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 £2,400

Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000

The Burmese and Opium War campaign pair to Lieutenant Robert Ware, 38th and 49th Regiments

(a) Army of India 1799-1826, 1 clasp, Ava (Lieut. R. Ware, 38th Foot) short hyphen reverse, officially impressed naming

(b) China 1842 (Robert Ware, Paymaster, 49th Regiment Foot) both fitted with silver ribbon buckles, minor handling marks, otherwise toned, extremely fine £1500-2000


Robert Ware was gazetted Ensign in the 4th West India Regiment on 25 October 1812 and became Lieutenant on 25 September 1813. He transferred on 23 May 1823 to H.M’s 38th Foot and served in the First Burma War, taking part in the capture of Rangoon. He became Paymaster of the 49th Foot on 28 June 1831.

In 1840, following the seizure of British opium in Canton, the 49th was dispatched from Madras with H.M’s 18th and 26th Regiments, a composite force of Bengal Volunteers, Bengal Artillery and Sapper units. The force, under Brigadier-General George Burrel, arrived off Ting-lai on the island of Chusan and anchored in Hanchow Bay on 2 July. The island surrendered three days later and a blockade of the whole China coast was begun. In May 1841, military operations began under Sir Hugh Gough who had arrived with considerable reinforcements. On the 26th, Paymaster Ware was present at the storm and capture of the heights above Canton, which, however, was ransomed and abandoned a few days later. Moving on up the coast he took part in the capture of Amoy on 26/27 August, and on 1 October he was present at the second capture of Chusan, earlier returned to the Chinese. Nine days later he was at the attack and capture of the heights of Chinhai. On the 13th, Ningpo surrendered and Ware entered the city with the occupying forces. In early March 1842, he was one of the Ningpo garrison that inflicted heavy loss on the Chinese during their unsuccessful night attack. He was present at Gough’s victory on 18 May 1842 at Chapu, where for a loss of 65 killed and wounded the British inflicted 1,200 casualties on the Chinese. Finally, after the capture of Woosung, Ware took part in the hardest fought action of the Opium War, Chinkiang, which caused the Chinese Government to sue for peace. Paymaster Ware died at Thornton Heath, Croydon, on 12 April 1875.

Refs: WO 25/652; Hart’s Army List, 1845.