A Collection of Medals for the Second Afghan War 1878-80

Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £420

Estimate: £400 - £500

Pair: Major-General W. Coningham, 26th and 4th Madras Native Infantry

Indian Mutiny 1857-59, no clasp (Ensign. Walter. Coningham. 26th Regiment N.I.) naming re-engraved in upright serif catitals; Afghanistan 1878-80, no clasp (Maj: W. Coningham. 4th M.N.I.) surname officially corrected, good very fine (2) £400-£500


Walter Coningham was born in Bangalore on 19 October 1839, the 4th son of Lieutenant-General Henry Coningham, 4th Madras Light Cavalry and Anna Maria Coningham (née Bowen). He was educated at Cheltenham College, 1855-57, and was then nominated for the Madras Infantry on 23 September 1857, by Mr Ross Donnelly Mangles, M.P.
Coningham arrived in India on 8 November 1857 and was appointed as Ensign to the 26th Madras Native Infantry on 12 December, that year. He served for a period of 10 years, 8 months before being granted Furlough for 2 years from 10 July 1868, during which time he had been promoted to Lieutenant on 12 December 1859, having ‘Served with a Column of Observation on the banks of the Wurdah River from 1st to 30th March, 1859, qualifying for the Indian Mutiny medal. From 18 December 1863, he was appointed Adjutant in the 26th Madras N.I., and promoted to Captain on 12 December 1869, and to Major on 12 December, 1877.

Coningham was later transferred to the 4th Madras N.I. and received a posting away from his regiment during the Afghanistan 1878-80 campaign, serving in a Staff role as Brigade Major to Brigadier-General W. A. Gib, commanding 1st Section, Khyber Line Force, in the Mazina Valley Expedition of 18th to 23rd May, 1880 (see Lot 183).

Brigadier-General Gib, mentioned Coningham in his despatch:

‘My best thanks are due to Major W. Coningham, Brigade-Major and Lt. H. L. Wells, Royal Engineers, who acted as orderly officer, for the assistance they afforded me on the march, in the bivouac and in action.’

In addition to this mention in despatches, Coningham was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel (London Gazette 1 March 1881). Some reference is made in documentation that he was also made a Companion of the Bath but there is no official announcement recording the bestowal of this award in the London Gazette).

Following the Afghan War, Coningham continued in service, being appointed Assistant Adjutant General for Madras on 24 February 1882, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 12 December 1883, to Colonel on 2 March 1885, and upon his retirement, Major-General on 3 December, 1885.

One of his brothers, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Coningham later commanded the 2nd Battn., Worcestershire Regiment during the Boer War and was killed in action at Rensburg on 12 February, 1900, being buried where he fell at what became known as Worcester Kopje.

Major-General Walter Coningham died at his residence in Durham Terrace, west London on 11 February 1916, aged 76.

Sold with comprehensive research.