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Scotland and the Victoria Cross: The Indian Mutiny

Posted By on November 15, 2016

Charge of the 93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders), Indian Mutiny, November 1857.

Charge of the 93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders),  Battle of Cawnpore, Indian Mutiny, November 1857, by W. Skeoch Cumming. Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Museum, Stirling Castle, Scotland.

1857 – 1859

In all 182 soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during the Indian Mutiny. Of these recipients 31 were born in Scotland. Several other Victoria Crosses were awarded to soldiers serving with Scottish regiments though born elsewhere. The following records the Scottish-born recipients. Please note the numerous given spellings for such Indian place names as Sikandar Bagh.

Lieutenant Frederick Robertson Aikman
Amethi, India, 1 March 1858
4th Bengal Native Infantry
Born Ross, South Lanarkshire, Scotland (6 February 1828)

A painting of the Aikman Victoria Cross action and an oil on canvas portrait of Aikman by Captain I A Goldingham, 1860 are held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London.

A photographic portrait of Aikman wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

Lieutenant Robert Hope Moncrieff Aitken
Defence of the Residency of Lucknow, India, 30 June – 22 November, 1857
13th Bengal Native Infantry
Born Cupar, Fife, Scotland (8 February 1826)

A photographic image, and an illustration of Aitken wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

Lieutenant Robert Blair
Bolandsahr, India, 28 September 1857
2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) attached 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers
Born Linlithgow, Scotland (13 March 1834)

Died 28 March 1859, Cawnpore, India.

A photographic portrait of Blair is known.

Lieutenant Andrew Cathcart Bogle
Attack on Oonao, India 29 July 1857
78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs)
Born Glasgow, Scotland (20 January 1829)

A photographic portrait of Bogle is known.

Lieutenant Thomas Cadell
Delhi, India 12 June 1857
2nd European Bengal Fusiliers
Born Cockenzie, East Lothian, Scotland (5 September 1835)

A few photographic portraits of Cadell are known. One in the collection of the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London depicts Cadell in later life wearing the Victoria Cross.

Lieutenant Aylmer Spicer Cameron
Kotah, India 30 March 1858
1st Battalion 72nd Regiment of Foot (Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders)
Born Perth, Scotland (12 August 1833)

A photographic portrait of Cameron wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

Lieutenant Hugh Stewart Cochrane
Near Jhansi, India 1 April 1858
86th Regiment of Foot (Royal County Down)
Born Fort William, Scotland (4 August 1829)

A photographic portrait of Cochrane wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

Private James Davis (True name James Davis Kelly)
Fort Ruhya, India 15 April 1858
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Edinburgh, Scotland (February 1835)

A photographic portrait of Davis is known.

Lieutenant F.E.H. Farquharson's Victoria Cross action at Lucknow, 9 March 1858. By L.W. Desanges (Black Watch Museum)

Lieutenant F.E.H. Farquharson’s Victoria Cross action at Lucknow, 9 March 1858. By L.W. Desanges.

Lieutenant Francis Edward Henry Farquharson
Lucknow, India 9 March 1858
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Glasgow, Scotland (25 March 1837)

Painting of the Farquharson Victoria Cross action, shown above, is held by the The Black Watch & Castle Museum, Perth, Scotland.

A photographic portrait of Farquharson is known.

Colour-Sergeant William Gardner DCM
Bareilly, India 5 May 1858
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Nemphlar, Lanarkshire, Scotland (3 March 1821)

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1855 for actions during the Crimea War.

A photographic portrait of Gardner is known.

Surgeon Anthony Dickson Home (Later Sir A.D. Home KCB)
Relief of Lucknow, India 26 September 1857
90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers Light Infantry)
Born Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland (30 Novmeber 1826)

A photographic portrait of Home is known.

Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr
Kolapore, India 10 July 1857
24th Bombay Native Infantry
Born Melrose, Scottish Borders, Scotland (18 July 1831)

A painting of the Kerr Victoria Cross action is held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London.

A photographic portrait of Kerr is known to exist.

Lieutenant James Leith
Betwah, India 1 April 1858
14th Light Dragoons (King’s Regiment)
Born Glenkindie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (26 May 1826)

A photographic portrait of Leith is known.

Interior of Secundra Bagh. Felice Beato, 1858.

Interior of Secundra Bagh. Felice Beato, 1858.

Private David MacKay
Secundrabagh, Siege of Lucknow, India 24 December 1858
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders)
Born Caithness, Scotland (23 November 1831)

Elected for the award of the Victoria Cross  by the private soldiers of the Regiment

Lieutenant Herbert MacPherson (Later Sir H. MacPherson GCB KCSI)
Siege of Lucknow 25 September 1857
78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs)
Born Ardersier, Inverness-shire, Scotland (22 January 1827)

An Oleolithograph after Harry Payne, published, 1890 is held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London.

A photographic portrait of MacPherson wearing the Victoria Cross is known to exist.

Lieutenant William McBean
Lucknow, India 11 March 1858
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders)
Born Inverness, Scotland (1 January 1818)

A photographic portrait of McBean wearing the Victoria Cross is known to exist.

"The Relief of Lucknow". Painting  by Thomas Jones Barker, National Portrait Gallery, London.

“The Relief of Lucknow”. Painting by Thomas Jones Barker, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Gunner Hugh McInnes
Relief of Lucknow 14 – 22 November 1857
Bengal Artillery
Born Glasgow, Scotland (October 1815)

Elected by fellow officers and soldiers to receive the award of the Victoria Cross.

Colour-Sergeant Stewart McPherson
Lucknow Residency, India 26 September 1857
78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Ross-shire Buffs)
Born Culross, Fife, Scotland (Born 1822)

Victoria Cross presented to McPherson by Queen Victoria, Windsor Castle, 4 January 1860.

A photographic image of McPherson wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

A memorial to Stewart McPherson is located at the Abbey Church in Culross, Fife.

Private Duncan Millar
Maylah Ghaut, India 15 January 1859
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland (19 June 1824)

A photographic image of Millar is known.

Conductor James William Miller
Near Agra, India 28 October 1857
Bengal Ordnance Department
Born Glasgow, Scotland (5 May 1820)

A photographic image of Miller is known.

"The 93rd Highlanders storming the Secundra Bagh" Watercolour by Orlando Norie, 1858. National Army Museum, London.

“The 93rd Highlanders storming the Secundra Bagh” Watercolour by Orlando Norie, 1858. National Army Museum, London.

Colour-Sergeant James Munro
Secunderabagh, Lucknow, India 16 November 1857
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders)
Born Nigg, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland (11 October 1826)

Received the Victoria Cross from Queen Victoria, Windsor Castle, 1860.

A photographic image of Munro is known.

Gunner James Park
Relief of Lucknow, India 14 – 22 November 1857
Bengal Artillery
Born Glasgow, Scotland (1835)

Elected by fellow officers and soldiers to receive the award of the Victoria Cross.

Killed in Action Lucknow, 14 June 1858.

Sergeant John Paton
Round the Shah Nujiff, Siege of Lucknow, India 16 November 1857
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders)
Born Stirling, Scotland (23 December 1833)

Elected by Non-commissioned officers to receive the award of the Victoria Cross.

A photographic image of Paton is known.

Lieutenant William Rennie
Advance upon Lucknow, India 21 September 1857 and Lucknow, India 25 September 1857
90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers Light Infantry)
Born Elgin, Moray, Scotland (1 November 1821)

A photographic image of Rennie is known.

Ensign Patrick Roddy
Return from Kuthirga, India 27 September 1858
Bengal Army
Born Elphin, County Roscommon, Scotland (17 March 1827)

A photographic image of Roddy is known.

Private George Rodgers
Marar, Gwalior, India 16 June 1858
71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Glasgow, Scotland (January 1829)

Private Same (John) Shaw
Lucknow, India 13 June 1858
3rd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade
Born Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland (Date of Birth unknown)

Died 27 December 1859. Buried at Sea.

Quartermaster-Sergeant John Simpson
Attack on Fort Ruhya, India 15 April 1858
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Edinburgh, Scotland (29 January 1826)

A photographic image of Simpson is known.

Troop Sergeant-Major David Spence
Shumsabad, India 17 January 1858
9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers
Born Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland (1818)

In 1862 Spence became a Yeoman of the Guard.

A photographic portrait of Spence wearing the Victoria Cross is known.

Captain William George Drummond Stewart
Sikandarabagh, India 16 November 1857
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders)
Born Grandtully, Perthshire, Scotland (February 1831)

Elected by the Officers of his regiment to receive the award of the Victoria Cross.

Lance-Corporal Alexander Thompson
Fort Ruhya, India 15 April 1858
42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot
Born Perth, Scotland (1824)

A photographic image of Thompson is known.

This Land of Crimson

Posted By on November 11, 2016

Flanders poppies along the roadside near Ouderdom, Belgium.

Flanders poppies along the roadside near Ouderdom, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image September 2016)

Papaver rhoeas

On the advance to Reningelst I see them. A small stand, crimson with black centers grow near to another botanical family – corn stalks.

They are the only Papaver rhoeas (Corn Poppy) I have seen on this journey of discovery – their colour stands out amidst all this new growth from nature’s palette. Gentle in the breeze, catching the sun’s rays, their motion reminds me of a single moment when hurt is caught between the living and the fallen.

I cannot help but dismount, climb the slight rise to enjoy their life, their gentle sway as the shutter clicks. All the while…here in Flanders Fields, this land of crimson…we will remember them.

With Folded Arms

Posted By on November 10, 2016

Statuette from the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image September 2016)

Statuette from the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image September 2016)

Today I Stand

With folded arms, I bow my head. Eyes open, eyes shut thinking back upon times when these friends behind spoke of memories of home.

Together we laughed and sang, marched, ran and crawled. From one corner of a field to the next, and now many remain at the foot of a cross and I cannot help but wonder how some were spared.

Today I stand vigilant…here for all to see…with folded arms I bow my head and see all their faces again.

We will remember them.

Say Not “Good-Night”

Posted By on November 9, 2016

Headstone inscription Minty Farm Cemetery.

Headstone inscription, Minty Farm Cemetery.

But in Some Brighter Clime

He was a soldier, unknown to me, but through my wanderings across Flanders I stumble upon his place. He is there with his fellow soldiers… who knew not what the day would bring. But this day, this time, this place, I stop a while and think upon his life and wonder who he was to others….We will remember them.

Bid Me “Good Morning”

Sergeant J. Gibbs, Royal Army Medical Corps. Minty Farm Cemetery.

Sergeant J. Gibbs, Royal Army Medical Corps. Minty Farm Cemetery Belgium.

Remember them Well

Posted By on November 4, 2016

Mountains and Places – Any Day and Any Table

Many of us enjoy watching movies time and time again. Each year I promise myself to find a few others and as I sit with pencil and paper in hand, neatly levered into my chair – my place, I jot down a few titles or more. The latest list includes one film I had not thought on for many years until Cold Mountain comes to mind and especially for what I recall as the end theme. To my great pleasure I have forgotten much…..but not this day…..

My gosh where has my time gone? Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellwegger and the band, Brendan Gleeson, Jack White and Ethan Suplee. As I watch this story of the Civil War…and its hurt…I cannot help but drift with my thoughts to Ken Burns’ documentary and its wonderful reoccurring theme Ashokan Farewll. In Cold Mountain we have to wait to the ending for Alison Krausse and The Scarlet Tide to take up the story, and in her sweet voice paraphrase and melodically rekindle our 154 minute journey.

This film is an allegory, a reminder of hurt in war where pain is masterly crafted in simple words (but my how I wish I could write them). As you read upon Ada Munroe’s [Nicole Kidman] thoughts…think of all families…left with the same hurt…from any war…any where….any time…..

What we have lost will never be returned to us…..The land will not heal……too much blood…..the heart will not heal…..All we can do is make peace with the past…and try to learn from it….

And later

…..There are days now when I manage not to think of you…..When the needs of the farm call with more urgency than my heart…..This time of year there’s so much life everywhere…..I find you in all of it…..as if you were still walking home to me…..If you could see us now this Easter day, at Black Cove, you would know every step of your journey was worth it.

As you watch this clip I cannot help but think of families after the Great War (or any war) at special events or for that matter any day at any table. Know that every person gathered at this table has somehow suffered a loss related to war. Think too about Canada’s Great War families, America’s families, anyone’s family – they may have spoken Athabaskan, Norwegian, French, Russian, English, Chinese, Flemish, German…all nations hurt…all of us try to heal…

 I’m still climbing upwards and my journey’s almost ended. So friend if you’re thirsty climb this mountain with me….