The medal with Bar for Pegu was first instituted on 22nd December 1853 and on 1st March 1854 it was recommended that in order to avoid unnecessary multiplication of medals, that a single service medal be awarded with any additional service represented by further bars. The action surrounding this medal took place mainly after the Indian Mutiny.
With India now relatively calm, The British were more concerned about the region across the Indus into Central Asia form where the feared interference from Russia. This was fairly inhospitable territory which included the North West Frontier, Afghanistan and other territories controlled by Mohmands, Afridis, Mahsuds, Wazirs and others. From about 1860 onwards, The British found themselves fighting in this region for a further 50 years sending punitive expeditions there with an average of at least one a year.
The Medal has 23 attributable bars:
Persia– 5th December 1856 – 1st April 1857 – Authorised 12th April 1858 for the short lived war with Persia which was triggered by the Annexation of the Afghanistan city of Herat by the Persians on 25th October 1856. The British retaliated both on land and sea bombarding the Persian Gulf city of Bushire on 10th November (which surrendered), followed by a land based expedition that carried out a number of engagements at Boorzgoon, Koosh-ab and Mohammerrah. The Persians withdrew to Akwaz where they were attacked again by the combined expedition and on 1st April, they found out that a peace treaty had been signed on 4th March in Paris, the terms of which required the Persians to evacuate Herat.
900 Medals to 78th Foot who fought in the Anglo-Persian War of 1857 under the command of General Foster Stalker. They were in Persia leading the attack at the famous Battle of Khushab and Mohammerah.
Once reinforcements arrived, an Army expeditionary force of three brigades under Major General Sir James Outram advanced on Brazjun/Borazjan (en route to Shiraz), which the Persians abandoned without a fight. The British appropriated or destroyed the supplies at the site and then halted on 5 February near the village of Khoosh-Ab where good water was available.
Battle of Khushab
Outram advanced further on the 6th and 7th, but seeing the enemy retreat into the mountains beyond his reach and being short of rations, he decided not to risk a mountain pursuit but instead to fall back to the wells near Khoosh-Ab or Khushab for a logistic pause, before returning to Bushire. The Persians, encouraged by the retreat of Havelock’s forces, occupied with 8000 men a position dominating Outram’s camp, catching the British in a potentially dangerous situation. Outram attacked this position on 7–8 February in the Battle of Khushab, ultimately managed to inflict a defeat on the Persians in what turned out to be the largest battle of the war, with 70-200 Persian dead.
The British resumed their march back to Bushire, but in deplorable conditions; torrential rains which created mud so deep as to pull a man’s boots from his feet. The troops went through a harrowing ordeal, finally reaching Bushire on 10 February, about which is written:
The troops had covered 46 miles in 41 hours to meet the enemy, a further 20 miles over the most difficult country during the night after the battle, and after a rest of 6 hours, another 24 miles to Bushire.
Battle of Mohammerah
The British then shifted their focus north up the Persian Gulf, invading Southern Mesopotamia by advancing up the Shatt Al Arab waterway to Mohammerah (future Khorramshahr) at its junction with the Karun River, short of Basra. The force collected for this sortie consisted of 1500 British and 2400 Indian soldiers. The engineers grouped with this force included 2nd Company, Bombay Sappers & Miners (with 109 troops under Captain Haig) and B Company, Madras Sappers & Miners (with 124 troops under Brevet-Major Boileau). The transfer of forces was delayed by the separate deaths by suicide of two high-ranking British officers, which occasioned a shuffling of commands and forced Outram to leave Brigadier John Jacob in command in Bushire.
On March 19 the expedition entered the Shatt al Arab. On 24th they were in sight of the strong defences of Mohammerah. The engineer officers were part of the close reconnaissance of the Persian guns in a small canoe. They first planned to erect a battery on an island in the Shatt al Arab, but the island proved to be too swampy. They then towed the mortars on a raft and moored it behind the island from where fire support was provided. Two days later, warships sailed up the Shatt al Arab and silenced the Persian battery. The troops landed and advanced through the date groves. These were punctuated with irrigation channels which the sappers rapidly bridged with palm trees. The Madras Sappers were also aboard the S.S. Hugh Lindsay assisting the 64th Regiment to fire the ship’s carronades
Besides its defences, Muhammarah was further protected by the political requirement that the British not violate Ottoman territory, as the city lay right on the border. In the event, however, the Persians abandoned the city to a British force under Brigadier Henry Havelock, which captured it on 27 March. The 13,000 Persians and Arabs under the command of Khanlar Mirza withdrew to Ahvaz, a hundred miles up the Karun River.
Chin Hills 1892-93 19th October 1892-10th March 1893 – Awarded for service in the Northern Chin Hills during the Siyin-Nwengal uprising when the Chins rose in rebellion against British proposals to disarm the tribes. The campaign involved the despatch of small columns in to rebel areas and as the Chins would not stand to fight, there were few encounters.
Only about 2600 men received this Bar.
Naga – 1879-80 1875 and December 1879 – January 1880 – The bar for the 1879-80 expedition was authorised on 24th June 1881 and later extended to cover the earlier 1875 expedition.
January 1875 – A survey party was attacked by the Nagas and a force under Colonel Nuthall was despatched to punish the perpetrators.
The 1879-80 expedition arose following the murder of the local Commissioner on 14th October 1879 by the Nagas of Konoma who then besieged the Kohima garrison. A force was sent out to relieve Kohima while a further expedition marched on Konoma. After some heavy fighting the Nagas surrendered March 1880.
Samana 1891 –5th April – 25th May 1891 – awarded to members of the second Miranzai Expeditionary force which operated in the Miranzai valley and against the Samana Heights where a local Muslim cleric, Syed Mir Basha, had proclaimed a “Jihad”.
Hazara 1891 – 12th March – 16th May 1891 – awarded for the Hazara Field Force operations against the Hussanzais and Akazais in the Black Mountains. Much of the activity consisted of repelling raids and on one occasion a party of insurgents was chased up and eventually captured on the 9800 feet high Machai Peak.
Burma 1889-92 – 16th April 1889-18th April 1892 – Awarded for 11 operations against insurgents in Burma and succeeded the Burma 1885-7 and 1887-89 Bars. 2nd Devonshire Reg participated:
27th January – 28th March 1891 – Momeik Column
15th December 1891 – 18th April 1892 – Irrawaddy Column
15th December 1891 – 7th April 1892 – North-Eastern Column
Pegu – Authorised 22nd December 1853 for the campaign in Burma caused by the unwillingness of the King of Ava to abide by the Treaty of Yendaboo, 24th February 1826 which concluded the first Burma war. The treaty allowed for the British to have trading facilities in the port of Rangoon and ceded several provinces to the Hon East India Company. in 1852 following violations of the treaty, an expeditionary force under Major General Henry Godwin along with a naval squadron under Commodore G. Lambert was dispatched with war declared on 2nd April 1852. Fighting was concentrated in the Irrawaddy Delta around Rangoon. By the beginning of 1853, most of the resistance had ceased and the whole Burmese coast from Chittagong down to Rangoon and Pegu was in British hands and the war ended 30th June 1853.
Bhootan – December 1864 – February 1866 – Authorised 22nd March 1870 for service in the Bhootan Campaign 1864-66, which commenced after the Indian Government decided to take punitive action due to persistant raids from the Bhootan into British territory as well as ill treatment of the head of the mission on Bhootan. The first expedition met little resistance to start with at Dhalimcote, Bhumsong and Charmoorchee, however were then attacked with some serious losses. Further expeditions followed in 1865 and 1866 after which the Bhootanese accepted defeat.
Perak – 27th November 1874 – 20th March 1876 awarded to all those who served off the coast of Perak and adjacent rivers within this period.
Situated west of the Malay penisular, Perak suffered from constant strife between rivalling Malay chiefs as well as Chinese and Piracy was also rife. The first British resident, Mr. J.W.W. Birch was murdered and his death along with the ongoing unrest was dealt with by the Perak expedition supported by a Naval brigade, following which 3 Perak chiefs were hanged and another 3 bannished.
Hazara 1888 – 3rd October – 9th November 1888 – awarded to the Hazara Field Force for what is often called the “Black Mountain” expedition, which was undertaken following the murders of Major L. Battye and Captain H.B. Urmiston along with 5 Sepoys who were surveying the area. The expedition dealt with the offending tribes (Akazais, Hassanzais and Chargarzais) and many villages were destroyed before the tribes surrendered.
Sikkim 1888 – 15th March – 27th September 1888 – Sikkim a small Himalayan state adjoining Tibet had been allied to the British since 1814.
In 1888 the Tibetans persuaded the Rajah of Sikkim to build a fort at Lingtu to obstruct the trade route contravening the terms of the treaty. In spite of warnings, the building works continued after which a force was despatched to capture the fort and drive the Tibetans out of Sikkim. Much of the fighting was done at altitudes of 20,000 ft and the fort was eventually captured on 20th March and destroyed on 21st. Further action followed later at the Jelapla Pass from where occupying Tibetans were driven out on 25th September 1888.
NE Frontier 1891 – 28th March – 7th May 1891 – The “Manipur” expedition involved an expedition to get Takendrajit Singh who occupied the post of Senaputti (Commander-in-Chief) to stand down as he had deposed the ruler and given the throne to one of his other brothers Kula Chandra Dhuya Singh. On 24th February Colonel Skene with 250 men surrounded and entered the Senaputti’s residence only to find he had escaped. The colonel and Mr. J.W. Quinton (Chief Commissioner for Assam) and others went out to meet with the Manipuris but were never seen alive again. On 26th April, the remaining force advanced on Manipur and found the palace burnt and the heads of those who had set out for talks within the palace grounds. The Senaputti was eventually captured and executed and Chandra Dhuya Singh and his brother were exiled to the Andaman islands in the Bay of Bengal.
Umbeyla – 20th October – 23rd December 1863 – Awarded for an expedition against Muslims in Sittana, particularly the village of Malka.
The Yusafzai Field Force of approx 5600 men under General Sir N.B. Chamberlain advanced up the Umbeyla Pass but encountered strong opposition. heavy casualties were sustained during attempts to hold the “Eagles Nest” and Crag Piquet”. Further reinforcements were sent and Major General Sir J. Garvock was appointed to succeed Chamberlain.
2 Victoria Crosses were awarded and some of the most severe fighting on the frontier experienced with over 900 casualties.
Lushai 1889-92 – 11th January 1889 – 8th June 1892 – Awarded for 5 small expeditions into the Lushai Hills
Burma 1885-7 – 14th November 1885 – 30th April 1887 – The pretext for an expedition was provided by what the British considered the unacceptable behaviour of King Thebaw of Burma, who began interfering in the Bombay and Burma Trading Company’s timber trade. After an ultimatum failed, war was declared on 8th November 1885.
The expedition advanced into Burma and captured the forts of Minhla and Gurgyong 17th November 1885 and on 26th King Thebaw surrendered. The Ava forts were occupied on 27th and General Prendergast VC entered Mandalay on 28th. King Thebaw’s brother continued to resist and several engagements followed throughout the period. Active operations continued even afterwards for which additional bars were applicable.
Hazara 1891 (see above)
Chin-Lushai 1889-90 – 13th November 1889 – 30th April 1890 – Awarded to the Burma Column under Brigadier General W.P. Symons for operations against the Chin tribe and also to the Chittagong Column under General V.W. Tregear for operations against the Lushai tribe. 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers were present in the the Burma Column.
Burma 1887-89 – 1st May 1887 – 31st March 1889 issued for numerous operations to counter unrest throughout Burma following on from the 1885-7 Bar.
Jowaki 1877-8 –awarded to the 2 forces under the command of Brigadier Generals C.P. Keyes and C.C.G. Ross who were sent to suppress incursions by the Jowaki Afridis who occupied territories between Peshawar and the Kohat Pass and who were making continuous attacks on their neighbours. Keyes along with the main body attacked and captured Jummoo, the principal Jowaki stronghold on 1st December 1877.
Waziristan 1894-5 – 22nd October 1894 – 13th March 1895 – awarded to the Afghan Frontier Delimitation Party . The party was heavily attacked in its camp at Wana 3rd November 1894 following which the Waziristan Field force was formed to take punitive action against the Waziris.
Northwest Frontier – 3rd December 1849 – 22nd October 1868 – awarded for 15 expeditions within the period. 32nd Regiment was present at:
- 11th March – 24th May 1852 expedition under Brigadier General sir Colin Campbell against the Ranizais, in Turangai and anothetr in Shakot and Dargai 15th to 24th May 1852.
- 15th April – 14th May 1852 – 2 further expeditions under Sir Colin Campbell, one against the Mohmands at Panjpao and another against the Utman Khel villages of Nawadan and Prangarh.
Hunza 1891 – 1st – 22nd December 1891
Awarded for the expedition under Lieutenant Colonel A.G.A. Durand to Gilgit, Hunza and Nagar, an exceptionally remote and mountainous area in the Karakoram Mountains, where the local tribesmen continually attacked road-maiking parties.
No British Units were engaged however, medals were awarded to 23 British officers of Indian units, political officers and european volunteers.
Kachin Hills 1892-93 3rd Dec 1892 – 3rd March 1893
Authorised 9th January 1903 and awarded for punitive expeditions into the Kachin Hills.