Details about RARE AFGHAN 1878 GALLANTRY MEDAL GROUP TO HIGHLANDER WOUNDEDSee original listing
14 May, 2014 12:15:53 BST
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SCOTLAND, United Kingdom
A RARE AFGHAN 1878 'PEIWAR KOTAL' D.C.M. GROUP TO THE 72ND SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL,
V.R. ‘1489....D. BONAR 72ND...GT.’,
D.C.M. Recommendation submitted to the Queen, 7.6.1879 as follows: ‘For the conspicuous coolness and intrepidity displayed while under a heavy fire during the action of the Peiwar Kotal on the 2nd December last’
Only of Six D.C.M.s for
Peiwar Kotal, all to 72nd Highlanders and all to Sergeants bar Private Bonar
(one of these a late application in 1883). Bonar received his Award from Lord
Roberts in the
1489 Private Daniel Bonar,
D.C.M., was further wounded by a bullet to the left arm at Charasia, 6.10.1879.
He was invalided out of the service on 3rd April 1883 after the
Condition Some loss of naming at 3 and 6 o’clock through star wear. Sold with copy rolls, DCM recommendation, the latter scarce for Victorian DCM’s
At Peiwar Kotal on 2nd December 1878, General Roberts force attacked a superior Afghan regular force which was dug in, in well prepared positions upon a hill covered in trees! The 72nd and 5th Gurkhas were conspicuous for their gallantry displayed as a storming force that made initial contact with the enemy, capturing stockade after stockade as they drove up the pine covered hill under heavy fire.
The noise of this action helped to divert the Afghans from the advance of Robert's Gurkhas and 72nd Highlanders. At 0600 hours, the Gurkhas had managed to move to within 50 yards of the Afghans before being spotted. They and the 72nd Highlanders launched a savage attack on the unsuspecting Afghans, advancing upwards and though capturing two guns and winning a VC, several DCM’s and 10 IOM’s within the space of an hour.
As Roberts’ force moved up the Kurrum valley, the Afghans, 1,800 in number with 12 guns, retreated before them until they reached Peiwar Kotal, joining the existing garrison so that 4,000 Afghans and 23 guns held the 4 mile long fortified position centred on the Kotal.
On 27th November 1878 the British and Indian troops concentrated at Kurrum Fort and the next day began the advance on the Peiwar Kotal pass, beyond which lay the central plain of Afghanistan. The Kurrum Field Force moved up the pass in two columns comprising; 13th Bengal Cavalry, 8th Foot, 72nd Highlanders, 23rd BNI and 29th BNI, 2nd and 5th Punjab Infantry, 5th Gurkhas, F battery and the mountain battery. Early on 28th November 1878 the force moved off to attack Peiwar Kotal, advancing up a wide slope and halting beneath the Kotal by a steep ridge up which wound the track to the Afghan position. At the top the track followed a dip in the high ground; the mountainsides all around heavily forested.
The sides of the valley overlooked the approach to the slope; enabling the Afghans to fire down on the British and Indian troops from each flank and the front as they made their final advance. Roberts hoped to take the Kotal before the Afghans could organise a full defence, the 5th Punjab Infantry and the 29th Bengal Native Infantry pushing forward along the southern side of the valley. They quickly came under a heavy fire and the attack faltered. The 5th Gurkhas moved forward in support and the three regiments pulled back down the valley and made camp. During the night the Afghans moved a gun along a spur and opened fire forcing the regiments to break camp and withdraw still further.
In the light of the heavy resistance Roberts resolved on an indirect attack, leaving a small force to pin the Afghans with a feint advance on the Peiwar Kotal. To disguise the flank movement the British and Indians established a gun line in the valley beneath the Kotal and officers bustled about apparently reconnoitRing the Afghan positions. Late on 1st December 1878 Roberts led a powerful force into the neighbouring valley to the North of the Kurrum, the Spingawi Valley leading to the Spingawi Kotal; the force comprising the 72nd Highlanders, 23rd and 29th Bengal Native Infantry, 5th Gurkhas, 2nd Punjab Infantry, 1st Mountain Battery and 3 more guns of G Battery, 900 men in all.
A second smaller force of
irregulars under Major Palmer conducted a diverting operation in the mountains
to the South of the Afghan positions on the Peiwar Kotal. Movement up the steep
In the dawn the Gurkhas and 72nd Highlanders stormed the Spingawi Kotal defences capturing 2 guns.
The British and Indian troops
then attacked along the ridge into the main Afghan positions, heavy fighting
developing, but found themselves blocked by a ravine held on the far side by
the Afghans. The troops in the
While the Gurkhas and Highlanders fought over the ravine, regiments from the Spingawi flanking attack felt their way further to the North and West until they were behind the Afghan positions on the Peiwar Kotal. The mountain battery followed and opened fire on the Afghan camp and positions. Roberts broke off the attack on the ravine and moved down the valley across the Afghan line of retreat. The fire slackened as the Afghan troops, seeing the threat to their retreat, streamed away down the track. The 8th Foot pushed straight up onto the Peiwar Kotal where they met Major Palmer’s levies coming up from the South. The Afghan positions on the Kotal had been taken. The Afghan regulars retreated down the valley pursued by the 12th Bengal Cavalry, while the tribesmen dispersed into the hills.
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