled through, but not before Baird was yet a third time
hit--on this occasion in the face, as his head rested on Whitchurch’s
shoulder. How often has it happened in similar rescues, that the wounded
has been the target for the enemy’s bullets, while the rescuer has
escaped scot free! It was the story of “Dhoolie Square” repeated again,
the story of McManus, Ryan, and Captain Arnold.

Inside the fort enclosure the officers gathered quickly round Whitchurch
as the glad cry went up, “They’ve brought Baird in!” And tenderly, very
tenderly, for he was suffering greatly from his hurts, the wounded
officer was carried to the hospital, where without any loss of time the
surgeon followed to save, if possible, the life that was so dear to them

I should much like to add that he was successful; but fate willed
otherwise. Captain Baird lived only a few hours, and the fort that he had
helped to defend so gallantly served as his grave.

Chitral was relieved about the middle of April, when a British column
succeeded in fighting its way to the fort through the mountain
passes. Three months later the _London Gazette_ contained the welcome
announcement that the Victoria Cross had been awarded to Surgeon-Captain
Harry Frederick Whitchurch, of the Indian Medical Service.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria herself pinned the Cross on the brave
surgeon’s breast at Osborne, with warm words of praise that were echoed
by every one who had heard the story of that plucky night-rescue in
far-off Chitral.



One hundred and forty miles south of Chitral, as the crow flies, is the
border city of Peshawar, standing like a sentinel on the north-western
frontier of India. It is, indeed, the guardian of the gate, for before it
winds westward the famous Khyber Pass, which links Afghanistan with our
great Eastern Empire.

Peshawar stands almost in the heart of the Afridi country, surrounded
with the hill tribes of Mohmunds, Swats, Buners, Khels, Afridis and
Orakzais. Fierce warlike races are these, with whom from the beginning of
things we have had trouble. At one time we thought we had tamed them, and
we gave them the rifles they had hitherto stolen, put them into khaki,
and made them wardens of the passes. But the wild tribesmen cannot live
without fighting; disputes over boundaries arose, and these eventually
culminated in a rising that threatened to weaken our grip on these
frontier posts. Whence came the Malakand, Swat, and Tirah campaigns of

When in 1897 Sir William Lockhart, Commander-in-Chief in India, moved
towards the rebellious tribes with an army numbering 35,000 men, it was
evident that there was a powerful combination between the Mohammedan
clans in the hills north, west, and south of Peshawar, against British
rule. It was, in a sense, a Holy War, with Mad Mullahs as instigators,
though behind them was the sinister influence of the Amir of Afghanistan.

The campaigns were comparatively brief, but they must ever rank as among
the most difficult in modern history. The fighting was never in the open.
Our soldiers--Highlanders, Dorsets, and Ghurkas alike--had to scale
precipitous cliffs, worm their way up tortuous hillside paths, and storm
the stone “sangars” behind which their enemies were strongly posted.

In the tangle of hills in which the engagements took place the agile
Afridis and their brother-clansmen were perfectly at home. Rocks, caves,
and bushes afforded them ample shelter, and from the heights that lined
the passes they poured a deadly fire upon the British troops. The work of
dislodging them, of driving them from their strongholds, taxed the powers
of our men to the utmost.

Of the several V.C.’s won in this arduous mountain warfare the first fell
to Lieutenant Edward Costello, of the Indian Staff Corps, for a gallant
rescue of a native lance-havildar at Malakand. The wounded havildar lay
out in the open, exposed to the enemy’s fire, when the lieutenant saw
him, on a piece of ground, too, that was overrun with swordsmen. But the
young officer with a couple of sepoys ran out to his assistance, and
brought him into the hospital.

A month later, in the Swat valley beyond the Malakand Pass, three Crosses
were earned for a very brilliant action. At Landikai, on August 17th,
1897, the advance guard of Sir Bindon Blood’s brigade shelled the enemy
from their position and drove them out into the plain. Across this the
Swatis retreated at top speed, making for the shelter of the hills on the
other side.

In pursuit of the flying tribesmen went Colonel Robert Bellew Adams,
Captain Palmer, Lieutenant Greaves, and Viscount Fincastle, the latter
being present in the capacity of _Times_ correspondent. Palmer’s horse
was soon hit, its rider being saved by some of his men who galloped
after him. Greaves’ horse, becoming restive under the din of the firing,
suddenly bolted, and away went the lieutenant careering among the enemy.

Seeing him alone among the Swatis, Colonel Adams and Viscount Fincastle
spurred hastily to his rescue, but before they could reach him the
hapless lieutenant had been struck down by a swordsman. In the hope that
he was not killed they pushed on, and with a furious charge swept the
ground clear around his body.

A well-aimed shot now brought down Fincastle’s horse, leaving the young
war-correspondent to meet his enemies on foot. He at once endeavoured to
raise Greaves on to Adams’ saddle, but the wounded man slipped off again,
and a rush of Ghazis prevented a second attempt for the time. Standing
over the lieutenant’s body, Fincastle bravely kept the enemy at bay,
being well aided by Colonel Adams. Then two sowars rode up to them, and
another attempt was made to lift Greaves to the saddle. They succeeded in
their object, but another bullet hit the poor fellow again as they raised
him and killed him.

By this time Lieutenant MacLean of the same squadron had led the rest of
the troopers to the cover of some trees. Leaving them here, he dashed
out with three sowars to the others’ help. Shots fell thickly among
them from the Ghazis on the hillside, but together they managed to get
Greaves’ body on to a trooper’s horse, and at once made off for shelter.
Fincastle and MacLean were on foot, the latter’s horse having also been
shot; and as they went along the young lieutenant was hit in both thighs
and mortally wounded. Colonel Adams escaped with a sword-cut in his right

Both Adams and Fincastle received the V.C. for their brave attempt
to rescue Greaves, while Lieutenant Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean
was gazetted at the same time as one who would have been awarded the
decoration had he lived.

     *       *       *       *       *

There was a sharp piece of fighting in the Mamund Valley some weeks
later, where two young Engineer officers, Lieutenants Watson and Colvin,
distinguished themselves in driving the enemy from the burning village
of Bilot, and added V.C. to their names. But I must pass on to tell of
the famous storming of the heights of Dargai and of how the “gay Gordons”
there covered themselves with fresh glory.

In the advance of the British troops from Shinwari towards Karappa a
large portion of the division under Major-General Yeatman-Biggs was
ordered to take the route through the Chagru Kotal. As soon as this
movement was commenced, however, the Afridis posted themselves in great
force in the Samana Hills along the Khanki Valley, giving them the
command of the track along which the army must necessarily pass.

The working parties on the Chagru Kotal were so harassed by the Afridi
sharpshooters that it became important that the Dargai and other hills
in the vicinity should be cleared. On October 18th, Sir Power Palmer,
who was entrusted with the conduct of the operations in place of General
Yeatman-Biggs, who had fallen ill, made a sweeping attack on the Dargai
position. The 3rd Ghurkas, led by Lieutenant Beynon with a revolver in
one hand and an alpenstock in the other, led the dash up the cliff-side,
and successfully dislodged the enemy.

Unfortunately, for several reasons, the heights could not be held. The
water-supply was difficult of access, and to have placed a detachment
alone on Dargai while the Afridis were masters of the Khanki Valley
would have been to risk a serious disaster. Under orders from the
Commander-in-Chief, the troops therefore retired from the position.

As soon as this retreat was accomplished, the enemy, who had been greatly
reinforced, reoccupied the heights and set about constructing stone
“sangars,” in anticipation of another assault. This followed two days
later, after fresh preparations had been made. General Yeatman-Biggs
had proposed another route avoiding the Chagru defile, but Sir William
Lockhart determined to adhere to his original plan, viz. to force the
passage of the Chagru Kotal.

On Wednesday, October 20th, in the early morning, the troops,
strengthened by the addition of two battalions and a battery from the
first division, left the Shinwari camp. The honour of carrying the
Dargai heights, which had to be stormed immediately the Chagru Kotal
was reached, was given to the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Ghurkas, with
the Dorset and Derbyshire Regiments in the second and third lines
respectively. Behind these came the 1st Battalion of the Gordon
Highlanders (the old 75th).

To understand properly the difficult nature of the task set them,
something must be said about Dargai itself. I cannot do better than quote
the description given by Captain Shadwell in his excellent book on the

“The village of Dargai lies on the northern side of a small plateau.
The eastern edge of this tableland breaks off, at first, in an almost
abrupt cliff; but some distance lower down the ground, though very steep,
shelves away less precipitously. This slope is thrown out from the bottom
of the cliff in the form of a narrow and razor-like spur, with the path
or track lying along its northern side, well within view and range of
the cliff-head. But by climbing along the southern side of this spur,
troops can move from Chagru Kotal, or certainly from Mama Khan, a village
half-way between the former place and the plateau, unseen by the enemy.

“Connecting the crest of the spur, however, and the foot of the cliff,
there is a narrow neck or saddle one hundred yards long by thirty broad,
whose sides are far too precipitous to allow of any movement along
them. Though devoid of all cover and completely exposed to the heights
above, this ridge had to be crossed, so as to reach the path ascending
to the summit; and here it was that the casualties in the attack by
Brigadier-General Westmacott’s Brigade (on the 18th) and the heavier
losses of the 20th occurred.”

This, then, was the dangerous passage to be “rushed” by our troops. In
addition to its exposure to the enemy’s fire, it may be added that the
ground was thickly strewn with rocks and boulders which greatly impeded

As on the first assault, the post of honour was allotted to those game
little fighters, the Ghurkas. The 1st Battalion of the 2nd Ghurkas,
with a party of specially trained scouts from the 3rd, under Lieutenant
Tillard, swarmed up the slope at the word of command and dashed headlong
across the zone of fire. In the rush through the pitiless rain of bullets
that at once descended two officers fell, one shot dead and the other
mortally wounded, while thirty men bit the dust, never to rise again; but
the rest reached cover on the opposite side.

After the brave Ghurkas, the Dorsets and the Derbys tried time and time
again to follow, only to be mowed down in heaps. All that succeeded in
crossing the ridge were a few who made a dash for it singly or in small
parties. How deadly was the marksmanship of the Afridis is shown by the
fact that when Lieutenant Hewett, of the Dorsetshire Regiment, led a
section forward, he was _the only one_ to reach the crouching Ghurkas.
Every one of the men following him was killed.

It was in a pause at this juncture that Private Vickery, of the same
regiment, made himself conspicuous by running out repeatedly and at last
succeeding in dragging back to shelter a wounded comrade who was lying
out in the open; this and several other acts of bravery gaining him a
V.C. in due course.

For a time it seemed a sheer impossibility that the position could be
carried, though the artillery was playing upon the enemy’s sangars
continually. Noon came, and still the three companies of Ghurkas were
waiting under the cover of the rocks until their comrades should join
them for the final dash up the heights.

At last General Yeatman-Biggs ordered that the position must be taken
at all costs. Brigadier-General Kempster, in command of the brigade,
now brought forward the 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders and the
3rd Sikhs, and told them they were to make the assault. Far up on the
hillside the jubilant Afridis were shouting defiance, amid the waving
of standards and beating of drums, confident that their stronghold was
impregnable. They rejoiced too soon.

Drawing up his men, Colonel Mathias, of the Gordons, said: “Highlanders!
the General says the position must be taken at all costs. The Gordons
will take it!”

With their Colonel, Major Forbes Macbean, and Lieutenant Gordon at their
head, and their pipers, Findlater and Milne, playing the familiar “Cock
o’ the North,” the Gordons dashed over the fiery zone, with the Derbys,
the Dorsets, and the Sikhs pressing close behind them.

Almost the first to be hit were Major Macbean, who cheered on his men
as he lay on the ground, and the two pipers. Milne was shot through the
lung and fell senseless, but Piper “Jock” Findlater, who was shot in both
ankles, propped himself up against a boulder and continued to play his
pipes with unabated energy. And to the inspiriting strains of the old
regimental air, the Highlanders and the others got across.


It was perhaps owing to the suddenness of the rush after the long wait,
and to the renewed artillery fire, that the Gordons accomplished the task
with fewer losses than had attended the previous attempts; yet for all
that the casualties were heavy. In the charge up the steep slope, where
some of the Afridis were already turning tail, more men were to fall ere
the heights were won; but won they were, the enemy being sent flying in
all directions.

It was a grand dash, worthy of the splendid reputation of the Gordons,
and well did they deserve the burst of cheers with which the other
regiments spontaneously greeted them as they returned. Sir William
Lockhart, too, at a parade two days afterwards, had a word or two to say
about that exploit which filled the Highlanders with pride.

For his gallantry in continuing to play his pipes while wounded “Jock”
Findlater in time was awarded the Victoria Cross. There were many who
considered that Piper Milne also merited the honour, but the authorities
thought differently, and his claim was passed over.

Two other Crosses on the same day were gained by Private Lawson, of the
Gordons, for rescuing Lieutenant Dingwall and a fellow-private under a
most severe fire; and by Lieutenant H. S. Pennell, of the Derbyshires,
for a brave endeavour to save Captain Smith of the same regiment. Only
after a second attempt, when he discovered that the wounded officer was
dead, did Lieutenant Pennell desist from his efforts.

What other gallant deeds were performed equally deserving of reward it
is impossible to say. In the fierce swirl of the fight many must have
passed unnoticed, and many heroes must have fallen at the moment of their
self-sacrifice. But we do know that it was not only British officers and
men who distinguished themselves in that memorable fight. For the record
speaks of one Kirpa Ram Thapa, a native officer of the 2nd Ghurkas, who
though badly wounded in two places refused to fall out, and insisted on
leading his company to the very end.

One other story that I may note has a humorous touch about it, and is
characteristic of the good terms on which officers and men are in the
Highland regiments. As the Gordons streamed up the ascent to the summit
of Dargai, after their bold dash, Colonel Mathias, who was not quite the
man he was in his younger days, showed signs of being winded.

“Stiff climb, eh, Mackie?” he said, turning to his colour-sergeant, who
was by him; “I’m--not--so young--as I--was, you know.”

“Never mind, sir!” the sergeant is said to have answered, slapping his
colonel encouragingly on the back and nearly knocking the remaining
breath out of him. “_Ye’re gaun verra strong for an auld man!_”



The late war in South Africa, when--for the last time, it is to be
hoped--Briton and Boer strove for supremacy, is too recent to need
even an outline of its history being given here. It was a war of many
blunders and disasters, and its record does not make altogether pleasant
reading; yet against the gloom of it there is not a little to be set of
which we may be proud. After the war had entered upon its second phase
good generalship asserted itself; victory followed victory in swift
succession, and there was no more looking back.

Many reputations were lost, while others were gained, in this difficult
campaign, but there was one person whose prestige from the first suffered
no loss. That was the British soldier. In the face of a foe remarkable
for “slimness” and marksmanship, Tommy Atkins once more showed himself
the splendid fighter that he always has been. We have only to remember
the fierce battles on the Tugela River, at Colenso, at Magersfontein,
at Paardeberg, and elsewhere, to assure ourselves on this point. Under
the most terrible fusillade--and how terrible it was at times can hardly
be conveyed in words--our gunners and our infantry never hesitated or
winced. Throughout the ranks they fought with an indomitable courage that
compelled the admiration of the Boers, and in the pride we feel at their
bravery and devotion we are glad to forget the incompetency displayed by
many of their leaders.

Of the acts of individual heroism that were performed pages and pages
might be written without exhausting the subject. In the leading of
forlorn hopes, and in the succouring of wounded comrades under fire,
officers and privates alike were ever ready to risk their lives; and the
fact that no fewer than seventy-eight Victoria Crosses were won in the
war speaks for itself. How some of these rewards for valour were gained
it is my purpose to relate in the present chapter.

Among the first to be decorated was an Army surgeon, a worthy successor
to Jee, Home, and those others of whom mention has been made. At the
battle of Colenso, in December 1899, Major William Babtie, of the Royal
Army Medical Corps, received word that a number of wounded artillerymen
were in need of assistance. They lay in a donga, or hollow, close by the
guns of their batteries (the 14th and 15th), sheltered from the Boer
marksmen, but suffering considerable agony from their wounds.

Without loss of time, and quite alone, Major Babtie rode out to them. He
knew full well that the instant he appeared in the open he would become
a target for the enemy’s rifles, and few of those who watched him go on
his errand of mercy expected to see him alive again. But although his
horse was struck three times, he himself by good fortune escaped being
hit. Reaching the donga, he found a score of poor fellows badly needing
attention, and with wonderful coolness he set about dressing their
injuries. The Boers, who had no scruples about firing upon the wounded,
made repeated attempts to get within range of the intrepid surgeon and
his patients, but with ill-success. Babtie seemed to bear a charmed life,
and he was able to save many a gunner who but for his prompt help must
have died on the field.

The Royal Army Medical Corps, it may be mentioned, won three more
Crosses in South Africa, making the total placed to their credit seven.
Lieutenants Douglas, Nickerson, and Inkson were the other heroes, the
last-named being conspicuous for carrying a wounded comrade for over
three hundred yards under heavy fire to a place of safety.

It was at Colenso that the magnificent attempt to save the guns was made
which resulted in the sad death of Lieutenant the Hon. F. H. S. Roberts,
the only son of Lord Roberts, then Commander-in-Chief. Colonel Long, with
the 14th and 66th Batteries of the Royal Field Artillery, had pressed
forward to drive the Boers from their trenches along the bank of the
Tugela, expecting to be supported by reinforcements. But under the deadly
fire directed upon him he was obliged to retire, leaving many dead and
wounded behind him, and leaving, too, twelve guns standing ready for use,
with their breech-blocks still in them.

For a long time the guns stood deserted thus, while the battle raged to
right and left of them. Then, as General Hildyard’s infantry, including
the Devons, the Queen’s, and the Scots Fusiliers, made their dashing
advance upon the Boer positions, a trio of staff officers who were with
Generals Buller and Clery volunteered to save the guns if possible.
These three were Captains Schofield and Congreve, and Lieutenant Roberts.

Other volunteers were soon forthcoming when it was known that the attempt
was to be made, and corporals, linesmen, and some drivers of ammunition
waggons, with two or three spare teams, galloped out after their leaders.
The guns were reached, but at once Boer shells and bullets began to drop
thickly around. Captain Congreve was almost the first to be hit, being
wounded in the leg. Then young Roberts was struck, at the same time that
a shell burst under his horse, inflicting severe wounds upon him. “He was
looking over his shoulder at Schofield,” says an eye-witness, “laughing
and working his stick with a circular motion, like a jockey, to encourage
his horse,” when his first bullet found him, and he fell mortally
wounded. In the meantime the gallant gunners and drivers were limbering
up with all speed, and thanks to Captain Schofield’s exertions, two of
the guns were hauled back in safety.

Later on, Captain Reed of the 7th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, made
another and partially successful effort to rescue some of the remaining
ten guns, receiving a bad wound in his thigh in the attempt; but almost
all of them had to be abandoned. For their gallantry, however, Captains
Schofield, Congreve, and Reed, with Lieutenant Roberts, were all
recommended for the V.C., the three first-named alone surviving to
receive the decoration. Poor Lieutenant Roberts, as will be remembered,
died at Chievely, two days later.


As to the bravery of the men who helped them to save the guns, both
Captain Schofield and Captain Reed have borne eloquent tribute. “Bosh!”
said Reed, when he was complimented on his exploit; “it was all the
drivers.” And if you ask Captain Schofield, you will find he will make
much the same answer. While the rain of bullets poured on them the
drivers limbered up in a calm, business-like fashion, as if there wasn’t
a Boer within a dozen miles of them.

“Just to show you what cool chaps those drivers were,” says Captain
Schofield, “when I was hooking on one of the guns, one of them said,
‘Elevate the muzzle a little more, sir.’ That’s a precaution for
galloping in rough country, but I shouldn’t have thought of it--not just
then, at any rate. Pretty cool, wasn’t it?”

They were gallant men those drivers without doubt, as gallant as Colonel
Long’s gunners, who fell one by one by their guns until only two were
left, two who continued the unequal battle alone, and when the ordinary
ammunition was exhausted fired their last shot, the emergency rounds of
case; after which they stood at attention and waited for the end that
came swiftly. All could not be decorated, however, though all deserved
equal honour, and so Corporal G. E. Nurse, of the Royal Field Artillery,
was elected to receive the V.C. as the most fitting representative.

The next heroes on the list are two brave men of the Protectorate
Regiment, Sergeant H. R. Martineau and Trooper (now Lieutenant) H. E.
Ramsden. During a sortie from besieged Mafeking Sergeant Martineau’s
attention was called to Corporal Le Camp, who had been struck down by a
Boer bullet. The latter was lying in the open less than a dozen yards
from the enemy’s trenches and bleeding profusely from his wound. Not far
away were some bushes which offered ample shelter, so making a dash for
the corporal, the sergeant carried and dragged him thither as best he
could. Then, kneeling by the wounded man’s side, he carefully bandaged
the gaping shot-hole and stanched the flow of blood.

Despite the shelter of the bushes, Martineau did not escape being hit. He
was shot in the side as he stooped over the corporal, and he was struck
yet twice more when, at the order to retire, he picked up Le Camp and
carried him after his comrades, who were falling back upon the town. That
plucky rescue cost the sergeant an arm, but it won him--though small
compensation, perhaps--a V.C.

The same honour fell to Trooper H. E. Ramsden in this fight, for
carrying his brother out of danger in very similar circumstances. The
list of those who figured in gallant actions of this kind, indeed, is
a long one. There was Second-Lieutenant John Norwood (now a captain),
of the 5th Dragoon Guards, who while in charge of a small patrol party
outside Ladysmith, in October 1899, was nearly cornered by the Boers. In
retiring one of the troopers fell, whereupon the lieutenant, galloping
back, dismounted, lifted the wounded man on to his shoulder, and with
his horse’s bridle over his arm walked back to rejoin his comrades. And
there was Lieutenant Sir John Milbanke of the 10th Hussars, who saved
the life of one of his men while out on a reconnaissance near Colesberg.
The lieutenant himself was badly wounded with a ball in his thigh, but
disregarding this, he went to the aid of the wounded man, who was exposed
to the Boer fire, and successfully brought him out of range.

Both these heroes gained the V.C., as, too, did Private Bisdee and
Lieutenant Wylly, of the Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen, for gallantry of a
like order. Having run into an ambuscade, the scouting party of which
the Tasmanians were members had to get out of it as best they could. The
Boers from their cover kept up a hot fire, and men and horses dropped
quickly. Out of the eight in the party all but two were hit, and one of
the officers had his horse shot beneath him. Seeing his predicament,
Private Bisdee offered him a stirrup leather to hold on to, but the other
was more badly wounded than he had supposed. Jumping off his horse,
therefore, he put his officer into the saddle, and mounting behind him,
galloped out of action. Lieutenant Wylly in his turn gave up his horse
to a wounded private, afterwards taking up a position behind a rock, and
using his rifle to good purpose to cover the retreat of the little party.

It does one good to read of heroism such as this, for it helps to keep
alive our faith in those fine qualities which have made Englishmen what
they are. If we still find something inspiring in the records of the old
sea-dogs, such as Benbow, who was carried on deck in a basket after he
had lost his leg, so that he might continue to direct the fight, we may
treasure in our memories with no less reverence the deeds of many humbler
heroes. There is about them, too, often enough, a truly British touch of
dare-devilry, cheek, pluck--call it what you will--that cannot but strike
one’s imagination.

Take the story of Sergeant T. Lawrence of the 17th Lancers, the “Death
or Glory Boys.” He was in charge of a patrol in the neighbourhood of
Lindley, in August 1900, while the Lancer Brigade was chasing De Wet.
Suddenly attacked by a body of fourteen Boers, the patrol was obliged to
retire. In the gallop for safety Private Hayman’s horse was bowled over,
and down came its rider to the ground with a dislocated shoulder and
broken collar-bone. In a twinkling the sergeant saw what had happened.
The Boers were hard upon their heels, but taking his chance, Lawrence
rode back to Hayman’s assistance. The private’s horse being useless,
Lawrence dismounted and raised the wounded man on to his own steed, a
dun pony, it is recorded. Then, setting the animal’s head for the picket
and bidding Hayman hold on for his life, the sergeant gave the pony a
vigorous kick and started him off. This done, Lawrence made his way back
on foot, keeping up a warm fire with his carbine; and for _two_ miles he
retired thus, successfully holding off the Boers, until a party which had
ridden out in search of him brought the plucky fellow into our lines.

There is a true British ring about Sergeant Lawrence’s action which
is unmistakable, and few South African heroes more deserved the V.C.
which was eventually bestowed upon him. He, thanks to his skill with
the carbine, and perhaps owing something to luck, escaped without a
scratch, but not all were so fortunate. Writing of Lawrence reminds me of
another hero, Lieutenant and Adjutant G. H. B. Coulson, of the King’s Own
Scottish Borderers, who won glory and death at the same time.

It was during the rearguard action near Lambrecht Fontein, in May 1901.
A corporal of the Mounted Infantry was wounded and helpless, so the
lieutenant pulled him up on to his own horse. As they rode along the
animal was itself struck, and it became evident that a double burden
was more than it could carry. There was only one thing to be done.
Slipping off the horse, Coulson told the corporal to “hang on” and save
himself; then, revolver in hand, he stayed behind, in the faint hope
that he might win back to safety on foot. It was a vain hope. The Boers
rode down upon him, and--one man against a hundred--he fell riddled with
bullets. Afterwards, when the corporal had told his story, they gazetted
Lieutenant and Adjutant Coulson V.C., as one to whom the decoration would
have been awarded had he lived.

Among other dead heroes of the South African War, place must be found for
Lieutenant Parsons of the Essex Regiment and Sergeant Atkinson of the
Yorkshires. At Paardeberg, where a fierce battle was fought in February
1900, many poor wounded fellows lay in the sweltering heat suffering for
want of water. Water there was within reach, in the river that wound
round by the enemy’s trenches, but the task of fetching it was attended
with considerable danger. Some four or five men made the attempt, only
to fall under the hail of Boer bullets. Nothing daunted, however, both
Parsons and Atkinson made several dashes for the precious water, the
former venturing twice, and rendering much-needed relief to those wounded
near him.

Atkinson, who had distinguished himself in the fight by rescuing
Lieutenant Hammick of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry, went down to
the river no fewer than seven times, being under fire all the while.
At the seventh venture his fate found him. A bullet struck him in the
head, and the brave Yorkshireman fell mortally wounded. He was a son of
Farrier-Major James Atkinson, of the Royal Artillery, who is stated to
have been one of the party who captured the original Sebastopol cannon
from which the Victoria Crosses are now cast. Although Lieutenant Parsons
survived Paardeberg, he never lived to receive his Cross, being killed
later at Driefontein.

For bravery that distinguishes itself in the storming of apparently
impregnable positions and in the leading of forlorn hopes, the Highland
regiments perhaps bear the palm. One remembers their deeds in the Mutiny
days and, more recently, at Dargai. In South Africa they wrote their
names large, at Magersfontein, Paardeberg, and in many a minor action.

One of their most dashing exploits was the capture of Thaba Mountain, in
April 1900, by the Gordons. In this engagement Captain E. B. Towse, with
but a dozen men at his back, charged in the face of a hundred and fifty
Boers, who had climbed the hill from the opposite side, and routed them.
The position was won and held, for the Highlanders--and especially the
Gordons--are men who like to have their own way, but their brave leader
paid dearly for his victory. During the brief but fierce encounter he
was shot through both eyes and blinded for life. This action at Thaba
Mountain, together with his well-remembered gallantry at Magersfontein,
where in the very fore-front of the battle he was seen helping Colonel
Downman, who was mortally wounded, gained Captain Towse the V.C. Little
wonder is it that as she pinned it on the hero’s breast Queen Victoria
was moved to tears of sympathy and pity.

There were several V.C.’s gained in and around Ladysmith during the
memorable siege of that town which well deserve mention. Listen to the
story of how Privates Scott and Pitts of the Manchester Regiment won
the coveted decoration. In one of the Boer assaults early in 1900 the
Manchesters were given the task of holding Cæsar’s Camp, a position in
the long ridge of hills to the north-east of the town. Here they erected
circular stone sangars, in each of which a few men were posted with a
plentiful supply of ammunition.

When the attack was delivered, Cæsar’s Camp and Waggon Hill in the
vicinity received the brunt of it. Before the Boer fire the Manchester
Regiment in particular suffered great loss, many of their sangars being
captured and occupied by the enemy; but there was one spot in the
defences that the Boers failed to carry. In the little sangar where they
had been stationed Privates Scott and Pitts swore an oath that they would
never give up while breath was left in their bodies, and for fifteen
long hours their deadly rifle fire kept the Boers at bay. In the end,
as we know, the enemy were compelled to withdraw baffled, whereupon the
two plucky privates who had “held the fort” so manfully returned to camp
smoke-blackened and--in Scott’s case--wounded, to receive the due reward
of their heroism.

Yet another brave man of Ladysmith fame was Private J. Barry of the
Royal Irish. In the night attack on Monument Hill in January 1901, he
was helping to work a Maxim when the Boers surrounded the little party.
His comrades having been all shot down, Private Barry was called on to
surrender, but this word was not in his vocabulary. He neither intended
surrendering nor yielding his gun to the enemy, so hurling a defiance at
the latter, he proceeded to smash the breech of the Maxim and render it
useless. A few quick blows were sufficient for the purpose, and the work
was done ere the infuriated Boers raised their rifles and shot him dead.

A distinguished fellow-soldier of Barry’s was Colour-Sergeant (now
Captain) Masterson, the hero of Waggon Hill. In the furious hand-to-hand
fight on the hill he was a conspicuous figure, only being overborne at
last by sheer force of numbers, and falling with ten wounds in his body
and limbs. None of his injuries were mortal, however, and he survived to
receive the V.C. and a commission.

Captain Masterson’s name and rank, by the way, vividly recall to one’s
mind the exploit of a Royal Irish Fusilier of earlier days, Sergeant
Masterton, the hero of Barossa. Masterton was known as “the Eagle Taker,”
for the dashing capture of a French Eagle standard after a charge up a
hill much in the fashion of the Fusiliers at Waggon Hill, and he too was
rewarded by promotion.

With another story of the gallant gunners I must bring this chapter to
a close. The scene is Korn Spruit, on the road between Thaban’chu and
Bloemfontein. On March 31st, 1900, two batteries of the Royal Horse
Artillery were making their way to the Orange Free State capital, when
they fell into a Boer ambush. Before the alarm could be raised five guns
of the leading battery and a large section of the baggage train had been

Q Battery, under the command of Major Phipps-Hornby, meanwhile was some
three hundred yards away from the spruit when the Boers opened fire, and
had time to wheel about into position. The enemy’s force far outnumbered
the British column, but Major Phipps-Hornby and his gunners had no idea
of deserting their comrades. Having gained the shelter of some railway
buildings near at hand, the battery--minus one gun which had had to be
abandoned--re-formed and at full gallop came again into action. Within
close range of the Boers they unlimbered and opened fire, while the teams
of horses were taken back to the rear of the buildings for safety.

For a long time the gunners served their pieces in splendid style, but
the order came at last to retire. Realising how difficult it would be
to hook the teams on to the guns under the terrible fusillade that the
Boers were maintaining, Major Phipps-Hornby decided to do without them.
Under his direction the men put their shoulders to the wheels literally,
helped by some officers and privates of the Mounted Infantry, and by much
pushing and hauling they eventually got four of the five guns round to
the back of the buildings under cover, saving some of the limbers at the
same time.

To rejoin the main body now entailed the crossing of a couple more
spruits and a donga which lay within easy range of the Boer guns, a
veritable zone of fire. But the gunners had faced danger like this
before, and at the call for volunteers many drivers stepped forward. As
quickly as possible the horses were put into the traces, the guns hooked
on, and off they set, one at a time, on their perilous journey. It was a
wild dash for safety, but they got home--all, that is, save one gun and
one limber, which after several attempts had to be left behind, all the
horses belonging to it being shot down.

It was a V.C. business, this saving of the guns, but when it came to a
question of making the award a difficulty arose. Every man of the battery
might be said to have an equal claim to be decorated. As a few Crosses
only could be awarded, however, Rule 13 of the original Warrant had
to be enforced, under which the honour was conferred upon the battery
as a whole, one officer, one non-commissioned officer, one gunner and
one driver being elected by their comrades as recipients. Of the two
officers, Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys, who had taken the
leading part in the affair, each had displayed conspicuous gallantry,
and each with characteristic generosity nominated the other for the
decoration. One would like to have seen both of them gazetted, but the
rule had to be adhered to, and, as senior officer, the V.C. was presented
to Major Phipps-Hornby. Sergeant Parker, Gunner Lodge, and Driver Glasock
hold the other three Crosses of the corps for this notable action.

Yet another hero of Korn Spruit is Lieutenant (now Lieut.-Col.) F. A.
Maxwell, of the Indian Army, then attached to Roberts’ Light Horse.
When the Boer fire was concentrated on Q Battery, he volunteered his
assistance and faced the blizzard of lead five times, helping to save
two guns and three limbers. It was he, too, who aided in the gallant
but futile attempt to bring in the fifth gun, remaining exposed to shot
and shell until the last moment. For his bravery Lieutenant Maxwell was
awarded the V.C., and it is worthy of note that in announcing the fact the
_Gazette_ refers to his gallantry during the Chitral campaign, when he
recovered the body of Lieut.-Col. F. D. Battye, of the “Guides,” under a
heavy fire from the enemy.



Within the last four years we have seen three campaigns of some
importance which have added several V.C.’s to the roll. In 1902-3 was
the punitive expedition against the Mad Mullah in Somaliland, bringing
distinction to Captain Cobbe and others; in 1903 the rising in Nigeria,
where, at Sokoto, Captain Wallace Wright (of the Royal West Surrey
Regiment), with only one officer and forty men, made a gallant stand for
two hours against the repeated charges of 1000 of the enemy’s cavalry and
2000 infantry, eventually putting this large force to rout; and in 1904
the Sikkim-Tibet Mission, which yielded a V.C. to a young lieutenant of
Ghurkas named Grant. Of these campaigns that in Somaliland heads the list
with six Crosses, and the story of how they were won well deserves to be
told at length.

The first act of distinction was performed by Captain (now
Lieutenant-Colonel) A. S. Cobbe, D.S.O., at Erego, on October 6th, 1902.
In the fight at this place some of the companies were ordered to retire,
and Captain Cobbe suddenly found himself left alone in the firing line
with a Maxim. He saved the gun from capture by the enemy, and bringing
it back worked it single-handed with such good effect that he may be
said to have turned the fortunes of the day at a critical moment in the
action. Later on he went to the rescue of an orderly who had fallen under
the Somalis’ bullets, exposing himself not only to the enemy’s fire but
to that of his own men, who were replying vigorously. For his gallantry
Captain Cobbe was gazetted V.C., receiving the decoration from the hands
of General Manning at Obbia, some four months later.

With the fighting at Jidballi two V.C.’s are associated. One is proudly
worn by Lieutenant Herbert Carter for saving the life of Private Jai
Singh in the face of a determined rush of dervishes; and the other
by Lieutenant Clement Leslie Smith, of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light
Infantry. The latter was serving with the 5th Somali Mounted Infantry
at the time. In an onslaught made by the enemy from the bush our men
got broken up, and the combat resolved itself into a hand-to-hand
affair. Fighting desperately to recover themselves, the Mounted Infantry
rallied bravely to their leader’s call, but little could be done to
stave off defeat. The loyal Somalis were driven back, leaving many dead
and wounded on the ground, among the latter being one Rahamat Ali, a
Hospital-Assistant. Observing this man’s plight, Lieutenant Smith and Dr.
Welland of the R.A.M.C. made a desperate attempt to save him.

They had almost succeeded in getting the wounded man on to a horse when
one of the many bullets that rained upon them found him, and he was
killed. The Somalis now hemmed in the two officers on all sides, so the
lieutenant sought to bring out Dr. Welland, hastily helping him to mount
again. The doctor’s horse was shot, however, as was a mule which was next
seized, and immediately after there was a rush, and Welland was speared.
Smith stood by him to the end, endeavouring to keep off the enemy with
his revolver, but he had done all that mortal man could do, and it was
time to think of his own safety. At that time the dervishes were swarming
round him, and, as the _Gazette_ notes, it was marvellous indeed that he
escaped with his life.

But, notable as were these acts of bravery, it is for the heroic attempt
to rescue poor Captain Bruce that the Somaliland campaign will perhaps be
best remembered. In that drama of savage warfare, which brings home to us
most vividly the difficulties and dangers of bush fighting, three Crosses
were gained, inscribing the names of Rolland, Walker, and Gough upon the
roll of glory. This is the story of it.

On April 22nd, 1903, Major Gough’s flying column, which had been
operating in the Daratoleh district, began to fall back upon Danop,
owing to shortness in ammunition and the large number of wounded on
its hands. All around the little force, in the dense bush, the enemy
swarmed thickly, maintaining a harassing fire upon the troops. During the
afternoon the rearguard became cut off from the main body, and dropped
considerably into the rear. With this section were Captain Bruce, R.A.,
Major Gough’s staff officer, and Captains Rolland and Walker of the
Intelligence Department, and when in a little time Bruce fell badly
wounded, the look-out for the little party seemed bad indeed.

Having fired at and killed a savage whom he believed to have aimed the
fatal shot, Captain Rolland ran to his comrade’s assistance and dragged
him to one side of the forest path, where he would be less exposed to
the enemy’s fire. It was very evident that the wound was mortal, but
Rolland--who, by the way, was an old Harrow boy, like Bruce--determined
to make every effort to save his friend’s body if he could not save
his life. While he attended to him two Yaos (men of the King’s African
Rifles), a Sikh and a loyal Somali of the Camel Corps, bravely stood by
them, covering them with their rifles and holding the enemy in check, the
latter shouting to each other in joyful anticipation of a speedy victory.

Captain Bruce was a very heavy man, of nearly fourteen stone, and Captain
Rolland, who turned the scale at nine and a half, found he could not
lift the other. None of the four men could stop firing to help him, or
the Somalis would have made a rush, so the despairing officer shouted to
the disappearing column in front to halt. But the winding path soon hid
it from sight, and Rolland saw that he was left to his fate. The enemy,
becoming enboldened, now pressed closer in, and the captain had to leave
the wounded man’s side and use his carbine and revolver to drive the
Somalis back into the bush again. It was hot work, for the natives were
in strong force and armed with rifles in addition to their broad-bladed
throwing spears.

Suddenly Bruce got to his feet, and Rolland rushed to hold him up; but it
was the last flicker of life. The wounded man lurched forward again and
fell on his face, dragging Rolland down with him. As the latter turned
him over on to his back, Bruce opened his eyes and spoke for the last
time. “They’ve done for me this time, old man!” he said, and a moment or
two afterwards relapsed into unconsciousness.

To Rolland’s great relief, he looked up from his friend’s body to see
Captain Walker “trekking” towards him. His shout had been heard, after
all. Together the two tried to carry poor Bruce between them, but it was
no use; so Rolland decided to make a dash for the rearguard to get help.
It was a terribly long run, and he thought he must get hit every moment,
as the bullets pinged about him. He got through safely, however, and
seized a Bikanir camel. As he was leading this back he met Major Gough,
who asked what was the matter, and on being told at once hastened to
Bruce’s aid.

Rolland’s camel was desperately frightened at the firing and shouting,
and the captain had another bad quarter of an hour as he coaxed it and
urged it along the bush path, but he reached the others without mishap.
With Gough and Walker he now lifted Captain Bruce on to the kneeling
camel, and as they did so a third Somali bullet struck the wounded man,
almost immediately after which he died. At the same time the Sikh, who
had done his duty nobly in protecting his officers, had his arm smashed
by a fourth bullet.

The little party were not left alone until 5.30 p.m., when, after some
scattering shots, the enemy at last drew off. “It was the hardest day
of my life,” adds Captain Rolland, in his account of the affair, and we
may well believe him. “I fired 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 25-mile ride, a seven hours’ fight, and 25 miles back
to camp; _i.e._ 50 miles that day; 25 hours without food of any kind,
from 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.”

They buried Captain Bruce the next morning, side by side with another
officer who had been killed, Captain Godfrey, laying them to rest just as
they were, in their stained khaki uniforms. The silent African bush has
many such graves in its keeping.

It was not until some time later that the part Major Gough had played in
the rescue of Captain Bruce’s body was brought to light. He had promptly
reported the heroic conduct of Captains Rolland and Walker, but modestly
omitted all mention of his own share in the incident. And when the late
Mr. W. T. Maud, the artist-correspondent of the _Graphic_, attempted to
send home to his paper a full account of the affair, the Major rigidly
censored the despatch so that his name did not occur therein. His
heroism, however, could not be overlooked, and as soon as he was free
from Major Gough’s censorship Mr. Maud made public the true story of the
action, whereupon the V.C. was bestowed upon the Major as well as upon
Captains Rolland and Walker.

It is interesting to note that Major John Edmond Gough (now
Lieutenant-Colonel) is a son of General Sir C. J. S. Gough, V.C., and a
nephew of that other distinguished Indian veteran, General Sir H. H.
Gough, V.C. He thus establishes a record, for no other family has ever
yet possessed three members entitled to wear the decoration.

     *       *       *       *       *

To Lieutenant John Duncan Grant, of the 8th Ghurka Rifles, belongs the
distinction of winning the last Cross that has been awarded. The scene
of his exploit was Tibet, and the date July 6th, 1904. On that day
the storming of the Gyantse-jong, the most formidable of the Tibetan
strongholds, was successfully carried out, the Ghurkas, as on many a
previous occasion, being called on to perform the most ticklish part of
the business.

The jong, or fort, at Gyantse is perched high up on a hill, the approach
being rendered difficult for an enemy by the bare and almost precipitous
nature of the rock-face. There is scarcely any cover available, and an
attacking party is exposed to the fire from the curtain and the flanking
towers on both sides. All day the artillery had been thundering at the
walls with little success, but at last a small breach was made in the
curtain, and it became possible for a storming party to force its way
through. It became possible, I say, but the task was a truly hazardous
one. So little room was there that only one man could go up at a time,
crawling on his hands and knees to the hole in the curtain.

Lieutenant Grant, however, with his brave little Ghurkas, was not to
be daunted by such heavy odds. Leaving the cover of the village at the
foot of the hill, he led the advance up the steep slope. Immediately
behind him came Havildar Karbir Pun, as eager to come to close quarters
with the enemy as was his leader. Up the slippery face of the cliff
they scrambled, while a shower of rocks and stones poured down on them
from the Tibetans above, to say nothing of occasional volleys of jingal
bullets; and as they neared the top the lieutenant fell back wounded. Nor
did the havildar escape, being hurled back down the rock for thirty feet
or more.

Despite their injuries the intrepid couple made another attempt after
a brief pause. Covered by the fire of their men, they dashed for the
breach, and this time succeeded in their purpose. Grant was the first
through, with the faithful Karbir Pun at his heels, their rifles clearing
a path for them as they scrambled inside the jong. Then the rest of the
Ghurkas quickly poured in, and the issue of the assault was no longer in

Lieutenant Grant was gazetted in January of the year following. Havildar
Karbir Pun--the sepoys of our Indian army not being eligible for the
V.C.--received the Indian Order of Merit, which is its equivalent, being
conferred for conspicuous bravery in the field.

     *       *       *       *       *

And so this record of the Victoria Cross and its heroes comes to a close.
It is a brave record, indeed, from Lucas down to Grant, and we may well
be proud of the gallant fellows, soldiers and sailors, British and
Colonials, whose names figure therein. Of late years there has been some
complaint that the decoration is in danger of being cheapened by a too
liberal distribution, but I cannot think that such is the case. The right
to wear the coveted Cross is most jealously guarded; only for acts of
conspicuous bravery is it granted; and he would be a bold man who dared
to place his finger on any one of the 522 names in the list and say,
“That man was not worthy.” How jealously the recipients guard the honour
of the decoration for their part is shown by the fact that Rule 15 of the
original Warrant has never had to be enforced. No wearer of the V.C. has
been struck off the roll for “treason, cowardice, felony, or any infamous
crime.” And if at times we read of a Victoria Cross being sold (almost
invariably for a large amount) to some collector, we may be sure that
another V.C. hero has joined the great majority. The instances in which a
recipient of the Cross has parted with his decoration in his lifetime are
very rare, and this despite the most tempting offers for the same that
are known to have been made. For no medal that can be won by the officers
and men of either Service is so highly prized when gained as the little
bronze Maltese cross bearing the golden words, “FOR VALOUR.”




The following are the principal Royal Warrants that have been issued in
connection with the Victoria Cross.

                                WAR DEPARTMENT, _February 5th, 1856._

    The Queen has been pleased, by an instrument under her Royal Sign
    Manual, of which the following is a copy, to institute and create
    a new Naval and Military decoration, to be styled and designated
    “The Victoria Cross,” and to make the rules and regulations
    therein set forth under which the said decoration shall be

    VICTORIA, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great
    Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, etc., to all
    to whom these presents shall come, Greeting.

    Whereas, We, taking into Our Royal Consideration, that there
    exists no means of adequately rewarding the individual gallant
    services, either of officers of the lower grades in Our Naval
    and Military Service, or of warrant and petty officers, seamen
    and marines in Our Navy, and non-commissioned officers in Our
    Army. And, whereas, the third class of Our Most Honourable Order
    of the Bath is limited, except in very rare cases, to the higher
    ranks of both services, and the granting of Medals, both in Our
    Navy and Army, is only awarded for long service or meritorious
    conduct, rather than for bravery in action or distinction before
    an enemy, such cases alone excepted where a general medal is
    granted for a particular action or campaign, or a clasp added to
    the medal for some especial engagement, in both of which cases
    all share equally in the boon, and those who, by their valour,
    have particularly signalised themselves, remain undistinguished
    from their comrades. Now, for the purpose of attaining an end so
    desirable as that of rewarding individual instances of merit and
    valour, We have instituted and created, and by these presents for
    Us, our Heirs and Successors, institute and create a new Naval
    and Military Decoration, which We are desirous should be highly
    prized and eagerly sought after by the officers and men of Our
    Naval and Military Services, and are graciously pleased to make,
    ordain and establish the following rules and ordinances for the
    government of the same, which shall from henceforth be inviolably
    observed and kept.

    _Firstly._ It is ordained that the distinction shall be styled
    and designated “The Victoria Cross,” and shall consist of a
    Maltese cross of Bronze, with Our Royal Crest in the centre, and
    underneath with an escroll bearing the inscription “For Valour.”

    _Secondly._ It is ordained that the Cross shall be suspended
    from the left breast by a blue riband for the Navy, and by a red
    riband for the Army.

    _Thirdly._ It is ordained that the names of those upon whom We
    may be pleased to confer the Decoration shall be published in the
    _London Gazette_, and a registry thereof kept in the Office of
    Our Secretary of State for War.

    _Fourthly._ It is ordained that anyone who, after having received
    the Cross, shall again perform an act of bravery, which, if he
    had not received such Cross, would have entitled him to it, such
    further act shall be recorded by a bar attached to the riband by
    which the Cross is suspended, and for every additional act of
    bravery an additional bar may be added.

    _Fifthly._ It is ordained that the Cross shall only be awarded to
    those officers and men who have served Us in the presence of the
    enemy, and shall have then performed some signal act of valour or
    devotion to their country.

    _Sixthly._ It is ordained, with a view to placing all persons
    on a perfectly equal footing in relation to eligibility for the
    Decoration, that neither rank, nor long service, nor wounds, nor
    any other circumstance or condition whatsoever, save the merit
    of conspicuous bravery, shall be held to establish a sufficient
    claim to the honour.

    _Seventhly_. It is ordained that the Decoration may be
    conferred on the spot where the act to be rewarded by the grant
    of such Decoration has been performed, under the following
    circumstances:--1. When the fleet or army in which such act has
    been performed is under the eye and command of an admiral or
    general officer commanding the forces. 2. Where the Naval or
    Military force is under the eye and command of an admiral or
    commodore commanding a squadron or detached Naval force, or of a
    general commanding a corps or division or brigade on a distinct
    and detached service, when such admiral or general officer shall
    have the power of conferring the Decoration on the spot, subject
    to confirmation by Us.

    _Eighthly._ It is ordained where such act shall not have been
    performed in sight of a commanding officer as aforesaid, then the
    claimant for the honour shall prove the act to the satisfaction
    of the captain or officer commanding his ship, or to the officer
    commanding the regiment to which the claimant belongs, and such
    captain, or such commanding officer, shall report the same
    through the usual channel to the admiral or commodore commanding
    the force employed in the service, or to the officer commanding
    the forces in the field who shall call for such description and
    attestation of the act as he may think requisite, and on approval
    shall recommend the grant of the Decoration.

    _Ninthly._ It is ordained that every person selected for the
    Cross, under Rule 7, shall be publicly decorated before the Naval
    or Military force or body to which he belongs, and with which the
    act of bravery for which he is to be rewarded shall have been
    performed, and his name shall be recorded in a general order
    together with the cause of his especial distinction.

    _Tenthly._ It is ordained that every person selected under Rule
    8 shall receive his Decoration as soon as possible, and his name
    shall likewise appear in a general order as above required, such
    general order to be issued by the Naval or Military commander of
    the forces employed on the Service.

    _Eleventhly._ It is ordained that the general orders above
    referred to shall from time to time be transmitted to Our
    Secretary of State for War, to be laid before Us, and shall be by
    him registered.

    _Twelfthly._ It is ordained that, as cases may arise not falling
    within the rules above specified, or in which a claim, though
    well founded, may not have been established on the spot, We will,
    on the joint submission of Our Secretary of State for War and of
    Our Commander-in-Chief of Our Army, or on that of Our Lord High
    Admiral, or Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in the case of
    the Navy, confer the Decoration, but never without conclusive
    proofs of the performance of the act of bravery for which the
    claim is made.

    _Thirteenthly._ It is ordained that in the event of a gallant and
    daring act having been performed by a squadron, ship’s company,
    or detached body of seamen and marines not under fifty in number,
    or by a brigade, regiment, troop or company in which the admiral,
    general, or other officer commanding such forces may deem that
    all are equally brave and distinguished, and that no special
    selection can be made by them, then in such case the admiral,
    general, or other officer commanding, may direct that for any
    such body of seamen or marines, or for every troop or company of
    soldiers, one officer shall be selected by the officers engaged
    for the Decoration, and in like manner one petty officer or
    non-commissioned officer shall be selected by the petty officers
    and non-commissioned officers engaged, and two seamen or private
    soldiers or marines shall be selected by the seamen, or private
    soldiers, or marines engaged, respectively for the Decoration,
    and the names of those selected shall be transmitted by the
    senior officers in command of the Naval force, brigade, regiment,
    troop, or company, to the admiral or general officer commanding,
    who shall in due manner confer the Decoration as if the acts were
    done under his own eye.

    _Fourteenthly._ It is ordained that every warrant officer,
    petty officer, seaman or marine, or non-commissioned officer,
    or soldier who shall have received the Cross, shall, from the
    date of the act by which the Decoration has been gained be
    entitled to a special pension of £10 a year, and each additional
    bar conferred under Rule 4 on such warrant or petty officers,
    or non-commissioned officers or men, shall carry with it an
    additional pension of £5 per annum.

    _Fifteenthly._ In order to make such additional provision as
    shall effectually preserve pure this most honourable distinction,
    it is ordained that, if any person be convicted of treason,
    cowardice, felony, or of any infamous crime, or if he be
    accused of any such offence, and doth not after a reasonable
    time surrender himself to be tried for the same, his name shall
    forthwith be erased from the registry of individuals upon whom
    the said Decoration shall have been conferred, by an especial
    Warrant under Our Royal Sign Manual, and the pension conferred
    under Rule 14 shall cease and determine from the date of such
    Warrant. It is hereby further declared, that We, Our Heirs
    and Successors, shall be the all judges of the circumstances
    requiring such expulsion; moreover, We shall at all times have
    power to restore such persons as may at any time have been
    expelled, both to the enjoyment of the Decoration and Pension.

    Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace, this twenty-ninth day of
    January, in the nineteenth year of Our Reign, and in the Year of
    Our Lord, 1856.

                      By Her Majesty’s command,

                                          (Signed)         PANMURE.

    _To Our Principal Secretary of State for War._

On August 10, 1858, the _London Gazette_ announced that by a Warrant
under her Royal Sign Manual, her Majesty was pleased to direct that the
Victoria Cross should be conferred, “subject to the rules and ordinances
already made, on Officers and Men of Her Majesty’s Naval and Military
Services, who may perform acts of conspicuous courage and bravery under
circumstances of extreme danger, such as the occurrence of a fire on
board ship, or of the foundering of a vessel at sea, or under any other
circumstances in which, through the courage and devotion displayed, life
or public property may be saved.”

As noted in chapter 15, it was under this clause that Private O’Hea, Dr.
Douglas, and several others were gazetted.

     *       *       *       *       *

Provision for the award of the V.C. to Messrs. Kavanagh, Mangles, and
McDonell, who were civilians, was made by a supplemental Warrant, which
was announced in the _Gazette_ on 8th July, 1859, in the following

    The Queen having been graciously pleased by a Warrant under her
    Royal Sign Manual, bearing date 13th December 1858, to declare
    that Non-Military Persons who, as Volunteers, have borne arms
    against the Mutineers, both at Lucknow and elsewhere, during
    the late operations in India, shall be considered as eligible
    to receive the decoration of the Victoria Cross, subject to the
    rules and ordinances, etc. etc. … provided that it be established
    in any case that the person was serving under the orders of a
    General or other Officer in Command of Troops in the Field; her
    Majesty has accordingly been pleased to signify her intention to
    confer this high distinction on the undermentioned gentlemen,
    etc. etc.

The Warrant given below, which was issued in 1881, speaks for itself.
It merely restates in plain, unmistakable language the purport of the
original Warrant of 1856.

    _Royal Warrant.--Qualification required for the Decoration of the
    Victoria Cross._

    (This Warrant applies also to the Auxiliary and Reserve Forces.)


    Whereas doubts have arisen as to the qualification required for
    the decoration of the Victoria Cross, and whereas the description
    of such qualification in Our Warrant of 29th January, 1856, is
    not uniform. Our will and pleasure is that the qualification
    shall be “conspicuous bravery or devotion to the country in the
    presence of the enemy,” and that Our Warrant of 29th January,
    1856, shall be read and interpreted accordingly.

    It is Our further will and pleasure that Officers and Men of
    Our Auxiliary and Reserve Forces (Naval and Military) shall be
    eligible for the decoration of the Victoria Cross under the
    conditions of Our said Warrant, as amended by this Our Warrant.

    Given at Our Court at Osborne, this 23rd day of April, 1881, in
    the forty-fourth year of Our Reign.

                      By Her Majesty’s Command,

                                               HUGH C. E. CHILDERS.

In the same year, 1881, appeared another Warrant which included as
eligible for the Decoration members of the Indian Ecclesiastical
Establishment, provided that they were serving under a general or other
officer in command of troops in the field. By this provision the Rev. J.
W. Adams was gazetted V.C.

     *       *       *       *       *

Under a later Warrant, dated July 18, 1898, authority was given to
increase the Victoria Cross pension from £10 to £50 a year, the condition
to be satisfied in such cases being inability to earn a livelihood,
in consequence of age or infirmity occasioned by causes beyond an
Annuitant’s control.

The last Royal Warrant to be issued bears date August 8, 1902, and runs
as follows:--

The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the Decoration of
the Victoria Cross being delivered to the _representatives_ of the
undermentioned officers, non-commissioned officers and men who fell
during the recent operations in South Africa, in the performance of
acts of valour which would, in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief
of the Forces in the Field, have entitled them to be recommended for
that distinction had they survived:--(Here follow the names of Captain
Younger, Lieut. Digby-Jones, and others.)



The names of those who received the Victoria Cross at the first
distribution in Hyde Park, on Friday, June 26th, 1857, are given below,
in the order in which they were presented to her Majesty.


  RABY, H. J.             Commander.
  BYTHESEA, J.            Commander.
  BURGOYNE, H. T.         Commander.
  LUCAS, C. D.            Lieutenant.
  HEWETT, W. N. W.        Lieutenant.
  ROBARTS, J.             Gunner.
  KELLAWAY, J.            Boatswain.
  COOPER, H.              Boatswain.
  TREWAVAS, J.            Seaman.
  REEVES, T.              Seaman.
  CURTIS, H.              Boatswain’s Mate.
  INGOUVILLE, G.          Captain of Mast.


  DOWELL, G. D.           Lieutenant.
  WILKINSON, T.           Bombardier.


  GRIEVE, J.              Sergeant-Major     2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys).
  PARKES, S.              Private            4th Light Dragoons (Queen’s
  DUNN, A. R.             Lieutenant         11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s
  BERRYMAN, J.            Troop Sergt.-Maj.  17th Lancers.
  DICKSON, C.             Colonel            Royal Artillery.
  HENRY, A.               Captain            Royal Artillery.
  DAVIS, G.               Captain            Royal Artillery.
  CAMBRIDGE, D.           Sergeant           Royal Artillery.
  ARTHUR, T.              Gunner and Driver  Royal Artillery.
  GRAHAM, G.              Lieutenant         Royal Engineers.
  ROSS, J.                Corporal           Royal Engineers.
  LENDRIM, W. J.          Corporal           Royal Engineers.
  PERIE, J.               Sapper             Royal Engineers.
  PERCY, Hon. H. H. M.    Colonel            Grenadier Guards.
  RUSSELL, Sir C., Bart.  Brevet-Major       Grenadier Guards.
  ABLETT, A.              Sergeant           Grenadier Guards.
  PALMER, A.              Private            Grenadier Guards.
  GOODLAKE, G. L.         Brevet-Major       Coldstream Guards.
  CONOLLY, J. A.          Brevet-Major       Coldstream Guards (late 49th).
  STRONG, G.              Private            Coldstream Guards.
  LINDSAY, R. J.          Brevet-Major       Scots Fusilier Guards.
  MCKECHNIE, J.           Sergeant           Scots Fusilier Guards.
  REYNOLDS, W.            Private            Scots Fusilier Guards.
  GRADY, T.               Private            4th (King’s Own) Foot.
  HOPE, W.                Lieutenant         7th Royal Fusiliers.
  HALE, T. E.             Assist.-Surg.      7th Royal Fusiliers.
  HUGHES, M.              Private            7th Royal Fusiliers.
  NORMAN, W.              Private            7th Royal Fusiliers.
  MOYNIHAN, A.            Ensign             8th (The King’s) Foot.
  EVANS, S.               Private            19th (1st Yorkshire North
  LYONS, J.               Private            19th (1st Yorkshire North
  O’CONNOR, L.            Lieutenant         23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
  SHIELDS, R.             Corporal           23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
  COFFEY, W.              Private            34th (Cumberland) Foot.
  SIMS, J. J.             Private            34th (Cumberland) Foot.
  MCWHEENEY W.            Sergeant           44th (East Essex) Foot.
  WALTERS, G.             Sergeant           49th (Herts, Princess
                                               Charlotte of Wales’s).
  OWENS, J.               Corporal           49th (Herts, Princess
                                               Charlotte of Wales’s).
  LUMLEY, C. H.           Brevet-Major       97th (The Earl of Ulster’s)
  COLEMAN, J.             Sergeant           97th (The Earl of Ulster’s)
  CLIFFORD, Hon. H. H.    Brevet-Major       Rifle Brigade.
  WHEATLEY, F.            Private            Rifle Brigade.
  CUNINGHAME, W. J. M.    Captain            Rifle Brigade.
  KNOX, J. S.             Lieutenant         Rifle Brigade (late Sergeant
                                               Scots Fusilier Guards).
  MCGREGOR, R.            Private            Rifle Brigade.
  HUMPSTON, R.            Private            Rifle Brigade.
  BRADSHAW, J.            Private            Rifle Brigade.
  BOURCHIER, C. T.        Brevet-Major       Rifle Brigade.



                                                               No. of

  Crimea and Baltic                            1854-5              111
  Persia                                       1856-7                3
  Indian Mutiny                                1857-9              182
  China (including the Taiping Rebellion)      1860-2; 1900         10
  New Zealand                                  1860-1; 1863-6       15
  India (Umbeyla)                              1863                  2
  Japan                                        1864                  3
  India (Bhotan)                               1864-5                2
  * Canada                                     1866                  1
  West Africa (Gambia)                         1866; 1892            2
  * Andaman Islands                            1867                  5
  Abyssinia                                    1867-8                2
  India (Looshai)                              1871-2                1
  Ashanti                                      1873-4; 1900          6
  Perak                                        1875-6                1
  Quetta (Beloochistan)                        1877                  1
  South Africa (Kaffir War)                    1877-8                1
  Afghanistan                                  1878-80              16
  Zululand                                     1879                 23
  Basutoland                                   1879 and 1881         6
  India (Naga Hills)                           1879-80               1
  South Africa (First Boer War)                1880-1                6
  Egypt and Soudan                             1882; 1884-5          8
  Burma                                        1889; 1893            3
  Manipur (N.E. India)                         1891                  1
  India (Hunza-Nagar)                          1891                  3
  Chitral                                      1895                  1
  Matabeleland                                 1896                  3
  India (Punjab Frontier)                      1897-8               11
  Soudan (Khartoum)                            1898                  5
  Crete                                        1898                  1
  South Africa (Second Boer War)               1899-1902            78
  Somaliland                                   1902-4                6
  Nigeria                                      1903                  1
  Tibet                                        1904                  1
                                                           Total   522

* Not gained in action.



[The date given in each instance denotes when the act of bravery was
performed for which the decoration was awarded. The names printed in
_italics_ are those of recipients who are still living. To assist
identification, former, as well as present, titles of regiments are
given in cases where the V.C. was won before the Territorial System
was adopted. Example: 43rd R. (old title), now known as (1st Batt.)
Oxfordshire Light Infantry.]

   ABLETT, Private A.       Grenadier Guards           Crimea         1855

   ADAMS, Rev. J. W.        Bengal Eccles.             Afghanistan    1879

  _ADAMS, Lt.-Col. (now     Indian Army                Upper Swat     1897
   Col.) R. B._

   ADDISON, Private H.      43rd R. (Oxf. L.I.)        Indian Mutiny  1859

   AIKMAN, Lieut. (late     Indian Army                      ”        1858
   Col.) F. R.

   AITKIN, Lieut. (late            ”                         ”        1857
   Col.) R. H. M.

   ALBRECHT, Trooper H.     Imperial Light Horse       South Africa   1900

   ALEXANDER, Private J.    90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Crimea         1855

   ALLEN, Corporal W.       24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879

   ANDERSON, Private C.     2nd Dragoon Guards         Indian Mutiny  1858

   ANSON, Captain (late     84th (York and Lancs.) R.        ”        1857
   Lt.-Col.) the Hon.
   A. H. A.

   ARTHUR, Gunner T.        Royal Artillery            Crimea         1855

  _ASHFORD, Private T._     7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)   Afghanistan    1880

   ATKINSON, Sergeant A.    Yorkshire R.               South Africa   1900

  _AYLMER, Captain (now     Royal Engineers            Nilt           1891
   Col.) F. J._

  _BABTIE, Major (now       Royal Army Med. Corps      South Africa   1899
   Lt.-Col.) W._

   BAKER, Lieut. C. G.      Indian Police              Indian Mutiny  1858

   BAMBRICK, Private V.     60th Rifles (King’s Royal        ”        1858
                            Rifle Corps)

   BANKES, Cornet W. G. H.  7th Hussars                      ”        1858

   BARRY, Private J.        Royal Irish R.             South Africa   1901

   BAXTER, Trooper F. W.    Bulawayo Field Force       Rhodesia       1897

   BEACH, Private T.        55th (Border) R.           Crimea         1854

  _BEES, Private W._        Sherwood Foresters         South Africa   1901
                            (Derbyshire R.)

  _BEET, Corporal H. C._           ”                         ”        1900

  _BELL, Private D._       24th R. (S. Wales           Andaman I.     1867

   BELL, Captain (late     23rd R. (Royal Welsh        Crimea         1854
   Maj.-Gen.) E. W. D.     Fusiliers)

  _BELL, Lieut. F. W._     W. Australian Mt. Inf.      South Africa   1901

   BELL, Lieut. (late      Royal Engineers             Ashanti        1874
   Col.) M. S.

   BERESFORD, Captain      9th Lancers                 Zululand       1879
   (late Gen.) Lord W.
   L. De la Poer

   BERGIN, Private J.      33rd (W. Riding) R.         Abyssinia      1868

   BERRYMAN, Troop-        17th Lancers                Crimea         1854
   Sergt.-Major (late
   Major) J.

  _BISDEE, Private (now    Tasmanian Imperial          South Africa   1900
   Lieut.) J. H._          Bushmen

   BLAIR, Captain (late    Indian Army                 Indian Mutiny  1857
   Gen.) J.

   BLAIR, Lieut. (late     2nd Dragoon Guards                ”        1857
   Gen.) R.

   BOGLE, Lieut. (late     78th (Seaforth)                   ”        1857
   Major) A. C.            Highlanders

  _BOISRAGON, Lieut. (now  Indian Army                 Hunza-Nagar    1891
   Major) G. H._

   BOOTH, Col.-Sergt. A.    80th (S. Staffs.) R.       Zululand       1879

   BOULGER, Lance-Corpl.    84th (York and Lancs.) R.  Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Lt.-Col.) A.

   BOURCHIER, Lieut. (late  Rifle Brigade              Crimea         1854
   Col.) C. T.

   BOYES, Midshipman D. G.  Royal Navy                 Japan          1864

  _BRADLEY, Driver F. G._   Royal Field Artillery      South Africa   1901

   BRADSHAW, Private J.     Rifle Brigade              Crimea         1855

   BRADSHAW, Assistant-     90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Indian Mutiny  1857
   Surgeon W.

   BRENNAN, Bombardier J.   Royal Artillery                  ”        1858

   BROMHEAD, Lieut. (late   24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879
   Major) G. S.             Borderers)

   BROWN, Lieut. (late      101st R. (Royal Munster    Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) F. D. M.           Fusiliers)

   BROWN, Trooper P.        Cape Mounted Rifles        Basutoland     1879

  _BROWN-SYNGE-HUTCHINSON,  14th Hussars               South Africa   1900
   Major E. D._

  _BROWNE, Lieut. (now      24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879
   Brig.-Gen.) E. S._       Borderers)

  _BROWNE, Captain (now     32nd R. (D. of Corn.       Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) H. G._             L.I.)

   BROWNE, Brevet-Major     Indian Army                      ”        1858
   (late Gen.) Sir S. J.

   BUCKLEY, J., Deputy-          ”                           ”        1857
   Assist.-Commiss. of
   Ordnance, Bengal

   BUCKLEY, Capt. C. W.     Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855

  _BULLER, Captain (now     60th R. (King’s Royal      Zululand       1879
   Gen. Sir) R. H._         Rifle Corps)

   BURGOYNE, Capt. H. T.    Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855

   BURSLEM, Lieut. (late    67th (Hampshire) R.        China          1860
   Capt.) N.

   BUTLER, Lieut. (late     101st R. (Royal Munster    Indian Mutiny  1858
   Major) T. A.             Fusiliers)

   BYRNE, Private J.        86th R. (Royal Irish Rifles)     ”        1858

   BYRNE, Private J.        68th R. (Durham L.I.)      Crimea         1854

  _BYRNE, Private T._       21st Lancers               Khartoum       1898

   BYTHESEA, Lieut. (late   Royal Navy                 Baltic         1854
   Rear-Admiral) J.

  _CADELL, Lieut. (now      104th R. (Royal Munster    Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) T._                Fusiliers)

  _CAFE, Lieut. (now        Indian Army                      ”        1858
   Gen.) W. M._

   CAMBRIDGE, Sergt. D.     Royal Artillery            Crimea         1855

  _CAMERON, Lieut. (now     72nd (Seaforth)            Indian Mutiny  1858
   Col.) A. S._             Highlanders

   CARLIN, Private P.       13th R. (Somerset L.I.)          ”        1858

  _CARTER, Lieut. H. A._    Indian Army                Somaliland     1903

  _CHAMPION, Sergeant-      8th Hussars                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Major J._

   CHANNER, Colonel (late   Indian Army                Perak          1875
   Gen.) G. N.

  _CHAPLIN, Ensign (now     67th (Hampshire) R.        China          1860
   Col.) J. W._

   CHARD, Lieut. (late      Royal Engineers            Zululand       1879
   Col.) J. R. M.

  _CHASE, Captain (now      Indian Army                Afghanistan    1880
   Col.) W. St. L._

   CHICKEN, G. B.           Royal (Indian) Navy        Indian Mutiny  1858

  _CLEMENTS, Corpl. J. J._  Rimington’s Guides         South Africa   1900

   CLIFFORD, Lieut. (late   Rifle Brigade              Crimea         1854
   Major-Gen. Hon. Sir)
   H. H.

   CLOGSTOUN, Capt. H. M.   Indian Army                Indian Mutiny  1859

  _COBBE, Capt. (now        Indian Army                Somaliland     1902
   Lt.-Col.) A. S._

   COCHRANE, Lieut. (late   86th R. (Royal Irish       Indian Mutiny  1858
   Col.) H. S.              Rifles)

  _COCKBURN, Lieut.         Royal Canadian Dragoons    South Africa   1900
   H. Z. C._

   COFFEY, Private W.       34th (Border) R.           Crimea         1855

   COGHILL, Lieut.          24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879
   N. J. A.                 Borderers)

  _COGHLAN, Col.-Sergt.     75th (Gordon)              Indian Mutiny  1857
   (now Sergt.-Major) C._   Highlanders

   COLEMAN, Sergeant J.     97th (Royal West Kent) R.  Crimea         1855

   COLLIS, Gunner J.        Royal Horse Artillery      Afghanistan    1880

  _COLVIN, Lieut. (now      Royal Engineers (Indian)   Mamund         1897
   Major) J. M. C._

   COMMERELL, Lieut. (late  Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855
   Admiral Sir) J. E.

  _CONGREVE, Capt. (now     Rifle Brigade              South Africa   1899
   Col.) W. N._

   CONNOLLY, Gunner W.      Bengal Horse Artillery     Indian Mutiny  1857

   CONNORS, Private J.      3rd R. (East Kent R.,      Crimea         1855
                            “The Buffs”)

   CONOLLY, Lieut. (late    49th (Royal Berks) R.         ”           1854
   Lt.-Col.) J. A.

   COOK, Captain J.         Indian Army                Afghanistan    1878

   COOK, Private W.         42nd (Black Watch)         Indian Mutiny  1859

   COOPER, Boatswain H.     Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855

   COOPER, Private J.       24th R. (S. Wales          Andaman I.     1867

   CORBETT, Private F.      60th R. (King’s Royal      Egypt          1882
                            Rifle Corps)

  _COSTELLO, Lieut. (now    Indian Army                Malakand       1897
   Capt.) E. W._

   COULSON, Lieut.          King’s Own Scottish        South Africa   1901
   G. H. B.                 Borderers

   CRAIG, Sergeant J.       Scots Guards               Crimea         1855

  _CRANDON, Pte. H. D._     18th Hussars               South Africa   1901

  _CREAGH, Capt. (now       Indian Army                Afghanistan    1879
   Maj.-Gen. Sir) O’M._

  _CREAN, Surg.-Capt.       Imperial Light Horse       South Africa   1901
   T. J._

  _CRIMMIN, Surg. (now      Indian Medical Service     Burma          1889
   Lt.-Col.) J._

   CROWE, Lieut. J. P. H.   78th (Seaforth)            Indian Mutiny  1857

   CUBITT, Lieut. (late     Indian Army                      ”        1857
   Col.) W. G.

   CUNINGHAME, Lieut.       Rifle Brigade              Crimea         1854
   (late Col. Sir)
   W. J. M.

  _CURTIS, Private (now     East Surrey R.             South Africa   1900
   Corporal) A. E._

   CURTIS, Boatswain’s      Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855
   Mate H.

   DALTON, Assistant-       Army Service Corps         Zululand       1879
   Commissary J. L.

  _DANAHER, Trooper (now    Nourse’s Horse             South Africa   1881
   Sergeant) J._

   DANIELS, Midshipman      Royal Navy                 Crimea       1854-5
   E. St. J.

   D’ARCY, Captain C.       Frontier Light Horse       Zululand       1879

   DAUNT, Lieut. (late      Indian Army                Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) J. C. C.

  _DAVIES, Lieut. (now      King’s Royal Rifle Corps   South Africa   1901
   Capt.) L. A. E. P._

   DAVIS, Captain (late     Royal Artillery            Crimea         1855
   Maj.-Gen.) G.

   DAVIS, Private J.        42nd (Black Watch)         Indian Mutiny  1858

   DAY, Lieut. (late        Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855
   Capt.) G. F.

   DE MONTMORENCY, Lt.      21st Lancers               Khartoum       1898
   Hon. R. H. L. J.

   DEMPSEY, Private D.      10th (Lincolnshire) R.     Ind. Mutiny  1857-8

   DIAMOND, Sergeant B.     Bengal Horse Artillery         ”          1857

   DICK-CUNYNGHAM, Lt.      92nd (Gordon)              Afghanistan    1879
   (late Lt.-Col.) W. H.    Highlanders

   DICKSON, Lieut. (late    Royal Artillery            Crimea         1854
   Gen. Sir) C.

   DIGBY-JONES, Lieut.      Royal Engineers            South Africa   1900
   R. J. T.

   DIVANE, Private J.       60th R. (King’s Royal      Indian Mutiny  1857
                            Rifle Corps)

   DIXON, Captain (late     Royal Artillery            Crimea         1855
   Maj.-Gen.) M. C.

   DONOHOE, Private P.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857

  _DOOGAN, Private J._      1st Dragoon Guards         South Africa   1881

  _DOUGLAS, Assist.-Surg.   24th R. (S. Wales          Andaman I.     1867
   (now Lt.-Col.) C. M._    Borderers)

  _DOUGLAS, Lieut. (now     Royal Army Medical Corps   South Africa   1900
   Capt.) H. E. M._

  _DOWELL, Lieut. (now      Royal Marine Artillery     Baltic         1855
   Lt.-Col.) G. D._

   DOWLING, Private W.      32nd R. (D. of Corn.       Indian Mutiny  1857

   DOWN, Ensign J. T.       57th (W. Middlesex) R.     New Zealand    1863

  _DOXAT, Lieut. A. C._     Imperial Yeomanry          South Africa   1900

   DUFFY, Private T.        102nd R. (Royal Dublin     Indian Mutiny  1857

   DUGDALE, Lieut. F. B.    5th Lancers                South Africa   1901

   DUNDAS, Lieut. J.        Royal Engineers            Bhotan         1865

   DUNLEY, L.-Corpl. J.     93rd (Arg. and Suth.)      Indian Mutiny  1857

   DUNN, Lieut. (afterwards 11th Hussars               Crimea         1854
   Lt.-Col.) A. R.

  _DURRANT, Private E._     Rifle Brigade              South Africa   1900

   DYNON, Sergeant D.       53rd R. (Shrops. L.I.)     Indian Mutiny  1857

  _EDWARDS, Private T._     42nd (Black Watch)         Soudan         1884

  _EDWARDS, Lieut. (now     Highland Light Infantry    Egypt          1882
   Maj.) W. M. M._

   ELPHINSTONE, Lieut.      Royal Engineers            Crimea         1855
   (late Maj.-Gen. Sir)
   H. C.

   ELTON, Capt. (late       55th (Border) R.              ”           1855
   Lt.-Col.) F. C.

  _ENGLEHEART, Sergt. H._   10th Hussars               South Africa   1900

  _ENGLISH, Lieut. W. J._   2nd Scottish Horse            ”           1901

   ESMONDE, Capt. (late     18th (Royal Irish) R.      Crimea         1855
   Lieut.-Col.) T.

   EVANS, Private S.        19th (Yorkshire) R.           ”           1855

  _FARMER, Sergeant D._     Cameron Highlanders        South Africa   1900

  _FARMER, Lance-Corpl.     Army Hospital Corps           ”           1881
   (now Corporal) J. J._

   FARQUHARSON, Lieut.      42nd (Black Watch)         Indian Mutiny  1858
   F. E. H.                 Highlanders

   FARRELL, Q.-M. J.        17th Lancers               Crimea         1854

   FFRENCH, Lieut. A. K.    53rd R. (Shrops. L.I.)     Indian Mutiny  1857

  _FINCASTLE, Lieut.        16th Lancers               Upper Swat     1897
   (now Maj.) Viscount_

  _FINDLATER, Piper G._     Gordon Highlanders         Dargai         1897

  _FIRTH, Sergeant W._      West Riding R.             South Africa   1900

  _FITZ-CLARENCE, Capt.     Royal Fusiliers                 ”         1899
   (now Maj.) C._

   FITZGERALD, Gunner R.    Bengal Horse Artillery     Indian Mutiny  1857

   FITZGIBBON, Hospital-    Indian Medical Service     China          1860
   Apprentice A. F.

  _FITZPATRICK, Private     94th R. (Connaught         Basutoland     1879
   F._                      Rangers)

  _FLAWN, Private T._                ”                     ”          1879

   FLINN, Drummer T.        64th (N. Staff.) R.        Indian Mutiny  1857

   FORREST, Captain G.      Indian Army                      ”        1857

  _FOSBERY, Lieut. (now          ”                     Umbeyla        1863
   Lt.-Col.) G. V._

  _FOWLER, Private (now     90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Zululand       1879
   Sergeant) E._

   FRASER, Major (late      7th Hussars                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Gen. Sir) C. C.

   FREEMAN, Private J.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857

   GARDINER, Col.-Sergt. G. 57th (Middlesex) R.        Crimea         1855

   GARDNER, Quarter-        42nd (Black Watch)         Indian Mutiny  1858
   Master-Sergt. W.         Highlanders

   GARVIN, Col.-Sergt. S.   60th R. (King’s Royal      Indian Mutiny  1857
                            Rifle Corps)

  _GIFFORD, Lieut. E. F.    24th R. (S. Wales          Ashanti      1873-4
   (now Major Lord)_        Borderers)

   GILL, Sergt.-Major P.    Indian Army                Indian Mutiny  1857

  _GLASOCK, Driver H. H._   Royal Horse Artillery      South Africa   1900

   GOATE, Lance-Corpl.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1858
   (late Corpl.) W.

  _GOODFELLOW, Lieut.       Royal Engineers                  ”        1859
   (now Lieut.-Gen.) C. A._

   GOODLAKE, Capt. (late    Coldstream Guards          Crimea         1854
   Lt.-Gen.) G. L.

  _GORDON, Capt. W. E._     Gordon Highlanders         South Africa   1900

  _GORDON, Lance-Corpl.     West India R.              Gambia         1892
   (now Sergt.) W. J._

   GORMAN, Seaman J. H.     Royal Navy                 Crimea         1854

   GOUGH, Capt. (now Gen.   Indian Army                Ind. Mutiny  1857-8
   Sir) C. J. S.

  _GOUGH, Lieut. (now Gen.       ”                          ”       1857-8
   Sir) H. H._

  _GOUGH, Major (now        Rifle Brigade               Somaliland    1903
   Lt.-Col.) J. E._

  _GRADY, Private (late     4th (Royal Lancaster) R.    Crimea        1854
   Sergt.) T._

   GRAHAM, Lieut. (late     Royal Engineers               ”           1855
   Lt.-Gen. Sir) G.

   GRAHAM, Private P.       90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Indian Mutiny  1857

  _GRANT, Lieut. (now       Indian Army                Manipur        1891
   Major) C. J. W._

  _GRANT, Lieut. J. D._           ”                     Tibet          1904

   GRANT, Private P.        93rd (Arg. and Suth.)      Indian Mutiny  1857

   GRANT, Sergeant R.       5th R. (Northumberland           ”        1857
   (orig. gazetted Ewart)   Fusiliers)

   GREEN, Private (late     75th (Gordon) Highlanders        ”        1857
   Col.-Sergt.) P.

   GRIEVE, Sergt.-Major J.  2nd Dragoons (Scots        Crimea         1854

   GRIFFITHS, Private W.    24th R. (S. Wales          Andaman I.     1867

   GUISE, Major             90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Indian Mutiny  1857
   (Lt.-Gen.) J. C.

  _GUY, Midshipman (now     Royal Navy                 China          1900
   Lieut.) B. J. D._

   HACKETT, Lieut. (late    23rd R. (Royal Welsh       Indian Mutiny  1857
   Lt.-Col.) T. B.          Fusiliers)

  _HALE, Assist.-Surgeon    7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)   Crimea         1855
   (now Surg.-Maj.) T. E._

  _HALL, Seaman W._         Royal Navy                 Indian Mutiny  1857

  _HALLIDAY, Capt. (now     Royal Marine L.I.          China          1900
   Major) L. S. T._

  _HAMILTON, Capt. (now     68th R. (Durham L.I.)      Crimea         1855
   Major-Gen.) T. de C._

   HAMILTON, Lieut.         Indian Army                Afghanistan    1879
   W. R. P.

  _HAMMOND, Capt. (now           ”                          ”         1879
   Col. Sir) A. G._

  _HAMPTON, Sergeant H._    The King’s (L’pool) R.     South Africa   1900

   HANCOCK, Private T.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857

  _HARDHAM, Far.-Major      4th New Zealand            South Africa   1901
   (now Lieut.) W. J._      Contingent

  _HARDING, Gunner (now     Royal Navy                 Egypt          1882
   Chief Gunner) I._

   HARRINGTON, Lieut.       Bengal Artillery           Indian Mutiny  1857
   H. E.

   HARRISON, Boatswain’s    Royal Navy                       ”        1857
   Mate J.

  _HART, Lieut. (now        Royal Engineers            Afghanistan    1879
   Lt.-Gen. Sir) R. C._

   HARTIGAN, Sergt. H.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857

  _HARTLEY, Surg.-Major     Cape Mounted Rifles        Basutoland     1879
   (now Lt.-Col.) E. B._

   HAVELOCK, Lieut. H. M.   10th (Lincs.) R.           Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Lieut.-Gen. Sir
   H. M. Havelock-Allan, Bart.)

   HAWKES, Private D.       Rifle Brigade                    ”        1858

   HAWTHORNE, Bugler R.     52nd R. (Oxf. L.I.)              ”        1857

   HEAPHY, Major C.         Auckland Militia           New Zealand    1864

  _HEATHCOTE, Lieut.        60th R. (King’s Royal      Indian Mutiny  1857
   A. S._                   Rifle Corps)

  _HEATON, Private W._      The King’s (L’pool) R.     South Africa   1900

  _HENDERSON, Trooper       Bulawayo Field Force       Rhodesia       1896
   H. S._

   HENEAGE, Captain (late   8th Hussars                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Major) C. W.

   HENRY, Sergt.-Major      Royal Artillery            Crimea         1854
   (late Captain) A.

   HEWETT, Lieut. (late     Royal Navy                 Crimea         1854
   Vice-Admiral Sir)
   W. N. W.

  _HILL, Lieut. A. R.       58th (Northampt.) R.       South Africa   1881
   (now Major A. R.

   HILL, Sergeant S.        90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Indian Mutiny  1857

  _HILLS, Lieut. J. (now    Bengal Horse Artillery           ”        1857
   Lieut.-Gen. Sir J.
   Hills-Johnes, G.C.B.)_

   HINCKLEY, Seaman G.      Royal Navy                 China          1862

  _HITCH, Private F._       24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879

   HODGE, Private S.        4th West India R.          Gambia         1866

  _HOLLAND, Sergeant E._    Royal Canad. Dragoons      South Africa   1900

   HOLLIS, Farrier G.       8th Hussars                Indian Mutiny  1858

   HOLLOWELL, Private J.    78th (Seaforth) Highlanders      ”        1857

   HOLMES, Private J.       84th (York and Lan.) R.          ”        1857

  _HOME, Surgeon (now       90th R. (Scottish Rifles)        ”        1857
   Surg.-Gen. Sir) A. D._

   HOME, Lieut. D. C.       Bengal Engineers                 ”        1857

   HOOK, Private H.         24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879

  _HOPE, Lieut. (now        7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)   Crimea         1855
   Lt.-Col.) W._

  _HORE-RUTHVEN, Capt.      Highland Light Infantry    Soudan         1898
   Hon. A. G. A._

  _HOUSE, Private W._       Royal Berks. R.            South Africa   1900

  _HOWSE, Captain (now      N. S. Wales Med. Staff          ”         1900
   Major) N. R._            Corps

   HUGHES, Private          7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)   Crimea         1855
   (afterwards Corpl.) M.

   HUMPSTON, Private        Rifle Brigade                 ”           1855
   (afterwards Sergt.) R.

  _IND, Shoe-Smith A. E._   Royal Horse Artillery      South Africa   1901

   INGOUVILLE, Captain      Royal Navy                 Baltic         1855
   of Mast G.

  _INKSON, Lieut. (now      Royal Army Medical Corps   South Africa   1900
   Capt. E. T.)_

  _INNES, Lieut. (now       Bengal Engineers           Indian Mutiny  1858
   Lt.-Gen.) J. J. M’L._

   IRWIN, Private C.        53rd R. (Shrops. L.I.)           ”        1857

   JARRETT, Lieut. (late    Indian Army                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Col.) H. C. T.

   JEE, Surgeon (late       78th (Seaforth)                  ”        1857
   Dep.-Insp.-Gen.) J.      Highlanders

   JENNINGS, Roughrider E.  Bengal Artillery                 ”        1857

   JEROME, Lieut. (late     86th R. (Royal Irish Rifles)     ”        1858
   Maj.-Gen.) H. E.

  _JOHNSTONE, Capt. R._     Imperial Light Horse       South Africa   1899

   JOHNSTONE, Stoker W.     Royal Navy                 Baltic         1854

  _JONES, Lieut. (now       9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857
   Lt.-Col.) A. S._

  _JONES, Captain H. M._    7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)   Crimea         1855

   JONES, Private R.        24th R. (S. Wales          Zululand       1879

  _JONES, Private W._              ”                      ”           1879

   KAVANAGH, Assist.-       Indian Civil Service       Indian Mutiny  1857
   Commiss. T. H.

   KEATINGE, Capt. (late    Bombay Artillery                 ”        1858
   Gen.) R. H.

   KELLAWAY, Boatswain J.   Royal Navy                 Crimea         1855

   KELLS, Lance-Corpl.      9th Lancers                Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Trum.-Maj.) R.

  _KENNA, Capt. (now        21st Lancers               Khartoum       1898
   Lt.-Col.) P. A._

  _KENNEDY, Private C._     Highland L.I.              South Africa   1900

   KENNY, Private J.        53rd R. (Shrops. L.I.)     Indian Mutiny  1857

  _KERR, Lieut. W. A._      Indian Army                      ”        1857

  _KIRBY, Corpl.  (now      Royal Engineers            South Africa   1900
   Sergt.) F._

   KIRK, Private J.         10th (Lincolnshire) R.     Indian Mutiny  1857

  _KNIGHT, Corp. H. J._     The King’s (L’pool) R.     South Africa   1900

   KNOX, Sergt. (late       Scots Guards               Crimea         1854
   Maj.) J. S.

   LAMBERT, Sergt.-Maj. G.  84th (York and Lancs.) R.  Indian Mutiny  1857

   LANE, Private T.         67th (Hampshire) R.        China          1860

   LAUGHNAN, Gunner T.      Bengal Artillery           Indian Mutiny  1857

   LAWRENCE, Lieut. S.H.    32nd R. (D. of Corn. L.I.)       ”        1857

  _LAWRENCE, Sergt. (now    17th Lancers               South Africa   1900
   Lieut.) T._

  _LAWSON, Private E._      Gordon Highlanders         Dargai         1897

  _LE QUESNE, Surg.-Capt.   Royal Army Medical Corps   Burma          1889
   (now Maj.) F.S._

  _LEACH, Capt. (now        Royal Engineers            Afghanistan    1879
   Lt.-Gen.) E. P._

   LEET, Major (late        13th R. (Somerset) L.I.    Zululand       1879
   Maj.-Gen.) W. K.

   LEITCH, Col.-Sergt. P.   Royal Engineers            Crimea         1855

   LEITH, Lieut. (late      14th Hussars               Indian Mutiny  1858
   Major) J.

   LENDRIM (or LINDRIM),    Royal Engineers            Crimea         1855
   Corporal (afterwards
   Q.-M.-Sergt.) W. J.

   LENNOX, Lieut. (late          ”                        ”           1854
   Gen. Sir) W. O.

   LENON, Lieut. (late      67th (Hampshire) R.        China          1860
   Major) E. H.

   LINDSAY, Lieut. R. J.    Scots Guards               Crimea         1854
   (late Lord Wantage)

  _LLOYD, Surg.-Major       Royal Army Medical Corps   Burma          1893
   (now Col.) O. E. P._

  _LODGE, Gunner I._        Royal Horse Artillery      South Africa   1900

  _LUCAS, Lieut. (now       Royal Navy                 Baltic         1854
   Rear-Admiral) C. D._

   LUCAS, Col.-Sergt. J.    40th (S. Lancs.) R.        New Zealand    1861

   LUMLEY, Major C. H.      97th (West Kent) R.        Crimea         1855

   LYONS, Private J.        19th (Yorkshire) R.           ”           1855

  _LYSONS, Lieut. (now      90th R. (Scottish Rifles)  Zululand       1879
   Col.) H._

  _LYSTER, Lieut. (now      Indian Army                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Lt.-Gen.) H. H._

   M’BEAN, Lieut. (late     93rd (Arg. and Suth.)      Indian Mutiny  1858
   Maj.-Gen.) W.            Highlanders

   M’CORRIE, Private C.     57th (Middlesex) R.        Crimea         1855

   M’CREA, Surg. J. F.      Cape Mounted Yeomanry      Basutoland     1881

   M’DERMOND, Private J.    47th (N. Lancs.) R.        Crimea         1854

   M’DONELL, W. F.          Indian Civil Service       Indian Mutiny  1857

   M’DOUGALL, Private J.    44th (Essex) R.            China          1860

   M’GAW, Lance-Sergt. S.   42nd (Black Watch)         Ashanti        1874

   M’GOVERN, Private J.     101st R. (Royal Munster    Indian Mutiny  1857

   M’GREGOR, Private R.     Rifle Brigade              Crimea         1855

   M’GUIRE, Sergt. J.       101st R. (Royal Munster    Indian Mutiny  1857

   M’HALE, Private P.       5th R. (Northumberland           ”        1857

   M’INNES, Gunner H.       Bengal Artillery                 ”        1857

   M’KECHNIE, Sergt. J.     Scots Guards               Crimea         1854

  _M’KENNA, Col.-Sergt.     65th (York and Lancs.) R.  New Zealand    1863
   (now Ensign) E._

   M’MASTER, Assist.-Surg.  78th (Seaforth)            Indian Mutiny  1857
   V. M.                    Highlanders

   M’NEILL, Lieut.-Col.     107th (Royal Sussex) R.    New Zealand    1864
   (late Maj.-Gen. Sir)
   J. C.

   M’PHERSON, Col.-        78th (Seaforth)             Indian Mutiny  1857
   Sergt. S.               Highlanders

   M’QUIRT, Private B.     95th (Derbyshire) R.              ”        1858

   M’WHEENEY, Sergt. W.    44th (Essex) R.             Crimea       1854-5

   MACDONALD, Col.-Sergt.  Royal Engineers                ”           1855
   (late Capt.) H.

   MACINTYRE, Major        Indian Army                 Looshai        1872
   (late Maj.-Gen.) D.

   MACKAY, Private D.      93rd (Arg. and Suth.)       Indian Mutiny  1857

  _MACKAY, Corporal (now  Gordon Highlanders           South Africa   1900
   Lieut.) J. F._

  _MACKENZIE, Sergeant    Seaforth Highlanders         Ashanti        1900
   (now Capt.) J._

   MACLEAN, Lieut.        Indian Army                  Upper Swat     1897
   H. L. S.

   MACMANUS, Private P.   5th R. (Northumberland       Indian Mutiny  1857

   MACPHERSON, Lieut.     78th (Seaforth) Highlanders        ”        1857
   (late Maj.-Gen. Sir)
   H. T.

   MADDEN, Sergt.-        41st (Welsh) R.              Crimea         1854
   Major A.

   MAGNER, Drummer M.     33rd (West Riding) R.        Abyssinia      1868

   MAHONEY, Sergt. P.     102nd R. (Royal Dublin       Indian Mutiny  1857

   MAILLARD, Surg. W. J.  Royal Navy                   Crete          1898

   MALCOLMSON, Lieut.     Indian Army                  Persia         1857
   J. G.

   MALONE, Sergeant J.    13th Hussars                 Crimea         1854

   MANGLES, R. L.         Indian Civil Service         Indian Mutiny  1857

   MANLEY, Assist.-Surg.  Royal Artillery              New Zealand    1864
   (late Surg.-Gen.)
   W. G. N.

  _MANSEL-JONES, Capt.    W. Yorkshire R.              South Africa   1900

  _MARLING, Lieut.        King’s Royal Rifle Corps     Soudan         1884
   (now Col.) P. S._

  _MARSHALL, Q.-M.-S.     19th Hussars                    ”           1884
   (now Major) W. T._

  _MARTIN-LEAKE, Surg.-   South African Constabulary   South Africa   1902
   Capt. A._

  _MARTINEAU, Sergt.      Protectorate Regiment             ”         1899
   H. R._

  _MASTERSON, Lieut.      Devonshire R.                     ”         1900
   (now Major) J. E. I._

   MAUDE, Captain (late   Royal Artillery              Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) F. C.

   MAUDE, Major (late     3rd (East Kent) R.           Crimea         1855
   Sir) F. F.

  _MAXWELL, Lieut. (now   Indian Army                  South Africa   1900
   Lt.-Col.) F. A._

  _MAYGAR, Lieut. L. C._  Victorian Mount. Rifles           ”         1901

  _MAYO, Midshipman A._   Royal (Indian) Navy          Indian Mutiny  1857

  _MEIKLEJOHN, Captain    Gordon Highlanders           South Africa   1899
   M. F. M._

  _MELLISS, Captain (now  Indian Army                  Ashanti        1900
   Lt.-Col.) C. J._

   MELVILL, Lieut. T.     24th R. (S.W. Borderers)     Zululand       1879

  _MILBANKE, Captain      10th Hussars                 South Africa   1900
   (now Major) Sir J. P._

   MILLAR, Private D.     42nd (Black Watch)           Indian Mutiny  1859

   MILLER, Lt.-Col. F.    Royal Artillery              Crimea         1854

   MILLER, Conductor      Bengal Ordnance Corps        Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Major) J.

   MITCHELL, Captain      Royal Navy                   New Zealand    1864
   of the Foretop S.

   MONAGHAN, Trumpeter    2nd Dragoon Guards           Indian Mutiny  1858

   MONGER, Private G.     23rd R. (Royal Welsh               ”        1857

  _MOORE, Lieut. (now     Indian Army                  Persia         1857
   Major-Gen.) A. T._

   MOORE, Colonel H. G.   88th R. (Conn. Rangers)      South Africa   1877

   MORLEY, Private S.     Army Service Corps           Indian Mutiny  1858

   MOUAT, Surgeon (late   6th Dragoons                 Crimea         1854
   Surg.-Gen. Sir) J.

   MOYNIHAN, Sergt. A.    90th R. (Scottish Rifles)       ”           1855

  _MULLANE, Sergt. (now   Royal Horse Artillery        Afghanistan    1880
   Sergt.-Major) P._

  _MULLINS, Capt. (now    Imperial Light Horse         South Africa   1899
   Major) C. H._

   MUNRO, Col.-Sergt. J.  93rd (Arg. and Suth.)        Indian Mutiny  1857

   MURPHY, Private M.     Army Service Corps                 ”        1858

  _MURPHY, Private T._    24th R. (S. Wales            Andaman I.     1867

  _MURRAY, Lance-Corpl.   94th R. (Connaught Rangers)  South Africa   1881
   (now Corporal) J._

  _MURRAY, Sergeant J._   68th R. (Durham L.I.)        New Zealand    1864

   MYLOTT, Private P.     84th (York and Lan.) R.      Indian Mutiny  1857

  _NAPIER, Sergeant W._   13th R. (Somerset L.I.)      Indian Mutiny  1858

   NASH, Corporal W.      Rifle Brigade                      ”        1858

  _NESBITT, Capt. R. C._  Mashonaland Mounted Police   Rhodesia       1896

   NEWELL, Private R.     9th Lancers                  Indian Mutiny  1858

  _NICKERSON, Lieut.      Royal Army Medical Corps     South Africa   1900
   (now Capt.) W. H. S._

   NORMAN, Private W.     7th R. (Royal Fusiliers)     Crimea         1854

  _NORWOOD, Sec. Lieut.   5th Dragoon Guards           South Africa   1899
   (now Captain) J._

  _NURSE, Corporal        Royal Field Artillery             ”         1899
   G. E._

  _O’CONNOR, Sergt.       23rd R. (Royal Welsh         Crimea         1855
   (now Maj.-Gen.) L._    Fusiliers)

   ODGERS, Seaman W.      Royal Navy                   New Zealand    1860

   O’HEA, Private T.      Rifle Brigade                Canada         1866

   OLPHERTS, Capt.        Bengal Artillery             Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Gen. Sir) W.

  _OSBORNE, Private J._   58th (Northampton) R.        South Africa   1881

   O’TOOLE, Sergeant E.   Frontier Light Horse         Zululand       1879

   OWENS, Corporal        49th (Royal Berks.) R.       Crimea         1854
   (afterwards Sergt.) J.

   OXENHAM, Corpl. W.     32nd R. (D. of Corn. L.I.)   Indian Mutiny  1857

   PALMER, Private A.     Grenadier Guards             Crimea         1854

   PARK, Sergeant J.      77th (Middlesex) R.             ”         1854-5

   PARK, Gunner J.        Bengal Artillery             Indian Mutiny  1857

  _PARKER, Sergeant C._   Royal Horse Artillery        South Africa   1900

   PARKES, Private S.     4th Hussars                  Crimea         1854

   PARSONS, Lieut. F. N.  Essex Regiment               South Africa   1900

  _PATON, Sergeant J._    93rd (Arg. and Suth.)        Indian Mutiny  1857

   PEARSON, Private J.    86th R. (Royal Irish Rifles)       ”        1858

   PEARSON, Private J.    8th Hussars                        ”        1858

   PEEL, Captain (Sir) W. Royal Navy                   Crimea       1854-5

  _PENNELL, Lieut. (now   Sherwood Foresters (Notts    Dargai         1897
   Capt.) H. S._          and Derby R.)

   PERCY, Lieut.-Col.     Grenadier Guards             Crimea         1854
   Hon. H. H. M.
   (afterwards Lord Percy)

   PERIE, Sapper J.       Royal Engineers                 ”           1855

   PHILLIPS, Ensign       Indian Army                  Indian Mutiny  1857
   E. A. L.

  _PHIPPS-HORNBY, Maj.    Royal Horse Artillery        South Africa   1900
   (now Col.) E. J._

   PICKARD, Lieut. A. F.  Royal Artillery              New Zealand    1863

   PITCHER, Lieut. (late  Indian Army                  Umbeyla        1863
   Capt.) H. W.

  _PITTS, Private J._     Manchester Regiment          South Africa   1900

  _PRENDERGAST, Lieut.    Madras Engineers             Indian Mutiny  1857
   (now Gen. Sir)
    H. N. D._

   PRETTYJOHN, Colour-    Royal Marine L.I.            Crimea         1854
   Sergeant J.

   PRIDE, Captain of      Royal Navy                   Japan          1864
   After-Guard T.

  _PROBYN, Captain (now   Indian Army                  Indian Mutiny  1857
   General Sir) D. M._

   PROSSER, Private J.    1st R. (Royal Scots)         Crimea         1855

   PURCELL, Private J.    9th Lancers                  Indian Mutiny  1857

   PYE, Sergt.-Major C.   53rd R. (Shrops. L.I.)             ”        1857

  _RABY, Lieut. (now      Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855
   Rear-Admiral) H. J._

   RAMAGE, Sergt. H.      2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys)      ”           1854

  _RAMSDEN, Trooper (now  Protectorate Regiment        South Africa   1899
   Lieut.) H. E._

  _RAVENHILL, Private G._ Royal Scots Fusiliers.            ”         1899

   RAYNOR, Captain W.     Indian Army                  Indian Mutiny  1857

   READE, Surg. (late     61st (Gloucester) R.         Indian Mutiny  1857
   Surg.-Gen.) H. T.

  _REED, Capt. (now       Royal Field Artillery        South Africa   1899
   Major) H. L._

   REEVES, Seaman T.      Royal Navy                   Crimea         1854

   RENNIE, Lieut. (late   90th R. (Scottish Rifles)    Indian Mutiny  1857
   Lieut.-Col.) W.

   RENNY, Lieut. (late    Bengal Horse Artillery             ”        1857
   Maj.-Gen.) G. A.

  _REYNOLDS, Surg.-Maj.   Royal Army Medical Corps     Zululand       1879
   (now Brig.-Surg.-
   Lieut.-Col.) J. H._

   REYNOLDS, Private W.   Scots Guards                 Crimea         1854

  _RICHARDSON, Sergt.     Strathcona’s Corps           South Africa   1900
   A. H. L._

  _RICHARDSON, Private    34th (Border) R.             Indian Mutiny  1859

   RICKARD, Q.-M. W.      Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855

  _RIDGEWAY, Capt. (now   Indian Army                  Naga Hills     1879
   Col.) R. K._

   ROBARTS, Chief         Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855
   Gunner J.

  _ROBERTS, Lieut. F. S.  Bengal Artillery             Indian Mutiny  1858
   (now Field-Marshal
   Lord Roberts)_

   ROBERTS, Lieut. Hon.   King’s Royal Rifle Corps     South Africa   1899
   F. H. S.

   ROBERTS, Private J. R. 9th Lancers                  Indian Mutiny  1857

  _ROBERTSON, Sergt.-Maj. Gordon Highlanders           South Africa   1899
   (now Lieut.) W._

   ROBINSON, Seaman E.    Royal Navy                   Indian Mutiny  1858

   RODDY, Ensign          Indian Army                        ”        1858
   (afterwards Col.) P.

   RODGERS, Private G.    71st R. (Highland L.I.)            ”        1858

  _ROGERS, Sergt. J._     South African Constabulary   South Africa   1901

   ROGERS, Lieut. (late   44th (Essex) R.              China          1860
   Maj.-Gen.) R. M.

  _ROLLAND, Capt. G. M._  Indian Army                  Somaliland     1903

   ROSAMOND, Sergt.-           ”                       Indian Mutiny  1857
   Maj. M.

   ROSS, Corporal J.      Royal Engineers              Crimea         1855

  _ROWLANDS, Capt. (now   41st (Welsh) R.                 ”           1854
   Gen. Sir) H._

   RUSHE, Sergt.-Major D. 9th Lancers                  Indian Mutiny  1858

   RUSSELL, Captain       Grenadier Guards             Crimea         1854
   (late Lt.-Col.) Sir C.

   RYAN, Private J.       102nd R. (Royal Dublin       Indian Mutiny  1857

   RYAN, Lance-Corpl. J.  65th (York & Lancs.) R.      New Zealand    1863

   RYAN, Drummer M.       101st R. (Royal Munster      Indian Mutiny  1857

   SALKELD, Lieut. P.     Bengal Engineers                   ”        1857

  _SALMON, Lieut.         Royal Navy                         ”        1857
   (now Admiral of the
   Fleet Sir) NOWELL_

  _SARTORIUS, Capt.       59th (East Lancs.) R.        Afghanistan    1879
   (now Maj.-Gen.) E. H._

  _SARTORIUS, Capt.       Indian Army                  Ashanti        1874
   (now Maj.-Gen.) R. W._

   SCHIESS, Corporal      Natal Native Forces          Zululand       1879
   F. C.

  _SCHOFIELD, Capt.       Royal Field Artillery        South Africa   1899
   (now Maj.) H. N._

   SCHOLEFIELD,           Royal Navy                   Crimea         1854
   Seaman M.

   SCOTT, Captain (late   Indian Army                  Quetta         1877
   Maj.) A.

  _SCOTT, Private R._     Manchester Regiment          South Africa   1900

  _SCOTT, Sergt. (now     Cape Mounted Rifles          Basutoland     1879
   Lt.-Col.) R. G._

  _SEELEY, Seaman W._     Royal Navy                   Japan          1864

   SELLAR, Lance-Corpl.   72nd (Seaforth)              Afghanistan    1879
   (late Sergt.) G.       Highlanders

  _SHAUL, Corporal (now   Highland Light Infantry      South Africa   1899
   Sergeant) J. D. F._

   SHAW, Capt. (late      18th (Royal Irish) R.        New Zealand    1865
   Maj.-Gen.) H.

   SHAW, Sapper S.        Rifle Brigade                Indian Mutiny  1858

   SHEBBEARE, Capt.       Indian Army                        ”        1857
   R. H.

   SHEPPARD, Boatswain J. Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855

   SHIELDS, Corporal R.   23rd R. (Roy. Welsh Fus.)       ”           1855

   SIMPSON, Q.-M.-Sergt.  42nd (Black Watch)           Indian Mutiny  1858
   (late Major) J.        Highlanders

   SIMS, Private J. J.    34th (Border) R.             Crimea         1855

   SINNOTT, L.-Corpl. J.  84th (York & Lancs.) R.      Indian Mutiny  1857

   SLEAVON, Corporal M.   Royal Engineers                    ”        1858

  _SMITH, Gunner A._      Royal Artillery              Soudan         1885

  _SMITH, Lieut. C. L._   Duke of Cornwall’s L.I.      Somaliland     1904

   SMITH, Captain (late   43rd E. (Oxf. L.I.)          New Zealand    1864
   Col.) F. A.

   SMITH, Lance-Corpl. H. 52nd R. (Oxf. L.I.)          Indian Mutiny  1857

   SMITH, Corporal J.     The Buffs (East Kent R.)     N. W. F. India 1897

   SMITH, Sergeant J.     Bengal Engineers             Indian Mutiny  1857

   SMITH, Private J.      102nd R. (Royal Dublin             ”        1857

  _SMITH, Lieut. (now     Indian Army                  Hunza-Nagar    1891
   Major) J. M._

  _SMITH, Corporal P._    17th (Leicester) R.          Crimea         1855

  _SMYTH, Captain (now    2nd Dragoon Guards           Khartoum       1898
   Major) N. M._

   SPENCE, Troop-Sergt.-  9th Lancers                  Indian Mutiny  1858
   Major D.

   SPENCE, Private E.     42nd (Black Watch) Highlanders     ”        1858

  _STAGPOOLE, Drummer     57th (Middlesex) R.          New Zealand    1863

  _STANLACK, Private      Coldstream Guards            Crimea         1854
   (now Sergeant) W._

   STEWART, Captain       93rd (Arg. and Suth.)        Indian Mutiny  1857
   (late Major Sir)       Highlanders
   W. G. D.

   STRONG, Private G.     Coldstream Guards            Crimea         1855

   SULLIVAN, Boatswain’s  Royal Navy                      ”           1855
   Mate J.

   SUTTON, Bugler W.      60th R. (King’s Royal        Indian Mutiny  1857
                          Rifle Corps)

  _SYLVESTER,             23rd R. (Royal Welsh         Crimea         1855
   Assistant-Surgeon      Fusiliers)
   W. H. T._

   SYMONS, Sergeant G.    Royal Artillery                 ”           1855

   TAYLOR, Captain of     Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855
   Forecastle J.

   TEESDALE, Lieut.       Royal Artillery                 ”           1855
   (late Maj.-Gen. Sir)
   C. C.

  _TEMPLE, Assist.-Surg.       ”                       New Zealand    1863
   (now Lt.-Col.) W._

  _THACKERAY, Lieut.      Bengal Engineers             Indian Mutiny  1857
   (now Col. Sir) E. T._

   THOMAS, Bombardier J.  Bengal Artillery                   ”        1857

   THOMPSON, Lance-       42nd (Black Watch)                 ”        1858
   Corporal A.            Highlanders

   THOMPSON, Private J.   60th R. (King’s Royal              ”        1857
                          Rifle Corps)

   TOMBS, Major (late     Bengal Artillery             Indian Mutiny  1857
   Maj.-Gen. Sir) H.

  _TOWSE, Captain E.      Gordon Highlanders          S. Africa 1899, 1900
   B. B._

   TRAVERS, Major (late   Indian Army                  Indian Mutiny  1857
   Gen.) J.

  _TRAYNOR, Sergt.        West Yorkshire R.            South Africa   1901
   W. B._

  _TREVOR, Captain (now   Royal Engineers              Bhotan         1865
   Maj.-Gen.) W. S._

   TREWAVAS, Seaman J.    Royal Navy                   Crimea         1855

  _TURNER, Lieut. (now    Royal Canadian Dragoons      South Africa   1900
   Col.) R. E. W._

   TURNER, Private S.     60th R. (King’s Royal        Indian Mutiny  1857
                          Rifle Corps)

   TYTLER, Lieut. (late   Indian Army                        ”        1858
   Lt.-Col.) J. A.

  _VICKERY, Private (now  Dorsetshire R.               Dargai         1897
   Corporal) S._

   VOUSDEN, Captain       Indian Army                  Afghanistan    1879
   (late Col.) W. J.

   WADESON, Ensign (late  75th (Gordon) Highlanders    Indian Mutiny  1857
   Col.) R.

   WALKER, Lieut. (late   30th (East Lancs.) R.        Crimea         1854
   Gen. Sir) M.

  _WALKER, Captain (now   Indian Army                  Somaliland     1903
   Lt.-Col.) W. G._

   WALLER, Lieut. (late        ”                       Indian Mutiny  1858
   Lt.-Col.) W. F. F.

   WALLER, Col.-Sergt.    60th R. (King’s Royal              ”        1857
   G.                     Rifle Corps)

   WALTERS, Sergt. G.     49th (Royal Berks.) R.       Crimea         1854

   WANTAGE, Lord. _See_ LINDSAY.

  _WARD, Private C._      Yorkshire L.I.               South Africa   1900

   WARD, Private H.       78th (Seaforth) Highlanders  Indian Mutiny  1857

   WARD, Sergeant J.      8th Hussars                        ”        1858

  _WASSALL, Private S._   80th (S. Staff.) R.          Zululand       1879

  _WATSON, Lieut. (now    Indian Army                  Indian Mutiny  1857
   Gen. Sir) J._

  _WATSON, Lieut. (now    Royal Engineers              Mamund         1897
   Capt.) T. C._

   WHEATLEY, Private F.   Rifle Brigade                Crimea         1854

   WHIRLPOOL, Private F.  109th (Leinster) R.          Indian Mutiny  1858

  _WHITCHURCH, Surg.-     Indian Medical Service       Chitral        1895
   Capt. (now Maj.) H. F._

  _WHITE, Major (now      92nd (Gordon) Highlanders    Afghanistan    1879
   Field-Marshal Sir)
   G. S._

   WILKINSON, Bombardier  Royal Marine Artillery       Crimea         1855

  _WILLIAMS, Private J._  24th R. (S. Wales            Zululand       1879

   WILMOT, Captain (late  Rifle Brigade                Indian Mutiny  1858
   Colonel Sir) H.

  _WILSON, Capt. (now     Royal Navy                   Soudan         1884
   Admiral Sir) A. K._

  _WOOD, Lieut. (now      17th Lancers                 Indian Mutiny  1858
   Field-Marshal Sir)
   H. E._

   WOOD, Capt. (late      Indian Army                  Persia         1856
   Col.) J. A.

   WOODEN, Sergt.-Maj.    17th Lancers                 Crimea         1854
   (late Q.-M.) C.

   WRIGHT, Private A.     77th (Middlesex) R.            ”          1854-6

  _WRIGHT, Capt. W. D._   Royal West Surrey R.         Sokoto         1903

  _WYLLY, Lieut.          Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen   South Africa   1900
   G. G. E._

  _YOUNG, Sergt.-Major    Cape Police                  South Africa   1901
   (now Major) A._

   YOUNG, Lieut. (late    Royal Navy                   Indian Mutiny  1857
   Commander) T. J.

   YOUNGER, Capt. D. R.   Gordon Highlanders           South Africa   1900

_Printed by MORRISON & GIBB LIMITED, Edinburgh._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of the V.C. - A record of the deeds of heroism for which the Victoria - Cross has been bestowed, from its institution in 1857 to - the present time" ***

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