The Allan and Janet Woodliffe Collection of Medals relating to the Reconquest and Pacification of The Sudan 1896-1956

Date of Auction: 18th May 2011

Sold for £1,800

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

Five: Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel Eugene Cretin, Indian Medical Staff, who served at the Suakin Field Hospital

Afghanistan 1878-80, no clasp (Surgn. E. Cretin, 31st Ben: N:I:); India General Service 1854-94, 2 clasps, Burma 1885-7, Burma 1887-89 (Surgn. Eugene Cretin, 1st Bl. Infy.); Queen‘s Sudan 1896-98 (Sur. Maj. E. Cretin, 1/Beng’l Inf.); India General Service 1895-1902, 1 clasp, Punjab Frontier 1897-98 (Surgn. Major E. Cretin, I.M.S.); Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, no clasp (Surgn. Major E. Cretin, I.M.S.) contact marks, otherwise nearly very fine or better (5) £800-1000


Eugene Cretin was born on the island of Mauritius on 6 January 1851. He was sent to England for education and training to be a doctor, L.S.A., London 1874. He gained his M.B. at the University of London (Barts) in 1875, qualifying as a surgeon, L.R.C.P. the following year, and F.R.C.S. in 1876. After working at the Borough Hospital, Birkenhead, 1875-77, he applied to the Government of India for a commission, and was accepted early in 1878, being commissioned Surgeon in the Bengal Medical Service on 30 March of that year.

In 1880 he was the officiating civil surgeon at Jhelum, India. He took part in the Afghan war of 1880, attached to the 31st Bengal Native Infantry, being present in the engagement at Kam Dakka, during the Lughman Valley expedition. He was also present at the engagement on the Gara Heights in the Hissarik District. He served on two expeditions to Burma during 1885-89 while attached to the 1st Bengal Infantry in the 2nd and 5th Brigades. He was promoted Surgeon Major on 30 March 1890. In 1896 he went to the Sudan to serve with the Suakin Garrison element of the Dongola Expeditionary Force, which was based at the seaport to prevent the Khalifa’s Dervishes access to the Red Sea, and hence Arabia or Abyssinia. On returning to India he served for some time with the expeditionary Force at Tochi on the Punjab Frontier. He became Surgeon Lt. Colonel on 30 March 1898, and was medical officer to the 1st Brahmins when he retired in December 1905. He then returned to England, where he died on 10 September 1908, at Felstead, near Chelmsford, Essex, where there is a memorial to him in the churchyard.

Eugene Cretin was also a holder of the Herbert prize medal for the Army Surgeon’s Course at Netley and the Martin Gold Medal for Tropical Medicine. He was the author of “The Anglers Handbook For India”, The North Punjab Fishing Club, which covers all issues relating to fishing in India, most notably Mahseer fishing. With some copied research.