Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 17th March 2021

Estimate: £14,000 - £18,000

The Field Officer’s Gold Medal for Java awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel William Raban, commanding 6th Battalion Bengal Volunteers

Field Officer’s Small Gold Medal, for Java (Major Wm. Raban, 6th Volr. Bn. Bengal Estabt.) complete with gold ribbon buckle, lunettes sometime professionally replaced, otherwise nearly extremely fine £14,000-£18,000

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The Field Officer’s Gold Medal for Java awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel William Raban, commanding 6th Battalion Bengal Volunteers

Field Officer’s Small Gold Medal, for Java (Major Wm. Raban, 6th Volr. Bn. Bengal Estabt.) complete with gold ribbon buckle, lunettes sometime professionally replaced, otherwise nearly extremely fine £14,000-£18,000
William Raban was born in Whitefriars, London, in May 1765 and was appointed as a cadet in the East India Company Service in December 1780. He sailed for India in the Hinchinbrooke, 13 March 1781, and joined his regiment in Bengal as a Lieutenant in May 1782. He served as a subaltern in the 12th Battalion of Sepoys under Sir Robert Abercromby during the Rohilla Campaign in 1794, including the battle of Bitaurah. He was promoted to Captain Lieutenant in the 12th N.I. in May 1800, and to Captain in December 1802, when he obtained a furlough for three years to return to England. He returned to India in September 1805, and at the latter end of year he was promoted to the rank of Major and joined his regiment. He was appointed Commandant of Barasat Cadet College on its reopening in 1806 until July 1807.

In 1811 Major Raban volunteered for service with the expedition which was about to proceed on foreign service and was appointed to command the 6th Battalion of Bengal Volunteers. He was engaged in the affairs of Weltervreden, Maisur and Cornelis and for his services in Java received, along with other commanding officers the gold medal conferred for the attack and capture of Java.

Major Raban next volunteered his services under Major-General Gillespie in the expedition to Palembang, Sumatra, in 1812 and commanded the Northern Brigade. When the army was formed and arranged for service he was appointed to command the reserve and on Major-General Gillespie’s instructions was to proceed to Palembang. Raban was directed to march with the reserve to take possession of the island of Banca and hold it in the name of His Majesty, which service he performed, remaining on the island for one month. Upon the conclusion of the operations at Palembang the troops this officer commanded were left at Banca and Major Raban volunteered to accompany Major-General Gillespie to attack the Sultan of Jogocarta, and being unattached he was placed on the staff of Major-General Gillespie. Unfortunately the ship in which he embarked made a tedious passage to Java and the unsuccessful attack on the Fortress of the Sultan took place the very evening that Major Raban arrived at Samarang, intelligence of which he only received on his way to join the General.

Active service being at an end Major Raban was shortly after, with the consent of the Major-General, appointed to be the Governor in Council resident of Cheribon and at the same time to hold the military command of the district. On 11 September 1811 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and after remaining for three years at Cheribon, his private affairs called him to Europe and he obtained a second furlough to offer his resignation of service and sailed from Java in July 1814. Lieutenant-Colonel Raban died on 30 April 1854, and was buried along with his son Lieutenant William G. Raban, 44th Foot, who had been killed in action at Cabul on 6 November 1841: “Poor Raban was shot through the heart, when conspicuously waving a flag on the summit of the breach” (Eyre’s Cabul refers). in the church at Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset. A stained glass window dedicated to Lieutenant-Colonel William Raban and his son William George Raban, commissioned by Ellen Raban, is still present in the church at Hatch Beauchamp, Somerset.

The National Archives has the diaries and journals of Lieutenant-Colonel William Raban, Lydia Raban, and William George Raban 1803-41; ref. Mss Eur F697 (held by British Library: Asian and African Studies).