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Category Archives: Novels

The Kabul to Kandahar Star That Dr. Watson Didn’t Earn

The Kabul to Kandahar Star That Dr. Watson Didn’t Earn

“… succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety…”

A Study in Scarlet (STUD)

     

Photos source: Wikipedia

In our previous post on Dr. Watson’s Afghanistan Campaign Medal, we briefly discussed the Kabul to Kandahar rhar Star (also known as the Robert’s Star).

This medal was awarded to the troops under General Frederick Roberts’ command, who participated in the 300+ mile march from Kabul to Kandahar in Afghanistan from August 19-31, 1880. The British troops at Kandahar were pinned down by the rebel Afghans and this march brought addtional British troops to relieve the garrison. Upon arrival of the British reinforcements, the Afghans were defeated in battle the next day. The Second Afghan War would soon be over.

This bronze medal was made from Afgan cannons that were melted after being captured during the Battle of Kandahar. Over 11,000 medals were issued to participants in the march. These individuals were also awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and most likely also received the Kandahar bar with that medal.

Measuring 62mm by 48mm, the medal is a five pointed star which is suspended by an imperial crown. Queen Victorial’s monogram is the central design, encircled with the words “KABVL TO KANDAHAR” and date of 1880. The  reverse of the medal would be engraved with the recipient’s name and regiment assignment.

Dr. Watson had been wounded “at the fatal battle of Maiwand” that occured on July 27-28, 1880. Luckily, the wounded Watson was saved by his orderly, Murray, and brought to safety behind British lines. Having been sent to the hospital at Peshawur and then being stricken with enteric fever, it is extremely improbable that Watson would have been able to participate in the 320-mile march from Kabul to Kandahar that began August 9th. This makes Watson ineligible to receive the Kabul to Kandahar Star,

If you look closely at some of the onscreen portrayals of the good Doctor, there will be times when he is sporting the Kabul to Kandahar Star. Jude Law is seen with this medal in his second film, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. Likewise, Andrei Panin’s portrayal in the 2013 Russian television series, Sherlok Kholms (Шерлок Холмс) has him with this decoration. We’ll be discussing these portrayals in future posts.

Some of you reading this post disagree with my theory that Watson is ineligible to have the Kabul to Kandahar Star. I would welcome your thoughts otherwise in the comments section below.

The Dog and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2000)

The Dog and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2000)

A recent NI BULLETIN article (Smith, 1998) considered the copper fulus produced during the British occupation of the city of Qandahar during the Second Afghan War, and an unusual footnote is now added. It was mentioned that in the final phase of the war, on 27th July 1880, Ayub Khan “…defeated a sizeable British force… Continue Reading

Chad Issues 2018 5,000 Franc Coin “Honoring” the Hound

Chad Issues 2018 5,000 Franc Coin “Honoring” the Hound

“Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) OBVERSE:  YEAR OF THE DOG 2018 / (a snarling, drooling hound, with paws scratching into the soil. Pagodas, cloud, the moon and the Chinese character for the word “dog” in the background) REVERSE:  REPUBLIQUE DU TCHAD / Mouse Ox Tiger… Continue Reading

“Ghana” issues 2017 Hound of the Baskervilles 2 Cedis Coin

“Ghana” issues 2017 Hound of the Baskervilles 2 Cedis Coin

“… after his African experiences …” – The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier (BLAN)      Sometime in 2017, the west African nation of Ghana contracted the German company of MCI Internationale Munzhandelsgesellschaft mbH (aka MCI Mint) to strike a 2 Cedis coin for sale to collectors. To date, it has been poorly marketed. OBVERSE: … Continue Reading

The Master Bird Watcher Badge from Boss McGinty’s Bird Watchers

The Master Bird Watcher Badge from Boss McGinty’s Bird Watchers

“You are an early bird …” – The Valley of Fear (VALL) In 1982, two professors at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — Fred Saules and Frank Vacante — organized a group of 18 Sherlockians to form a new BSI scion, Boss McGinty’s Bird Watchers. The group takes its name from the final Sherlock Holmes novel, The… Continue Reading

Afghanistan or Iraq? Military Decorations of Captain John H. Watson

Afghanistan or Iraq? Military Decorations of Captain John H. Watson

“Which was it – Afghanistan or Iraq?” – A Study In Pink When the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) premiered their new series of Sherlock in July of 2010, devoted Sherlockians watched to see how the writers would take items from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories and update these items to the modern… Continue Reading

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII

“I had observed some newspaper comment at the time, but I was exceedingly preoccupied by that little affair of the Vatican cameos, and in my anxiety to oblige the Pope I lost touch with several interesting English cases.” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) In The Hound of the Baskervilles, there is the tantalizing reference… Continue Reading

The 1997 British Tales of Terror Philatelic Numismatic Cover

The 1997 British Tales of Terror Philatelic Numismatic Cover

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) On May 13, 1997, Great Britain issued a four stamp series with the theme of Tales of Terror.  The four stamps features designs of the Hound of the Baskervilles, Dracula, Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Many… Continue Reading

London on Eleven Shillings a Day

London on Eleven Shillings a Day

“…  as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be.” – A Study in Scarlet (STUD) The canon references a variety of coins and their nicknames, common enough for the Victorian reader, but quite confusing for those in the twenty-first century. Even more perplexing was the… Continue Reading