Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (27 & 28 February 2019)

Date of Auction: 27th & 28th February 2019

Sold for £1,600

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

The politically important Indian Mutiny medal awarded to Major-General George Farquhar Irving Graham, one of the founding members of the Scientific Society, a forerunner of the Aligarh Movement; author of The Life and Work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, C.I.E., and translator of various important Islamic works from Urdu into English

Indian Mutiny 1857-59, no clasp (G. F, I. Graham. 4th Eups.) toned, good very fine £1,200-£1,500


Graham's medal shows no military rank. He appears on the Civilian Roll ]L/MIL/5/86] under ‘Military Men in Civil Employ.’ His entry reads: ‘Graham G. F. I. 4th Europeans Etawah.’ The Etawah Levy was a civil, locally recruited, force raised by Allen Octavian Hume, the Collector of the district, and consisted of 200 foot, 150 horse, 5 guns and 50 gunners. Graham was the Adjutant. He spent the remainder of his employment, until retirement, as part of the Indian civilian administration in the Military Police and never reverted to military employment. Military officers in civil employ did however retain their rank but were only advanced by time served.

George Farquhar Irving Graham was born on 3 February 1840, at Saint Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh, to Humphrey Graham, Writer to the Signet (W.S.) and his wife, Joanna Wilson. He was educated at the Moravian Schools of Neuwied on the Rhine and Celle Hanover, Germany.

He was nominated by Elliot Macnaghten on the recommendation of his mother and travelled overland to India on the 20 December 1856, arriving 2 February 1857, a day before his seventeenth birthday. He was attached to the 63rd Bengal N.I. as 3rd Ensign and, on 27 September 1857, he is shown attached to 52nd Bengal N.I. based at Jubulpore. The 52nd N.I. was known to be on the verge of mutiny but remained loyal. The local Gond Raja and his son incited the 52nd N.I. to murder all the Europeans in the District but only after the Raja and his son had been blown from the guns did the 52nd regiment slowly desert en masse.
Graham was held on the books of the 52nd N.I. and then transferred to the newly raised 4th Bengal Europeans in late 1858. While the 4th Europeans saw no action during the latter part of the mutiny all the officers were actively employed in other parts of Bengal as Military Men in Civil Employ. The 4th Europeans was reduced to cadre strength in 1861 and disbanded in 1867.

Graham's mutiny services were as follow: Adjutant of the Etawah Yeomanry Levies and Military Police Battalion during the rebellion in that district. Actions at Ajeetmul, 6th and 8th July 1858 (commanded a detachment of cavalry on the former occasion); Capture of Fort Bhurree, 28th August 1858 (commanded the infantry, cavalry and artillery); Action at Chuchernugger in September 1858 (commanded the skirmishers) and other minor affairs. Mentioned by A. O. Hume Esq., C.S., Magistrate of Etawah, in a letter to the Govt. of the N.W.P., dated 18th November 1858. Also served with the Force under Brigadier St. G. D. Showers C.B., in the action at Dowsa, 14th January 1859, against Tantia Topee and other Chiefs. Despatches G.G.O. No. 315 of 1859 and Supplement to the London Gazette of 3 May 1859.

Graham was promoted to Lieutenant on 27 September 1857; appointed Adjutant Etawah District Police and Yeomanry Levies, 2 April 1858; appointed Adjutant of the Agra Divisional Military Police, January 1860. Proceeded on furlough with medical certificate, 4 March 1861, returning to India 3 November 1862; appointed Assistant Inspector General of Police in February 1863; appointed 1st Assistant District Superintendent of Police Ajmere and 2nd in Command of Mharwarrah Battalion in February 1866; officiated as Commandant Mharwarrah Battalion and Superintendent of Police Ajmere from 23 April 1866 until 15 February 1868. Appointed District Superintendent of Bustee, February 1868. He took leave for Europe for a period of two years in October 1868, due to the death of his father. He was summonsed to attend the High Court in Edinburgh to defend a case of Non-Entry or failure of a tenant's heir to renew investiture after the tenant's death. The loss of this case caused financial concerns which were to dog his later life.

On 27 September 1869, he married Lilias Jane Dudgeon at Edinburgh. He was appointed Captain, 20 December 1868; Major, 20 December 1876; Lieutenant- Colonel 20 December 1882; and Colonel, 20 December 1886. He retired on 1 August 1887, and was advanced to Major-General on the same date.

George Farquhar Irving Graham was an accomplished linguist fluent in German, French, Persian and Urdu. His mutual understanding with Sir Syed over religion led to a collaboration on Sir Syed's work on the Holy Bible (Tabayyan-ul-Kalam) which is considered an important work. Sir Syed also wrote in Urdu the Asbaab Baghawat-e-Hind (The causes of the Indian revolt) which was translated by Graham and his friend Auckland Collin into English. This was circulated throughout India and England to mixed acclaim. Graham's tour de force was writing The Life and work of Syed Ahmad Khan C.I.E. It is worth recounting that at the outbreak of the mutiny Syed Khan was a subordinate judge at Bijnore near Delhi. The European community consisted of Mr and Mrs Shakespeare C.S. and child; Mr Palmer; Dr. and Mrs Knight; Mr R. Currie; Mr and Mrs Lamaistre and 3 children; Mr Johnson; Mr and Mrs Murphy and 4 children; and Mr Cawood. With the Magistrate's permission the treasury was thrown into a well. The arrival of the Roorkee Mutineers caused consternation but Sir Syed managed to persuade the native officers to leave them unmolested. A few days later Sir Syed heard that the Europeans, living in one house, were surrounded by 800 Pathan troops under Mahmud Khan. Using a secret path, Sir Syed managed to enter the house and it was decided that Sir Syed would go out and talk to the mutineers. Against all advice he threw his pistol and sword to the ground and marched out to meet with Mahmud Khan. Using both verbal skill and threats he succeeded in persuading Mahmud Khan that while things looked bleak for the British at Delhi, he should remember that the British were likely to win any protracted campaign and that he would be chased down and killed if he harmed the Europeans. More importantly he also told Mahmud Khan where the treasury was located and after an exchange of documents the Europeans were put on to a cavalcade of carts and elephants and made a successful but hazardous escape to Meerut. For these services Sir Syed was well rewarded with a grant of land.

George F. I. Graham continued to serve as a Military man in Civil Employ until his retirement. He retired to England living variously in London, Bath and Horsham, West Sussex where he died in June 1928.

Major-General George Farquhar Irving Graham was one of those erudite British Officers who, after the Indian Mutiny, realised that there had to be a better way of governing India. The mutiny had devastating consequences for India, especially the Muslim population who had taken the greatest blame and suffered disproportionally more casualties and retribution. It was whilst acting as the Assistant District Superintendent of Police at Ghazipur in 1864 that he met and became lifelong friends with Syed Ahmad Khan, a high born Muslim, who was later knighted and awarded the C.I.E. from Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The like minded pair formulated the by-laws of the Scientific Society, a forerunner of what was to become known as the Aligarh Movement. This movement of enlightenment had a profound impact on Indian society, and made a lasting contribution to the emancipation of Indian Muslims, not only in Northern India but throughout the Indian sub-continent. Sir Syed, a pro-British reformer, transformed the Aligarh Movement into a secular education facility known as the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College [MAO] which opened in 1875. Apart from its secular stance the core values were a competence in the English language, which was a taboo at the time, and the teaching of Western sciences. It was later to become the Aligarh Muslim University.

In 1885 Syed Mahmud, the son of Sir Syed said of Graham, “When Indian Muslims remember my father, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, they will also pay a rich tribute to Lieutenant-Colonel G. F. I. Graham”. Graham's immediate superior was Allen Octavian Hume with whom he had served in Etawah during the mutiny. While Graham and Sir Syed were establishing the Scientific Society, Hume was taking a keen interest. As the Aligarh Movement advanced Hume formulated the ideas of another movement to give greater access to government jobs for all educated Indians and in 1885 he established the Indian National Congress. It is perhaps extraordinary to think that two men in the heat of battle at Etawah were to become two of the most far sighted men in India during this period.

Sold with a portrait photograph of Graham in later life wearing his Indian Mutiny medal together with the Order of St. Olav (second type) issued by the King of Norway for services to Norway [returnable upon death], and a compact disc containing the ethics and beliefs of the Moravian Church together with copies of The Life and Work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan C.I.E and The Causes of the Indian Revolt is included with the lot.