The Brian Ritchie Collection of H.E.I.C. and British India Medals

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Date of Auction: 17th September 2004

Sold for £3,000

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,500

The campaign group of three to Colonel E. P. Mainwaring, an infant survivor of the terrible retreat from Cabul and a prisoner of Akbar Khan during the First Afghan War, an officer of the 4th Goorkha Regiment, who later raised the 1st-39th Garwhal Rifles

(a) India General Service 1854-94, 3 clasps, North West Frontier, Looshai, Burma 1889-92 (Captn. E. P. Mainwaring, 4th Goorkha Regt.)

(b) Afghanistan 1878-80, 3 clasps, Ali Musjid, Kabul, Kandahar (Maj. E. P. Mainwaring, 4th Goorkha)

(c) Kabul to Kandahar Star 1880 (Major E. P. Mainwaring, 4th Goorkha Regt.) the reverse centre also faintly scratched ‘Won Sept 1880 - Rec’d Dec 1883’, light contact marks, otherwise good very fine
£2000-2500

Footnote

another behind a man, who being shortly afterwards unfortunately killed, the child was carried off by the Affghans. Mrs Mainwaring, less fortunate, took her own baby in her arms. Mary Anderson was carried off in the confusion. Meeting with a pony laden with treasure, Mrs M. endeavoured to mount and sit on the box, but they upset; and in the hurry pony and treasure were left behind; and the unfortunate lady pursued her way on foot, until after a time an Affghan asked her if she was wounded, and told her to mount behind him. This apparent kind offer she declined, being fearful of treachery; alleging as an excuse that she could not sit behind him on account of the difficulty of holding her child when so mounted. This man shortly after snatched her shawl off her shoulder, and left her to her fate. Mrs M’s sufferings were very great; and she deserves much credit for having preserved her child through these dreadful scenes. She not only had to walk a considerable distance with her child in her arms through deep snow, but also to pick her way over the bodies of the dead, dying and wounded, both men and cattle, and constantly to cross the streams of water, wet up to the knees, pushed and shoved about by man and animals, the enemy keeping up a sharp fire, and several persons being killed close by her. She, however, got safe to camp with her child, but had no opportunity to change her clothes; and I know from experience that it was many days ere my wet habit became thawed, and can fully appreciate her discomforts.’



By the 13th, Elphinstone, appalled by the gradual destruction of his people and only wanting to die with his troops, committed the women and children in his charge together with some of the married officers to the protection of Akbar Khan. Accordingly on the 16th Mrs Mainwaring, Edward and the others became prisoners of Dost Mohammed Khan at Buddeeabad. Mainwaring senior, meanwhile, was besieged with Sale’s force at Jellalabad, but he managed to send his wife a box of ‘useful things’. Unlike Lady Sale, Mrs Mainwaring was generous with her parcel. Another prisoner Captain Colin McKenzie, who tried unsuccessfully to borrow a needle from Florentia Sale, recorded how she ‘distributed the contents among the other ladies, who were much in need’. If Captain Mainwaring fretted for his wife’s well being as no doubt he did, he need not have worried. Although held in primitive and overcrowded conditions, Lady Sale was later able to reassure he reader, that ‘honour has been respected’, and in regard to her surroundings, she commented, ‘Individually I have no right to complain on this subject; as lady Macnaghten, Mrs Mainwaring, Mrs Boyd, Mrs Sturt, and I occupy the same apartment. Capt. Boyd makes his bed on the landing-place of the stairs, or on the roof of the house; so that we have no man-kind among us, except the Boyds’ two little boys, and Mrs Mainwaring’s baby. This little fellow was born just before the insurrection broke out in Cabul: his father had gone with Sale’s brigade; and we always call him Jung-I-Bahadur.’

Jung-I-Bahadur and his mother were finally liberated with the other prisoners after nine months’ captivity by Sir Richard Shakespeare, who was detached at the head of 600 irregular horse for the purpose by the victorious General Pollock. Young Edward was subsequently partly educated in India at Mussoorie, under the Rev. Robert Maddock, and partly in England at Bray Collegiate School, near Maidenhead, under Dr. J. A. Batt LL.D. Nominated a Cadet for the Bengal Service he passed his examination at the Military Academy, Addiscombe, in September 1859, and was commissioned Ensign in December of that year. In 1860 he was posted to the 6th Bengal European Infantry and was promoted Lieutenant in 1861. After a year’s service at the Depot at Fort William, Mainwaring was attached to the H.M.’s 107th Regiment in 1864, and was then transferred to the 35th Native Infantry.

Between 1868 and 1887, he served with the 4th Gurkha Rifles, being made Captain on 29th June 1869. He took part in the Hazara expedition of 1868 on the North West Frontier, and in the Looshai operations of 1871-72, on the North East Frontier, for which he received the India medal and two clasps.

In 1878 Mainwaring took part in the capture of Ali Musjid. He rejoined the regiment from sick leave in January 1879 and served with it during the remainder of the Second Afghan War, taking part in the advance to the Sherpore contonment at Kabul, the fighting at Jagdalak, the action of Shekabad, the Kabul to Kandahar march under General Sir Frederick Roberts, the battle of Kandahar, and the operations against the Maris under General Sir Charles MacGregor. At Kabul he was warmly greeted by an old Afghan whom he believed had carried the news of his birth to his father thirty-seven years earlier. Promoted Major in December 1879, Mainwaring was twice mentioned in despatches for his Afghan War services, received the medal with 3 clasps and the Bronze Star for the march to the relief of Kandahar.

In 1885 he became Lieutenant-Colonel, the same year Roberts was appointed Commander-in-Chief in India and the decision was taken to raise a second battalion to each of the first five Gurkha regiments. Roberts made a statistical study of Gurkha Order of Merit recipients and found that a very large proportion were Garwhali hill-men, a fact which supported his long standing admiration of their fighting qualities. Accordingly he selected Mainwaring to form a new battalion, the 2/3rd Gurkhas, consisting of these men. Mainwaring started at Almora by drafting Garhwalis from every existing Gurkha unit. In December 1890 a vacancy for another infantry unit was caused by the decision of the military authorities to reconstitute the 39th Bengal Infantry as a Garhwal battalion. For this purpose the then second battalion of the 3rd Gurkhas (at that time serving in Upper Burma) was ordered to hand over its two companies of Gurkhas to a new battalion of that class to be raised to the 3rd Gurkhas and formed at Lansdowne, Col. Mainwaring’s unit to be designated the 39th (The Garhwali) Regiment of Bengal Infantry.

In 1891 his participation in the operations in Burma that year gained him a third clasp to his Indian medal. Mainwaring retired to England in 1893 with his wife, whose own family, in the best traditions of the British ruling caste, had long associations with the sub-contient. She was the granddaughter of none other than Florentia Sale. The Mainwarings had two daughters, both of whom were still living in the late 1960’s and were then thus able to make the proud claim that their father had taken part in the retreat from Cabul in 1842. Mainwaring himself survived into his eighty-first year, and consequently lived to see the Royal Garwhal Rifles come of age and achieve an outstanding record of service on the Western Front during the Great War. Colonel Mainwaring died in Cheltenham on 13th July 1922.

Ref: Burke’s Landed Gentry; Particulars of the Life of Colonel Edward Mainwaring; A Journal of the Disasters in Affghanistan, 1841-42 (Lady Sale); The Afhan Campaign of 1878-1880 (Shadbolt); History of the 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, 1815-1927 (Woodyatt).