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9th Lancers Killa Kazi casualty medal


9th Lancers Charge at Killa Kazi 11th December 1878

by F Silber, Berlin, Germany, 1880

9th Lancers casualty, killed at Killa Kazi

killed in action in the cavalry charge at Killa Kazi, 11th December 1879


1 in stock


Extremely rare medal of Private Thomas Large who was killed in action in the famous cavalry charge at Killa Kazi, near Kabul, on 11 December 1879. His body was recovered with gunshot wounds and sword cuts, as reported in the London Gazette May 4th 1880 (pp 2852) entry as follows – 489 Private Thomas Large, gun-shot wounds and sword-cuts, 11th December 1879.”

Medal – Afghanistan 1878-80, 1 clasp, Kabul (489 PTE. T. LARGE, 9th LANCERS). Medal Roll (WO100/51) confirms Killed 11/12/79.

9th Lancers Charge at Killa Kazi 11th December 1878

by F Silber, Berlin, Germany, 1880

Following the deaths of the British resident and his guard at Kabul in September 1879, the 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers joined Major-General Sir Frederick Roberts’ march on the Afghan capital, subsequently taking part in the Battle of Charasiab in October 1879 and the siege of Sherpur Cantonment.

On 11 December a squadron of the regiment, escorting four horse artillery guns, encountered a huge Afghan force near Killa Kazi. Roberts, deeming it to be of the utmost importance to delay the enemy’s advance on Kabul, gave the order for 126 men of the 9th Lancers and 44 of the 14th Bengal Lancers to charge around 10,000 Afghans. Losses were heavy and the 9th Lancers suffered 18 officers and men killed, and ten more wounded, as well as 46 horses. Despite their severe mauling, the 9th Lancers remained in Kabul until August 1880, when it joined Roberts’ epic 300-mile relief march to Kandahar. (NAM)

On approaching the village of Killa Kazi in the Chardeh Valley about four miles from Kabul, Roberts who had set out that morning with high hopes of watching the destruction of the enemy, found an ‘extraordinary spectacle’ presented to his view. ‘An unbroken line extending for about two miles, and formed of not less than between 9,000 and 10,000 men, was moving rapidly towards me, all on foot save a small body of cavalry on their left flank – in fact the greater part of Mohammed Jan’s army. To meet this formidable array, instead of Macphearson’s and Massy’s forces, which I had hoped I should find combined, there were but 4 guns, 198 of the 9th Lancers under Lieutenant-Colonel Cleland, 40 of the Bengal Lancers under Captain Philip Neville, and at some little distance Gough’s troop of the 9th Lancers, who were engaged in watching the enemy’s cavalry.9th Lancers casualty, killed at Killa Kazi

Massy, hoping to warn Macphearson with the sound of firing, had already sent the four horse artillery guns into action but firing against such a vast array there was little they could do to stem the tide, and again and again they were were forced to fall back. Observing the predicament of the guns, Roberts ordered Massy to retire them and cover the movement with a cavalry charge: ‘Whether the cavalry understood the urgency of the need which sent them to destruction or not, they accepted the part assigned to them with noble alacrity. Splendidly led by Colonel Cleland, a squadron of the 9th Lancers, supported by the 14th Bengal Lancers, rode straight into the seething, raging sea of armed men, whilst Gough’s troop of 9th Lancers sought to confuse the enemy by a flank attack. Received with a terrific discharge of musketry, clouds of dust and smoke quickly hid the devoted band from the eyes of the anxious spectators; then, out of those clouds, horses were seen to come galloping back, some riderless, some with riders swaying in their saddles. Among the wounded were the gallant Cleland, his bridle arm badly sabred, a bullet in his stomach, and young Hearsey, shot through the lungs, who fell to the ground dead, as his horse stopped short. The charge had done nothing to improve the general situation …’ The Afghans swept on and it was not until later in the day that the bodies of the dead could be recovered for burial at Sherpur. Morty Durand, a Civilian on Robert’s Staff, observed ‘they were dreadfully mutilated by Afghan knives.

9th Lancers casualty, killed at Killa KaziCasualties in the 9th Lancers amounted to Lieutenants Hearsey and Ricardo, and 16 men killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cleland, Captain Stewart-Mackenzie, and 9 men wounded, these wounds in all but two cases being of a severe nature. No fewer than eight men were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. (wikipedia)



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