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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 Victoria’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

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

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

Dr. Watson’s Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Dr. Watson’s Afghanistan Campaign Medal

“The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster.” – A Study In Scarlet (STUD) With that comment, within the first two hundred words of STUD, we are given a strong viewpoint of Dr Watson’s regarding his participation in the Second Anglo-Afghanistan War of 1878 – 1880.… Continue Reading

Here Are Your Wages (1971)

Here Are Your Wages (1971)

“Here are your wages.” – A Study In Scarlet (STUD) Sherlock Holmes handed each of the original Baker Street Irregulars a shilling and said, “Here are your wages.” As you know, today’s Irregulars have as a symbol the Victorian shilling. This, more than any other, is the coin we associate with Holmes. Though the Canon… Continue Reading

“Hey Pal, Can You Spare A ‘Bob’? – A Very Simplified Guide to Sherlock Holmes and Money of the Victorian Age

“Hey Pal, Can You Spare A ‘Bob’? – A Very Simplified Guide to Sherlock Holmes and Money of the Victorian Age

If anyone has experienced the thrill of a summer in Houston, Texas, you know indoor reading is one of few options left for survival. During the summer of my 14th year, as other young men were discovering their first love — fishing, or a summer job, I discovered the stories of the Canon. As I… Continue Reading

British Coins Central To Holmesian Stories (1993)

British Coins Central To Holmesian Stories (1993)

Sherlock Holmes as sketched by Sidney Paget, considered the master Holmes portraitist. We all know who Sherlock Holmes was, the greatest detective of Victorian England in all of literature. I’ll be willing to bet that most readers of this column have also read some, if not all. of the stories that are called by fans… Continue Reading

The Banking Connection: 1894 – 1994

The Banking Connection: 1894 – 1994

“The Capital and Counties Bank, Oxford Street branch, are my agents.” – The Adventure of The Priory School (PRIO) London in 1894, when Sherlock Holmes returned from his incognito foreign journeying, was enjoying the Golden Age of British Imperial investment and expansion, bringing an enormous accretion of wealth to the Capital City of the Empire.… Continue Reading

So, How much is a Quid, a Bob, and a Crown, Really?

So, How much is a Quid, a Bob, and a Crown, Really?

“Give up a hundred thousand quid?” – The Adventure of The Mazarin Stone (MAZA) We, as modern American readers, have always had some problem in translating the British monetary system of the Victorian era into something more tangible, such as purchasing power. One who is not completely familiar with the monetary system of the time… Continue Reading