Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria, to include the Brian Ritchie Collection (Part I) (17 September 2004)

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Date of Auction: 17th September 2004

Sold for £4,800

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

The Second Mahratta War medal to Sergeant Henry Allen, 19th Light Dragoons

Army of India 1799-1826, 2 clasps, Assye, Argaum (H. Allen, Serjt. 19th Lt. Dragns.) short hyphen reverse, officially impressed naming, good very fine


Ex Tombs 1918, Hamilton-Smith 1927, Elson 1963, and Fred North (Baldwin 1969/70).

A total of 17 medals issued with these two clasps: 3 to the 19th Light Dragoons, one to the 74th Foot, 11 to the 78th Foot, and 2 to HEIC recipients. The 19th Light Dragoons received a total of 14 medals including four to officers. Approximately 87 clasps for Assye and 126 clasps for Argaum were issued to European recipients.

Henry Allen, a man of ‘dark’ complexion,’black’ eyes, and black hair, was born at Mudford, Somerset, and attested for the 19th Light Dragoons at twenty-two years of age on 10 January 1798, for a period of unlimited service. A ‘Leather Dresser’ by trade, he was enlisted by one Lieutenant Banger. In September 1803, at Assye, where Wellesley was outnumbered in cavalry by more than ten to one, the 19th Light Dragoons effectively saved the survivors of H.M’s 74th Foot and the Madrassi infantry picquets on the right of the British line by meeting a dangerous Mahratta cavalry charge head on. In the contest that followed British discipline told against the overwhelming numbers crowded into too narrow a space. Ordered to charge again, once the infantry could move, the 19th Light Dragoons followed up the initial success of the 78th Highlanders and 10th Madras N.I. on the left by throwing back the whole of the Mahratta line on the Juah. After participating in Wellesley’s blow at Argaum on 29 November 1803, Allen continued in the 19th Light Dragoons until 12 October 1814, when he was invalided at Chelsea, his general character then being described as ‘Good’. Allen must have been either wounded or sick to have been absent from his regiment at the storming of Gawilghur.

Ref: WO 25/283.