India General Service Medal to the Political Agent, Gilgit, Kashmir 1908.
Medal – IGSM 1854 with BURMA 1885-7 clasp and HAZARA 1891 clasp named correctly in running script to – Lieutenant A. F. Bruce 27th Bengal Infy.
Major Arthur Francis Bruce was the son of Capt. A.N. Bruce, Bombay Army. He joined the Royal Irish Rifles as Lieutenant March 10th 1883, going to Indian Staff Corps, July 1st 1885.
He served in the Burmese Expedition 1886-7 (medal with clasp) and the Hazara Expedition 1891 (clasp).
Bruce was transferred to joining the Political Department in 1891, was promoted to Captain 1895 and Major 1901. In 1900 he was appointed Assistant to the Resident in Kashmir, becoming Assistant Commissioner, Ajmer in 1904 then Political Agent, Bikaner 1905. He was then appointed Political Agent, Gilgit in October 1.
Bruce died June 27th 1908 of Typhus and was buried in Gilgit city’s Gora Qabristan (white graveyard). There is a memorial stone to him, see images. It may be of interest that the remains of George Hayward, who was assassinated in Yasin Valley, are also buried in this graveyard.
As an indication of his standing see below a description of his funeral in Gilgit.
Army and Navy Gazette Saturday 27th June 1908
Major Arthur Francis Bruce, Political Agent at Gilgit, as announced in our issue of the 30th ult., died at Gilgit on the 20th ult.
It appears that Major Bruce contracted typhus fever about May 6. As soon as the serious nature of his illness was known, an unprecedented manifestation of feeling took place amongst the people of the country. Gatherings of Mahomedans and Hindus were convened to offer prayers for his recovery and to distribute alms and food to the poor. In spite of every medical aid, and the unremitting care of Capt. McCarrison, agency surgeon, Major Bruce passed away on May 20.
His funeral took place at 10 on the following morning. The coffin, covered with a Union Jack, was carried the Rajah’s orderlies and the Gilgit levies. A salute of 11 guns was fired the cortege left the agency gate. A company of the Ist Kashmir Infantry, drawn up outside the gate, presented arms, while a half-company of the same regiment with reversed arms preceded the coffin at slow march.
The rear was brought up the chief mourners, agency and dubar officials, and another half-company of Kashmir Infantry, followed by a considerable gathering of local people. The remainder of the garrison lined both sides of the road leading to the cemetery, resting on reversed arms. The firing party, under Capt. Bridges, R.A., fired three volleys, and the Last Post was sounded by the buglers of the Ist Kashmir Infantry. The burial service was conducted by Capt. Grant, R.A. All offices were closed for three days, and flags wore at half-mast throughout the agency.
sku – pkt