The Robin Scott-Smith Collection of Medals to Casualties

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Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £3,400

Estimate: £2,400 - £3,000

The Scinde campaign medal awarded to Lieutenant Henry J. Coote, 22nd Foot, who was severely wounded in the back and shoulder at Hyderabad on 24 March 1843, when, being the first man to enter the enemy’s entrenched positions, he took the first standard from the enemy ramparts and waved his men on with it; he was subsequently mentioned in the Despatch of Major-General Sir Charles Napier for his Gallant Conduct

Meeanee Hyderabad 1843 (Lieut. H. J. Coote, 22nd Regt.) naming perfectly engraved in the correct style, fitted with original steel clip and contemporary silver bar suspension, a few nick and light marks, otherwise very fine and rare £2,400-£3,000

Footnote

Provenance: Sotheby, November 1979, in company with another family medal; purchased from March Medals, Autumn 1980.

Henry Joseph Coote was born in London on 9 January 1819, and was appointed Ensign, without purchase, in the 22nd Foot on 23 September 1836; Lieutenant, by purchase, 17 September 1839; Captain, without purchase, 7 December 1844; Captain, 28th Foot, by exchange, 5 January 1848; Captain, 36th Foot, by exchange, 2 March 1849; retired 16 May 1857.

According to his Statement of Services, Captain Coote served ‘on the Dour against the Forts of Imaughur; served in the Scinde. Present in the General Action of Meeanee 17 February 1843; present in the General Action of Hyderabad 24 March 1843. Commanded a Company on both occasions, Major-General Sir Charles Napier commanding. Was Staff Officer to Sir Charles Napier during the expedition to Imaughur and acted as Engineer in forming the Lines near Hyderabad. Name mentioned in the Dispatch of Major-General Sir Charles Napier for Gallant Conduct at the Battle of Hyderabad. Was the first man in the enemy’s position and took the first Colour. Badly wounded in the shoulder at the Battle of Hyderabad 24 March 1843. Received a Medal for the Battle of Meeanee and Hyderabad.’

Amongst several contemporary accounts of the action, one states: ‘Lieutenant Coote, of the 22nd, was the first to gain the summit of the bank, where, wrestling a Belooch standard from its bearer, he waved it in triumph, while he hurried along the narrow ledge, staggering from a deep wound in his side. Then, with a deafening shout, the soldiers leaped down into the midst of the savage warriors. At that point, a black champion, once an African slave, and other barbarian chiefs fell, desperately fighting to the last.’

Having exchanged into the 36th Foot, Coote served in the Ionian Islands from 1849 to 1851 and commanded the troops at Sisi during the insurrection of 1849, and on three occasions defeated the insurgents, including their night attack on the village of Aggupader, in aid of the Civil Power under the proclamation of martial law suppressing the outbreak at Cephalonia.