Saragarhi mentioned in the London Gazette

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The following is an account from the London Gazette published on 11 February 1898 Issue: 26937 on page: 863 and 864:

London Gazette Page 863

Fort William, the 24th December 1897.

No. 1417. — The Right Honourable the Governor -General in Council is pleased to direct the publication of the subjoined letter from the Adjutant-General in India, submitting despatches from Major-General A. G. Yeatman-Biggs, C.B., Commanding the Kurram-Kohat Force, describing the operations which took place on the Samana Range and in the Kurram Valley in August and September last.

2. The Governor-General in Council concurs with His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in his appreciation of the conduct of these operations, and of the behaviour of the troops engaged.

3. The Governor-General in Council desires especially to express his admiration of the brilliant defence of Fort Gulistan by the 36th Sikhs, and of the post of Saragarhi by a party of twenty men of the same regiment under the command of Havildar Ishar Singh, who died fighting to the last, displaying a heroic devotion which has never been surpassed ha the annals of the Indian Army.

…. I have honour … to forward, for information of the Government of India despatches …. which describe the measure taken by the officer to repel attacks made by the Afridis and Orakzais on our frontier posts on the Samana Range in August and September 1897, and also the attack on Sadda camp on the night of the 16th-17th September, 1897.

2. His Excellency is of opinion that the operations in question were well planned and skilfully carried out. The march to the relief of Gulistan was performed under very trying circumstances, owing to the heat and to a great scarcity of water en route, but the force successfully accomplished its object with the same gallantry and cheerfulness as have been evinced on every occasion by our troops during the various operations which have recently taken place on the North-West Frontier.

3. The Commander-in-Chief wishes to draw attention to the admirable conduct and steadiness of the 36th Sikhs, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Haughton, during the attack on the various posts held by that regiment on the Samana Range. At Sangar, the small garrison made a sortie and gallantly captured a standard from the enemy, while the brilliant defence of Fort Gulistan by the detachment, under the command of Major Des Voeux, reflects the greatest credit on that officer and the garrison of the post. The Government of India will, His Excellency is assured, appreciate fully the intrepid manner in which the late Havildar Kala Sing[h] led the sortie from the Gulistan Fort, and also the conduct of Havildar Sundar Singh, who assisted his comrades at a critical moment.

4. The Commander-in-Chief deeply regrets the loss of the garrison of Saragarhi, a post held by 21 men of the 36th Sikhs, and he wishes to record his admiration of the heroism shown by those gallant soldiers. Fighting against over-whelming numbers they died at their post, thus proving their loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign while upholding to the last the traditional bravery of the Sikh nation. 5. The creditable manner in which the attack of the enemy on the post at Sadda was repulsed is due, in His Excellency's opinion, not only to the steadiness and good discipline of the garrison, but also to the satisfactory arrangements for the protection of his camp which were made by Colonel G. L. R. Richardson, C.I.E.

6. In conclusion, the Commander-in-Chief recommends to the favourable consideration of Government the services of Major-General Yeatman-Biggs, C.B., and those mentioned by him in his despatch. Among the names brought specially to notice is that of Miss Theresa McGrath, whose heroism is described in terms which His Excellency cordially endorses

....

Page 864

WITH reference to your letter No. 1637-F, of the 15th October, 1897, I have the honour to forward, for the information of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in India, the accompanying despatch of Major-General Yeatman-Biggs. C.B., on the operations on the Samana from the 9th to the 14th September.

2. These operations seem to have been well planned and carried out. The heroic defence of Saragarhi is, in my opinion, worthy of the highest praise, and I deeply lament the loss of the garrison.

3. I fully endorse the Major-General's commendation on the defence of Fort Gulistan and the behaviour of all ranks. Major Des Voeux proved himself a gallant and skilful leader, and the Major-General's remarks on this officer's conduct appear to be fully deserved.

4. I have much pleasure in recommending for the Order of Merit all the non-commissioned officers and men the Major-General has brought to notice.

Read these Battle of Saragarhi Books

  • Saragarhi Battalion: Ashes to Glory by Kanwaljit Singh and H.S. Ahluwalia, New Delhi : Lancer International, 1987 (ISBN 8170620228)
  • Of blood red in olive green: Himmat Singh Gill [1]
  • Valour and Sacrifice: Famous Regiments of the Indian Army, India, Allied Publishers (1990) ISBN 817023140X


See also

References


  • A1. St. Nihal Singh, India`s Fighters. London, 1914
  • A2. The Spokesman Weekly. Delhi, 20 September 1971
  • A3. Portrait in Courage. D.G.P.C., Delhi

External links

Map of Area
Map courtesy of britishempire.co.uk