A Collection of Medals for the Second Afghan War 1878-80
Date of Auction: 8th May 2019
Sold for £420
Estimate: £300 - £400
FootnoteWilliam Richard Charles Brough was born on 12 July 1841, at Kiltigan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, the son of Thompson Brough, (Physician) and his wife Francis. He was educated privately and at Victoria College, Jersey, receiving a classical and mathematical education. He was nominated for the Madras Artillery by William Joseph Eastwick Esq., a Director of the East India Company, at the recommendation of his uncle, Colonel Redmond William Brough, formerly commanding 2nd Foot, on 8 May 1858. He passed the entrance examination on 13 July 1858, was accepted for admission into the Madras Artillery on 21 July 1858, and was commissioned Lieutenant on 11 December, 1858. At some point before his promotion to 2nd Captain on 4 July 1870, Brough was transferred to the Royal Artillery. Promoted to Captain on 11 December 1872, he transferred from G/9 Brigade to 1/23 Brigade, Royal Artillery, in October 1873. Brough was transferred again about a month later and posted to A Battery, A Brigade, Royal Artillery, leaving Morar, Bengal and taking up position with A/A at Woolwich. He was appointed a Gunnery Instructor with D Brigade, R.H.A., in July, 1874.
Brough was promoted to Major on 1 October 1877, and although 1878 saw the outbreak of hostilities in Afghanistan, it was not until December 1879 that Major Brough, commanding L/5 R.A., was ordered up from Mian Mir to join the Khyber Reserve Division. On crossing the frontier, the Battery was broken up into different Divisions and received a variety of postings as part of the Khyber Line Force. In May and June, 1880, his battery accompanied the forces under Brigadier-Generals Gib and Doran on expeditions to Mazina and Kama, but, Brough having fallen ill, command of the battery fell to Captain Domvile (see Lot 194).
The Battery played a distinguished part in the action in the Mazina Valley on 20 May, when ‘the enemy were driven with considerable loss from every position, and ultimately clean out of the valley to the hills.’ Brigadier-General Gib reported in his despatch:
‘My thanks are especially due to l/5th Royal Artillery, the 2/14th Regiment and the 32nd Pioneers, and the officers who commanded them, which bore the brunt of the fighting. The guns were brought into action after great labour and difficulty over such bad ground that but for its state of efficiency, it would perhaps never have reached the field at all; all credit of having the battery in such good order is fairly due to Major W. R. C. Brough, the commanding officer, who, to my great regret, was unable to accompany it owing to severe illness, though most anxious to do so.’
Soon after returning to India, Brough received a posting to a cooler climate and was posted to B Battery, A Brigade, R.H.A., then performing duty in Dublin. Returning to India again in April 1881, he joined A Battery, B Brigade, R.H.A. at Umballa, but, unsuited to the Indian climate, he appears to have almost immediately been sent back home on sick leave. He returned to India later in the year and brought his Battery back to Portsmouth from Bombay aboard H.M.S. Serapis. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 31 October 1884, whilst performing duties and in command of a Battery at Bridport, and retired from the Artillery on 20 May 1885, being granted the Hon. Rank of Colonel. Colonel Brough appears to have died between October and December, 1929, in Dorchester, aged 88.
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