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

Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £550

Estimate: £400 - £500

Afghanistan 1878-80, no clasp (Captain. B. F. Domvile. L/5. R.A.) nearly very fine £400-£500


Barry Francis Domvile was born on 11 December 1843, at Worcester, the fourth child of Henry Barry Domvile and Francis Winningtam-Ingram. Sadly, he never knew his Father, who died just four months before he was born, at the age of 32. On 7 August 1861, Domvile became a Gentleman Cadet and was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 16 August 1864, at the age of 20. He was posted to India in February, 1869, serving there until January 1877, serving for part of that time with “A” Brigade, R.A. for, in March, 1875, he was posted from C Battery to B Battery. It would appear that he then returned home on Furlough when on 30 May 1877, he was promoted Captain.

In December 1879, he was serving with L/5 Royal Artillery under the command of Major W. R. C. Brough (see Lot 193) and left Mian Mir where it was stationed, to join the Khyber Reserve Divsion, later to become the Khyber Line Force. Whilst in Afghanistan, the Battery was broken up into different divisions, serving in various posts. In May and June, 1880, it accompanied the forces under Brigadier-Generals Gib and Doran on expeditions to Mazina and Kama. Domvile commanded 4 guns of his Battery which formed the artillery contingent that accompanied the expedition to the Mazina Valley from 18 to 23 May 1880, with the 8th Hussars (135 all ranks under Major H. P. Burke), 5th Bengal Cavalry (110 sabres under Major H. P. Shakespear), H.M. 14th Regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel D.S. Warren) and the 32nd Pioneers (Major H. C. W. Crookshank), all under the command of Brigadier-General W. A. Gib, commanding 1st Section, Khyber Line Force.

The Mazina operations were for the purpose of suppressing the disturbances in the Mazina Valley, caused by the preaching of Jihad by Moolah Fakir. The primary offensive action occurred during the morning of the 20th May, between 0730 hours and 1300 hours, (the first shot being fired at 0930 hours), after which the enemy were in full retreat.

Brigadier-General Gib, mentioned Domvile 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.

“The battery, however, was ably commanded by Captain B. F. Domvile, assisted by Lieutenant J. J. Porteous, until the latter was severely wounded. The conduct of the men of the battery under fire was all that could be desired; they were cool and collected, and their practice was admirable, and no doubt but for the guns our loss would have been very much heavier”.

After the Mazina Valley expedition, the column returned to Pesh Bolak until the evacuation of northern Afghanistan in August 1880, when L/5 R.A. marched back to India and ultimately to Multan. For his services in the Afghan War, Domvile received the medal without clasp and was mentioned favourably in despatches.

Domvile continued in service and was promoted Major on 16 November 1883. He was posted to Mauritius between January 1884 and September 1887. Now serving with 9th Battery, 1st Brigade, Western Division, R.A., he was ordered to report to Portsmouth and take charge of drafts of Royal Artillery, embarking for Singapore on or around the 1st October. Domvile served in Singapore until June 1888, whereupon he moved to India, serving there until November 1889. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 25 July 1891, and went onto retired pay on 5 August the same year. Lieutenant-Colonel Domvile died prematurely on 26 January 1894 at Dinan, Brittany, France, at the age of 50.

Sold with comprehensive research including a photographic image of the recipient.