A Collection of Medals to the 10th and 11th Hussars

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Date of Auction: 5th April 2006

Sold for £2,700

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,500

The Civil K.C.B. and Afghanistan C.B. group to Major-General Lord Ralph Kerr, who commanded the 10th Hussars at the disastrous crossing of the Kabul River, and led them into action at Futtehabad

The Most Honourable Order of The Bath, K.C.B. (Civil) Knight Commander’s neck badge, silver-gilt, hallmarked London 1902, and breast star, silver, gold and enamel; The Most Honourable Order of The Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s breast badge, 18 carat gold and enamels, hallmarked London 1870, complete with gold ribbon buckle; Afghanistan 1878-80, no clasp (Lieut. Col. Lord R. D. Kerr, C.B. 10th Rl. Hussars) good very fine (4) £2000-2500

Footnote

Afghan Medal ex Christie’s March 1889, the orders subsequently added for display.

Ralph Drury Kerr was born on 11 August 1837, third son of the 7th Marquess of Lothian. He was commissioned as a Cornet in the 10th hussars on 24 November 1857, becoming Lieutenant in June 1858, and Adjutant in May 1859. He remained in that capacity until he obtained his Troop as a Captain in August 1861. He proceeded to India in 1873, as Major and second in command, took command of the regiment in April 1875, and was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in May 1876. Returning from sick leave on 20 March 1879, he was in command of the 10th Hussars at the Kabul River disaster on 31st March, and was present at the head of the regiment at the action at Futtehabad on 2 April 1879. He was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 7 November 1879), and created a Companion of the Bath.

On the return from Afghanistan to India, he commanded during the terrible outbreak of cholera that visited the regiment as it passed through the Khyber Pass, and by his example and devotion assisted to alleviate the results, although 38 men died within a few days, in what became called the “Death March”. In October 1880, he accompanied the 10th from Rawul Pindi to Mian Mir, and at a Durbar held by the Viceroy of India, he commanded a Brigade consisting of the 10th and 15th Hussars, the Central India Horse and the 3rd Bengal Cavalry.

He was placed on half pay in May 1881, having held command of the regiment for the maximum period allowed of 5 years. As a Colonel he was appointed Inspector of Cavalry at York, from 1883 to 1888, and after promotion to Major-General in January 1890, he commanded the Curragh District from 1891 to 1896, and retired in 1898. On 20 March 1901 he was appointed Colonel of the 10th Hussars, succeeding the Prince of Wales (now King Edward VII), who had been Colonel since 1863. He was made a Civil K.C.B. in the Coronation Honours list of 1911, and remained Colonel of the regiment until November 1912. Lord Kerr died at Dalkeith on 18 September 1916. Sold with full research.