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

Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £1,600

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

The Regimentally unique Afghan pair awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel H. Mc L. Hutchison, 14th Foot

Afghanistan 1878-80, 1 clasp, Kandahar (Capt. H. M. Hutchison. 1/14th Foot.); Kabul to Kandahar Star 1880 (Captain. H. Mc L. Hutchison 14th Foot) both fitted with contemporary riband buckles, the first with small edge bruise and light pitting from star, otherwise better than very fine; the Star a unique award to the Regiment (2) £1,400-£1,800


Henry McLeod Hutchison was born in Dublin on 1 March 1840, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchison of the 80th Foot. He was educated at Hythe with a 1st Class Certificate of Education and admitted to R.M.A. Sandhurst on 11 July 1854, aged 14 years 3 months. He was commissioned as Ensign into the 14th Foot and, in May 1859, was posted to the Ionian Islands. In February 1860, he was posted to the West Indies where he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of Jamaica, a position he held from October 1862 to February 1863. Returning to the U.K. in May 1864, he was appointed in the following November as Adjutant of the 14th Foot, and held this appointment for the following nine years. He was posted to Malta in August 1867, and to India in October 1868.

During his stay in India, Hutchison received a variety of appointments and was brought to the notice of his commanding officer for his abilities. He was promoted Captain on 19 November 1873, and later appointed Provost Marshal at Camp Roorkee from 1 December 1873 to 6 January 1874. From February to September of the same year, he was posted to the Transport Department of the Famine Relief operations in Bengal, based at Tirhoot, for which worked he was thanked by H.E. The Viceroy and Governor General in Government General Orders, ‘as having distinguished himself by activity under exposure to inclement weather, and by practical aptitude in examining beforehand the best available routes.’ Hutchison was appointed Transport Officer to the Duffla Field Force in Assam in September 1874, and subsequently took part in the Duffla Expedition from November 1874 to March 1875 (Despatches Gazette of India 17 April 1875).

After a period back in the U.K., from April 1875 to November 1876, he returned to India as Station oFficer at Ram Khet, February to August, 1878, and then as Adjutant to the Calcutta Volunteers until January 1880, when he was appointed as Brigade Major to the 3rd Brigade, Reserve Division of the Khyber Line Force. On 1 July 1880, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General to the Chief of Staff of the Northern Afghanistan Field Force at Kabul. In the following month he was made Orderly Officer to Brigadier-General C. M. MacGregor, 3rd Brigade, during the famous march from Kabul to the besieged city of Kandahar. He was also present at the reconnaissance and action in front of Kandahar on 31 August 1880, and the battle of Kandahar on the following day. He was mentioned in MacGregor’s despatch to General Roberts (Gazette of India 16 October 1880), and additionally promoted to Major by Brevet.

Following the defeat of the Afghan army at Kandahar on 1 September, the British launched a mopping up expedition against the Marri tribes in October 1880, and Hutchison took part as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General to the Field Force under Brigadier-General MacGregor, being again mentioned in despatches. For his services in the Afghan War, Hutchison received the Medal with clasp for Kandahar and the Kabul to Kandahar Bronze Star decoration.

In November 1880, he was appointed Adjutant to the Presidency Volunteers. He was promoted to Major in March 1881, and to Lieutenant-Colonel in June 1887, and retired on half pay as a Reserve Officer in 1890. Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchison died at Belstone, Devon, on 20 May 1925, aged 85.

Sold with comprehensive research including a photographic images of the recipient wearing his medals/ riband bars; and a photograph of an oil painting of him in later life