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Tag Archives: United Kingdom

No Bar For Maiwand (1965)

No Bar For Maiwand (1965)

“… I should have had a medal …”

– The Adventure of the Three Garridebs (3GAR)

In dusty corners of old curio shops, there is often a little tray of tarnished trinkets. Amongst the buttons and pen-knives, I have sometimes found an old campaign medal with faded ribbon – and finally, after a long search and many disappointments, Watson’s own medal.

Not, alas, the very one awarded to Asst. Surgeon J. H. Watson, 5th/66th Foot, nor even those of Orderly Murray or Colonel Hayter or Moran, but a fine specimen awarded in that campaign, full of “hardship and sickness,” to a Private T. O’Neil, 1st/25th Foot, with its ribbon of green and purplish red, barely faded.

This medal was (wound pension apart) Watson’s only reward in a campaign “which brought honours and promotion to many” but to Watson “nothing but misfortune and disaster.”

I learned much of its horror from an excellent article in a recent BSJ, by Professor Richard Lesh and shall not attempt to describe them here.

There were six bars for the Afghanistan Medal, for the six victories of Ali Musjid, Peiwar Kotal, Charasia, Ahmed Khel, Kabul and Kandahar. For “fatal” Maiwand – that shattering defeat – there was no bar. Colonel Moran, 1st. Bengalore Pioneers, could of course claim the bars for Charasia and Kabul, also, very probably, the separate Kabul to Kandahar Star.

This medal, apart from its Sherlockian connections, is well worth seeking. I think that it is one of the finest of the Victorian campaign medals. The obverse shows a very Regal and Imperial “Regina at Imperatrix,” and it may be mentioned that the Medal was struck at the Queen’s own request, as she considered that the existing Indian General Service Medal was not adequate recognition.

The portrait of the Queen is engraved by J. E. Boehm and the names of the recipients are engraved along the rim – British troops in Roman Capitals – native troops in italic.

The reverse is much more interesting (see photograph). It is engraved by L. C. Wyon from a drawing by the famous Victorian book illustrator, Randolph Caldecott. Thus: 

A column of cavalry and infrantry winds down the rocky road from the hill-fort, high above. At the head, march British infantrymen, followed by a magnificent elephant carrying a heavy gun. Beside him comes the fine horse of a British officer. Could it be the great “Bobs,” himself or one of our Colonels, Hayter or Moran? And, at the rear, comes a great host of turbanned Indian lancers from Bengal or the Punjab.

 

If you look closely at this picture, the whole campaign seems to come alive. Onc can see the hot sun catching the lances of the cavalry and the bayonnets of the British privates. One can hear the boots of the men ringing on the rocky road, the bugles echoing across the pass, the shouted commands, the jingle and clatter of the horsemen, feel the heat and dust rising from the road.

I like to picture Watson sitting by the fire at 221b on a raw November evening, holding his medal and re-living that “battle long ago.”

Originally published in the Spring 1965 (Volume 7, Number 2, Whole Number 26) of the Sherlock Holmes Journal and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.

Financial Anaylsis of “The Man With the Twisted Lip”

Financial Anaylsis of “The Man With the Twisted Lip”

“Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-pennies….” – The Man With the Twisted Lip (TWIS)   “Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-pennies….” “For seven hours I plied my trade, and when I returned home in the evening I found to my surprise that I had received no less than 26s. 4d. “… had a writ served… Continue Reading

TFG Issues Souvenir Card at Norwegian Explorers Conference

TFG Issues Souvenir Card at Norwegian Explorers Conference

“… at this conference.” – The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone (MAZA) Our friends at the Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota held their triennial conference this past week with the theme of “Dark Places, Wicked Companions and Strange Experiences.” Friday, August 9 also happened to be the fifth anniversary of our group’s founding. To celebrate the event,… Continue Reading

The 2019 Fantasy Kingdom of Great Britain 10 Pound Banknote

The 2019 Fantasy Kingdom of Great Britain 10 Pound Banknote

“No living man could tell a Prescott from a Bank of England …” – The Adventure of The Three Garridebs (3GAR) The fifth different “edition” of the fantasy Kingdom of Great Britain 10 pound banknotes has recently been issued. You can read about the 2015 version HERE and the 2016-2018 editions HERE. In the upper right corner… Continue Reading

More Post-Mint Modifications of the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence Coins

More Post-Mint Modifications of the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence Coins

“… there were several little changes carried out …” – The Adventure of the Speckled Band (SPEC) As this post is being written, just under 2,000 examples of the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 pence coins are being offered for bidding or purchase on a major online auction service. It is amusing to see many of the… Continue Reading

CoinCollective’s Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence PNC & other Post-Mint Modifications

CoinCollective’s Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence PNC & other Post-Mint Modifications

“… there were several little changes carried out …” – The Adventure of the Speckled Band (SPEC) A United Kingdom collectibles company, CoinCollective, has created a philatelic-numismatic cover with the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 pence coin, and several other items that may be of interest to those collectors that want “one of everything.”   This cover… Continue Reading

2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence Philatelic Covers & Encapsulations from the Westminster Collection

2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence Philatelic Covers & Encapsulations from the Westminster Collection

“Dear me, dear me! – the post office again!” – The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter (MISS) We have discussed previously the Philatelic-Numismatic Covers (PNC) that feature the 1993 British stamps that feature scenes from five stories from the Canon. With the recent release of the 2019 British Sherlock Holmes 50 pence coins, it is natural that… Continue Reading

Michael Palin Now a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG)

Michael Palin Now a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG)

“If you have a fancy to see your name in the next honours list” – The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans (BRUC)   Monty Python’s Michael Palin hosted the April 8, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live and portrayed Holmes in a sketch Michael Palin’s name is familiar to fans of Monty Python, but many are not… Continue Reading