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A Brilliant Display of British Pluck.

lii the official despatches from India relative to the late war there, Lieu-tenant-General J. M. Prinirose, under date Candahar, ist October, writes : “ In forwarding . the accompanying documents, I would most respectfully

wish to bring to his Excellendys;t||ii Commander-in-Chief's notice the gallant and determined stand made by the officers and men of the doth Regiment at Maivvand. The disposition of the ; regiment was as follows :—Fighting line : 16 officers, 464 men —all ranks. Baggage guard in rear : 4 officers, 63 men—all ranks. With smooth-bore battery ; 1 officer, 42 men—all ranks. Sick :32 men. (Jf this number 10 officers and 275 non-commissioned officers and men were wounded. These officers and men nearly all fell fighting desperately for the honor of their Queen and country. 1 have it on the authority of a colonel of artillery of Ayoob Khan’s army, who was present at the time, that a party of the 66th Regiment, which he estimated at 100 officersandmen,madeamostdetermined stand in the garden marked ‘A’ on the accompanying plan. They were surrounded by the whole Afghan army, and fought on until only 11 men were left, inflicting enormous loss upon the enemy. These 11 charged out of the garden and died with their faces to the foe, fighting to the death. Such was the nature of their charge and the grandeur of their bearing, that, although the whole of the Ghazis were assembled around them, not one dared approach to cut them down. Thus, standing in in the open, back to back, firing steadily, every shot telling, surrounded by thousands, these 11 officers and men died; and it was not until the last man had been shot down that the Ghazis dared advance upon them. He further adds that the conduct of these men was the admiration of all who witnesssed it. This is the testimony of a man who witnessed the scene, and who gave the information before Brigadier-General Daubeny proceeded to Maiwand. From an examination of the ground, from corroborative evidence, and from the position in which the bodies were found, I have not the least hesitation in stating that this account is true; and I think his Excellency will agree with me when I say that history does not afford any grander or finer instance of gallantry and devotion to Queen and country than that displayed by the 66th Regiment on the 27th July, 1880. A nominal roll of the officers and men who fought and died thus nobly has been already forwarded to you, and inquiries from survivors elicit the following facts ; —Lieutenant-Colonel Jas. Galbrith was last seen on the nullah bank, kneeling on one knee, with a color in his hand, officers and men rallying around him, and on this spot his body was found. Here, too, fell Captain William Hamilton M'Math, a gallant soldier, and one who would, had his life been spared, have risen to distinction in her Majesty’s service. Close by, Second-lieutenant Harry James Outram Barr was shot dead over one of the colors. Captains Ernest Stephen Garrett and Francis James Cullen were both killed on the field in front of the nullah, up to the last moment commanding their companies and giving their orders with as much coolness as if on an ordinary regimental parade. Captain Walter Roberts was mortally wounded in the garden where the last stand was made, and here also fell Lieutenant Maurice Edward Rayner, Lieutenant Richard Trevor Chute, Second-lieutenant Walter Rice Olivey, and Second-lieutenant Arthur Honeywood. The two latter officers were seen holding up the colors, the pole of one of which was shattered to pieces, as rallying points; and Lieutenant Honeywood was shot down whilst holding a color high above his head, shouting, ‘Men, what shall we do to save this ?’ Sergeant-major Alexander Cuppage was shot dead outside the garden whilst carrying a color ; and many other non-commissioned officers and men laid down their lives in the attempt to save the colors of their regiment on that day. With the gallant band who made this last grand effort, fought and died Major George Frederick Blackwood, Royal Horse Artillery; Lieut Thomas Rice Henn, Royal Engineers; and Lieutenant Charles William Hinde, Ist Bombay Grenadiers, Native Infantry, with some of his men. The men of the 66th on baggage guard, under command of Captain S. Quarry, did excellent service during the retreat. The party told off to man the smoothbore battery, under Lieutent G. De la M. Faunce, worked their guns steadily and well during the fight.”

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810228.2.14

Bibliographic details

A Brilliant Display of British Pluck., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 280, 28 February 1881

Word Count
751

A Brilliant Display of British Pluck. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 280, 28 February 1881

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