Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 - 21 June 2013)

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Date of Auction: 19th - 21st June 2013

Sold for £18,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

A rare 2nd Class I.O.M. group of three awarded to Jemadar Shaik Abdool Azees, 9th Regiment Native Infantry, for the capture of the rebel leader Tantia Topi in April 1859, one of the closing incidents of the Indian Mutiny

Indian Order of Merit, Military Division, 1st type, 2nd Class, Reward of Valor, silver, gold and enamel, without screw-nut fitting, engraved in three lines, ‘2nd / Class / “Order of Merit”’, unnamed, lacking buckle; Punjab 1848-49, 1 clasp, Mooltan (Havildar Shaik Abdool Azees, 9th Regt. B.N.I.); Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Central India (Jemr. Shaik Abdool Azees, 9th Rgt. N.I.) Indian Army impressed naming, second with heavy edge bruise, last with refitted suspension, otherwise nearly very fine, the first good very fine (3) £5000-6000

Footnote

Campaign medals ex Stan Paget, May 1988. I.O.M. 2nd Class ex `Spink auction, July 2011.

Approximately 130 2nd Class awards given in the period 1837-1910.

Awarded the I.O.M. 2nd Class (as a direct entry) by G.G.O. No. 968 of 1861. For distinguished services in the field during the late campaign in Central India.

From Lieutenant-Colonel H. W. Evans, commanding 9th Bombay Native Infantry, to the Brigade Major, Camp Mhow, 6th February 1861:

‘Subadar (then Jemadar) Shaik Abdool Azees, in the month of April 1859, commanded a party of fifty men of the 9th Native Infantry which, under the orders of Major Meade, at that time commanding at Seepree, was secretly despatched to sieze the notorious Tantia Topee. The Subadar, led by guides that Major Meade had furnished, was successful in surprising the Tantia who, with two or three followers, was found sleeping in a retired spot in the jungles. The Subadar, advancing cautiously, threw himself on Tantia who was armed with a heavy kukri or Goorka knife and thus secured him before he could resist. The Native Officer and party then conveyed their prisoner safely into Major Meade’s camp, not without some risk of an attempt at rescue. It would thus appear that the Subadar conducted the important enterprise with which he was entrusted in a very skilful and daring manner... I would therefore respectfully hope that he may be deemed worthy of some special reward.’

Tantia Topi was taken to Sipri and tried by court martial on two charges: having been in rebellion and having waged war against the British Government between June 1857 and December 1858. He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried out at Sipri on 18 April 1859.

Subadar Shaik Abdul Azeez initially received a small pecuniary reward (Rs 10,000/-) for his part in the capture of Tantia Topie but this was ‘nagatived’ upon his admission to the Order of Merit.