The Brett Collection of Medals to The Buffs

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Date of Auction: 17th September 1999

Sold for £900

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

Punniar Star 1843 (Major G. L. Christie, H.M. 3rd Regt.) fitted with contemporary silver ring suspension, nearly extremely fine £800-1000

Footnote

Gustavus Logie Christie was appointed Ensign, by purchase, in the 3rd Foot on 20 June 1822; Lieutenant, 25 March 1826; Captain, by purchase, 17 January 1828; Brevet-Major, 23 November 1841; Major, 14 October 1842.

From August 1821, detachments of the 3rd Foot were detailed to accompany batches of convicts to New South Wales where penal settlements had only recently been established, the first party leaving in October of that year. Thereafter, at intervals varying according to the number of convicts collected and the shipping available, parties of the Buffs set off from Deptford on their voyage to Australia. Ensign Christie arrived in Sydney with the last of these parties in August 1823, accompanied by Captain S. J. Cotton and 43 men, who brought with them the Colours of the Regiment. Christie served in Australia until 1827 when he returned to England, on account of sickness, until 1831 when he rejoined the regiment in India. He was granted a years leave during 1842-43, returning to India in time to participate in the Gwalior Campaign.

As second-in-command of the Buffs, Major Christie was present at the action near Punniar on 29 December 1843. The Buffs, together with some Sappers & Miners, were in advance of the column under Major-General Grey, which was to effect a junction with the column under General Sir Hugh Gough. The village of Punniar was to be the meeting point of the two columns, and having made a detour to avoid a defensible pass, Grey’s column began to reach this area in the late afternoon of the 29th. As the Buffs and the native Sappers & Miners set about making camp, cannon shot began to whizz in from some unpicqueted hills on their right. At the same time some native cavalry arrived in camp crying out that the rear guard was being attacked by the Mahrattas.

Without waiting for any orders, Lieut-Colonel Clunie, commanding the Buffs, mustered his men by bugle call and led them towards the flash of the guns, followed by a company of the native Sappers & Miners. He drove the berobed Mahrattas back on to a ridge, where they could be seen in enormous numbers, and attacked without hesitation, although not without support from his artillery. A wild deluge of fire fell on the advancing redcoats and their more sombrely clad companions. They came on with jaws set, and at the first thrust of bayonet the Mahratta host disintegrated, some running away but some fighting like tigers. At least eleven cannon were captured by the Buffs and turned against the foe under the direction of a sapper officer. But the ridge still teemed with fire-spouting forms on either side, and the Buffs were cheered, after they had been battling for an hour, to see the 50th Regiment and two Indian battalions come up on their right. The Mahrattas were properly put to flight now and chivvied by bayonet, lance, and shell until the fall of darkness. Seventeen Buffs lay dead, a captain and three colour-sergeants among them, and fifty-four were wounded. Clunie won high and generous tribute from the neglectful Grey ‘for the gallant and judicious manner in which he took his regiment into action,’ and was subsequently rewarded with a C.B. Major Christie, for his part, was rewarded with a Brevet Lieutenant Colonelcy, but retired shortly afterwards by the sale of his commission sometime during 1845.