Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria. To coincide with the OMRS Convention (19 September 2003)

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Date of Auction: 19th September 2003

Sold for £1,250

Estimate: £350 - £450

The Burma campaign medal awarded to Mr Frederick Kennedy, C.I.E., Manager of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company fleet in Burma

India General Service 1854-95, 1 clasp, Burma 1885-7 (Mr. F. C. Kennedy, C.I.E.) good very fine £350-450

Footnote

Frederick Charles Kennedy was born in Leith in 1849, the son of Peter Cuming Kennedy, a tweed merchant, of Edinburgh. He had no inclination to join his father in business and when the time came for him to earn his living he decided to become a civil engineer. However, having qualified, he was dissatisfied with his progress and financial prospects, believing that he would have to look beyond the borders of Scotland if his ambitions were to be fulfilled. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, of Glasgow, but which operated in Burma, offered him the opportunity and he seized it. Kennedy was in Rangoon before the end of 1877.

Formed in 1852, the Irrawaddy Flotilla sent four paddle steamers to Burma for the prosecution of the second Burmese War. It was taken over by private enterprise in 1865 and became the foundation of the greatest river fleet the world has ever known. Kennedy was engaged by the company to replace Archibald Colquhoun, the Assistant Manager, who had died suddenly in Rangoon in October 1877. That Kennedy was appointed as the new Assistant Manager over the heads of Assistants already serving in Burma, shows that he already possessed qualities and experience which deserved recognition.

During the Burmese Expedition of 1885-87, Kennedy, as Manager of the I.F.C. in Burma, directed the Flotilla in the operations there. He had already been told that most of the Flotilla Company’s fleet, which then comprised thirty-five steamers and sixty-three flats, plus a number of despatch launches, would be required to take the expeditionary force from Rangoon up river. In the event, twenty-six steamers, twenty-eight flats, seven barges and four steam launches were requisitioned and prepared for various uses, mainly as transports for troops and stores, but some for fighting purposes. Some idea of the ability of these paddlers with their flats to accommodate personnel on their spacious decks can be gained from the number of Indian troops embarked by Thooreah, which had three decks, and her two flats. This was no less than 2,100 men.

In recognition of his very great services during the Burmese campaign Kennedy received the India medal and was created a Companion of the Indian Empire, the award being announced in the London Gazette of 29 May 1886. He became General Manager of the Company in Burma in 1894, and remained as such until 1906. He was later Managing Director of the London and Edinburgh Shipping Co., Ltd., and a director of other companies. Fred Kennedy died in Edinburgh on 17 April 1916, aged 68, having amassed a fortune of some £250,000. Sold with further research including a copy of Irrawaddy Flottila by Alister McCrae and Alan Prentice.