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

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Date of Auction: 23rd September 2005

Sold for £2,800

Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000

The Egypt 1801 campaign medal to Lieutenant-Colonel C. J. Milnes, C.B., for service with the 10th Foot, who later fought with the 65th Foot against the Joasmi pirates in the Persian Gulf 1809-10, and commanded the Left Wing of the Poona Division at the battle and capture of Poona in 1817

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Egypt (C. J. Milnes, C.B. Capt. 10th Foot) very fine £1500-2000


Colin James Milnes was commissioned Ensign in His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot on 15 March 1793 and posted to Chatham to await the return of the regiment from Jamaica. Promoted Lieutenant on 1 October 1794, he commanded a detachment of the 10th doing duty as marines on board H.M.S. Isis in the North Sea during 1795, and the next year spent ‘6 months on the Recruiting Service’. On 1 February 1798 he was advanced to Captain, and later the same year sailed for India, whence he accompanied the expedition to Egypt under Major-General Baird in 1801. In 1803-04 he served with a detachment of the 10th Regiment in Ceylon during the war with Kandy.

Having arranged to exchange into H.M.’s 75th Regiment, he served with that corps in the closing stage of Second Mahratta War, and took part in three of the four unsuccessful attempts to storm Bhurtpore which cost the lives 100 officers and 1300 men. His agreed exchange did not take place and, promoted Major on 2 October 1806, he returned to England with the 10th in 1807.

After home service with the 2nd Battalion, he went out to India again in 1808 to join H.M’s 65th Regiment whom he subsequently accompanied to the Persian Gulf in 1809 in order to punish the piratical Joasmi Arabs. At the capture of Ras-el-Khima on 13 November 1809, he commanded the ‘light division’, and following the storming of Shanas on 1 January 1810, he was favourably mentioned in Lieutenant-Colonel Smith’s report: ‘The Lieut.-Colonel’s thanks are due to all who served under him on this occasion, but he feels it just to offer his special acknowledgments to Major Milnes, of H.M.’s 65th Regiment, and the officers and men who composed the storming party for the firmness and good order with which they marched to the assault’.

Milnes returned with the 65th to Bombay on 21 February 1810, and was next employed in the expedition against the French islands of Mauritius and Bourbon. Since 1792 the East India Company’s merchantmen had suffered severely at the hands of French men-of-war and privateers operating from these bases in the Indian Ocean, but hitherto the expense of carrying out an expedition to check such commerce raiding had always stood in the way. By the summer of 1809, however, the Company’s losses had become so great that the island of Rodrigues was captured and occupied as a depot for an East India Squadron. In November 1810, the 65th Regiment, under Milnes’ command, landed there and joined a force totalling some ten thousand men for the purpose of capturing Mauritius. The 65th was brigaded with the 1st Bengal Volunteers and a troop of the 25th Dragoons in the 5th Brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lionel Smith, and reached Grand Bay, twelve miles from Port Louis, with the expeditionary force on the 29th in a fleet of seventy sail. After an unopposed landing, the 5th Brigade was left to secure the beach-head and given orders to follow the rest of the force next day. The French under General Decaen capitulated shortly afterwards and the 65th returned to Bombay in transports escorted by H.M.S. Chlorinde.

In 1812 Milnes commanded the 65th in operations against the rebels of Navangar in Kathiawar, and in 1814 and early 1815 commanded a brigade in Guzarat. Later in 1815 he returned with his regiment to punish the rebels in Kathiawar and Kutch once more. Following several months in pursuit of the convicted murderer Trimbuckjee, who was thought to be rallying supporters in the Mahadeo Hills, Milnes was appointed at the start of the Pindarry War to the command of the 1st Brigade in Brigadier-General Lionel Smith’s 4th Poona Division, which reinforced Colonel C. B. Burr’s force of 3,000 men on 13 November 1817, after their victory over the army of the Peshwa of Poona at the Battle of Kirkee. Two days later Milnes commanded the left wing of the division in the face of obstinate opposition in the passage of the Mutha Mule River, and on the 17th, having effected a junction wth the right wing of Smith’s force, took part in the capture of the Peshwa’s capital.

During the first part of 1818, Milnes was employed in the arduous and potracted pursuit of the Peshwa Baji Rao, which culminated in late March with the latter’s expulsion from the Deccan, the surrender of his two brothers, the death of his best general and the end of regular warfare in that country. For services in this ‘very trying, difficult and long protracted campaign, the troops and their commanders received the thanks of Parliament, while Lieutenant-Colonel C. J. Milnes, who had commanded a brigade throughout the operations, was awarded the C.B.’ In February 1819 Milnes resumed command of the 65th at Fort George Barracks, Bombay, but a few days later he relinquished command once again on being appointed to command the expedition to Kutch. Colonel Milnes retired from the Army on 1 May 1823. Milnes also received the Army of India medal for his services at Poona but this does not appear to have survived.

Refs: WO 25/747; Roll of Officers of the York and Lancaster regiment (Raikes); Hart’s Army List 1855; The York and Lancaster Regiment, 1758-1919, Vol I (Wylly).