June 7th, 2007  


The first ' War of Independence' as we Indians would like to call or ' The Sepoy Mutiny" as the Britisher's called it. This year marks the 150th anniverasy of the infamous uprising or should I say of the 'famous' ?
June 8th, 2007  
Del Boy
Roverin - do you have any detail of Assaye?
June 8th, 2007  
I will come back to youi with some details. If memory serves me well I have seen the war trophy of Assaye Campaign in the Officers Mess Of some units and again if memory serves me well my parent battalion where I was Commissioned some 20 yrs back, The Rattray's- 3 Sikh Bn had alsso participated in this campaign. Am I correct If I say that Sir Winston Churchill had also participated in this campaign?

Well Sir, first and foremost my apologies I got my facts mixed up. I guess the trophy I saw was for the Assyrian Campaign and not the Assaye. Heres some stuff I downloaded from the net.

The initial activities of the 78th were associated with the events surrounding Britainís wars with revolutionary France and later with Napoleon Bonaparte. Just a year after they were formed, for instance, the 78th found itself at the defence of Nimjegen in Holland and a year later they were withdrawing into Germany in one of the bitterest winters on record (losing 350 men to the elements). In 1795 the 78th attacked the Cape of Good Hope (the Dutch having become revolutionary allies of the French) and forced the surrender of Cape Town and Wynberg.
Turbulent India
In 1797 the now merged 1st and 2nd battalions were sent to Calcutta to spend seven years of garrison duty at a variety of Indian posts. In 1803, however, the 78th were dispatched to Poona to contain the marauding North Mahrattas. In September of that year the 78th took part in the famous engagement at Assaye under the overall command of Sir Arthur Wellesly (later the Duke of Wellington), occupying the crucial left flank of the leading attackers. The first infantry to reach the Mahrattas, the 78th was instrumental in capturing the enemy guns and routing their infantry.
Shortly after the Battle of Assaye the 78th were sent in pursuit of fleeing Mahrattas at Argam, and later in the year they besieged the Fortress of Gawilghur to help finish the job they had commenced at Assaye. As a token of esteem, the 78th was allowed to bear the symbol of an elephant with the word "ASSAYE" inscribed below and was one of three regiments presented by the East India Company with a third, or honorary colour. This badge of honour continued to appear upon the colours and amongst the uniform regalia of the regiment during its period of service in Halifax.
June 8th, 2007  

The 74th Highlanders at the Battle of Assaye
By David Rowlands

There was no resisting them: They captured or cut down the first line of the brave Maratha gunners
at their posts and went on to destroy the second line, despite of an audacious ruse of some first-line
men: Claiming to be dead until the red firestorm had crossed over them, they immediately jumped
back to their guns, turning them to fire into Wellesley's back. But these brave soldiers where shot
down in their turn, too.

Deprived of their guns, the Maratha did exactly what Arthur had predicted: They showed no mind to fight
such a furious enemy, turned their back and ran. This should have turned directly into his planned
terrible push from the left towards the Juah. And so it would, but for a sudden dire calamity on his right!
June 13th, 2007  
Del Boy
Roverin - thank you. The 74th was my regiment at Assaye. It became The Highland Light Infantry. We carried the elephant on our cap badges until very recently as a battle honour. More battle honours than any regiment we understood; each dot on the crosshatching of the badge was a battle honour.

At the battle of Assaye, all the officers in the field were wiped out, from the C.O. down. The regt. faught on, and all the senior NCO's were wiped out.

The Corporals took over, and won the day. Every year until very recently we celebrated Assaye Day, and the Corporals took over command. I experienced that honour.

In the 1920, 1930s the HLI connection with India remained, my stepfather served 10 years there, mostly on the North West frontier. I grew up with it, I can tell you.

Incidently, the 74th were formed to put down the American rebellion, but got there too late to take part. Otherwise, America would still be part of the british empire.

Thanks for the Memory.
June 19th, 2007  
Del Boy
The commanding officer at Assaye was the young Arthur Wellesley, to be Duke of Wellington, of Waterloo fame. He was outnumbered 6-1 and his calvary was outnumbered 20-1. His opposition commanders were French.

As an old man he was often asked what was the best thing he did in fighting. He would never do anything but mutter - ASSAYE.

June 27th, 2007  
How long did you serve with this unit and do you still attain the Regimental re-unions?
June 27th, 2007  
Del Boy
After service in the Merchant Service I served two years mostly in Egypt with The 1st Bn Highland Light Infantry ( 0f 73rd and 74th) 1953-5. My Stepfather served 18 years same Regt, and so did his father serve likewise. I attended annual re-unions at Duke of Yorks etc., as a boy up to 2 days before i joined the Regt.

Then in the 1970's I visited my Bn at Gordon Barracks Bulford with my 5 children. My adjt was now Commanding Officer (Lt Col) and my old training lance-corporal was RSM. I was invited to the next annual re-union, and had a great evening with old comrades.

Incidently, my wife was a daughter of the Wilts regt, and spent her early years in India, until the outbreak of WW11. Her father served 28 years, onme spell of 10 years in India and went back for a second spell. He also served in China and Palestine. His brother seved with him, and so did his brother-in-law Reg Whitmarsh, who became RSM and after his European campaign in Europe, Monte Casino etc., was with the Glorious Gloucesters famous stand in Korea. All these men were big fans of the Ghurkas, who, as it happens, are now being sent to the Middle East; yes, we still have a few of our great Ghurkas.

The Highland Light Infantry have been in the current Iraq campaign as The Royal Highland Fusiliers or the latest Highland figuration, and have lost men.

There are immense ties between Britain and India.
July 4th, 2007  
Thanks Sir, for your reply. Its great to interact with people who hail from such a background resplendent of history and romance.

July 5th, 2007  
Del Boy
And the glopry now falls to India, in a big way. Power to your people!
You, persinally, are doing good work with your military history. Thank you ,Sir.

Similar Topics
Philippine officers sentenced in mutiny (AP)
Mangal Pandey: The Rising, about the 1857 mutiny in India
The Kronstadt Mutiny
French Mutiny of 1917
Brits called to Baghdad amid mutiny fears