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Full text of "The campaign in Tirah, 1897-1898; an account of the expedition against the Orakzais and Afridis under General Sir William Lockhart, based (by permission) on letters contributed to ʻThe Timesʾ"

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CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




ARTHUR PROBSTHAIN 
Oriental Bookseller 
41 Gt. Rufiell Street 
LONDO N, W.C. I 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH 
1897-1898 




/ I! a Ph,'!o,:^raf<h by Hassan 

Genf.ral Sir William Lockhart, G.C. B. , K. C.S.I. 
Commander of the Tirah Expeditionary Force. 



Frontispiece. 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924028659575 



THE 

CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH 

1897-1898 

AN ACCOUNT OF 

THE EXPEDITION AGAINST THE 
ORAKZAIS AND AFRIDIS 

UNDER 

GENERAL SIR WILLIAM LOCKHART, G.C.B., K.C.S.I. 

BASED (by permission) ON LETTERS CONTRIBUTED TO 
'THE TIMES' 



BY 

COLONEL H. D. HUTCHINSON 

DIRECTOR OF MILITARY EDUCATION IN INDIA 

AUTHOR OF 'THE STORY OF WATERLOO,' 'THE STORY OF 1812,' 'THE STORY OF 

CORUNNA,' 'military SKETCHING MADE EASY,' ETC., ETC. 



WITH MAPS, PLANS, AND ILLUSTRATIONS 



%antion 

MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited 

NEW YORK : THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1898 

AU rights reserved 



DEDICATED BY PERMISSION 
TO 

GENERAL SIR WILLIAM S. A. LOCKHART, 
G.C.B., K.C.S.I. 

COMMANDER OF THE TIRAH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. 



PREFACE 

I BELIEVE this narrative of the Tirah Expedition 
gives an accurate account of the operations, and I 
hope it will also be found a readable account. Its 
interest will certainly be enhanced by the reliable 
maps and plans which accompany it, and by the 
excellent illustrations, for which I am indebted to 
my friends Colonel More - Molyneux, Assistant 
Quartermaster-General for Intelligence, Lieutenant- 
Colonel C. Pulley, commanding the 3rd Gurkha 
Rifles, and others. These officers served with 
distinction in the expedition, and their pictures 
portray scenes in which they were themselves 
actors. 

It has not been part of my plan to make any 
reference to the frontier policy of the Government 
of India. It is a policy of which it may be said, 
" Quot homines, tot sententics." Nothing, indeed, 
could be more striking than the fact that on this 



viii THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 

great Imperial question, men whose knowledge of 

the subject, and experience, are equal, hold opinions 

absolutely opposed. It is, however, outside my 

province, or my purpose, even to approach the 

discussion which has recently attracted so much 

public attention. I have only, in my introductory 

chapters, following my usual practice when I write 

the story of a campaign, endeavoured to state so 

much of facts which are notorious as may enable 

the general reader to form his own conclusions as 

to the cause of the war, and " what they killed each 

other for." 

H. D. HUTCHINSON, Colonel. 

London, \st September 1898. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

Introductory . i 



CHAPTER n 

The Afridis and their Grievances .16 

CHAPTER HI 

Preparations, and the Plan of Campaign . 22 

CHAPTER IV 

Waiting to Begin . . . 43 

CHAPTER V 

The Actions at Dargai . ■ • 57 

CHAPTER VI 

In the Khanki Valley . . . .76 



X THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 

CHAPTER VII 

PAGE 

The Capture of the Sampagha Pass ■ 85 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Capture of the Arhanga Pass, and the 

Occupation of Tirah . . . -95 



CHAPTER IX 

Life in Tirah — The Affair of the 9TH November . 112 

CHAPTER X 

Still in Tirah — The Terms to the Orakzais — The 

Affair of the i6th November . . .128 

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER X 

The Correspondence of the Mullahs . . -151 

CHAPTER XI 

The Move to Bagh — Terms to the Afridis — The 

Reconnaissance to Dwatoi . . 158 

CHAPTER XII 

The 1ST Brigade in Mastura — The Punishment 
of the Chamkanis — Preparations to leave 
Tirah . . . . . 173 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER XIII 

PAGE 

Through the Dwatoi Defile again, and down 

THE Bara Valley . . . . .186 



CHAPTER XIV 

The Bazar Valley Expedition and Reoccupation 
OF the Khyber — The Affair at Shin Kamar — 
The End of the Campaign . . 207 



CHAPTER XV 

Tactical Lessons and Concluding Notes . 224 

APPENDIX 

Officers Killed and Wounded . ■ 247 



!>SSfr?"???"!-«» 



MAPS AND PLANS 



General Map to Illustrate the Operations At end of book 

Plan of the Actions at Dargai, i 8th and 2oth 

October 1897 . ... To face page 62 



Outline Sketch of the Dargai Heights 
Plan of the Action at the Sampagha Pass 
Plan of the Action at the Arhanga Pass 
Plan of the Picquets on the Arhanga Pass 
Plan of the Action at Shin Kamar 



71 

89 

100 

114 

217 



■j 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

General Sir William Lockhart, G.C.B., K.C.S.I. Frontispiece 

Brig.-Gen. Sir W. G. Nicholson, K.C.B. . Tofacepage 28 

The Camp at Shinauri . „ 49 

"The brave little Gurkhas streamed across the 
deadly space. . . . The Scottish Borderers 
followed close." — Dargai, \Zth October 1897 „ 61 

"A wretched mule falls down, and the road is 

blocked at once " . . ,,78 



"On this particular evening the casualties were 
numerous" . 



82 



"Sir William Lockhart . . . examined the ap- 
proaches to the pass " . . ,,88 

The Mastura Valley. . . „ 93 

The Mastura Valley — looking North . „ 98 

" Strings of mules go out every day, with sufficient 
escorts, and return in the evening laden up 
with forage" . . • „ I09 

Saran Sar — qth November i?>gy „ 119 

"The men, however, rallied bravely round their 

officers" . . • ■ „ 121 



xvi THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 

" A search party found the bodies the next day" . To face p. 123 

" Sir William Lockhart received them in camp to- 
day " . . . . . „ 129 

" Every house in this valley . . is a little fortress" „ 161 

The Dwatoi Defile . ,,167 

" A company of the Queen's, led by Lieut. Engledue, 

went for them in dashing style " . . „ 178 

" The mountain guns again . . . were of the 

greatest service " ,,192 

" On the 1 3th the march was resumed " . u i99 

Gurkhas — the Raw Material 

Between pages 238, 239 
Gurkhas — the Finished Article 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

" Now tell us all about the war. 
And what they killed each other for ? " 

" Why, that I cannot tell," said he, 
" But 'twas a famous victory ! " 

I HAVE been through this campaign in Tirah 
myself; I have talked about it a great deal with 
friends ; and I have read much that has been 
written about it in newspapers, books, and des- 
patches. But I am quite sure that, even now that 
it is all over, if you button-hole ten intelligent men, 
and ask them "all about the war, and what they 
killed each other for ? " you will get a different 
answer from each, and no two will agree in essential 
particulars ! 

This may seem an amazing assertion to make, 
but I am convinced it is not far outside the truth. 
We all know that the general object of the expedi- 
tion launched by us against the Afridis and Orakzais 
was to exact reparation for their unprovoked aggres- 



2 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

sion on the Peshawar - Kohat border, for their 
attacks on our frontier posts, and for the damage to 
Hfe and property inflicted by these raids on British 
territory and British subjects. But that is only our 
view of the matter. We want to get behind this, 
and ascertain the Afridi view. Why did they, who 
had faithfully kept their agreements with us for 
sixteen long years, why did they rise against us, 
and commit these outrages ? Were they altogether 
" unprovoked," as we so confidently assert ? Besides, 
the Afridis and Orakzais were not the only tribes in 
arms against us in this momentous year. The 
Waziris, the Swatis, the Boners, the Mohmands, the 
Bajauris, and others, have all been on the war-path 
in 1897-98, in deadly earnest; and undoubtedly 
something more than a fanaticism fanned by frenzied 
Mullahs has been the cause of a conflagration so 
widely spread, so fierce, and so dangerous. 

Before, then, I plunge in medias res, and recount 
the incidents of a campaign which took us into a 
wild and difficult and unknown country, and intro- 
duced our troops to a warfare more serious than 
anything they have been engaged in since the 
Mutiny, it will be interesting to discuss the events 
which preceded the expedition, and rendered it 
necessary, and to arrive, if we can, at some definite 
conclusion as to the "why " and the " wherefore " of 
it all. 

It will be understood, of course, that any opinions 
which I may express in the course of this narrative 



I INTRODUCTORY 3 

are my own, that I profess to possess no special 
acquaintance with facts, and that I merely endeavour 
to place them before the reader in the light in which 
they have appeared to one on the spot, who has had 
ordinary opportunities to read, mark, learn, and 
inwardly digest them. 

To go, then, at once to the root of the matter, 
I venture to submit that for Xh&fons et origo mali, 
we must hark back to the year 1893, when Sir 
Mortimer Durand returned from Cabul with the 
Boundary Agreement signed by the Amir of 
Afghanistan in his hand, and that that document 
was the outward and visible sign of all our sub- 
sequent troubles on the North- West Frontier. Our 
idea in proposing that a definite boundary should 
be demarcated between Afghanistan and India was 
a most just and reasonable one. We wished that 
it should be made clear, once for all, under whose 
influence and control the tribes on the border 
should remain. Wild, turbulent freebooters, loving 
frays and forays, fiercely jealous of their inde- 
pendence, acknowledging the authority of no one 
but their own immediate Maliks and Mullahs, they 
had for years past been a veritable thorn in the 
flesh of successive Governments ; and the difficulty 
of restraining them within limits, and of dealing 
out punishment to them when patience and 
the expedients of diplomacy were exhausted by 
some more - than - usually - lawless outrage, was 
accentuated by the fact that it was in many in- 



4 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Stances impossible to say, or at least a delicate 
matter to decide, whether the offenders were 
subjects of the Amir or fairly inside the pale of 
our own influence. 

For this principal reason, it was deemed necessary 
to come to a definite agreement with the Amir 
regarding a boundary. Once a line was agreed to, 
and demarcated, between Afghanistan and India, 
there could be no question when raids and outrages 
were committed as to the responsibility of the 
Power concerned, or as to the right of that Power 
to intervene, restrain, and punish. 

But it is an open secret that the idea of a 
boundary was distasteful to the Amir. The 
negotiations for a friendly commission to visit 
Cabul to arrange the details of it, more than once 
very nearly fell through, and there can be no doubt 
that it required all the patience, and tact, and 
diplomatic skill that Sir Mortimer Durand could 
command, to get the Agreement signed by His 
Highness, and to carry the affair to a successful 
conclusion. 

For the Amir and his people were quite satisfied 
with the existing rigime. What useful purpose 
could a boundary serve for them ? The tribes 
seldom troubled them, and the English, on the 
other hand, had always been well able to take care 
of themselves when their borders were harried. 
What was the need then of a boundary ? One 
certain effect of it would be to lop off, and place. 



I INTRODUCTORY 5 

definitely under the influence of the British Govern- 
ment, certain tribes and sections, which hitherto 
had, at least nominally and outwardly, acknowledged 
the Amir as their Suzerain. By so much at all 
events he would be disadvantaged. North of the 
Khyber, particularly, the new boundary would run 
through districts — the Mohmand country, Bajaur, 
and Asmar — in which he was extremely sensitive 
of interference, and though he was persuaded 
at last into a reluctant acquiescence, we may 
be sure it was with many an arriere pensde, and 
much mental reserve, that he appended his 
signature to the fateful document ; and that, astute 
and shrewd as he is, he foresaw then the storm that 
would blow when actual demarcation should be 
attempted. 

But the irritation caused by the actual boundary 
question, with the interference and misappropriation 
(from his point of view) which it threatened, was 
comparatively insignificant. It was a deeper anxiety 
which troubled the Amir, and made the whole 
arrangement repugnant to him. He was not a 
student of European history, and knew nothing of 
Napoleon, and his wars of aggression and conquest ; 
and yet, even as the Czar Alexander, after the 
overthrow of Frederick William at Jena and Auer- 
stadt in 1 806, protested against the total dismember- 
ment of Prussia,^ not from friendship to Prussia, 

1 After Jena, "the Czar objected to Napoleon absorbing Silesia, not 
because it would be unjust to Prussia, but because he feared Napoleon as a 



6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, 

but because he deemed it wise to keep such a 
powerful neighbour as the French Emperor at arm's 
length ; so did the Amir instinctively feel that the 
longer the tribes could be maintained in their 
original independence as a buffer between India and 
Afghanistan, the longer would his own country be 
secluded and safe. Of any injustice or hardship to 
the tribes, or of what fate might befall them through 
coming under British influence and control, or even 
of their own wishes and feelings in the matter, he 
was supremely careless. Such considerations would 
not affect him, any more than similar sentiments in 
similar circumstances swayed Alexander when the 
fate of Prussia was discussed with Napoleon at 
Tilsit. But the Amir well understood what a 
wonderful power of absorption the British possess. 
Where they go they stay. J'y suis, fy reste, appears 
to be their motto ; and being convinced that once a 
boundary was fixed they would live up to it, he was 
filled with alarm for what might happen next. 

We, of course, on our side, have always re- 
pudiated any idea of advance or annexation, or of 
interference with tribal customs and independence ; 
but circumstances have often been in the past, and 
will be no doubt in the future, too strong for us. 
We find it necessary to push forward military posts, 

neighbour." ..." Napoleon certainly would have made an end of Prussia 
at once, had he not feared thereby to lose the friendship of the Russian Czar. 
That Czar cared little for Frederick William, but he had a keen distrust of 
Napoleon, and insisted that Prussia should remain between them as a buffer. " 
— Poulteny Bigelow, History of the German Struggle for Liberty. 



I INTRODUCTORY 7 

to make roads to them, to raise tribal levies, to 
establish police arrangements, to interfere in tribal 
quarrels, and so forth ; and however judiciously 
these steps are taken, however they may be forced 
upon us, by whatever name we may describe them, 
the result is the same : we advance, we absorb, 
we dominate, we destroy independence, and we 
practically assume the administrative control of the 
country occupied. 

Such would, at all events, rightly or wrongly, be 
the Amir's line of thought and argument, and with 
such convictions in his mind it is easy to understand 
why he should intensely dislike the boundary 
proposals ; for when agreed to, and carried out, they 
would mean that in the course of years the wild 
mountain barrier at present shutting off India from 
Afghanistan would disappear, because it would be 
penetrated at so many points by our military roads ; 
the fierce and warlike tribes who hitherto had inter- 
posed their strength between the Afghans and the 
English would be tamed, and disarmed, and domi- 
nated ; and in their place he would have his 
powerful neighbour living right up against his own 
ring-fence, overlooking him, and possibly threaten- 
ing next his own independence. 

However, he signed the Agreement. Sir Morti- 
mer Durand returned to India with honour, his 
mission accomplished, in November 1893, and the 
next step in the proceedings, the actual demarcation 
of the boundary agreed to, was forthwith under- 



8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

taken by the Indian Government, to whom, how- 
ever, it was patent, from many indications, that the 
work would not be carried out unmolested. A 
strong escort, some 3000 men and 6 guns, was 
accordingly sent with the Delimitation Commission, 
vi& the Gomal Valley, into Southern Waziristan, 
where it was intended to commence the task, and 
the immediate consequence was — Wana. In the 
early morning of the 3rd November 1894, our camp 
at that place was fiercely attacked by the tribesmen, 
who thus rudely and emphatically made their pro- 
test against our presence, and against our work. 
They were, of course, beaten off (after a severe and 
costly engagement), and a regular expedition sent 
against them after this, under Sir William Lockhart, 
traversed their country from end to end, inflicted 
severe loss upon them, drove off their flocks and 
herds, and destroyed their village defences and 
towers. In the end they sued for peace, accepted 
our terms, paid up the fines demanded, and allowed 
the boundary from the Gomal in the south to the 
Tochi and the Kurram in the north to be demar- 
cated without further interruption. 

I have only referred to this Wana affair to 
illustrate the spirit in which the tribes regard our 
arrangements about a boundary, and to show the 
Amir's acumen and judgment were correct when 
he foresaw the storm that would burst whenever we 
might attempt to demarcate the line agreed to. 
And how can one blame these people, simple. 



I INTRODUCTORY 9 

savage, and unsophisticated as they are ? We may- 
explain to them as much as we Hke, and protest as 
loudly as we can, but when they see the long line of 
boundary pillars going up ; when they are told that 
henceforth all inside that line practically belongs to 
the British Raj, and that from this time their allegi- 
ance must be to us ; and when, finally, they note 
our surveyors at work, mapping their country and 
measuring their fields, their reflection is, " Methinks 
you do protest too much ! " And they are irresist- 
ibly driven to the conclusion that their country is 
annexed, and their independence gone ; a conclusion 
which it is not easy to dispel when we follow on 
with military posts on their borders, or in their 
midst, as, for instance, those now established at 
Wana, and at points in the Gomal, Tochi, and 
Kurram valleys, and more especially on the Samana 
range. 

The next section of the boundary which we pro- 
posed to demarcate was that north of the Khyber, 
where the line would run through Mohmand, Bajaur, 
and Asmar. Here, as I have previously indicated, 
we were, literally, on very delicate ground indeed, 
and although the Mission worked with the full con- 
currence of the Amir, and travelled indeed as his 
guests, and under the escort of his troops, yet 
hitches and difficulties constantly arose, and such 
frequent references to their respective Governments 
by Afghan and English officials were necessary, that 
little or no progress had been made with the work 



10 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

when, in the spring of 1895, the Chitral affair oc- 
curred, and a mihtary expedition to that country- 
diverted attention for a while to matters more grave 
than boundary commissions. In the autumn of 
1895 Sir Robert Low and his troops returned to 
India, their task brilHantly completed. But we 
stayed in Chitral ; we built a fort there ; we made a 
good road to it from India, and placed it in the 
keeping of tribal levies in our pay ; and we estab- 
lished strong posts on the Malakhand and Chakdara. 

In the meantime, matters had come to an 
absolute dead-lock on the Mohmand-Bajaur-Asmar 
border, and our Commission was withdrawn, the 
boundary unmarked. 

This brings us to a point where we may pause 
for a moment, not to consider the wisdom or 
expediency of our policy on the Frontier (which 
it is no part either of my plan or my business to 
discuss) but to consider its effects. In view of the 
facts which I have stated it will probably be con- 
ceded as reasonable inferences — 

(a) That the boundary agreement was most 
distasteful to the Amir ; and a fortiori to 
his subjects. 

((5) That the tribes on the border were 
thoroughly alarmed by the demarcation of 
the boundary, that their fears were accentu- 
ated by our establishment of military posts 
in Wana, in the Tochi and Kurram valleys, 
in Chitral, on the Malakhand, and on the 



J INTRODUCTORY ii 

Samana range, and that in spite of our 
assurances they trembled for their in- 
dependence. 
(c) That the Amir's subjects and officials all 
along the border, particularly Gholam 
Hyder Khan, the Sipah Salar, or Com- 
mander-in-Chief, would be, and were, 
thoroughly imbued with the Amir's own 
views and spirit in the matter of the 
boundary agreement. 

I would lay particular stress upon this last point, 
because while the Sipah Salar has been universally 
charged with hostility to the Indian Government ; 
and while it has been laid at his door that he has 
corresponded (to our hurt) with the leading Mullahs 
on the border, e.g: Say id Akbar of the Aka Khels, 
the " Mad Fakir " in Swat, and the Hadda Mulla 
at Jarobi in the Mohmand country ; that he has 
instigated risings against us, and helped the tribes- 
men with arms, ammunition, and even men ; 
strenuous efforts have been made to prove that he 
has acted throughout on his own initiative and 
responsibility, and in direct opposition to the wishes 
of the Amir, whom, it is asserted, having the Afghan 
troops and tribesmen of the Jellalabad district at 
his back, he was strong enough to defy. 

Well, perhaps he was not in touch or corre- 
spondence with his master, but there are certainly 
some who think otherwise, and when, on the loth 
June 1897, the Maizar outrage (in the Tochi 



12 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

valley) occurred, — a regular bolt from the blue, for 
it was a time of profound peace and quiet on the 
border : and when this ominous occurrence was 
followed by the attacks on the Malakhand in the 
end of July, by the rising of the Mohmands and 
Bajauris in early August, and finally by the revolt 
of the Afridis and Orakzais in the latter part of the 
same month, then undoubtedly the universal senti- 
ment was that the Amir himself was at least in 
sympathy with an outbreak which had set the 
whole border in a blaze from the Malakhand to the 
Kurram. 

And most certainly there were substantial reasons 
for connecting the Amir with these risings. It was 
notorious that for some years past "he had been 
devoting himself with much persistency to the 
religious nature of the sovereignty which he wields 
over the followers of the prophet in north-west 
India, and beyond; and the means employed to 
solidify his supreme headship as the light of religion 
were such as to be considered antagonistic to the 
preservation of harmonious relations between the 
tribesmen and the Indian Government. There was 
the book Takwim-ud-din, inspired by the Amir 
himself, and written to his command, which im- 
pressed upon true Muhammadans the essential and 
all-important character of the jehad — that war of 
religious fanaticism laid down by the Koran as the 
duty of every follower of Islam to wage against the 
infidel. The book was certainly a remarkable 



INTRODUCTORY 13 

production, and even assuming that the greater 
part of it was merely a rehearsal and exposition 
of doctrines laid down in the Muhammadan gospels, 
it was none the less singular that Abdur Rahman 
should feel the necessity to propagate afresh its 
doctrines, and give them his own imperial impress 
at such a time. Fanatical Mussulmans realise only 
too completely at present that the jehad is, under 
given circumstances, a part of their creed, and it 
was with reason argued that to have its meaning 
newly interpreted in times of peace by a Muhammadan 
ruler was in itself more or less of an incitement to 
spread out the green flag of Islam, and to smite the 
infidel wherever found." ^ 

It was further noted that the Amir had recently 
assumed the title of Zia-ul-Millat wa ud-Din, i.e. 
the Light of Union and Faith, and referred to him- 
self significantly in correspondence as the " King of 
Islam." 

Also, it was well-known that a Turkish visitor 
had been received with honour in Cabul in May 
1897, and that all Mullahs had been summoned to 
that city for an interview shortly afterwards. It 
may be that the Turk was a nobody, travelling 
on his own account, unaccredited by the Sultan's 
Government : and it may be that the gathering of 
the Mullahs had no political importance whatever. 
But the significance of incidents like these must 
depend upon the connection in which they are 

1 Mills, The Pathan Revolt in North- West India. 



14 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

viewed : and when they were shortly succeeded by 
an uprising of the tribes on the frontier, as wide- 
spread as it was unlocked for, and (apparently) 
unprovoked, then the voice of the public and the 
press, with one accord, declared the Amir to be 
responsible for the trouble. 

The Indian Government so far shared the popular 
opinion at this time as to address a strong remon- 
strance to His Highness. "A strong expression of 
the Governor-General's opinion regarding General 
Gholam Hyder's relations with the Hadda Mullah, 
and the part taken by Afghans from the Jellalabad 
district in the Mohmand disturbance, was forwarded 
to the Amir, together with an admonition that some- 
thing more than a mere formal disclaimer of respon- 
sibility was expected from him."^ This produced a 
reply which was accepted as satisfactory and sincere. 
The Amir explicitly denied all responsibility for the 
outbreaks that had occurred, and emphatically re- 
pudiated all connection with the revolting tribesmen. 
He issued orders forthwith strictly forbidding any 
of his own people to join the tribal gatherings, and 
directed that no refuge within his dominions should 
be accorded to armed bodies of tribesmen fleeing 
before the advance of our troops. 

This prompt disavowal and action on H.H. Abdur 
Rahman's part restored him to favour in the general 
estimation : and when shortly afterwards he read 

1 "The Risings on the North-West Frontier, 1897-98" (p. 150), Pioneer 
Press, Allahabad. 



I INTRODUCTORY 15 

out in public durbar the Viceroy's letter to himself, 
and the draft of his own reply, and at the same 
solemnly asserted his sincere friendship for the 
British, and his determination to maintain his agree- 
ments with them unbroken, he was fully rehabilitated 
in the good opinion of Government ; and it may 
be said here that, from this time, and throughout 
the operations which ensued, he adhered honourably 
to the friendly attitude assumed. 



CHAPTER II 

THE AFRIDIS AND THEIR GRIEVANCES 

The Afridis alleged their reasons for quarrelling 
with the British to be — 

1. Encroachment upon their country. 

2. Enhancement of the salt tax. 

3. Interference with tribal customs, in that we 

refused to give up to them such of their 
women as had taken refuge in British 
territory. 

Probably the first of these reasons, the facts 
being considered in the light of what I have written 
in the preceding chapter, was the real teterrima 
causa belli: and, in the audacious demand now 
made by their leaders that we should abandon our 
posts on the Samana, and withdraw altogether 
from the Swat Valley, they doubtless reckoned on 
the countenance and support of the Amir. 

At the conclusion of the Afghan war of 1878-80 
the Government of India, with the concurrence of 
the Amir, entered into an agreement with the 
Afridis to keep open the Khyber Pass. For cen- 



CHAP. II THE AFRIDIS AND THEIR GRIEVANCES 17 

turies past the route vid the Khyber has been the 
great historic highway connecting Central Asia, 
Afghanistan, and India. All other avenues of 
approach sink into insignificance by comparison 
with it : and it is of the first importance in the 
interests of peace and trade and civilisation that 
it should be steadily kept open, and safeguarded 
against the marauding bands who in the past have 
made it their happy hunting-ground, and have levied 
tolls of blood and money from all who have ventured 
to use it. 

The Government of India determined, therefore, 
to place the Pass arrangements permanently on a 
sound basis, and it was agreed, in February 1881, 
that the Afridis should cease their raiding from 
this time, receiving from Government in lieu of 
the plunder collected from caravans and travellers 
an annual payment of 87,000 rupees. It was 
further decided that forts should be built by 
us in the Khyber, and garrisoned by levies fur- 
nished by the Afridis, but paid by us. This put 
another 87,000 rupees annually into their hungry 
pockets. 

These arrangements were fully assented to by 
the Afridis, and cordially concurred in by the Amir, 
to whom it is a matter of much moment that the 
Pass should be kept open uninterruptedly for traffic, 
for he derives a large revenue from the tolls paid 
by caravans which traverse it, as they enter or 
leave his territory. Forts were built by us at AH 



i8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Musjid, and at Landi Kotal, and at one or two 
intermediate points ; the levies were raised and 
armed ; and under the command of men Hke Mr. 
Hastings (who was their first CO.) and after- 
wards Colonel Warburton (whose name is a house- 
hold word among these border clans), and still 
later under Captain Barton of the Guides, they 
discharged their duties punctually and faithfully, 
and peace and order reigned along the perilous 
route. 

But this was to end now. The preposterous 
demand of the Afridis that we should withdraw from 
the Samana and the Swat Valley could not, of course, 
be entertained for a moment. They decided, there- 
fore, urged on by their Mullahs, to break the faith 
they had kept with us for sixteen years, to sack the 
forts, and to close the Khyber. They persuaded the 
Orakzais to join them in this declaration of war, and 
almost before we had realised that such a stroke 
could fall, they had assembled their lashkars, and 
attacked and captured forts Ali Musjid, Maude, and 
Landi Kotal. A few days later, the Orakzais rose 
in revolt on the Kohat border, and fiercely assailed 
the Samana forts, of which one, Saragheri, small 
and isolated, fell, after a heroic defence by the hand- 
ful of 36th Sikhs, who constituted its garrison, and 
died to a man before the enemy finally got posses- 
sion. 

In the meantime the Afridis, realising the 
gravity of the situation they had themselves created, 



II THE AFRIDIS AND THEIR GRIEVANCES 19 

turned now to the Amir for aid in the coming 
struggle. In a petition sent to Cabul by a deputa- 
tion of their Maliks and Elders, they wrpte — 

The British Government has been from olden times gradually 
encroaching upon our country, and even upon Afghan territory, and 
has erected forts at various points within our borders. We have 
complained of this to the Afghan Government on many occasions, 
but your Highness has paid no attention to our complaints. There- 
fore, being helpless, and having regard to Islam, and our constancy 
in religion, we have now, under the guidance of God, opened the 
door of jehad in the face of the said Government, and we have 
severed our connection with them in every way. We have plundered 
and destroyed five forts on the Samdna above Hangu, one fort at 
Shinauri, at the foot of the Samdna, in British territory, one fort 
at the Ubldn Bass, near Kohat, etc., etc. Th^re are, however, three 
big forts on the top of the said mountain (the Samdna) which have 
not been taken yet. By the grace of God we will destroy and burn 
these also. All the people of Tirah have taken up their position on 
the top of the mountain {Samdna) ; and at its base, from Kohat to 
the Rud-i-Kurman in the district of Kurram, the frontier of the 
Orakzai runs, and the tribesmen have been making ]eh3.d from time 
to time within their respective limits. We will never consent to 
tender our allegiance to the British Government, and become their 
subjects. We will never give up the reins of authority of our 
country to the hands of the Government. On the contrary, we are 
willing to tender our allegiance to the King of Islam. It is in- 
cumbent on the Government of Islam not only to look after our 
interests, and consider our position, but that of the whole of Afghan- 
istan. We therefore send these eighteen persons from among our 
Maliks, Ulama, and Elders, with our petitions to your Highness' 
presence. We are at present engaged in a jehad on the Samdna 
range, and we request that your Highness will be pleased to do 
what is for our good and benefit ; and, by the grace of God, we 
will act up to your Highness' instructions, because we leave the 
conduct and management of our affairs in the hands of your Highness 
in every respect. We have used our endeavours with our tribesmen 
to do service to your Highness. This is the time to gain the object 



20 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

of your Highness} All the Moslems are now at the disposal of 
your Highness in the shape of regular troops, artillery, and money. 
If the British prove victorious, they will ruin the Moslems. The 
services to be done on this side may be left to us by your Highness. 
We hope that after the perusal of our petition your Highness will 
favour us with a reply. — Dated 7 Rabius-Sani, 1315 (7th Sep- 
tember 1897). 

To this appeal the Amir turned a deaf ear. The 

petition was sent on to him in Cabul, but the 

members of the deputation were refused an audience, 

and were not allowed to proceed beyond Jellalabad. 

On the 23rd of September His Highness replied as 

follows : — 

I have perused your petitions,^ all of which were with one object. 
I now write to you in reply that it is eighteen years since I came to 
Cabul, and you know yourselves that I went to Rawal Pindi (in 
April 1885^ by the Khyber route. In consideration of my friend- 
ship with the British Government I had gone to their country as 
their guest, and on my way I found many of your tribesmen on both 
sides of the Pass, who made salaams to me. If what you state now 
is true, why did you not tell me at that time about the matter, so 
that I might have conferred with HE. the Viceroy about it? 
Some years after this, when the boundary was being laid down, 
Sir Mortimer Uurand passed through the Khyber and came to 
Cabul. All the frontier tribesmen knew of this, and saw the 
Mission with their own eyes. Why did not then your Mullahs, 
and Maliks, and Elders come to me when Sir Mortimer Durand 
came with authority to settle the boundary, so that I could have 
discussed the matter with him ? At that time you all remained 
silent, and silence indicates consent. I do not know on what account 
now a breach has taken place between you and the English. But 
after you have fought with them, and displeased them, you inform me. 

' A remarkable expression. 

2 Each section of the Afridis seems to have petitioned separately, but the 
purport of their combined appeals is given accurately above. 



II THE AFRIDIS AND THEIR GRIEVANCES 21 

/ have entered into an alliance with the British Government in 
regard to matters of State, and up to the present time no breach of 
the agreement has occurred from the side of the British, notwith- 
standing that they are Christians. We are Moslems and followers 
of the religion of the Prophet, and also of the four Khalifas of the 
Prophet. How can we then commit a breach of an agreement! 
What do you say about the verse in the Koran — "Fulfil your 
promise; to fulfil your promise is the first duty of a Moslem. God, 
on the day when the first promise was taken, asked all the creatures 
whether he was their God or not. They said, ' Yes, you are our 
God and our Creator^ Therefore, on the day of the resurrection 
the first question will be about the observance of agreements. Infidels 
and Moslems will thus be distinguished by this test." You will 
thus see that the matter of the agreement is of great importance. T 
will never, without cause or occasion, swerve from an agreement, 
because the English, up to the present time, have in no way departed 
from the line of boundary laid down in the map they have agreed 
upon with me. Then why should I do so? To do so will be far 
from justice. T cannot, at the instarwe of a few interested people, 
bring ignominy on myself and my people. 

What you have done with your own hands you must now carry 
on your own backs. T have nothing to do with you. You are the 
best judge of your affairs. Now that you have got into trouble 
(literally, spoiled the matter') you want me to help you. You have 
allowed the time when matters might have been ameliorated to slip 
by. Now T cannot say or do anything. I have sent back from 
Jellalabad the Maliks you had deputed to me. I gave them each a 
lungi and ten rupees for their road expenses, and T did not trouble 
them to come to Cabul. 

And that, for the present, was all the Afridis got 
out of the Amir. It would be interesting to know 
what were their thoughts and speculations, as, dis- 
appointed and with heavy hearts, the members of the 
deputation retraced their steps to the highlands of 
Tirah. 



CHAPTER III 

PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 

While the Afrldis sought in vain the help of the 
Amir, the Government of India was organising its 
forces to punish them, and the Commander-in-Chief 
was considering the plan of the coming campaign. 
It was generally admitted that the autumn was not 
the most favourable time for the start of the expedi- 
tion. If any choice had been permissible in the 
matter, the spring, when the luxuriant crops of the 
uplands of Maidan and Tirah, and of the fertile 
valleys of Mastura and Bara, were ready for cutting, 
would have been the best season for an advance. 
An invasion of their country at this time, following 
on a rigorous blockade throughout the preceding 
winter, would probably have brought the tribes to 
their senses, and secured their submission, compara- 
tively early in the day. But it was no time to dally 
or delay. The irruption into the Khyber, and the 
capture and destruction of our forts, were a serious 
blow to our prestige, and an outrage demanding 
swift and certain punishment. To have delayed 



CH.in PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 23 

active operations for even a week longer than was 
necessary for earnest preparation, would have been 
misinterpreted on both sides of the border to mean 
hesitation, weakness, and fear, and irreparable mis- 
chief and misunderstanding might have been the 
result. 

It was wisely decided therefore to launch a force 
forthwith against the foe. General Sir William 
Lockhart was nominated to command it, and 
hastened out at short notice from England, where 
he was enjoying a well-earned holiday, to assume 
the leadership of an army which included many of 
the finest regiments, British and Native, in the 
Service. 

The composition of the force, and the names of 
those who filled the chief commands and staff 
appointments, are given below. 

In considering the size of this force, it must be 
remembered that the Orakzais and the Afridis could 
muster between them between 40,000 and 50,000 
fighting men, if all the sections combined and put 
forth their full strength. But it was not probable 
that this would happen ; and, notwithstanding the 
pressure put upon them by their Mullahs, certain 
sections held aloof from the first — the Adamkhels 
and the Jowakis, for example — ^while others, particu- 
larly amongst the Orakzais, betrayed irresolution 
and reluctance to join in the fray. 

Still, it was certain that formidable numbers 
would oppose our advance. The country to be 



24 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

invaded was a terra incognita, but known to be wild 
and mountainous, abounding in difficult passes and 
dangerous defiles ; the tribesmen were notoriously 
well-armed, enterprising, and bold ; and the line of 
communication would be a long one, subject to 
attack throughout its length, and requiring careful 
guarding. Therefore, large though the force des- 
cribed below was, it was felt, and the event proved 
that not a regiment too many had been detailed. 

The force was officially styled the " Tirah Ex- 
peditionary Force,'' and was distributed for operations 
as follows : — 

{a) A main column of two divisions, each consist- 
ing of two infantry brigades and certain 
divisional troops, to start from Kohat and 
advance on Tirah from the neighbourhood 
of the Samana range. 

{b) A force to hold the line of communication of 
the main column between Kohat and Tirah 
(including the posts on the Samana range), 
consisting of one mountain battery, two 
native cavalry regiments, and four native 
infantry battalions. 

{c) A mixed brigade, to be styled the " Peshawar 
Column," to operate as required from Pesh- 
awar. 

{d) A force, designated the " Kurram Movable 
Column," to be stationed in support on the 
Hangu-Parachinar line, for employment as 
circumstances might require. 



HI PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 25 

{e) A mixed brigade to be formed at Rawal 

Pindi as a reserve. 
These forces were composed as follows : — 

THE MAIN COLUMN— First Division 

Firsi Brigade 
2nd Battalion, The Derbyshire Regiment. 
1st „ The Devonshire Regiment. 

2nd „ 1st Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment. 

30th (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 
No. 6 British Field Hospital. 
No. 34 Native Field Hospital. 

Second Brigade 
2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment. 
1st Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment. 
2nd Battalion, 4th Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment. 
3rd Regiment of Sikh Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force. 
Sections A and B of No. 8 British Field Hospital. 
Sections A and C of No. 14 British Field Hospital. 
No. 51 Native Field Hospital. 

DIVISIONAL TROOPS 
No. I Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery. 
No. 2 (Derajat) Mountain Battery. 
, No. I (Kohat) Mountain Battery. 
Two Squadrons, i8th Regiment of Bengal Lancers. 
28th Regiment of Bombay Infantry (Pioneers). 
No. 3 Company, Bombay Sappers and Miners. 
No. 4 Company, Bombay Sappers and Miners. 
One Printing Section from the Bombay Sappers and Miners 
The Nabha Regiment of Imperial Service Infantry. 
The Maler Kotla Imperial Service Sappers. 
Section A of No. 13 British Field Hospital. 
No. 63 Native Field Hospital. 

Second Division 

Third Brigade 
1st Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders. 
1st Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment. 



26 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 ci 

1st Battalion, 2nd Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment. 

15th (The Ludhiana Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 

No. 24 British Field Hospital. 

No. 44 Native Field Hospital. 

Fourth Brigade 

2nd Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers. 
1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment. 
1st Battalion 3rd Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment. 
36th (Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 
Sections C and D of No. 9 British Field Hospital. 
Sections A and B of No. 23 British Field Hospital. 
No. 48 Native Field Hospital. 

DIVISIONAL TROOPS 

No. 8 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery. 

No. 9 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery. 

No. 5 (Bombay) Mountain Battery. 

Machine Gun Detachment, i6th Lancers. 

Two Squadrons, 1 8th Regiment of Bengal Lancers. 

2 1st Regiment of Madras Infantry (Pioneers). 

No. 4 Company, Madras Sappers and Miners. 

One Printing Section from the Madras Sappers and Miners. 

The Jhind Regiment of Imperial Service Infantry. 

The Sirmur Imperial Service Sappers. 

Section B of No. 1 3 British Field Hospital. 

No. 43 Native Field Hospital. 

LINE OF COMMUNICATIONS 

No. I Kashmir Mountain Battery. 

22nd (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 

2nd Battalion, 2nd Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment. 

39th (Gurhwal Rifle) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 

2nd Regiment of Punjab Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force. 

3rd Regiment of Bengal Cavalry. 

1 8th Regiment, Bengal Lancers. 

No. I Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners. 

No. 42 Native Field Hospital. 

No. 52 Native Field Hospital. 

The Jeypore Imperial Service Transport Corps, 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 27 

The Gwalior Imperial Service Transport Corps. 
Ordnance Field Park. 
Engineer Field Park. 

British General Hospital, of 500 beds, at Rawal Pindi. 
Native General Hospital, of 500 beds, at Rawal Pindi. 
No. I Field Medical Store Dep6t. (For First Division.) 
No. 2 Field Medical Store Depot. (For Second Division.) 
No. 5 Veterinary Field Hospital. 
No. 1 1 British Field Hospital. \ 

No. 25 British Field Hospital. I For sick and wounded return- 
No. 47 Native Field Hospital, j ing from the field. 
No. 64 Native Field Hospital. / 

THE PESHAWAR COLUMN 

2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 

2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry. 

9th Gurkha (Rifle) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 

34th Pioneers. 

4Sth (Rattray's Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry 

57th Field Battery, Royal Artillery. 

No. 3 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery. 

9th Regiment of Bengal Lancers. 

No. 5 Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners. 

No. 5 British Field Hospital. 

No. 45 Native Field Hospital, A and B Sections. 

British General Hospital, of 250 beds, at Nowshera. 

Native General Hospital, of 500 beds, at Nowshera. 

THE KURRAM MOVABLE COLUMN 

1 2th (Khelat-i-Ghilzai) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. 

1st Battalion, 5 th Gurkha Rifles. 

The Kapurthala Regiment of Imperial Service Infantry. 

3rd Field Battery, Royal Artillery. 

6th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry. 

One Regiment of Central India Horse. 

Section D of No. 3 British Field Hospital. 

No. 62 Native Field Hospital. 

Section B of No. 46 Native Field Hospital. 

Native General Hospital, of 200 beds, at Kohat. 



28 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-' 



THE RAWAL PINDI RESERVE BRIGADE 

2nd Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. 

1st Battalion, The Duke of Comwall's Light Infantry. 

27th Regiment (ist Baluch Battalion) of Bombay (Light) Infantry. 

2nd Regiment of Infantry, Hyderabad Contingent. 

Jodhpur Imperial Service Lancers. 

No. 12 British Field Hospital. 

No. 53 Native Field Hospital. 

The staff and commands of the force were as 
follows : — 

ARMY STAFF 

Lieutenant-General Commanding f General Sir W. S. A. Lockhf. 't, F.. C. B. , 
the Force I K.C.S.I. 

(Lieutenant F. A. Maxwell, 1 8th Bengal 
Lancers. 
2nd Lieutenant J. H. A. Annesley, i8th 
Hussars. 
I' Lieutenant G. R. De. H. Smith, Central 
India Horse. 
^ 2nd Lieutenant E. H. E. CoUen, Royal 
Artillery. 
Maharaj Dhiraj Sir Pratap Singh, 
Bahadur, G.C.S.I., of Jodhpur. 
Deputy Adjutant - General and ( Brigadier - General W. G. Nicholson, 
Chief of the Staer I C.B. 

. . ^ ^ . J . ^ ^ „ f Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel E. G. Barrow, 

Assistant Adjutant-General • i , „ . ^ , 

^ I 7th Bengal Infantry. 

Assistant Quartermaster-General . Major G. H. W. O'SuUivan, R. E. 



Orderly Officers 



_ ^.■.^i.j..i/-. if Captain J. A. L. Haldane, Gordon 
Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General -!„.,,, 

l Highlanders. 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- 1 ^^^^^.^ ^ ^ Swanston, 1 8th B.L. 

General J 

Assistant Quartermaster-Generalf Colonel G. H. More-Molyneux, Assist- 

for Intelligence I ant Quartermaster-General. 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Captain E. W. S. K. Maconchy, D.S.O., 

General for Intelligence I 4th Sikhs. 

„ , , - , ... „„ f Captain F. F. Badcock, D.S.O., 1st 

Field Intelligence Officer . • 1 i, ,. , ^ ,, 

^ I Battalion 5th Gurkhas. 

Principal Medical Officer (with ^ g^^g^^^_(,^,^^^j ^ Thomson, C.B., 

the temporary rank of Surgeon- ^ j^^;^^ ^^^.^^^ g^^^j^^^ 

Major-General) ; 




PTcni a Photograph hy Bassano. 

Brigadier-General Sir W, G. Nicholson, K.C.B. 
Deputy Adjutant-General and Chief of the Staff, Tirah Expeditionary Force. 
An officer of brilliant ablliticsy fertility oj resource, and experience in zua?', the value of whose assistance it 



is difficult /or me to acknowledge in adequate terms. ' 



-Sir William Lockhakt's Despatches. 

To /ace page 28. 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 29 



Secretary to Principal Medical / Surgeon -Major W. A. Morris, Army 

Officer t Medical Staff. 

Brigadier -General, Commanding / Brigadier-General C. H. Spragge, Royal 

Royal Artillery \ Artillery. 

Brigade-Major, Royal Artillery ./Captain C. de C. Hamilton, Royal 

I Artillery. 
Orderly Officer, Royal Artillery . Major H. F. Mercer, Royal Artillery. 
Ordnance Officer . . . Colonel C. H. Scott, Royal Artillery. 

Brigadier-General, Co.^manding f B'^^^'-C°l°"^l J- E- Broadbent, R.E. 

Royal Engineers i (^'* *= temporary rank of Brigadier- 

V General). 
Brigade- Major, Royal Engineers . Captain S. L. Craster, R.E. 
Orderly Officer, Royal Engineers . Lieutenant H. Biddulph, R.E. 

Superintendent, Army Signalling . | ^^J°' ^- J" ^- Logan-Home, 1st Bed- 
' ^ ^ \ fordshire Regiment. 

{Captain R. E. Grimston, 6th Bengal 
Cavalry. 

Assistant- Judge Advocate- General (^''ff ^- J" ^^ ^"^'^^ ^9* 2°™^ 

(. Infantry. 

{Lieutenant -Colonel E. Balfe, Deputy 
Judge Advocate- General, 
f Captain G. W. Palin, Assistant Com- 
\ missary-General. 



Headquarter Commandant 



Principal Provost Marshal 



Commissariat Transport Officer 
Staff-Surgeon (from the Force). 
Inspecting Veterinary Officer 

Controller of Military Accounts 

Field Paymaster . 

Chief Survey Officer 
Principal Chaplain 



f Veterinary Lieutenant -Colonel B. L. 

■ t Glover. 

f Lieutenant-Colonel W. R. Le G. Ander- 
\ son, Military Accounts Department. 
/Captain P. G. Shewell, Military 
\ Accounts Department. 
/Brevet -Colonel Sir T. H. Holdich, 

■ I K.C.LE., C.B., R.E. 
. Rev. A. S. Dyer, M.A. 



MAIN COLUMN 
First Division 



Commanding (writh the local rank 

of Major-General) 
Aide-de-Camp 
Orderly Officer . 
Orderly Officer . 

Assistant Adjutant-General 



[- Brigad 



ier-General W. P. Symons, C.B. 

Captain A. G. Dallas, i6th Lancers. 

Lieutenant J. M. Wikely, 17th B.C. 

Lieutenant G. H. Badcock, 7th B.C. 
/ Lieutenant-Colonel C. W. Muir, CLE., 
\ 17th Bengal Cavalry. 



30 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 



CHAP. 



H. Bunbury, Royal 
Kenny, 2nd Bombay 



Assistant Quartermaster-General . f^^^°' ^- ^- ^- ^°''^'' ^""^ Derbyshire 

I Regiment. 
Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Captain A. Nicholls, 2nd Punjab 
General \ Infantry. 

Field Intelligence Officer . . ( Lieutenant C. E. E. F. K. Macquoid, 1st 

L Lancers, Hyderabad Contmgent. 
Principal Medical Officer. . | Surgeon-Colonel E. Townsend, Army 

'^ \ Medical Staffi 

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding f Lieutenant-Colonel A. E. Duthy, Royal 

Royal Artillery \ Artillery. 

Adjutant, Royal Artillery . . Captain W. K. Macleod, Royal Artillery. 

Captain A. R. Braid, Royal Artillery. 
Lieutenant-Colonel H. H. Hart, R.E. 
/Captain O. M. R. Thackwell, Royal 
I Engineers. 

/Major J. A. Ferrier, D.S.O., Royal 
\ Engineers. 

{Lieutenant J. F. N. Carmichael, Royal 
Engineers. 
{Lieutenant W. 
Engineers. 
Assistant Superintendent, Army / Captain H. T. 

\ Lancers. 

/Captain H. W. G. Graham, D.S.O., Sth 
I Lancers. 

{Colonel L. W. Christopher, Commis- 
sariat Department. 
{Captain H. S. G. Hall, Commissariat 
Department. 
{Major Mansfield, Commissariat Depart- 
ment. 
Transport I (,^pj^j^ T. H. Smith, 12th B.C. 

/ Major W. R. Yielding, CLE., D.S.O., 
\ Commissariat Department. 
• /Lieutenant C. H. Corbett, i8th 
\ Hussars. 

{Captain F. C. W. Rideout, Commissariat 
Department. 

Assistant to Divisional Transport / Captain A. W. V. Plunkett, 2nd Bat- 
Officer \ talion. The Manchester Regiment. 
Survey Officer . . . Major W. T. Bythell, R. E. 
Chaplain, Church of England . Rev. R. M. Kirwan, M.A. 
Wesleyan Chaplain . . Rev. J. Findlater. 
Roman Catholic Chaplain . Rev. Father N. J. Winkley. 



Divisional Ordnance Officer 
Commanding Royal Engineers 

Adjutant, Royal Engineers 
Field Engineer . 
Assistant Field Engineer . 

Assistant Field Engineer . 

ssistant Su 
Signalling 

Provost Marshal . 

Commissary-General 

Assistant to Commissary-General 

Chief Transport Officer . 
Chief 



Assistant 
Officer 



to 



Divisional Commissariat Officer 

Assistant to Divisional Commis^ 
sariat Officer 

Divisional Transport Officer 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 31 

First Brigade : First Division 
Commanding . . .(Brigadier-General R. C. Hart, V.C, 

Orderly Officer . . /Lieutenant A. H. S. Hart, East Surrey 

L Regiment. 

Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General I ^^P'"'"^- ^- ^- ^^'"^^"' '^' 2^"^"°" 
^ ^ ■' I 5th Gurkhas. 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Captain H. R. B. Donne, 1st Norfolk 

General \ Regiment. 

Brigade Commissariat Officer .( Captain A. Mullaly. Deputy Assistant 

(. Commissary-General. 
Assistant to Brigade Commissariat f Lieutenant H. I. NichoU, 1st Bedford- 
Officer . . .1 shire Regiment. 

Brigade Transport Officer . | ^^P'^™ ^^ ^^ ^- '^•""^' 'Sth Bengal 

t Lancers. 

Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Captain H. T. W. Mann. 

Second Brigade : First Division 

„ ,. f A.D.C. Brigadier- General A. Gaselee, 

Commanding • • • 1 ^ t 

t C.B. 

^ , , -n- ( Lieutenant A. N. D. Fagan, ist Lancers, 

Orderly Officer . . ••!^,,,„. 

I Hyderabad Contingent. 

T^ * A • I . Aj- * . r- 1 f Major W. Aldworth, D.S.O., Ist Bed- 

Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General < , , . ^ . 

I fordshire Regiment. 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Major A. A. Barrett, 2nd Battalion 5th 

General \ Gurkhas. 

_ . , _, . . ^ _„ f Lieutenant C. S. D. Leslie, Deputy 

Brigade Commissariat Officer . ^ . . ^ . ^ , 

■ ^ Assistant Commissary-General. 

Assistant to Brigade Commissariat r Captain H. de la P. Gough, i6th 

Officer I Lancers. 

Brigade Transport Officer . Lieutenant H. Macandrew, Sth B.C. 

Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Lieutenant W. F. Shore. 



Second Division 

„ , „ ,. ( Maior-General A. G. Yeatman-Biggs, 

Major-General Commanding . -J ^ 

f Captain E. St. A. Wake, 10th Bengal 
Aide-de-Camp . . .| ^^^^^^^ 

I 'Captain R. G. Brooke, 7th Hussars. 
Hon. Lieutenant - Colonel H. H. 
uraeny umcers . . • • Maharajah Sir Nripendra Narayun, 

Bahadur, of Cooch Behar, G.C.I.E., 
6th B.C. 



32 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 



CHAP. 



{Lieutenant -Colonel R. K. Ridgeway, 
V.C. 

Assistant Quartermaster- General . Major C. P. Triscott, D.S.O., R.A. 
Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- ( Major R. C. A. B. Bewicke-Copley, 
General for Intelligence \ King's Royal Rifle Corps. 

/Captain H. F. Walters, 24th (Balu- 
\ chistan) Regiment of Bombay Infantry. 
f Surgeon-Colonel G. M'B. Davis, D.S.O., 
' \ Indian Medical Service. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding / Lieutenant-Colonel R. Purdy, Royal 

Royal Artillery \ Artillery. 

Adjutant, Royal Artillery . Captain H. D. Grier, Royal Artillery. 

Captain H. F. Head, Royal Artillery. 
Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Wilkieson, R.E. 
Captain T. Fraser, R.E. 
. Captain F. H. Kelly, R.E. 
. Lieutenant W. A. Stokes, R.E. 
. Lieutenant C. B. L. Greenstreet, R.E. 
Army /Captain G. C. Rigby, 1st Wiltshire 
\ Regiment. 
/Captain W. C. Knight, 4th Bengal 

Cavalry. 
/ Lieutenant W. M. Grimley, 20th (Punjab) 
\ Bengal Infantry. 
Rev. H. W. Nelson, M.A. 
Rev. Father A. Vanden Deyssel. 
/Lieutenant-Colonel B. L. P. Reilly, 
\ Commissariat Department. 
- / Lieutenant A. D. Macpherson, 2nd 
. \ P.C. 

{Major H. L. Hutchins, Commissariat 
Department. 
Assistant to Divisional Transport / Major H. R. W. Lumsden, 3rd Bengal 

Officer \ Infantry. 

Survey Officer . . . Mr. E. A. Wainwright, Survey of India. 

Assistant Survey Officer . . Lieutenant G. A. J. Leslie, R.E. 



Assistant Adjutant-General 



Field Intelligence Officer . 
Principal Medical Officer . 



Divisional Ordnance Officer 
Commanding Royal Engineer 
Adjutant, Royal Engineers 
Field Engineer . 
Assistant Field Engineer . 
Assistant Field Engineer . 
Assistant Superintendent, 
Signalling 

Provost Marshal . 

Field Treasure Chest Officer 

Chaplain, Church of England 
Roman Catholic Chaplain 

Divisional Commissariat Officer 

Assistant to Divisional Commis 
sariat Officer . 

Divisional Transport Officer 



Third Brigade : Second Division 

Commanding (with the temporary / Colonel F. J. Kempster, D.S.O., 

rank of Brigadier-General) \ A.D.C. 

„ , , „o. / Lieutenant G. D. Crocker, 2nd Royal 

' \ Munster Fusiliers. 
'Major H. St. Leger Wood, 1st Dorset- 
L shire Regiment. 



Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General - 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 33 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Major H. S. Massy, 19th Bengal 
General \ Lancers. 

Brigade Commissariat Officer -{^"'j^^cG^' ^' ^'^'"="^'°''"°^"' 

Assistant to Brigade Commissariat f Lieutenant F. W. Birch, 29th Punjab 
Officer \ Infantry. 

Brigade Transport Officer . | Lieutenant R. A. N. Tytler, 1st Gordon 

^ ^ I Highlanders. 

Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Lieutenant C. Rose. 

Fourth Brigade : Second Division 

„ J. /Brigadier-General R. Westmacott, C.B., 

omman mg . . .| J3.S.O. 

Orderly Officer . . /Lieutenant R. C. Wellesley, Royal 

l Horse Artillery. 
Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General I C^P'^^^. J- P- Blood, ist Royal Irish 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- / Captain F. J. M. Edwards, 3rd Bombay 

General I Light Cavalry. 

T, . J „ . . . rscn ( Captain E. Y. Watson, Commissariat 

Brigade Commissariat Officer . -! '^ ' 

I. Department. 

Assistant to Brigade Commissariat / Lieutenant N. G. Eraser, 4th Bombay 

Officer I Cavalry. 

Brigade Transport Officer . | ^^Pt^ J- H. Armstrong, ist East 

I Yorkshire Regiment. 
Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Lieutenant F. W. Wilson. 

Line of Communications 

_ , ^„- /-. J- ( Lieutenant-General Sir A. P. Palmer, 

General Officer Commanding • i -v ,^ n 

Aide-de-Camp . . . Lieutenant F. C. Galloway, R.A. 

Orderly Officer . . . Lieutenant H. O. Parr, 7th B. I. 

Assistant Adjutant and Quarter- f Captain (temporary Major) J. W. G. 

master-General \ TuUoch, 24th Bombay Infantry. 

Deputy Assistant Adjutant and ( Captain I. Philipps, 1st Battalion, 5th 

Quartermaster-General \ Gurkhas. 

Principal Medical Officer (with the-v g^.^^^^ . g^^^^^^ _ Lieutenant - Colonel 

temporary rank of Surgeon- V w. E. Saunders, Army Medical Staff. 

Colonel) ) 

Senior Ordnance Officer . . Captain Watkins, Royal Artillery. 

„ . „ , f Captain O. B. S. F. Shore, 1 8th Bengal 

Section Commandant • • ■! i 

I Lancers. 

„ . _ , , f Captain St. G. L. Steel, 2nd Bengal 

Section Commandant . •■It 

I Lancers. 

D 



34 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 



CHAP. 



Section Commandant 

Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, 

Royal Engineers 
Adjutant, Royal Engineers 
Field Engineer . 

Assistant Field Engineer . 

Assistant Field Engineer . 

Assistant Field Engineer . 
Provost Marshal . 

Chief Commissariat Officer 

Chief Transport Officer, L. of C. 

Assistant to Chief Transport 

Officer 
Veterinary Inspector 



{Captain F. de B. Young, 6th Bengal 
Cavalry. 
/ Lieutenant - Colonel J. W. Thurburn, 
I Royal Engineers. 
Captain H. V. Biggs, Royal Engineers. 
Captain C. H. Cowie, Royal Engineers. 

{Lieutenant H. S. Rogers, Royal En- 
gineers. 
/Lieutenant R. P. T. Hawksley, Royal 
I Engineers. 

Lieutenant A. E. Turner, Royal Engineers. 

Major L. S. Peyton, 14th Bengal Lancers. 
/ Brevet Colonel C. M. Keighley, D.S.O., 
I Commissariat Department. 
/ Major C. V. Williamson, Commissariat 
\ Department. 

/Captain T. H. Smith, 12th Bengal 
\ Cavalry. 

Veterinary Captain F. W. Forsdyke. 



Staff at the Base 



Base Commandant 



Deputy Assistant Adjutant and 

Quartermaster-General 
Commandant, British Troops 

Depot 
Adjutant and Quartermaster, 

British Troops Depot 
Commandant, Native Troops 

Depot 

Base Ordnance Officer 

Officer in charge of Engineer Field 1 
Park J 

Base Commissariat Officer 



Departmental Assistants to Base 
Commissariat Officer 



/Colonel W. J. Vousden, V.C, Indian 

I Staff Corps. 

I Major A. J. W. Allen, ist East Kent 

I Regiment. 

/Major A. de B. V. Paget, Durham 

L Light Infantry. 

/Captain A. F. Bundock, 2nd Battalion 

L South Lancashire Regiment. 

/Captain S. M. Edwardes, D.S.O., 2nd 

\ Bombay Infantry (Grenadiers). 

/ Captain M. W. S. Pasley, Royal Artil- 

l lery. 

Captain U. W. Evans, R.E. 

{Major H. R. Marrett, Assistant Com- 
missary-General. 
/Captain W. H. D. Rich, Assistant Com- 
missary-General. 
Lieutenant F. W. H. Forteath, Deputy 

Assistant Commissary-General. 
Lieutenant L. H. Marriott, Deputy Assist- 
ant Commissary-General. 
Lieutenant H. G. P. Beville, Deputy- 
Assistant Commissary-General. 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 35 



Departmental Assistant (for Trans- -1 „ ,. „ „ „.,,. , t, , , ., 
... , „ ^ * . . I Captain H. N. Hilliard, Deputy Assist- 
port) to the Base Commissariat >• , ^ . „ , 

V- _ I ant Commissary-General. 

Captain W. P. M. Pollock, i8th 

Hussars. 
Captain H. Smyth, 1st Battalion, 

Cheshire Regiment. 
Lieutenant T. E. Bayley, 20th Hussars. 
Lieutenant C. G. E. Ewart, 5th Bengal 

Cavalry. 
Lieutenant E. N. Davis, 3rd Infantry, 

Hyderabad Contingent. 
Controller of Military Accounts . 



Regimental Assistants to Base 
Commissariat Officer 



THE PESHAWAR COLUMN 



•{■ 



and 



{Brigadier - General A. G. Hammond, 
C.B., D.S.O., V.C, A.D.C. 
Lieutenant H. D. Hammond, Royal 
Artillery. 
Quarter- ( Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. Gwat- 
\ kin, 13th Bengal Lancers. 
Adjutant and ( Major C. T. Becker, 2nd King's Own 
\ Scottish Borderers. 

{Captain F. H. Hoghton, 1st Bombay 
Infantry (Grenadiers). 
f Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel R. 
■ I G. Thomsett, Army Medical Staff. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, f Lieutenant-Colonel W. M. M. Smith, 



Commanding 

Orderly Officer . 

Assistant Adjutant 

master-General 
Deputy Assistant 

Quartermaster-General 

Field Intelligence Officer . 
Principal Medical Officer . 



. \ Royal Artillery. 

Captain F. R. Drake, Royal Artillery. 
. Major T. E. Rowan, Royal Artillery. 
. Major E. C. Spilsbury, R.E. 
. Lieutenant C. B. Farwell, R.E. 
Army f Lieutenant C. E. Cobb, East Yorkshire 
\ Regiment 

{Lieutenant H. H. Jones, Deputy Assist- 
ant Commissary- General. 
Assistant to Brigade Commissariat f Lieutenant V. R. Pigott, 1st Battalion 
Officer \ Cheshire Regiment. 

/Lieutenant C. Charlton, Royal Horse 
\ Artillery. 
Veterinary Officer . , Veterinary Lieutenant F. U. Carr. 



Royal Artillery 
Adjutant, Royal Artillery 
Brigade Ordnance Officer 
Field Engineer . 
Assistant Field Engineer . 
Assistant Superintendent, 

Signalling 

Brigade Commissariat Officer 



Brigade Transport Officer 



36 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

THE KURRAM MOVABLE COLUMN 

Commanding (with rank and pay 1 Colonel W. Hill, Indian Staff Corps, 
of Colonel on the Staff) ) ^ 

Orderly Officer . . . / Captain R. O. C. Hume, Border Regi- 

1. ment. 

Depmy Assistant Adjutant-General I *^^j°' ^- ^- «• M'Swiney. D.S.O., 1st 

I Lancers, Hyderabad Contingent. 
Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- f Captain C. P. Scudamore, D.S.O., 1st 
General \ Royal Scots Fusiliers. 

r Brigade-Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel W. 
Principal Medical Officer . .} R. Murphy, D.S.O., Indian Medical 

I Service. 
Brigade Ordnance Officer . | Lieutenant D. R. Poulter, Royal Artil- 

l lery. 
Field Engineer . . . Captain J. A. Gibbon, Royal Engineers. 

Assistant Field Engineer . /Lieutenant E. A. Tandy, Royal En- 

I gineers. 
Assistant Superintendent, Army ( Lieutenant C. R. Scott - Elliott, 4th 
Signalling \ Madras Pioneers. 

Brigade Commissariat Officer ./Captain C. F. T. Murray, Assistant 

(. Commissary-General. 
Assistant to Brigade Commissariat J Captain P. H. Rogers, 2nd Yorkshire 
Officer ( Light Infantry. 

Brigade Transport Officer /Captain H. W. C. Colquhoun, 24th 

I Madras Infantry. 
/ Lieutenant-Colonel R. A. Wahab, C.I.E., 



Survey Officer 



■ I R.E. 



Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Lieutenant W. N. Wright. 



THE RAWAL PINDI RESERVE BRIGADE 

„ ,. f Brigadier - General C. R. Maceregor, 

Commandmg . . " | D S O s 5 . 

_ . , „ -^ f 2nd Lieutenant E. W. C. Ridgeway, 

Orderly Officer . . . < , ^ . , , , & j> 

I 29th Punjab Infantry. 

_ ^.-..Aj-**/^- 1 r Major Sir R. A. W. Colleton, Bart., 1st 
Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General •{ ,■' ,„,,,„.,. ' ' 

I Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster- / Captain H. Hudson, 19th Bengal 

General I Lancers. 

Brigade Commissariat Officer . ( Lieutenant E. G. Vaughan, Commissariat 

I Department. 
Assistant to Brigade Commissariat / Lieutenant A. P. Trevor, 20th Bombay 
Officer 1 Infantry. 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 37 

Brigade Transport Officer . ( Lieutenant K. E. Nangle, 3rd Infantry, 

L Hyderabad Contingent. 
Veterinary Officer . . Veterinary Lientenant W. S. Anthony. 

The political officers with the Force were Sir Richard Udny, K.C.S.I., 
Colonel Warburton, C.S.I., and Messrs. King, Hastings, Donald, and 
Blakeway. But in Sir William Lockhart himself was vested supreme political 
power, as well as supreme military control of the expedition. 

The approximate strength of the force detailed 
in the foregoing pages was loio British officers, 
10,882 British troops, 491 native officers, 22,123 
native troops, 197 hospital assistants, 179 clerks, 
19,558 followers, 8000 horses, 18,384 mules and 
ponies, and 1440 hospital riding-ponies. But to 
these figures must be added an enormous number of 
camels, carts, ponies, etc., working on the long line 
of communication with Kohat, and gradually brought 
into use as needs increased and the roads were im- 
proved. 

In considering the plan of campaign it must be 
borne in mind that the objective of the expedition 
was Tirah, the summer home of the Afridis and 
Orakzais, which had never before been entered by 
a British force, or, for the matter of that, had never 
been visited by any European. The distribution of 
the force to effect the object in view has already been 
indicated. The chief feature of the scheme is the 
direct advance on Tirah of the main column in one 
body, under the personal command of Sir William 
Lockhart, "from the neighbourhood of the Samana 
range." Other plans suggest themselves, andnodoubt 



38 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

were discussed ; for example, the advance of one 
division only, with the headquarters, from the Samana, 
while the other, diverging at Usterzai, shortly after 
leaving Kohat, might penetrate via the valley of the 
Kariach river and the Landukai Pass, into Mastura, 
and there join hands with the main body. This 
would perhaps have relieved the pressure caused by 
an advance on a single line, but possibly there were 
political objections to it. A simultaneous advance 
up the Bara Valley, by the Peshawar column, under 
Brigadier-General Hammond, would have cut off 
the Afridis from retreat in the direction of Jellalabad 
and Lalpura, whither already they were sending 
their families. But this no doubt would have been 
a very hazardous undertaking. The Bara Valley, 
though absolutely unexplored at this time, was known 
to be long and difficult, and abounding in dangerous 
defiles. The risks involved in fighting a way up 
such a route, and in maintaining such a long and 
precarious line of communication, far outweighed 
any advantage to be gained by attempting a diversion 
of this kind, unless with a very much larger force 
than was at this time available for the purpose, and 
had any disaster (and such things will happen) 
brought the movement prematurely to a standstill. 
Sir William Lockhart's own advance would have 
been seriously embarrassed at a critical juncture. 

The special advantage of the line actually selected 
for the advance of the main column, viz. from Kohat 
via Shinauri, Khorappa, and the Sampagha and 



Ill PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 39 

Arhanga Passes, into Tirah, was, that up to the 
advanced base, Shinauri, it lay inside our own 
territory, while from this point, not only could a blow 
be struck at the very centre of the Orakzai country, 
cutting the defenders into two at once (an important 
achievement from a political point of view, for 
already there were waverers amongst them), but 
also the Tirah plateau, the objective of the expedi- 
tion, the hub and heart of the Afridi nation, could 
be reached in four or five easy marches. 

At the same time, when the main column had 
crossed the Samana and was assembled at Khan- 
garbur in the Khanki Valley, it is a question whether 
from this point, and before assaulting the Sampagha, 
one of its divisions might not with advantage have 
marched up the Khanki Valley and penetrated into 
Tirah independently, via the Chingakh or Lozakka 
Pass. Here, again, the argument is that by 
separating the divisions, the pressure caused by 
moving such a mass of men and transport on a 
single road would be relaxed, and consequent delays 
avoided, and that the enemy would be alarmed by 
the demonstration against his flank and rear. 

But there were undoubtedly strong reasons for 
adhering to the single line of advance, and keeping 
the column concentrated. 

In the first place, the stronger the force brought 
to bear directly on the objective point, the less 
formidable and obstinate the resistance likely to be 
met with, while the value and importance of a quick. 



40 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

decisive, knock-down blow, where Asiatics are con- 
cerned, are not to be over-estimated. 

Secondly, a considerable proportion of the trans- 
port was of an inferior type, and imperfectly organ- 
ised, while the supervising staff was limited. Had 
that staff been divided into two sections at the very 
outset of the expedition, confusion and delay would 
certainly have increased. 

Thirdly, the whole country-side up the Khanki 
Valley was hostile. It is, moreover, a region inter- 
sected by deep ravines, and commanded by numerous 
heights, while the existing roads and tracks through 
it were practically useless for military purposes. 

Consequently, had this double line of advance 
been adopted, a much larger force to guard the com- 
munications would have been imperative, and as no 
advance on either line could be made until sappers 
and pioneers, working incessantly, had improved the 
way sufficiently to admit of the passage of laden 
animals, the military labour available, which was 
strictly limited, would have taken at least twice as 
long as it actually did to accomplish its double task, 
and the delay thus caused would have been most 
mischievous. 

Even with a single line of advance it was found 
necessary later to reinforce the troops on the line of 
communication by one native infantry regiment to 
hold the Dargai heights, and by a pioneer regiment 
to strengthen the Khangarbur post, when the main 
column had passed on. And after the Sampagha 



m PREPARATIONS, AND THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 41 

Pass had been captured the whole of the First 
Brigade, augmented by a pioneer regiment and a 
battery of artillery, had to be posted permanently 
in the Mastura Valley to overawe the Orakzais, 
and maintain uninterrupted communication between 
Khangarbur and the headquarters in Tirah. 

The theoretical advantages of a double line of 
advance are obvious and indisputable, but, on the 
other hand, the practical objections to it, which I 
have endeavoured to make clear, are not to be 
denied. 

It may be added here that when the force was at 
Khangarbur nothing was known of the condition of 
the western passes — the Durbikhel, the Chingakh, 
or the Lozakka — by one of which the detached 
division, had the double line of advance been 
adopted, would have had to make its way into 
Tirah, except that native report declared them all to 
be extremely bad. When later, in an expedition 
against the Chamkanis and Massozais, an oppor- 
tunity was afforded to examine these passes, the first 
two of them being actually crossed by our troops, 
they were found to be so difficult as to fully justify 
the decision previously arrived at by Sir William 
Lockhart to pursue his course by a single line of 
advance. 

We may now consider the preliminaries of the 
campaign made fairly clear, and I proceed, with the 
kind permission of the proprietors of the Times, 



42 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, hi 

with the narrative of the expedition in the form of 
letters contributed by me at the time, and while 
impressions were fresh ; but expanded now, and 
supplemented where necessary by notes and infor- 
mation which have reached me since the original 
letters were written. 



CHAPTER IV 



WAITING TO BEGIN 



KOHAT, bth October. 

" Tout vient a qui sait attendre ! " There has been 
waiting enough for the launch of this expedition, and 
even the Afridis amid the rocks and glens of Tirah, 
conscious that the long arm of retribution must 
eventually reach them, and exact a full penalty for 
their treacherous assaults on Ali Masjid and Landi 
Kotal, must wonder when we are going to begin. 
But if the mills of the British Raj grind slowly, their 
work is sure, and they grind exceeding small, once 
set in motion. An expedition into a difficult and 
unsurveyed country like that which lies between the 
Samana range and the Safed Koh mountains, and 
against such warlike and well-armed tribes as the 
Orakzais and the Afridis, was not to be lightly 
undertaken, nor without ample means and careful 
preparation ; and while other insurgent clans in 
many directions — the Waziris in the Tochi Valley 
to the south, and the Mohmands, the Bajauris, and 
the Swatis to the north — had still to be dealt with. 



44 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

and absorbed some of our best regiments, together 
with a large proportion of the transport, the Tirah 
expedition had perforce to be postponed. When 
our authority had been re-established in these other 
districts, undivided attention could be paid to the 
formidable foe on our western border who has defied 
us, and whose proud boast is that no white man has 
hitherto invaded his stronghold. 

It was in the end of August, 23rd to the 25th, 
that, smarting under the sense of their imaginary- 
grievances, and prompted by fanatical impulse and 
senseless rage, the Afridis attacked, and eventually 
captured and burned, our forts on the Khyber line : 
Landi Kotal, Ali Masjid, and Fort Maude. With 
minds inflamed by the preachings of their Mullahs, 
and excited by the treacherous success achieved by 
the Waziris in the Tochi Valley, by distorted reports 
of the murderous fighting on the Malakhand, and by 
the example of the Mohmands at Shabkadr, they 
recklessly broke a faith they had kept for sixteen 
years, and, throwing prudence to the winds, put to 
the sword their own kinsmen — the levies in our pay, 
who gallantly resisted their assaults — and declared 
war to the knife against a Government which has 
ever treated them in the past with forbearance and 
with generosity. 

But generosity has its limits, and the forbearance 
of even an Indian Government can be overstrained. 
The Bonerwals, that powerful tribe located between 
the Malakhand and the Indus, had indeed been let 



IV WAITING TO BEGIN 45 

alone by us, though surely after the events of the 26th 
July and following days — the attacks on the Mala- 
khand — never had any Government better cause for 
quarrelling with them. But this last outrage was 
too much. Our prestige would indeed be lowered 
should we shrink now from inflicting chastisement, 
and exacting reparation for the blood shed, and the 
mischief done ; and therefore, almost within a week 
of the occurrences in the Khyber, the Viceroy's 
Council had come to a decision, and the fiat for the 
expedition to Tirah had gone forth. 

That was in the beginning of September, and 
here we are well on in chill October, and not quite 
ready to begin yet. But what a busy month it has 
been ! Not a day, not an hour of it, has been 
wasted. Well and loyally have those toiled who 
have been intrusted Avith the preparations which 
must be completed before such an expedition can be 
safely launched. Hereafter, no doubt, their names 
will be honourably mentioned with those whose more 
congenial task will be to lead the troops in battle 
against the enemy. I have before me while I write 
the revised scheme of the operations now on the eve 
of commencing, and when I note for you that it 
provides for the concentration of a force which in- 
cludes 10 10 British officers, 491 native officers, 
10,882 British non-commissioned officers and men, 
22,123 native non-commissioned officers and men, 
8000 horses and ponies, upwards of 1 8,000 baggage 
animals (chiefly mules), and over 20,000 followers. 



46 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

etc., and involves the collection of supplies for feeding 
this huge force for at least two months, then it will 
be conceded that the task of the past few weeks has 
been no light one, and that those who have borne 
the burden and heat of the day in connection with it 
will be entitled to gratitude and recognition when 
the time comes to consider the question of honours 
and rewards. 

Meantime their labours have borne fruit, for the 
force stands ready, fully equipped, and impatient to 
start. Yet for a few days more, a very few, patience 
must be exercised, the reason being, that unexpected 
developments on the Mohmand and Bajaur side 
have delayed the troops which are detailed, after 
their campaign is over in the North, to come down 
and join brigades destined for the operations in 
Tirah. In another four or five days, however, they 
will all have arrived, and then a general advance 
will begin. It is needless to dilate on the spirit 
which animates the troops on this occasion — officers 
and men are alike keen for the fray, and eager to 
start. For weeks past every one in authority, from 
Sir George White downwards, has been besieged 
by entreaties and appeals from individuals and 
regiments to be detailed for this expedition. To 
be left out of it is lamented as an irretrievable mis- 
fortune. The appetite of the troops has been 
whetted by the accounts of the severe fighting that 
has already taken place, and by the description of 
the gallant deeds already performed. So far as can 



IV WAITING TO BEGIN 47 

be judged it is certain that the Orakzais and Afridis 
will combine to defend stubbornly their hitherto 
inviolate strongholds. They are the finest and 
hardiest race, physically speaking, on our frontier ; 
they are known to be well armed, and they can put 
upwards of 40,000 men into the field against us. 
Assuredly they will face us bravely, and, the greater 
the certainty of hard fighting, the keener the anxiety 
of every soldier of Her Majesty in India to be pre- 
sent, and to bear his share in it. 

With such a spirit prevailing amongst the men 
and officers, and with such a practised leader as Sir 
William Lockhart, whose very name is a tower of 
strength on this wild frontier, the issue should be 
sharp, short, and decisive. 

Camp Kohat, 12M October. 

Still waiting to begin ! After all it is one thing 
to declare war against the Afridis ; it is another to 
"let loose the dogs" and start the game. But in 
this instance, there are others besides the Afridis to 
think of, and great allowances must be made for 
those who have had the preparations to make for 
the arduous campaign ahead of us. Not only is it 
being undertaken on a scale greater even than that 
on which we started the Afghan War of 1878-80, 
but also every detail in connection with it has been 
complicated by the expedition on our hands at the 
same time against the Mohmands, the Waziris, the 
Swatis, and the Bajauris, and by the unexpected 



48 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

developments which some of these "side-shows" 
have taken at the last moment. Thus, regiments 
and batteries and transport and hospitals, etc., 
destined for Tirah, have been unavoidably detained 
in other quarters, and at the eleventh hour substi- 
tutes have had to be found for them, and called up 
from distant stations in India. All this means delay, 
though it does not, of course, mean wasted time. 
What has been done in the way of preparation by 
the great Commissariat-Transport Department while 
outsiders chafe and wonder " when are they going 
to begin ? " must be seen to be believed. Our 
railway from Rawal Pindi ends at Khushalgarh, on 
the banks of the Indus, 32 miles from Kohat, which 
is to be our base of operations. For weeks past 
trains have been delivering at this terminus from 
1 500 to 2000 tons of stores daily, and the Transport 
Department have been moving this immense amount 
of supplies, clothing, and war material to Kohat on 
carts, camels, mules, ponies, and bullocks, an endless 
stream, discharging on the stony plains round this 
cantonment, which have now become thickly studded 
in every direction with mounds of stuff destined to 
feed and supply man and beast for weeks to come 
in the distant wilds of Tirah. To the uninitiated, 
it looks as if chaos was supreme, but, so far from 
that being the case, the reception and distribution of 
the convoys as they arrive, proceed without a hitch. 
Every one has an appointed task, and everything 
has an appointed place, and though upwards of 




[5 



IV WAITING TO BEGIN 49 

50,000 men and followers, and more than 20,000 
animals, have to be daily provided for here, it is all 
done quietly and efficiently without fuss or delay : 
and that this should be so reflects great credit on all 
concerned in making and working the necessary 
arrangements. 

But for the present, remember, we are halted. 
It is true troops come and go every day, but the 
marches are short ones. They arrive from Peshawar, 
three marches away, and as the brigades are com- 
pleted, pass on to Hangu, Kai, and Shinauri, only 
four marches away. At these places, too, large 
commissariat depdts have been formed, more espe- 
cially at the last named, Shinauri, which for some 
time to come will be our most advanced base. It 
is situated at the foot of a spur of the Samana range 
only some five miles from the ridge, and from it, 
via the Chagru Valley, the main advance will 
eventually be made. It is then that the strain will 
come, and that the commissariat-transport arrange- 
ments will be severely tested. When there is little 
more than a single six-foot track for troops and 
animals, and that winding in and out on a steep 
gradient, through darkling glens and gloomy defiles, 
the question of food and shelter, sufficient and in 
time, becomes a deeply interesting one! But we 
know the Department. They have perhaps never 
been tried so high as they will be on this occasion, 
but they have worried successfully through many 
a tough transport task before this, and we have little 



50 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

doubt that they will overcome all difficulties in this 
instance too. 

Still it will be no promenade for them. Did not 
the Great Duke say of campaigning in Spain, " If 
you make war in that country with a large army you 
starve ; and if you go into it with a small one you 
get beaten ! " Well, the saying is in a sense appli- 
cable here. We certainly have guarded against 
defeat, for the size of the force mobilised must flatter, 
if it does not frighten, the Afridis, as it certainly 
surprises better-informed people. But on the other 
hand, though we do not expect to starve, we think 
we may sometimes have to wait a while for our 
dinners ! 

I give you here the full text of Sir William 
Lockhart's proclamation to the Tirah Afridis and 
Orakzais : — 

In the year 1881, the Afridis of the Khyber Pass entered 
into treaty engagements with the British Government, under- 
taking, in consideration of certain allowances, to maintain order 
throughout the pass, to deal with offences on the road, to furnish 
levies for the above purpose, and to abstain from committing 
outrages in British territory. Up to the month of August last 
these engagements have been, on the whole, faithfully observed, 
but during that and the succeeding month, the Afridis have 
broken their engagements, attacked, plundered, and burnt posts 
in the Khyber Pass, which were garrisoned by levies furnished 
by themselves, and have joined the Orakzais in attacking British 
posts and villages on the Kohat border. 

For these offences all tribal and service allowances hitherto 
granted by the British Government to the Afridis and Orakzais 
are declared forfeit, and entirely at the disposal of the British 
Government to withhold or to renew, wholly or in part, as they 



IV WAITING TO BEGIN 51 

may think fit. The British Government has also determined to 
despatch a force under my command to march through the 
country of the Orakzais and Afridis, and to announce from the 
heart of their country the final terms which will be imposed. 
This advance is made to mark the fact that these tribes took 
part in the attacks above mentioned, and the power of the British 
Government to advance if and when they choose. 

The Government have neither the intention nor the wish 
to inflict unnecessary damage on the tribes, provided they 
immediately make submission and reparation. The terms and 
conditions on which such submission will be accepted will be 
announced to the jirgahs of the tribes when I have arrived in 
Tirah ; and I am authorised to enforce fulfilment of these terms 
and conditions, and of any further terms and conditions which 
opposition by any tribe or section or individuals there may 
render it necessary to impose. It is therefore notified that all 
who wish to live in peace with the Sirkar and desire to possess 
their own country and to see it no more in the power and 
occupation of the Sirkar should assist to the utmost of their 
abilities in the work of enforcing compliance with my orders and 
with the said terms and conditions, by which means they will 
save the tribes from the further punishments which any opposition 
to the advance of the British troops will infallibly bring upon 
them, and the tribal country from further occupation. 

It is too soon to judge the effect of this 
proclamation, which is the usual style of announce- 
ment made when you are about to invade an 
enemy's country, with this difference. It states 
emphatically that until we have entered and marched 
through their lands, in order to demonstrate our 
power to assert our position as rulers, and to strike 
how and when we like, we will listen to no over- 
tures from them. Their offence has been too gross 
and too unprovoked for it to be now lightly pardoned 
or condoned. In the past these tribes have boasted 



52 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

that we cannot and dare not enter their country. 
Now the time has come to dispel that illusion once 
and for all. The purdah will be lifted, the veil 
that has hitherto been so jealously kept down will 
be drawn aside, and "from the heart of their 
country" Sir William Lockhart will announce to 
the tribal jirgahs, when they come in to make their 
submission to him, the final terms and conditions on 
which the British Government will conclude a peace 
with them. 

This is of course a just and wise policy. It is 
true that some of the clans, amongst the Orakzais 
especially, and more than one chief of repute and 
position amongst the Afridis, have already sued for 
terms, and expressed contrition for their misdeeds, 
each of them, tnore suo, protesting "it wasn't me, 
sir, please sir, it was the other boy, sir." But 
very rightly they have not been listened to, or even 
answered, yet. A Pathan or an Afghan understands 
only one kind of argument, the argumentum ad 
baculinum, a good knock-down blow. Administer 
that, and he will respect you, and bear you no ill- 
will. But argue with him, parley or compromise 
with him, and you are lost. He will give you back 
words smoother than your own, he will promise 
anything you want, he will greedily accept your 
bribes and your subsidies, but he will despise you 
in his heart, and he will betray you at the first 
opportunity. 

I am not concerned here to discuss this policy or 



IV WAITING TO BEGIN 53 

that for the management of the tribes on our frontier, 
or to speculate how the present series of troubles 
was precipitated, or how they could have been 
avoided, though much might be written on all these 
heads. But it may be safely said that, having 
committed ourselves to this expedition, it should 
be, and will be, carried through now in such com- 
plete and stern fashion, that hereafter Afridi and 
Orakzai will think twice, and hesitate long, before 
they break out again into such wanton outrage. 

In the meantime, it is fairly certain they will 
fight. It is not at all because we have " cornered " 
them, but, though there are waverers amongst them, 
it is because after years of proud boasting and 
absolute immunity from any punishment (if we 
except the Bazaar Valley raids in 1878-79) their 
reputation as the most warlike and independent 
tribe on the frontier would be lost for ever, and 
their " faces blackened " among all true Pathans, 
if they failed to stand up to us now. But there is 
no question of what they will do, and we may be 
sure some hard knocks will be exchanged before the 
heights are won leading into their hitherto inviolate 
stronghold, the breezy uplands known as Tirah. 
As a matter of fact our latest information as to 
their movements points to a concentration of their 
strength already in the upper Khanki Valley, and 
occupation by them of dominating points at the 
western end of the Samana ridge, whence they can 
observe our preparations at Shinauri, and even 



54 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

threaten an attack on that camp itself. These 
would be chiefly Ofakzais, but behind them we hear 
on good authority that the Afridis are collecting on 
the Sampagha Pass, and it will probably be for the 
possession of this point that our first big fight will 
be fought, and the 28th or 29th inst. will not improb- 
ably be the date of it. 

Before I close this letter I may refer briefly to a 
matter which has been much discussed lately. It is 
that we have some 2000 Afridis in our own ranks 
at the present time. They are amongst our best 
soldiers, and have borne themselves bravely in 
many a fight on the side of the Sirkar. But it is 
unquestionable that there is an uneasy feeling among 
them on the eve of this expedition against their own 
country. Already several have deserted, taking 
their rifles and accoutrements and ammunition with 
them, arguing no doubt that it is trying them too 
high to expect them to march against their own 
kinsmen, and assault their own villages. But this 
was what no one required them to do. An army 
order ^ has been published expressing confidence 

^ Subjoined is the order referred to. 

G.O.C.C, dated 8th October 1897. 

The Government of India have lived at peace with the Afridi tribe and 
made an agreement with them, under which the British forts in the Khyber 
were intrusted to their care. Allowances were paid to the tribe, and arms 
were issued so that they might be strong in their alliance and friendship with 
the Government of India, and have the means of forcing turbulent persons 
to keep the peace. Without any provocation the Afridis, in conjunction with 
other tribes, have broken their alliance with the British Government, and 
have attacked and destroyed the forts which their tribe had engaged to guard. 
Further, they have waged war against our garrisons on the Samana and else- 



WAITING TO BEGIN 



55 



in their loyalty, and sympathy with their peculiar 
position, and announcing the decision of Govern- 
ment that under the special circumstances the Afridi 
companies in our service will be sent back to stations 
where they will carry on garrison duties only, while 
at the same time they are assured that so far as 
can be managed, their own homes in Tirah will be 
spared, and their people and property- unmolested. 
This arrangement and this assurance should restore 
confidence to them. Yet such is the suspicious and 
designing nature of the Afridi, so restless and excited 
does he become in times of difficulty and danger, 
and so little trust would he repose in similar 
promises made by any of his own people under 

where, killing some of the soldiers in the British service, and causing great 
loss of property. 

The British Government, confident in its power, cannot sit down quietly 
under such defiance and outrages, and has been forced by the wanton acts of 
the Afridis themselves to inflict punishment on them in their own country, 
and to send a force into Tirah to exact reparation for what has lately taken 
place. The Afridi soldiers in the service of the Government have given proofs 
of their loyalty, devotion, and courage on many a hard-fought field, and the 
value of their services has been fully appreciated by the Government of India. 
After the most careful consideration of the circumstances connected with the 
Tirah expedition, the Government of India have decided to show consideration 
to those Afridi soldiers who wish to keep their engagements, and to excuse 
them from service in the campaign which the Government have been forced 
to wage against their fellow-tribesmen. 

On these grounds alone it has been determined that Afridi soldiers who 
are serving in the regiments detailed for service on the Peshawar - Kohat 
border, are not to be employed near the Tirah frontier at the present time, 
but their services will be utilised elsewhere. The necessary orders to this 
effect will at once issue. As far as possible care will be taken that the 
property of those who have not taken part in the raids on British territory is 
neither confiscated nor destroyed during the time that our troops are engaged 
in the Orakzai or Afridi territory. 

This order is to be read and carefully explained to all Afridi soldiers 
belonging to regiments detailed for service on the Peshawar-Kohat border. 



56 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, iv 

similar circumstances, that it is doubtful if the just 
and humane order of the Commander-in-Chief will 
entirely quiet their fears, though it is obvious that 
it was the most considerate action His Excellency 
could have possibly taken. 



CHAPTER V 

THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 

Headquarters Camp, near Khangarbur, 
■zind October. 

Long ere this arrives my telegrams will have in- 
formed you that the curtain has been rung up and 
the play has begun. I had hardly posted my last 
letter to you when collision with the enemy occurred, 
and his skill in choosing a strong position, his resolu- 
tion in defending it, the numbers he can bring into 
the field against us, and the efficiency of his equip- 
ment and fire, as testified by the severe losses we 
have already incurred, all are proof, if proof were 
wanted, of the arduous task ahead — a task which 
makes us rejoice that we have such a tried and 
capable leader as General Sir William Lockhart, 
and which fully warrants the judgment of the 
Cornmander - in - Chief, and the decision of the 
Government of India, in sending such a powerful 
force into the field. 

In this letter I shall be able to give you a better 
idea than is possible within the limits of a telegram, 
of the immense difficulties of many kinds which 



58 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

beset an expedition on this wild and mountainous 
frontier, of the desperate nature of the fighting, and 
of the valour of our troops. 

The first advance from our advanced base, 
Shinauri, was fixed for the 20th, but in the mean- 
time the enemy, aware of our intentions (for our 
working parties trying to improve the road up to 
the top of the Chagru Kotal, or ridge, and as far 
as possible down the other side, had sufficiently 
and unavoidably indicated our intended route), had 
skilfully occupied in strength the village of Dargai 
and the Narik spur, which forms the western 
boundary of the Chagru Valley, and completely 
dominates the road down it, by which we must 
perforce descend. It was necessary, therefore, to 
dislodge him from this coign of vantage as a pre- 
liminary measure. Sir William Lockhart accord- 
ingly ordered this to be done by the 2nd Division, 
and planned that General Westmacott's brigade 
should engage the enemy in front, supported by 
No. 5 and No. 9 Mountain Batteries, while General 
Kempster's brigade, accompanied by the scouts of 
the 5th Gurkhas, No. 8 Mountain Battery, and No. 
4 Co. Madras Sappers and Miners, should make 
a wide detour to the west, and get round his 
right flank and rear. Great secrecy was observed 
in issuing the orders and making the necessary 
arrangements for the attack, as it was very much 
desired to find our friends "at home," but subse- 
quent events have assured us that they are full of 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 59 

fight, and may be depended upon to accept battle 
whenever we choose to offer it. The conduct of 
the operations was intrusted to General Sir Power 
Palmer, as General Yeatman- Biggs was temporarily- 
laid up by sickness. It must be remembered that 
he has been here since the beginning of August 
last, and the hard work, single-handed for a long 
time, and the exposure have naturally told upon 
him.i 

Leaving Shinauri at 4 A.M., General Kempster's 
brigade, with which Sir Power Palmer himself 
elected to march, commenced its circuitous climb 
to turn the enemy's right flank. Westmacott 
started an hour later, and by 9 a.m. had reached 
the Chagru Kotal, on which at 9.20 his batteries 
came into action against the ridge at Dargai, where 
the enemy thickly clustered. The range was about 
2500 yards, and though, of course, well within the 
power of the 2.5-inch gun, a very perfect weapon 
in its way, yet the fear was expressed that this 
shell fire might have the not-to-be-desired effect 
of dispersing the enemy too soon, and driving him 
away before the infantry could get at him and 
inflict severe punishment. No doubt this often has 
been done, and as often regretted, for those who 

1 This gallant officer died in January. "He was in ■- \frj bad state of 
health from the outset, but his indomitable spirit carried him through the 
whole of the operations, only to die at Peshawar on the 4th January 1898. 
I would fain have sent him back to India from the Samana, or subsequently 
from Khangarbur, but the responsible medical officers considered him fit to 
remain in the field, a decision which gratified him, though I personally could 
not agree with it." — Sir Wm. Lockhart's Despatches. 



6o THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

fight and run away will live to fight another day, 
and an enemy frightened away by long-range shell 
fire may be likened to flies brushed off a pot of 
honey by a wave of the hand. They are not hurt, 
and will all settle again in the same place directly 
you leave them alone. Fortunately in this instance 
this was not the effect. The tribesmen were under 
such excellent cover, naturally provided by the 
rocks, and improved by walls, etc., built up by 
themselves, that all they had to do was to lie low 
and sit tight, and they soon found that the shells 
did not hurt them very much. Meantime West- 
macott's regiments toiled up the steep ascent to 
reach their foe, the ist Battalion 3rd Gurkha Rifles 
leading, the King's Own Scottish Borderers and 
the Northamptons in close support. (The fourth 
regiment of this brigade, the gallant 36th Sikhs, 
ever famous for their glorious defence of Saragheri 
and Gulistan, was not out to-day.) It seemed in- 
credible that any enemy could be turned out of 
such a position as that occupied by the enemy now. 
It literally had to be climbed up to, so steep and 
precipitous was the mountain-side. In many places 
the men could move only in single file, and progress 
was perforce painfully slow. Sir William Lockhart, 
attended by Brigadier-General Nicholson, the chief 
of the staff, and by the rest of the headquarters 
personnel, was on the Samana Sukh, closely observ- 
ing the movement, and watches were often compared 
to note how the attack was getting on. But if slow, 




f y^^W^ 



' The brave little Gurkhas streamed across the deadly space. . The Scottish Borderers 
followed close." — Dargai, \^th October 1897. 

To face page 61. 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 6i 

it never flagged, and ere long the quick sharp cracks 
of the enemy's rifles, mingled occasionally with the 
louder booms of their jezails, showed that it was 
coming under effective fire. At last, at twelve noon 
exactly, a point was reached whence a rush across 
the open must be made and the affair finished. 
There was no hesitation. Gallantly led by Major 
Rose, Captain Bateman-Champain, and Lieutenant 
Beynon, the brave little Gurkhas streamed across 
the deadly space as fast as their legs would carry 
them, or the steep slope would permit. The Scottish 
Borderers followed close, and with loud cheers the 
crest of the hill was carried, and the enemy in full 
retreat shot down as he nimbly fled over its reverse 
slopes. It was a gallant action, reflecting great 
credit on all engaged in it, and testifying to their 
endurance as well as to their pluck. The really 
dangerous zone crossed at the run was not more 
than lOO yards across, but so close was the range, 
and so hot the fire, that many a good soldier threw 
up his arms and pitched heavily forward stricken 
to death, before he reached the other side. The 
Gurkhas left thirteen men killed and wounded on 
this stony slope ; the Borderers six. It is quite 
marvellous that this was all the loss. But the fact 
is that about this time Kempster's brigade was 
beginning to make the pressure of its advance felt, 
and the tribesmen, ever anxious when their rear is 
threatened, gave way probably with greater readi- 
ness than they otherwise would have done. 



62 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

To the movements of this brigade I must now 
advert. The route by which it advanced had been 
reported on only by natives, and as usual their esti- 
mate of its difficulties, and of the time required to 
reach a given point, was much too low. As a matter 
of fact, so extraordinarily bad was the track that 
Sir Power Palmer, after some five miles had with 
difficulty been accomplished, was compelled to send 
back to Shinauri No. 8 Mountain Battery, and all 
laden animals, under escort of the Dorsets, and two 
companies of the 15th Sikhs: the mountain-side 
being absolutely impracticable for four-footed beasts. 
And, though no effort was relaxed, for the General 
well appreciated that it was Sir William Lockhart's 
design that Kempster's brigade should deal the de- 
cisive stroke from the rear, yet so long was the road, 
and so terrific the climb, that the enemy was already 
in retreat when at last Kempster's men appeared 
upon the scene. They were, however, in time to 
accelerate his departure with effective volleys, after 
which they joined Westmacott on the captured 
ridge. It was now past 2 p.m., and time to think 
about returning to camp at Shinauri, fully eight miles 
distant on a bad road. Westmacott's regiments 
accordingly filed off at once, and between 4 p.m. and 
5 P.M., when the sun was rapidly sinking in the west, 
Kempster prepared to follow them. But, meantime, 
the booming of the mountain guns, resounding up 
and down the Khanki Valley, had spread the news 
that a fight was going on, and from north and east 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 63 

and west the Afridis and Orakzais hastened to the 
scene of the strife, and General Kempster, who was 
preparing to withdraw vid the Chagru Kotal — by 
the same road, that is, as Westmacott's troops — had 
to make dispositions to meet them, and to cover the 
movement in retreat. These dispositions were so 
ably conceived, and executed with such alacrity and 
spirit by the tired men, that they met with entire 
success. The excellent practice of the batteries on 
the Chagru Kotal, and the steady volleys and re- 
solute bearing of the Gordons, 15th Sikhs, and two 
companies of the Borderers, who covered the with- 
drawal from the heights, were too much for the 
enemy, who, however, pressed their attack with 
characteristic dash and courage. The fight was 
carried on until long aftfer darkness had set in ; but, 
though the tribesmen by this time numbered several 
thousands, they were steadily kept at bay and 
severe loss inflicted on them, so much so that, after 
passing the Chagru Kotal, the retreat was absolutely 
unmolested. From that point there still remained 
six long and weary miles to camp. General Palmer 
reported that all the troops, British and Native, be- 
haved with the greatest steadiness, but the honours 
of the action must be divided between the Gordon 
Highlanders^ and the 15th Sikhs, whose losses were 
respectively ten and eight killed and wounded. 
Amongst the former were Major Jennings-Bramly 

1 In this affair, No. 2967, Private W. Rennie of the Gordon Highlanders, 
shot down four of the enemy at close quarters, and obtained honourable men- 
tion in General Palmer's Despatch, 



64 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

killed, and Lieutenant Pears (attached from the 
Scottish Rifles) severely wounded. 

The towers and defences of Dargai were effect- 
ually destroyed before the troops retired, and the 
village itself was burned. The rear-guard reached 
camp at eleven o'clock at night, having been under 
arms since 4 A.M., marched between 20 and 25 
miles, climbed some 3000 to 4000 feet, and fought 
a severe action. It was not a bad day's work, 
and on the following morning Sir William Lock- 
hart telegraphed his congratulations to Sir Power 
Palmer on having so successfully carried out his 
instructions. 

It was hoped that this action would drive the 
enemy permanently from the Dargai heights, and 
leave the road down the Chagru Valley open for 
the safe passage of our troops ; but our expectations 
were over-sanguine. The ardour of the tribesmen 
was not at all quenched by their reverse on the 1 8th. 
Reinforcements were hurried up to the enemy by 
the maliks from Khangarbur and Ramadan, and the 
evening of the 19th found them established in their 
old position in greater strength than ever. The 
question, of course, suggests itself, Why surrender 
the position, having once captured it ? It may ^be 
admitted at once that, had it been feasible, it would 
certainly have been advantageous to hold the posi- 
tion won, until, at least, the advance of the main 
column to Khangarbur had been effected. But it 
is a question if it was feasible. The water-supply 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 65 

of Dargai was at a spot called Khand Talao, nearly 
three miles away to the west, and the road to it was 
commanded throughout by adjacent heights, so that, 
in the presence of an enemy, water could not have 
been obtained for the troops unless these heights, 
as well as the village of Dargai, had been held in 
force. Khand Talao itself was inaccessible to trans- 
port animals coming either from Shinauri or from 
Dargai. If at this stage it had been attempted 
to occupy Dargai, and also to hold the heights 
dominating the water-supply, serious delay in the 
advance of the force into the Khanki Valley would 
have been the certain consequence ; and the troops 
engaged in the operation would not only have been 
entangled in extremely difficult ground, where, until 
the communications had been improved, it would have 
been almost impossible to supply them betimes with 
food, water, and ammunition, but also, until we had 
established ourselves strongly in the Khanki Valley, 
they would have been exposed to serious attack from 
the north and west. Thus grave complications might 
have arisen, and attention and strength would have 
been diverted from the main and all-important object 
(which at this time was the capture of the passes 
leading into Tirah) into indecisive side-issues. 

In fact, to hold Dargai alone with a small detach- 
ment, as was possible later, was impossible while 
the enemy were masters of the Khanki Valley. 
While to attempt the major operation of occupying 
the position in force, and the heights beyond it too, 



66 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

would have been a hazardous experiment in view of 
the considerations stated, and a source of anxiety 
and weakness rather than of confidence and strength. 
The fact that the place was reoccupied by the enemy 
in greater strength than ever as soon as we with- 
drew from it, shows that any detachment left there 
on the night of the i8th would at once have been 
fiercely attacked. 

Moreover, it must be remembered that the 
primary object of the operations on the i8th was 
to drive off the comparatively small bodies of the 
enemy (Orakzai Alikhels) who at that time held 
Dargai, and who constantly annoyed our working- 
parties on the road below. Nothing more than this 
was contemplated ; nor was it anticipated that they 
would be strongly and immediately reinforced by the 
Afridis, or possibly other arrangements might have 
been made. But in the actual circumstances, and in 
view of Sir William's orders for the 20th, to which 
I shall refer presently, the requirements of the case 
did not appear to justify action which, as I have 
shown, would almost certainly have delayed and 
dislocated the whole plan of campaign.'' 

To continue — On the 19th October it had been 
the intention of Sir William Lockhart that the 
2nd Division should resume work on the Chagru 

1 I have written at some length on this matter, because no point in the 
campaign has been so adversely criticised as this failure to hold the Dargai 
heights when they had been once captured. There are always two sides to 
every question, but irresponsible critics, and men with theories, will often 
persist in seeing one only. 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 67 

Kotal-Khorappa road. After the severe fighting, 
and the losses which the Afridis had sustained on 
the previous day, it was not unreasonably surmised 
that the presence of our men, working under the 
protection of strong covering -parties (which had 
been arranged), might deter the enemy from re- 
occupying Dargai. But the troops had been much 
fatigued on the i8th, and had an arduous task 
before them again on the 20th, when the march to 
the Khanki Valley was ordered to begin, so General 
Yeatman-Biggs decided to give them a rest. Sir 
William Lockhart on the Samana (Headquarters at 
this time were at Fort Lockhart) was not aware of 
this resolution until it was too late for further action 
in the matter. Otherwise, convinced of the im- 
portance of having the working -parties out, he 
would have ordered them to be covered by troops 
from the ist Division. 

We now come to the 20th, when the advance 
from Shinauri into the Khanki Valley must be com- 
menced in earnest, the 2nd Division leading. Sir 
William Lockhart's original instructions to the Com- 
mander for this advance had been to move by the 
direct route, via the Chagru Kotal, and the road on 
the west side of the Chagru defile. But, late in the 
evening of the 19th, General Yeatman-Biggs wired 
up to say that, as the Dargai heights were now occu- 
pied again in strength by the enemy, he proposed 
to march down the eastern side of the defile, via the 
Samana Sukh and the Talia spur. This movement 



68 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

would, in his opinion, avoid the loss that would 
be incurred by using the other road, and engaging 
the enemy on the way, strongly posted as they 
were on such commanding vantage-ground. 

Sir William Lockhart could not, however, ap- 
prove this idea. His previous decision had been 
deliberately arrived at, and was based on the fact 
that he had reliable information that the road down 
the Talia spur was a mere goat-track, quite unfit for 
laden animals. But more than this, it was obvious 
that any attempt to thus evade the tribesmen posted 
about Dargai would not only have failed in its 
object, but also would have, in all probability, en- 
couraged them to attack us. They could easily 
descend from Dargai, and, crossing the defile, vigor- 
ously harass and oppose the difficult march down 
the thickly -wooded and precipitous slopes of the 
Talia spur ; and to be caught on such ground 
during a tedious processional movement, encum- 
bered by long trains of baggage, supplies, and 
hospitals, in a position, in fact, in which no com- 
mander would willingly sustain an assault, in which 
reinforcement would be difficult, and from which 
withdrawal would be dangerous, was an experiment 
too full of risks to be permitted. 

A reply was therefore sent that night to General 
Yeatman-Biggs that the original plan must be ad- 
hered to, and the difficulty faced. It was intimated 
to him at the same time that two battalions of the 
1st Division, and one of its batteries, might be 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 69 

borrowed for the day to assist in clearing the Dargai 
heights, and that the Northamptons, and No. 9 
Mountain Battery, from Fort Lockhart, would co- 
operate from the Samana Sukh. It was further 
remarked that the enemy would in all probability 
evacuate the heights as soon as the advancing 
troops reached the point below the Kotal — only 
some two or three miles — where the Narik Darra 
joins the defile, as their rear would then be 
threatened. 

It is thus clear that Sir William Lockhart's in- 
tention was to engage the enemy in front with a 
portion of the force, while other troops pushed down 
the defile and threatened their rear, via, the Narik 
Darra — a combination which would almost certainly 
have expelled them from their position on the 
heights without such severe loss as a purely frontal 
attack must inevitably involve. But General Yeat- 
man- Biggs held that it would be dangerous to march 
men down the defile until the heights overhanging 
it had been captured, and, acting on this judgment, 
ordered a direct assault by the main front approach 
to be delivered as soon as his leading troops had 
reached the Kotal at 8 a.m. on the morning of the 
20th ; and it only remains now to record how 
gallantly it was carried out. 

General Kempster's brigade, consisting of the 
Dorsets, the Gordons, the 2nd Gurkhas, and the 
15th Sikhs, was charged with the task of storming 
the frowning heights, and it was strengthened for 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 71 

to the position they had reached, without being able 
to advance farther. Major Judge was killed on the 
spot by a shot through the head. Captain Robinson 
was mortally wounded, and many more dotted the 
slope, struck down by the leaden hail. In vain did 
others attempt to follow the splendid lead that had 
been given them. Their vigilance now fully roused, 
the enemy poured down such a murderous fire from the 
cliffs above that the head of each formation attempt- 
ing the fatal passage was swept away, and Gurkhas, 
Dorsets, and Derbys, suffering terribly and enduring 
bravely, could get no farther. At this juncture 
General Yeatman-Biggs ordered the Gordons and 
the 3rd Sikhs to the front, and General Kempster, 
arranging first for three minutes' concentrated fire 
on the sangars by the massed batteries, launched 
them to assault. The time had arrived for desperate 
action, for it was now nearly three o'clock in the 
afternoon, the dead and wounded were lying thick 
on every side, over 100 men had already fallen, and 
the enemy were shouting their defiance, waving 
their standards, and beating their drums, confident 
in the impregnability of their position, and certain 
now of success. But the Gordons had yet to be 
reckoned with. Rapidly forming his men and 
addressing them in burning words,^ Colonel Mathias 
dashed out at the head of his gallant regiment, and, 
closely backed by the 3rd Sikhs, in a moment they 

1 "Highlanders! The General says the position must be taken at all 
costs. The Gordons will take it I " 



72 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

were all across, carrying every one with them in the 
impetuosity of their onrush, storming the ridge with 
a resolution that was resistless, and beating down all 
opposition. It was indeed a splendid exploit, and 
thrilled the nerves of all who were privileged to 
witness it. 

But stay. Did I say that they were " all across" ? 
Well, that is wrong. Three men of the Gordons, 
including Lieutenant Lament, dropped killed on the 
spot, and forty-one more fell, more or less severely 
wounded, amongst them Major Macbean,^ shot 
through the groin ; Lieutenant Dingwall, severely 
hit in four places; Lieutenant Meiklejohn, Lieu- 
tenant Craufurd, and Captain Uniacke, all slightly 
wounded ; and Colonel Mathias himself, hit in the 
foot, but only slightly. Many others were shot 
through their clothes or accoutrements, and had 
marvellous escapes. The other regiments all suffered 
heavily too. The Dorsets had nine killed and forty 
wounded, including Captain Arnold, whose wound 
was dangerous ; ^ the Derbys four killed, including 
Captain Smith, and eight wounded ; the Gurkhas 
eighteen killed and forty-nine wounded ; the scouts 
two killed and two wounded ; and the 3rd Sikhs 
three killed and twenty wounded, including Lieu- 

1 Major Macbean was among the first to spring from cover, and lead his 
men to the attack. He was shot almost immediately, but continued to cheer 
his men on while lying on the ground. 

2 Captain Arnold was wounded in a heroic attempt to lead his men across 
the deadly space before the Gordon rush occurred. " Come on, E Com- 
pany !" he shouted, and sprung to the front, but was struck down almost 
immediately by the deadly hail from above. 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 73 

tenant White, shot through the chest. This fine 
corps splendidly supported the Gordons in their 
great charge, and their Colonel, Tonnochy, was con- 
spicuous in the forefront of the rush. The grand 
total of killed and wounded was 199. This will give 
some idea of the difficulty of the position, and the 
severity and accuracy of the fire to which the 
assaulting columns were exposed, and in a situation, 
too, whence they could not reply with much effect. 
The enemy's losses, too, were severe, but, as usual, 
they managed to carry off most of their dead and 
wounded, and it is impossible to estimate them 
accurately. They, however, acknowledge defeat, 
and have made no attempt since to molest the victors, 
or to retake the lost position, on which the brigade 
bivouacked for the night. The dead and wounded 
were carried back to Shinauri,. where the former 
were buried with the honours which they had so 
gloriously earned, and the wounded were placed in 
the base hospitals, where there is every arrangement 
possible for their care and comfort. 

Such is the story of the fighting on the 1 8th and 
20th of October, and, whatever criticisms may be 
passed on the why and the wherefore of it, it will 
always remain a noble monument to the valour of 
our troops, and to the splendid heroism of British 
officers as troop leaders. 

Before dismissing this subject, I must narrate two 
or three incidents connected with the Gordons' grand 
attack, which are worth placing on record. 



74 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

The first is, that they were headed in their 
memorable rush by their pipers. One of these, 
named Findlater, blowing his loudest and best, was 
among the first to show the way across that deadly 
strip of ground above described, and when, after 
traversing but a few yards, he was laid low, shot 
through both legs, he managed to prop himself up 
against a boulder and continued with unabated 
energy to play " The Cock o' the North," ani- 
mating his comrades by the familiar and stirring 
music of his beloved pipes. This hero has been 
recommended for the Victoria Cross, and we all 
sincerely hope he will get it, for it has been grandly 
earned. 

Another is that, as the Gordons breasted the last 
stiff ascent. Colonel Mathias, no longer quite in his 
first youth, was somewhat short of breath, and said 
to Colour -Sergeant Mackie, alongside whom he 
found himself at this moment — "Stiff climb, eh, 
Mackie ? Not quite — so young — as I was — you 
know." "Nevermind, sir/" answered the gallant 
Sergeant, giving his CO. a hearty slap of genuine 
admiration on the back, which almost knocked his 
remaining wind out of him — "Never mind, sir! 
Ye re gaun verra strong for an auld m.an ! " 

I must add, that when the ridge was captured the 
Gordons of their own accord lined up and gave three 
cheers for their gallant Colonel, and officers, British 
and Native, of Sikhs and Gurkhas, crowded round 
to shake him by the hand. 



V THE ACTIONS AT DARGAI 75 

The only other incident I would mention is, that 
on the 22nd Sir William Lockhart had the Gordons 
paraded, and addressed them with reference to their 
dashing conduct on the 20th. "Your records," said 
Sir William, "testify to many a gallant action per- 
formed by you, and you have now added to them 
another which may worthily rank beside those that 
have gone before. There is more hard work ahead 
for us all, and I am confident you will do your share 
of it well when the time comes to call upon you 
for a fresh effort." Sir William thanked Colonel 
Mathias personally, and the assembled officers, for 
their gallant leading, and the parade was then dis- 
missed. The men were immensely pleased by the 
prompt and kindly praise bestowed by the Chief. 



CHAPTER VI 



IN THE KHANKI VALLEY 



Khangarbur, 27M October. 
At daybreak on the next day, the 21st, the 2nd 
Division commenced its advance to the Khanki 
Valley according to programme, Sir William Lock- 
hart and staff accompanying the movement, but 
marching independently from Fort Lockhart, down 
the Talia spur, with the Northamptons, the 36th 
Sikhs, and No. 9 Mountain Battery. The reports 
previously received on the state of this road were 
amply confirmed now. The baggage of even this 
small force did not reach Khangarbur until late on 
the. 22nd, and some of it not until mid-day on the 
23rd. The first intention had been to move on this 
day only as far as Khorappa, but that locality, situated 
at the junction of the Chagru defile with the Khanki 
river, is so commanded on every side by overhang- 
ing heights, that the advance was continued another 
two and a half miles up the valley to a spot nearly 
opposite the large fortified village of Khangarbur, 
where an extensive plateau on the north bank of 



CHAP. VI IN THE KHANKI VALLEY 



n 



the Khanki afforded the necessary space for the 
large force assembling, and, by its remoteness from 
the nearest commanding ground, promised fair 
security against those prowling marauders (com- 
monly known as snipers) whose chief amusement is 
to fire into your camp all night. 

Khangarbur was full of Afridis, who briskly 
opened fire upon the leading brigade — General 
Westmacott's — but No. 8 Mountain Battery, R.A., 
promptly coming into action, pitched some shells 
into the village, and the enemy decided not to 
remain. Some infantry who were pushed to the 
front quickened their retreat, and they were soon 
out of sight in the hills to the north. There were 
no casualties on our side, and probably very few on 
theirs. 

The march from Shinauri to this place (Khan- 
garbur) is a very long and trying one, fully thirteen 
miles up hill and down dale, along what in many 
places is a rough track barely a foot wide, and for 
the last four or five miles is merely the stony bed 
of a ravine. Where men, and mules, and guns, and 
baggage animals have to follow such a trail in single 
file it is easy to imagine how the column is stretched 
out. The tail of it is hardly clear of the old camp 
when the head is arriving at the new. Then 
supervenes darkness, with all its attendant discom- 
forts and dangers and risks. All calculations as to 
time and space are simply set at naught by con- 
ditions such as obtain in a country like this. A 



78 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

wretched mule falls down, and the road is blocked 
at once. A check of this kind, occurring not once 
but a hundred times probably in the course of the 
day, multiplies in effect in geometrical progression 
as it passes from front to rear, and causes delays and 
fatigues which it is simply impossible to describe in 
words. 

The difficulties of this country must be seen to 
be appreciated, and it must also be remembered 
that it produces nothing in the way of supplies 
except here and there a very moderate amount of 
forage for the transport animals. Hence everything 
must be carried with us. Then consider what our 
numbers are. There are now assembled on this 
ground 6800 British ranks, 10,200 native ranks, 
17,000 followers, and upwards of 25,000 animals! 
The daily requirements of this multitude in the way 
of food alone (and they have other needs) amount to 
3000 maunds' weight of stuff at a moderate esti- 
mate (i maund = 8o lbs.). But the road from our 
base at Shinauri is at present so long and winding, 
and narrow and steep, and so crowded with troops 
and traffic, that supplies can only be very gradually 
brought up, and are consumed here almost as soon 
as they arrive ; while to crown our difficulties, it is 
almost impossible to send back to Shinauri the 
unladen transport animals, because of the extreme 
narrowness of the track, on which two mules can 
hardly pass each other, except at a few points. 
Needless to say, sappers and pioneers have been. 




A wrctclied mule falls duwii, ami the road is blocked at once. 



Tofaccfii'^c 73- 



VI IN THE KHANKI VALLEY 79 

and are, toiling without ceasing to improve it, and 
every day has made it better, but their work is 
dreadfully interrupted by the ceaseless stream of' 
traffic. In fact, it has been a case of stopping the 
traffic or stopping the work. 

The consequence of such extraordinary difficulties 
is, of course, that we have remained here longer 
than was anticipated to let the columns close up. 
But the 1st and and Divisions are assembled now; 
and as we are here within six or seven miles of the 
foot of the Sampagha Pass, it will, after all, be 
attacked on the 28th or 29th, as I advised you some 
days ago. 

I have gone into all this at some length by way 
of explanation of our long halt here, which no doubt 
is criticised and commented upon adversely in many 
quarters, and perhaps by some who ought to know 
better. But an army must be fed, and it would be 
more than rash to attempt hasty movements in 
advance, and reckless enterprises, against a hardy 
and daring enemy, without being assured of ample 
supplies for man and beast, and feeling confident 
that every position gained can be maintained and 
supported. 

But if we can satisfactorily account to ourselves 
for this long waiting, we cannot make the why and 
wherefore of it clear to the Afridis. They, of 
course, put it down to hesitation and fear, and in 
proportion to the timidity which we (in their 
estimation) display, do their own courage and 



8o THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

confidence increase, and their numbers too. If 
happily we could have attacked the Sampagha 
Pass within a day or two of arrival here, we should 
probably have found it not a very hard task to 
capture it, for it would not then have been defended 
by more than half the men that hold it now. But 
our unavoidable delay has been the tribesmen's 
opportunity, and they have made the most of it. 
Our latest information is that all the Afridi clans 
are now fully represented on the Sampagha, and 
that, combined with the Orakzais, there are not 
less than 10,000 or 12,000 of the enemy in our 
immediate neighbourhood. We also know from 
political reports — reconnaissances and spies — that 
they have been busy for some time past in adding 
to and strengthening the defences of the pass, 
building walls and sangars to command all likely 
approaches, digging trenches and rifle pits, and 
erecting obstacles. Amongst them are hundreds of 
old pensioned soldiers, many of whom have served 
their time in our sapper companies, so they know 
the business well, and are now turning to excellent 
account the training they have had in our ranks. 
So the storming of the Sampagha Pass will be 
something to achieve ; but there is only one feeling 
among the troops in regard to it, and that is eager- 
ness to begin, and anxiety to be in the leading 
brigades. 

But besides these reports of the gathering of the 
clans, and of their preparations to defend vigorously 



VI IN THE KHANKI VALLEY 8i 

the first of the great gateways of their country, we 
have other evidence of their numbers, activity, and 
boldness : for day by day our foraging parties have 
been harassed by them, and night by night our 
camp has been surrounded and fusiladed with 
increasing audacity and severity. On the night of 
the 23rd particularly the enemy's onset amounted 
almost to an attack, and some of the picquets were 
heavily engaged from dusk until after midnight. A 
few star shells were fired with good effect, and the 
blood-stains found the next morning in many direc- 
tions, with a few bodies actually retrieved within 
only 30 or 40 yards of our lines, attested at once 
the boldness of our assailants, and the fact that they 
had not gone away unpunished. Our own casualties 
were insignificant. 

The night of the 24th passed in comparative 
quiet. But on the 25 th the foe seemed to have 
recovered his spirit, for all our foraging parties on 
that day, though strongly guarded by guns as well 
as by infantry, were much harassed by crowds of 
Afridis, who followed them up with amazing energy 
and intrepidity as they returned to camp, and 
excited general comment and admiration by the 
skill with which they skirmished on the mountain 
side, and by the accuracy and judgment with which 
they delivered their fire. There was more than one 
instance of their waiting with coolness until our 
infantry had to show themselves on the sky-line as 
they crossed the crest of some ridge, and then 



82 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

delivering a volley, at a range of 1000 yards some- 
times, and invariably knocking some one over. 

As darkness came on they closed in on the 
camp, and their marksmen, establishing themselves 
in coigns of vantage, began to make it extremely 
unpleasant for us. I do not know anything more 
uncomfortable than this whistling of bullets round 
one from hidden enemies. The fire cannot be 
replied to, nor can you escape from it, for it comes 
from all directions, and you are as much exposed in 
one spot as another. On this particular evening 
the casualties were numerous among men and 
followers and animals, some twenty odd being hit. 
Captain Badcock, D.S.O., 5th Gurkhas, Field 
Intelligence officer, was shot in the left arm just as 
he sat down to dinner, and Lieutenant -Colonel 
Hadow, 15th Sikhs, and Lieutenant Crocker, 
Munster Fusiliers, orderly officer to Brigadier- 
General Kempster, were wounded. Many other 
officers had very narrow escapes, bullets just miss- 
ing them, or going through their tents. Poor 
Badcock was hit by a Snider bullet, which shattered 
the bone so dreadfully that amputation was necessary 
at once. He has borne the operation well, and, we 
hope, will soon make a good recovery. Two distant 
hills from which the fire on the camp seemed to be 
chiefly directed, one to the east and the other to 
the south-west, were occupied last night by our own 
troops, a wing of the 3rd Gurkhas holding one, and 
the Nabha Infantry, with admirable spirit, volunteer- 



VI IN THE KHANKI VALLEY 83 

ing to hold the other. The consequence was we 
were left in comparative peace, and slept the sleep 
of the just. 

I told you by wire of the five men, Afridis, who 
came in on the 24th and gave themselves up to one 
of our picquets, saying they wished to be loyal and 
would not fight against us. They proved to be a 
subadar and a sepoy of the 26th Punjab Infantry, 
and three pensioned native officers of other corps, 
all of whom, as it was at once remarked, might very 
well have come in weeks ago without hindrance had 
they really wished to prove their loyalty. But 
arriving on the eve of a general engagement, and 
coming straight from the enemy, strongly posted 
within six miles of us, it does seem as if there was 
more in it than meets the eye. For surely the 
Afridis would not have let them pass over to us 
with the chance that they might reveal all their 
plans and dispositions and strength, unless they had 
some ulterior design in letting them go. If, how- 
ever, they reckoned that we should receive them 
with open arms, pat them on the back, and give 
them liberty to come and go as friends, they mis- 
calculated, for the five men were carefully blind- 
folded while being conducted into Sir William 
Lockhart's presence, and are detained as prisoners 
pending the development of events. 

The Queen's gracious message of approval of 
the valour of her troops, of sympathy, and of tender 
inquiry after the welfare of the wounded, has been 



84 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, vi 

greatly appreciated by all ranks and has gladdened 
many hearts. The feeling that Her Majesty is 
watching the progress of events on this wild frontier, 
as attentively and anxiously as any of her subjects, 
animates every soldier in this force to render the 
best service of which he is capable. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE CAPTURE OF THE SAMPAGHA PASS 

Camp in the Mastura Valley, ^oth October. 

At last we are fairly under way. It was a week of 
weary waiting at Khangarbur, but it was inevitable, 
and I have fully explained why. But the time was 
not wasted. Reconnaissances and foraging parties 
were sent out daily, good exercises for men and 
officers, resulting in the acquisition of useful informa- 
tion regarding routes, etc., and in the accumulation 
of a considerable quantity of fodder for the transport 
animals, and a limited amount of grain. Also, as 
there were constant skirmishes with the enemy, 
without serious loss on either side, and as, moreover, 
after each encounter we always perforce retired to 
our camp, he was gently encouraged, so many of 
us fondly hoped, to believe himself equal, if not 
superior, to us, and so we imagined would make a 
bold stand on the Sampagha, and give us a chance 
to beat him there handsomely. In this expectation, 
however, we have been deceived, as the sequel will 
show. Finally, during the week that we were 



86 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

reconnoitring, and foraging, and skirmishing, the 
commissariat were busy pouring supplies into Khan- 
garbur, the road to which from Shinauri has now 
been so much improved by the strenuous exertions 
of the Engineers, that even camels can traverse it ; 
and on the 26th and 27th a convoy of 3000 of these 
animals, which carry loads of 400 lbs. each, came 
safely through to our camp. Thus, by the evening 
of the 27th, Sir William Lockhart was prepared to 
resume the advance in earnest, and to the joy of all 
the long-looked-for orders for the move were issued 
on that date. 

The march to Gundaki was a very short and easy 
one on paper, barely three and a half miles ; but it 
meant a good deal more than that for the troops 
engaged in it. From Khangarbur the route lay 
almost due north up a broad and undulating valley, 
fully one and a half miles wide at the start, but 
narrowing just beyond Gundaki to barely one-third 
of that distance. It is bounded on the east and 
west by low hills, which had to be cleared of the 
enemy and crowned by our infantry before the force 
could advance. On the east particularly lay some 
heights which had been regularly held by the Afridis, 
and on which, on the evening of the 27th, we could 
count five or six standards and see crowds of men. 
The 36th Sikhs and the Northampton Regiment 
were accordingly ordered to start at 5 a.m. and turn 
them out, and this was effected without more trouble 
than was involved in an arduous climb. For your 



vn THE CAPTURE OF THE SAMPAGHA PASS 87 

Pathan is not an early riser. He will say his evening 
prayer with fervour, and eat his evening meal with 
gusto, and then* fortified in the spirit and in the 
flesh, he will sling his rifle on his back, stick his 
knife into his belt, and start out for a few hours' real 
enjoyment before he turns in : which means that up to 
about II P.M. (or later, if the sport is good) he will 
amuse himself by shooting into his enemy's camp, or 
by stalking and cutting up stray camp followers or 
belated convoys. But about midnight, conscious of 
duty thoroughly done, he will retire to his eyrie in 
the rocks, curl himself up, and sleep if allowed until 
the sun has topped the horizon, and its rays have 
warmed the chill morning air. Consequently, he is 
not infrequently caught napping, if only he be sought 
early enough. And so it happened on this occasion. 
Before the Afridis were fully aware of the manoeuvre, 
the column, under Colonel Chaytor, was upon them, 
and hastily bolting, their movements quickened by a 
few volleys, they abandoned their vantage ground, 
and the right flank of the force was made secure for 
the day. 

Similarly, the hills on the left of the road were 
cleared by troops (the Yorks, half-battalion 4th 
Gurkhas, and half- battalion 3rd Sikhs) detached 
from the 2nd Brigade (General Gaselee's), and by 
9 A.M. the force was in full march up the valley, the 
First Division on the left of the line, the Second 
on the right, both preceded, of course, by strong 
advanced guards. Sir William Lockhart himself 



88 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

rode at the head of the main body of the First 
Division. 

The opposition offered by the enemy to this 
advance was practically nil, and there were only 
some ten or twelve casualties incurred in the skir- 
mishing on the flanks. On arriving on the ground 
on which it was proposed to encamp for the night, 
or rather bivouac (for the force is without tents), the 
troops were halted, and piled arms, while the baggage 
and rearguards closed up. In the meantime. Sir 
William Lockhart, from commanding ground well to 
the front, examined the approaches to the pass, and 
arranged the plan of attack for the following day. 
Up to the point now reached, the ground had been, 
as I have said, undulating and easy, and with" a 
gentle rise towards the pass. But directly the 
Kandi Mishti stream was crossed, which here lay at 
our feet, it was roughly broken up by ravines and 
nullahs, between which long rugged spurs ran out 
from the mountain side, ending many of them in 
precipitous slopes, which could only be ascended in 
single file and at particular points. The road up the 
Sampagha Pass was in full view, zigzagging up one 
of these spurs. To the east of it (on our right, that 
is, as we stood facing the position), on an adjacent 
spur, was the village of Nazeno, which appeared to 
be full of armed men ; and to the west the village of 
Kandi Mishti was similarly held. High up on the 
zigzag path, sangars and walls could be seen, and 
everything pointed to a stout defence and a sharp 




5 

5^ 



vii THE CAPTURE OF THE SAMPAGHA PASS 89 

fight on the following day. It was not to be, how- 
ever, notwithstanding that reconnaissances were fired 
on briskly, and that our picquets this night were 
sharply attacked, particularly on the left flank, inci- 
dents all tending to confirm the belief that the enemy 
meant to fight. 

The plan of attack was as follows, omitting 
details : — 

The honour of leading the direct attack by the 
main approach to the pass was intrusted to the 
2nd Brigade (General Gaselee's), the Gurkha scouts 
of the division co-operating. This brigade was to 
leave its bivouac at 5 a.m., and it was reckoned 
would be across the Kandi Mishti stream, and 
established on the far side of it by daylight. By 
the same hour, the massed batteries of the two 
divisions, thirty-six guns, under Brigadier-General 
Spragge, and the rocket detachment, under Captain 
Browne, R.A., were to be in position on a flat- 
topped spur beyond the stream, almost opposite 
the centre of the position to be attacked. The 
4th Brigade (Westmacott's) was to support the 2nd, 
particularly on its right flank, and the 3rd Brigade 
(Kempster's) was to follow it in reserve. The ist 
Brigade (General Hart's) was distributed to protect 
the batteries, and to co-operate with, and support 
the whole movement by detaching a regiment to 
assail the village of Nazeno on the right flank of 
our advance, and another to attack Kandi Mishti 
on the left flank. I may say here that the Devons 



90 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

on one side, and on the other the 2nd battalion ist 
Gurkha Rifles (who, by the way, had their colonel, 
Sage, severely wounded in a reconnaissance the 
previous evening) carried out these operations very 
successfully. The baggage was left in camp ready 
for loading under suitable guards, which included 
the Nabha Infantry, and a squadron of the i8th 
Bengal Lancers, with instructions that it was to be 
brought on directly a helio message was sent back 
to it. 

Such were briefly Sir William Lockhart's dis- 
positions for the attack on the Sampagha Pass, to 
which every one has been so keenly looking forward 
for so many days past, and, notwithstanding some 
small delays caused in the beginning of the opera- 
tions, they were entirely successful. The morning of 
29th October was dark and cold, but still and clear. 
General Hart's Brigade was the first to move off, 
and had occupied its allotted positions in good time 
to protect the batteries as they took up their ground, 
and to cover the general advance. But in such a 
difficult country, and in the dark, it is particularly 
easy to lose your way. The batteries of the First 
Division got blocked on the road, and thus were 
somewhat late in coming into action ; and General 
Gaselee's Brigade took a wrong turning in one of 
the ravines through which it was threading its way, 
and lost a little time before it recovered its right 
direction. But these mistakes were soon put right. 
By 7 A.M. the attack was fairly launched on the 



vn THE CAPTURE OF THE SAMPAGHA PASS 91 

lines designed by Sir William, and it soon became 
evident that the enemy did not mean to fight very 
seriously, for they could be seen vacating positions 
in many directions, and wending their way up to 
the very crest of the pass, as though it was there 
they had determined to make their stand. 

At one important point, however, on the zigzag 
road, there was a large sangar which evidently held 
some determined spirits ; and as the Queen's and 
the 4th Gurkhas, who led the advance (their 
General with them) in capital style, approached it, 
a smart fire was opened on them, and several men 
were knocked over. The fire of the batteries of 
the Second Division was, however, turned on to 
this sangar with such effect that, after standing 
about twenty minutes of it, its occupants, some 
hundred or so, bolted, and the shells knocked many 
of them over as they fled up the hill-side. After 
this the infantry advance was nowhere opposed by 
anything like an organised defence, though a 
sputtering fire was aimed at it from many points, 
and casualties occurred here and there. The 
Queen's had one man killed and eight wounded 
(including their commanding officer, Major Han- 
ford Flood), the Gurkhas two, the Yorkshires 
four, the 36th Sikhs two men killed and two 
wounded. No. 8 M.B., R.A., three men wounded; 
No. 5 Bombay M.B. lost its commanding 
officer. Captain De Butts, killed by a shot in the 
abdomen, and there were a few other casualties. 



92 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

But the total was insignificant in proportion to 
the size of the force engaged, the magnitude 
of the enterprise, and the great natural strength 
of the position held by the enemy. Had they 
defended it with one - quarter of the determina- 
tion shown by them on the Dargai heights on the 
20th inst., no doubt the loss of life would have 
been far greater. Let us be thankful that they 
did not. The fact is that, on this occasion at all 
events, they seemed afraid to face the artillery fire. 
The practice made by the batteries was certainly 
excellent. Their shells appeared to burst with 
beautiful precision just where wanted, and their 
handling generally on this day was admirable. 

By 9.45 A.M. the leading troops of General 
Symons's division had arrived on the crest of the 
ridge, and the pass was captured, but it was some- 
what later — 1 1.15 is, I understand, the official time — 
when the enemy had been entirely driven off, and 
firing had ceased. Sir William Lockhart himself, 
attended by General Nicholson, Sir Richard Udny, 
Lord Methuen, and the rest of his staff, had by this 
time arrived on the summit, whence a heliogram 
was at once despatched announcing the news to the 
Commander-in-Chief, and to his Excellency the 
Viceroy. The troops had all acquitted themselves 
admirably, for the climb had been a most arduous 
one, and though the opposition had not been very 
serious, yet the attack had been carried right 
through from start to finish without a check. The 



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VII THE CAPTURE OF THE SAMPAGHA PASS 93 

summit of the pass is 6700 feet above sea-level, so 
an ascent of fully 2000 feet was included in the 
morning's work. 

The Mastura Valley now lay smiling below us. 
Its general level is only some 800 to 1000 feet 
below the crest of the pass, so the descent into it 
by a terribly stony, but very gently graded, road 
was a very simple matter. The troops were pushed 
on at once, the Yorks and the 3rd Sikhs remaining 
on the pass for the night, to protect the transport 
with which the road was now blocked, and Brigadier- 
General Hart's Brigade halting at Kandi Mishti to 
maintain communication with Gundaki. 

We have all been much struck by the appear- 
ance of this valley. It is wide, flat, well watered 
even here at its head, fairly timbered with apricot 
and walnut trees about the villages, which are very 
numerous and well-built, and evidently inhabited by 
an industrious and well-to-do people. A great deal 
of land is under cultivation, the fields are carefully 
terraced, and signs of plenty and comfort are 
abundant. But the inhabitants, of course, have all 
fled. With their families, their flocks and their 
herds, they have betaken themselves across the 
mountains to some remote fastnesses, or possibly 
across the Afghan border, until this time of tribula- 
tion be overpast. 

The last two days have been such a tax upon 
the transport that to-day, the 30th, Sir William has 
decided to halt, partly to rest the animals, and partly 



94 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, vii 

to reconnoitre the onward road. The Arhanga Pass 
is now within five miles of us. It leads us into 
Tirah proper, the inviolate home of the Afridis. 
Will they defend it like men, or will they scatter 
and scuttle before our advance, as they, and their 
neighbours, the Orakzais, did yesterday ? That is 
the question of the moment. Another twenty-four 
hours should see it answered. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS, AND THE 
OCCUPATION OF TIRAH 

Headquarters Camp, Maidan, Tirah, 
Sih November. 

Here we are in the promised land at last ! A land 
not exactly flowing with milk and honey, but ex- 
tensive, fertile, highly cultivated, and capable of 
much development under a settled government. 
But of this more presently. The past week has 
been an eventful and important one, and I must 
hark back to its commencement and take up the 
thread of my narrative where I last dropped it. 

I closed my last letter on the 30th October in 
the Mastura Valley, the day after that on which 
the Sampagha Pass was captured. Sir William 
Lockhart would gladly have gone on at once to the 
attack of the Arhanga Pass, and the troops would 
have cheerfully responded had he called on them 
for this effort, which at one time was at all events 
considered. But prudence dictated a halt for at 
least twenty -four hours. In the first place, the 
distance to the pass was uncertain, and its difficulties, 



96 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

based altogether on native report, a matter of con- 
jecture. In the next, it was absolutely necessary to 
let the transport close up, and give the Commissariat 
time to push up supplies. Many regiments, so 
great was the block on the Sampagha, did not get 
their baggage on the evening of the 29th, and spent 
the night a la belle dtoile with only their greatcoats 
and the rations carried in their haversacks.^ For 
these reasons Sir William decided to halt one day 
to rest the troops and the baggage animals, to 
allow supplies to come on, and to reconnoitre the 
approaches to the Arhanga, whose heights no 
European had heretofore scaled. 

Thus, while the reconnaissance was proceeding 
on the 30th, the Commissariat and Transport Staff 
devoted their best energies to keep the stream of 
laden mules and ponies flowing throughout the day 
from Gundaki over the Sampagha into the camp at 
Mastura. Sappers and Miners and Pioneers toiled 
unceasingly to improve the road, and the whole of 
the I St Brigade, under General Hart's personal 
direction, exerted itself to press on the important 
work by helping to control and direct the traffic. 
There were some who thought it would be im- 
possible, so great was the block on the road, to 
make such arrangements by the evening as would 

1 "My great difEculty was the. want of food, some corps having absolutely 
nothing in hand, and the steep and narrow track over the pass delaying the 
arrival of supplies. But by redistributing what there was, and making use of 
what could be collected from neighbouring villages, each man was eventually 
provided with two days' rations." — Sir William Lockharfs Despatches. 



VIII THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 97 

justify a forward move on the 31st. But Colonel 
Christopher, the Commissary -General with the 
force, is a resourceful man and a masterful. His 
spirits, too, are never-failing, and his way of always 
taking a rosy view of things, and of making the best 
of a situation, has the effect of reassuring his sub- 
ordinates and making them cheerfully put their best 
work into the task of the moment. In Major 
Mansfield, too, the head of the Transport, he has 
a most efficient assistant ; and it was enough for 
General Nicholson, the chief of the Staff, to 
intimate what were Sir William Lockhart's wishes 
regarding the advance on the morrow for Colonel 
Christopher to determine that, so far as his 
department was concerned, it could be arranged.^ 

In the meantime. Sir William Lockhart himself, 
attended by the principal officers of his Staff, and 
escorted by General Kempster's Brigade, and a 
battery of artillery, rode out to view the road and 
examine the approaches to the Arhanga Pass, and, 
as far as might be, the enemy's dispositions. The 
party was fired on soon after leaving camp, but the 
enemy fell back as our skirmishers advanced, and 
careful observations were made almost up to the 
foot of the pass, on which Sir William was able to 
plan the attack for the morrow. The whole distance 
from camp to the summit of the pass is only about 
four miles. 

1 "Thoroughly acquainted with their work, and full of resource, these 
officers never raised unnecessary difficulties, and were always ready to meet 
military requirements. " — Sir William Lockharfs Despatches. 

H 



98 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

It was at once obvious that this pass was an 
easier one to attack than the Sampagha. The ap- 
proaches to it were not broken up by such frequent 
and deep ravines, there was more favourable ground 
for turning movements, and opposite the centre of 
the position was a low hill, which, at a range of 
barely 1300 yards from the crest of the pass, formed 
an ideal position for artillery. On the other hand, 
no enemy, certainly not an enemy with the reputa- 
tion and the rifles of the Afridis, should have 
allowed himself to be driven from such a position as 
that formed by the Arhanga heights without in- 
flicting terrible loss on the assailant. Behind the 
rocks and sangars on the crest-line, or sheltered on 
the reverse slopes of the mountain, they could not 
after all be very much hurt by shell-fire ; while from 
their lofty vantage-ground they could note, and, if 
they willed it, prepare in good time to meet, every 
disposition made for the attack ; while almost from 
the foot of the laborious ascent the troops advancing 
against them would be exposed to their effective 
rifle-fire. Thus there was certainly no balance of 
advantage on our side, and notwithstanding that 
they had not shown much spirit at the Sam- 
pagha, it was confidently expected that they would 
rally on the ramparts of the Arhanga, and defend 
desperately the last avenue leading to their cherished 
Tirah. 

But again we were disappointed — pleasantly dis- 
appointed, if you will — because no one wants to see 



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VIII THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 99 

a long list of casualties, which may indeed be a 
proof of desperate fighting, but is not necessarily 
evidence of good generalship. The Afridis, in our 
own service, and under the leadership of British 
officers, have often shown themselves dashing and 
brave soldiers. But left to themselves, they are no 
better than any other wild tribe, and decidedly in- 
ferior to some — the Waziris, for example. More- 
over, it is impossible not to doubt that they have 
been much impressed by the valour of our troops, 
and the splendid leading of the officers, on the 
Dargai heights, on the i8th and 20th October, 
while all reports tend to show that their own losses 
on those occasions were much heavier than has 
been generally supposed. So now, when from their 
eyries in the rocks they noted the General's skilful 
dispositions, the steady unwavering advance of the 
men, the numbers launched against them, and the 
deadly precision of our artillery fire, their hearts 
failed them, and they went. 

Let me explain now what Sir William Lockhart's 
dispositions for attack were, and how they were 
carried out. The 2nd Division was to lead, General 
Yeatman-Biggs commanding. The advanced guard 
was formed by the 4th Brigade (Brigadier-General 
Westmacott), supplemented by the 3rd Gurkha 
scouts and a company of Sappers. Its special 
function was to drive in any outlying picquets of 
the Afridis, and take possession of the low hill in 
the centre, previously mentioned, in order to let the 



100 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

massed batteries of the two divisions occupy it. 
The 3rd Brigade (Brigadier- General Kempster), 
also with a Sapper company, followed the 4th, and 
its orders were, after the artillery had come into 
action, to work round to the left of Westmacott's 
battalions, and demonstrate against the enemy's 
right flank. Next came Major-General Symons, 
commanding the ist Division, with the 2nd Brigade 
under Brigadier- General Gaselee, to which was 
assigned the important duty of turning the enemy's 
left flank. This brigade, too, was accompanied by 
a company of Sappers, and the remaining Sapper 
companies, with the 28th Bombay Pioneers, followed 
close in rear of the centre, ready to push forward 
and commence work on the road over the pass 
directly opportunity offered. The ist Brigade 
(Hart's) of General Symons' Division concentrated 
this day, the 31st, in the Mastura Valley, where it 
stood in reserve as a strong point d'appui between 
the two passes. The baggage of the advancing 
troops, as at the storming of the Sampagha, was 
stacked, and left in camp ready for loading, with 
orders that it was to be brought on directly a mes- 
sage to that effect was heliographed back. 

Such were Sir William Lockhart's dispositions 
for the attack on the Arhanga, and as the Afridis 
noted the quiet business-like way in which they 
were carried out, the numbers sent against them, 
the menace to their flanks, and the searching fire of 
the guns, they must have considered their plight a 



vni THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS] loi 

hopeless one from the first. By 5 a.m. the force 
was under arms and ready to move ofif from its 
bivouac, and by 7 o'clock the skirmishers of the 
advanced guard were in contact with the enemy, a 
few of whom had been thrown out as scouts as far 
as the foot of the slopes leading to the crest of the 
Arhanga. These were at once driven in, the low 
hill in the centre (called Unai, from the village on 
it) was occupied by the Borderers, and by 7.45 a.m. 
the three batteries of the 2nd Division (No. 9 
British, No. 8 British, and No. 5 Bombay), under 
Colonel Purdy, R.A., had come into action on its 
summit, and were making excellent practice against 
the enemy, visible in groups here and there on the 
sky-line of the pass. The batteries of the ist 
Division (No. i British, No. i Derajat, and No. 2 
Kohat), under Colonel Duthy, R.A., arrived very 
shortly afterwards and prolonged the line to the 
right, so that Brigadier-General Spragge by 8,15 
had a well-posted line of 36 guns pouring a most 
deadly fire on the Afridis (the range was never out- 
side 1300 yards), under cover of which the infantry 
now advanced to the attack. 

The order of the attack I have already ex- 
plained. It practically devolved upon Brigadier- 
General Gaselee's Brigade to deal the stroke that 
should be decisive. Accordingly, while the guns, 
and Westmacott's Brigade, held the enemy in the 
centre, and while Kempster diverted attention by 
demonstrating against his right, the battalions of 



102 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Gaselee's Brigade (with whom for the day were the 
5th Gurkha scouts, some eighty in number, under 
Captain Lucas and Lieutenant Bruce) climbed 
steadily up the ravines on his left, and at ten 
minutes to ten exactly their leading files reached the 
crest of the hill. The ascent was a very steep one, 
though well sheltered the greater part of the way 
from direct fire, and there was admirable rivalry for 
the honour of being the first to top the summit. 
As nearly as possible the Yorkshire Regiment and 
the 5 th Gurkha scouts arrived at the same time, 
but the Queen's, the 3rd Sikhs, and the 4th Gurkhas 
were all close up, and the performance of the whole 
brigade was excellent. 

The Afridis did not wait for the full development 
of this flanking movement. They were already in 
full retreat, "over the hills and far away," by the 
time that it was accomplished, and firing at once 
ceased. By 1 1 a.m. Sir William Lockhart was him- 
self on the top of the pass, troops were being pushed 
down it into Tirah as fast as the narrow and pre- 
cipitous road would permit, and the good news had 
been flashed back direct to Fort Lockhart, on the 
Samana range, for transmission to the Viceroy and 
to the Commander-in-Chief, that the pass was in our 
possession. 

The strength of the enemy on this occasion, or 
their losses, it is impossible to estimate. It was 
expected that they would muster in thousands for 
the defence of this particular pass, and that here, if 



VIII THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 103 

anywhere, they would make a great and gallant 
stand. But it may be doubted if even 1000 of them 
were actually in line when we attacked. The 
remainder were probably more concerned in remov- 
ing their families and flocks and herds to places of 
safety and refuge than in meeting us in fair fight. 
It may be supposed that, as they have had weeks of 
warning, . they might have done this sooner, but 
procrastination is characteristic of all Orientals, and 
possibly they could not bring themselves to believe, 
until literally the eleventh hour, that after centuries 
of inviolate seclusion, we should dare, or should be 
able, to "lift the purdah," and penetrate into their 
sacred valley. There can be no question, at all 
events, that they quitted in haste, for evidences of 
the fact abound. Their houses, for example, are 
full of grain and walnuts and potatoes, etc., which 
they might easily have removed at leisure had they 
thought of it ; and they will soon feel the want of 
these things, for wherever they have gone, they 
cannot live on their neighbours very long. And if 
their strength on the Arhanga be represented by x, 
their losses may be expressed by y. They are 
absolutely unknown, and it is futile to guess what 
they may be. Blood splashes were found in many 
places along their line of defence, and undoubtedly 
some of them were killed and others wounded, 
chiefly by the artillery fire, but the actual numbers 
placed Aors de combat must be a matter for con- 
jecture. 



104 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

To turn to our side, our casualties were practi- 
cally nil. Captain Searle, of the 36th Sikhs, was 
wounded severely by a chance shot quite at the 
commencement of the proceedings, and there were 
four or five men hit — soldiers or battery drivers — 
during the attack. That was all. It is only to be 
accounted for by the reasons I have already indi- 
cated ; but the insignificant losses do not in any 
degree detract from the credit due to the General, 
and to the troops, for the success attending a plan 
skilfully designed and resolutely executed.^ 

From the crest of the Arhanga Pass we looked 
down on the promised land, Tirah, or rather on that 
part of it known as Maidan. The Mastura Valley, 
which we had just left, is also a part of Tirah, but is 
Orakzai Tirah ; Maidan and the next valley to the 
north of us, Rajgal, which no doubt we shall visit 
shortly, constitute Afridi Tirah proper. No Euro- 
pean has penetrated into these valleys hitherto, 
though one or two may have traversed the fringes 
of them, and it has been the proud boast of the 
Afridis from time immemorial that no enemy of 
whatever race or creed has ever attempted to cross 
the mountain barriers which shut them in, and to 
meddle with them in their own fastnesses. Well, 
we have changed all that now. The veil of their 

1 " That a more formidable resistance was not offered in the passes lead- 
ing respectively into Orakzai and Afridi Tirah I attribute to the lesson taught 
those tribes at Dargai in the actions of the i8th and 20th October. They 
then learnt that their strongest positions could not avail them against the 
valour of British and Native troops." — Sir William Lockharfs Despatches, 



viii THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 105 

temple has been rent in twain, and the mysterious 
interior has been rudely revealed. There was no 
lingering on the Arhanga when once the enemy had 
been driven off. Troops at once poured down the 
northern slopes to the fertile valley below ; sappers 
and pioneers were at work on the road before the 
last reverberations of the guns had died away among 
the mountains; and the baggage being " helio'd " up, 
the stream of it set in with such violence that, 
unfortunately, on this and the succeeding night, 
some of the trains were overtaken by darkness, and 
raided by the enemy, with most serious loss to 
ourselves in men and material, as I shall relate 
immediately. 

The place selected for encampment of the force 
was a locality about three miles due north of the 
Arhanga, near a hamlet, in about the centre of the 
Maidan district. There are no villages here strictly 
so called, nor in the Mastura Valley. But there are 
innumerable houses dotted all over the country. 
They occur every quarter of a mile or so, and are 
large, strong, substantial buildings, generally includ- 
ing a tower or keep, and capable of a strong defence 
so long as artillery is not brought against them. 
Guns would, of course, knock them to pieces at 
once. In each of these houses lives a family, or a 
group of blood relations ; in one, for example, 
several brothers, with their wives and children, and 
fathers and mothers, etc. ; in another a petty chief, 
with his immediate following, his sisters, cousins, 



io6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

and aunts, and so on. But, needless to say, they 
are all empty now. With one accord the people 
have fled before our approach, and we have the 
valley to ourselves. 

But not the surrounding hills. They are full of 
houseless and prowling marauders, and no party 
can leave camp in any direction without a skirmish, 
or an exchange of shots with them. Of all the 
Afridi clans the Zakka-khels are the most numerous, 
the most powerful and influential, and the most 
notorious for daring raids and treacherous attacks. 
They inhabit all Southern Maidan and important 
strips of country in Maidan, and in the Bara, Bazar, 
and Khyber Valleys. A glance at these places on 
the map will show that they hold a geographical posi- 
tion in Afridiland which gives them superiority and 
pre-eminent consideration in all Afridi councils. At 
present they are our immediate neighbours to the 
south, and, in fact, our line of communications with 
the Mastura Valley, via the Arhanga Pass, lies 
through Zakka-khel territory. 

This fact was rudely brought to our recollection 
by the occurrences of the nights of 31st October and 
1st November, which I will now describe. I have 
said that immediately the pass was captured on the 
31st, the baggage was helio'd for from the rear, and, 
most unfortunately, on two days running, such a 
crowd was allowed to stream over the pass that it 
could not be cleared out of the dangerous defile on 
this side before darkness had set in. This was the 



VIII THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 107 

Zakka-khels' opportunity. Swooping down from 
the crags, on which all day they had kept patient 
watch, they rushed the weary trains and tired 
escorts at various points, and were only too suc- 
cessful in their raids on both occasions. The 
Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) lost on the 
second night three men killed and four wounded, 
ten boxes of Lee-Metford ammunition (iioo rounds 
in a box), three rifles, and some 350 kits, together 
with 71 baggage ponies, which were carrying them, 
and which stampeded in the darkness as soon as the 
firing and shouting began. On the first night nine 
drivers were killed and wounded, and 188 kits 
belonging to the 15th Sikhs were carried off. 

These were very unfortunate events. Not only 
were the losses serious, but the moral effect of them 
was bad. They ought not to have occurred. But 
the confusion attendant on a rapid advance after a 
successful action is unavoidably great, and the strict 
control necessary at points in rear, which must often 
cause a commander and his staff more anxiety than 
the enemy in front, is frequently lacking for the first 
day or two. However, the strictest measures have 
since been taken to prevent convoys and baggage 
from being benighted, and we must hope that some 
early opportunity may be afforded of getting even 
with the Zakka-khels. 

In the meantime the force has settled down and 
is enjoying a few days' well-earned rest pending 
the next development of the situation. This will 



io8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

probably take the form of some discussion with the 
tribes. In Sir William Lockhart's original procla- 
mation to them he said that from the heart of their 
country he would announce to them the final terms 
of the British Government. The heart of their 
country is now reached, and as soon as the political 
officers can get into touch with their maliks these 
terms will be announced. The usual way of pub- 
lishing announcements in similar circumstances is to 
send out copies by hand to the various clans and 
sections ; but they are an ignorant, illiterate people, 
and the documents thus distributed must then be 
read and interpreted to them by their Mullahs, who 
can, of course, and do, explain, suppress, add to, or 
distort their contents, as they please, and to suit 
their own purposes. For these reasons, the occa- 
sion being an important one, instead of sending out 
proclamations by messengers, the tribes have been 
summoned to send in their jirgahs, in order that 
they may be plainly told by ourselves what are the 
terms imposed. The jirgahs of the Samil Orakzais 
(who from the first have been ready to treat with 
us), and of at least three of the Afridi clans — the 
Malikdin-khels, the Khambar-khels, and the Kuki- 
khels — may be expected to arrive almost im- 
mediately ; but it is doubtful if the Zakka-khels 
will have any dealings with us just yet. At the 
same time, seeing us in possession, occupying their 
lands and devouring their stores ; and noting our 
determination and our power to punish ; with the 




to ,~ 



viii THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS 109 

winter, too, coming on while they are wanderers 
on the bleak mountain -sides ; they must see the 
hopelessness of prolonged resistance, and we may 
reasonably hope that, within a measurable period of 
time, we shall induce them to meet us and to agree 
to terms. The temper of these wild tribes is, how- 
ever, a factor varuim et mutabile semper, and it is 
too early yet to forecast what line they will take. 

Meanwhile, the troops pass the days in frequent 
reconnaissances and in foraging. The former are 
always accompanied by officers of the Intelligence 
Branch, and of the Survey Department, and, under 
the superintendence of Colonel Sir Thomas Hol- 
dich, R.E., and Colonel More-Molyneux, A.Q.M.G. 
for Intelligence, the whole of the country we pass 
through or occupy is being rapidly mapped and 
exploited. The foraging parties are worked on a 
regular system, and with great success. Half the 
valley is allotted, for foraging purposes, to one 
division, half to the other. Each division then tells 
off particular sections to each brigade, and each 
brigade in turn points out particular lines to be 
worked by each regiment. Thus there is no con- 
fusion, and no waste of power or time. Strings of 
mules go out every day, with sufficient escorts, and 
return in the evening laden up with forage, which 
abounds, and with sacks of potatoes, wheat, Indian 
corn, pumpkins, walnuts, etc., of all of which enough 
is found to appreciably lessen the strain of supply 
on the commissariat. The fodder is taken straight 



no THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

to the transport lines and stacked ; the food stuffs 
are deposited in the brigade store depots of each 
brigade, whence the commissariat officer in charge 
reissues them as rations in due course. 

The foragers not infrequently find odds and ends 
of booty which they annex for themselves — to wit, 
o\A.jezails, swords and daggers, and Korans. These 
are retained by the finders as mementoes of the 
campaign. Of Korans there are two kinds — the 
one printed in Peshawar or Lahore, and of no par- 
ticular interest or value ; the other hand-written, and 
generally illustrated and illuminated. These are 
rare, and are very precious finds indeed. A few, 
however, have been taken. 

One expedition from camp, undertaken on the 
day after our arrival here, was of more than passing 
interest, and I will briefly refer to it. There is a 
place a short three miles west from this spot called 
Bagh. It is simply a mosque, or musjid, surrounded 
by a small grove of trees, but it is notorious as the 
place where the Afridis hatch most of their raids and 
forays ; it is the spot where the present uprising was 
originated and decided on ; and it has always been 
known as a centre of intrigue and fanaticism. Sir 
William Lockhart decided, therefore, to pay Bagh 
a visit, to demonstrate to the Afridis our power 
to reach them anywhere, and to punish their mal- 
practices how and when we please. A small column, 
consisting of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, 
the I St Battalion 3rd Gurkha Rifles, and No. 8 



VIII THE CAPTURE OF THE ARHANGA PASS iii 

Mountain Battery R.A., the whole under the com- 
mand of Colonel Dixon, King's Own Scottish 
Borderers, the senior officer, was accordingly de- 
spatched to carry out Sir William's orders. A few 
of the enemy were on the hills on our right as the 
column marched out, and they managed to knock over 
four of the Gurkhas before a few well-directed shells 
from Major Shirres's battery cleared them out. The 
famous mosque was then approached. In appear- 
ance it is a mean building, little better than a cattle- 
shed. It is, however, a place of worship, and 
therefore, as a matter of course, respected. It was 
not touched ; but, as a permanent mark of the 
Sirkar's wrath and punishment, the trees surrounding 
it were all " ringed," which means that they will all 
be dead within the year. If the party had carried 
axes they might have been felled at once, but we 
had only the Gurkhas' kukris. These, however, 
served every purpose, and no doubt, now that the 
accursed Feringhi has made his mark on Bagh, the 
place will lose its importance and sanctity.'^ 

1 Captain T. G. Maclaren of the Borderers was slightly wounded in this 
reconnaissance. 



CHAPTER IX 

LIFE IN TIRAH — THE AFFAIR OF THE QTH NOVEMBER 

Maidan, Tirah, %th November. 

We entered this valley on 31st October ; we are here 
still ; we may remain indefinitely. This is a situa- 
tion which raises reflections. It cannot be regarded 
as a satisfactory one, from the soldier s point of view. 
So long as we were on the move, advancing, attack- 
ing, gaining ground, defeating and driving off the 
enemy whenever encountered, it was all plain 
sailing, and every one was happy. What though 
we had to take some hard knocks, and to rough it 
not a little? You cannot make omelets without 
breaking eggs, and you cannot make war in kid 
gloves. Our losses and our fatigues were all in the 
day's work, and were cheerfully endured. But now 
has come the unsatisfactory part of the business, the 
halt while we try to negotiate, and consider ways 
and means, and we are conscious that the delay and 
inaction involved thereby are as mistaken as to the 
motive for them (by our enemies) as they are irk- 
some and unpleasant in their consequences to our- 



CHAP. IX LIFE IN TIRAH 113 

selves. It is, however, unavoidable that we should 
rest here on our oars for a while, as there is a 
political as well as a military aspect of the campaign 
to be considered ; and a halt is necessary while 
knotty points are discussed in all their bearings — 
Simla and the Foreign Ofifice taking part, no doubt, 
in the discussions. But a savage and untutored 
enemy does not always understand why we halt, so 
I may usefully state some of its immediate effects 
upon him, and some of the considerations to which 
they give rise. 

The first and immediate effect, then, of this pause 
in our active operations is that the Afridis recover 
their wind and their frightened senses, and bethink 
themselves to seek reprisals, and to get even with us 
as best they may for the defeats inflicted upon them, 
and for the insults and injury resulting from the 
invasion and occupation of their country. They are 
no simpletons, these Afridis. They know very well 
now that they cannot meet us in open fight. They 
recognise our superiority in organisation, in equip- 
ment, in leading, and above all in guns, and they 
give way as we advance, without attempting to offer 
an opposition which they feel would be fruitless. 
But when we halt and form big camps, and begin to 
think rather of feeding ourselves, and of maintaining 
safely our long line of communications, than of 
following and attacking them, then the Afridi sees 
his opportunity, and says softly to himself, "It is my 
turn now ! There goes a convoy ; let us ambuscade 



114 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

it ! There, my brethren, starts a foraging party ; 
let us rush it ! There marches a reconnaissance ; 
let us harass it ! There overhead is the wire on 
which these accursed infidels talk to each other ; let 
us cut it! And, finally, there is their huge camp, 
which is eating us up, with its fields of billowy 
canvas, and its long rows of thousands of baggage 
animals ; who wants a fairer mark for his rifle ? 
Come, let us fire into it!" And all these things 
they do, and have done, with more or less success, 
during the last ten days. Almost every night since 
we have been here the telegraph wire has been cut, 
and a mile or two of it carried off. Convoys coming 
over the Arhanga have been raided ; and recon- 
naissances and foraging parties are fired on when 
only a mile or two out of camp, and in some instances 
have even been rushed by swordsmen, and sustained 
serious loss. As to firing into camp by night, it has 
been a common occurrence, and it is miraculous 
that the casualties are not greater. It is extremely 
unpleasant, this whizz and spatter of bullets 
while you are at dinner, or trying to enjoy a 
pipe round a camp fire before turning in. If you 
have got to be shot leading your men in action, that 
is all right, and a proper and honourable way of 
being shot. You take, in fact, a legitimate risk 
which no soldier objects to. But to be potted in the 
dark is autre chose. There is neither glory for 
yourself, nor gain for your country, in achieving 
such an end to your career, and, as I said before, it 



The Picquets on the Northern Slopes of the Arhanga Pass. 
November_ December 1897. 



From a Sketch by Major A. Bewicke- Copley, K.R. Kif C 
D.A.QJi.6 for Intelligence. 
2"^ D". T.EF. 




References. 



A.B.C.D.E.F Night and Day picquets, strongly intrenched 
b.c.d.e.f. Day picquets. 
Z.Z, Points from which enemy sought to attack convoys on the road. 
The arrows show the ground covered by the fire of the picquets. 



To /ace fi^^e /M. 



IX LIFE IN TIRAH 115 

is extremely unpleasant to hear the ping of the 
shots, to see men knocked over (I was sitting 
opposite Captain Badcock when he was hit), and 
to feel that it may be your turn perhaps next. 

To those who have not soldiered in these wild 
mountains it may seem astounding that measures 
cannot be devised to stop this night firing, and to 
render camps perfectly secure during the hours of 
darkness. Something, of course, can be done, and 
you may be sure that such precautions as are pos- 
sible are not neglected. In a country like this it is, 
however, quite impracticable to put a camp down 
in a locality which is not commanded from at least 
two or three spots. These commanding spots are 
held by picquets, as a rule ; but their posts may be, 
in their turn, so completely under fire from some 
adjacent height as to be almost untenable. Again, 
these tribesmen, wily, bold, and active as they are, 
think nothing of getting in on dark nights between 
a picquet and the camp, and in such a position three 
or four men with Martini- Henry rifles can easily 
"brown" the camp with forty or fifty shots before 
they can be dislodged. The whole country is a 
network of ravines, nullahs, and rugged hills, and 
is admirably adapted to the guerilla tactics which 
they profess and excel in, and so long as we are 
stationary we must put up with a certain amount 
of annoyance and loss from this night firing. On 
the night of the 6th it was unusually bad about 
dinner-time, 7 p.m., and amongst other casualties 



u6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Lieutenant Gififard, of the Northampton Regiment, 
was killed, and Captain Sullivan, 36th Sikhs, severely- 
wounded by a shot through the left forearm. Poor 
GifFard had been sitting at the head of the table, 
and as the fire became hot, he shifted his seat to 
one which seemed a little more sheltered, saying, 
laughingly, "This isn't good enough; I'm going 
to move." He had hardly reached his new place 
when he was shot dead. It was very sad. His 
funeral the next day was attended by Sir William 
Lockhart, with the headquarters staff, and all the 
officers in camp not on duty. Captain Sullivan's 
luck in being hit was very bad. He was not long 
ago invalided to England from Suakin, but managed 
to pass the Board, and hurried out to India as soon 
as he knew his regiment was going to the front. 
He had succeeded in overtaking us this very day 
(the 6th) at about 11 a.m., and was shot, and of 
course placed hors de combat for the rest of the 
campaign, at six the same evening. Such is the 
fortune of war! On the next night but one, the 
8th, Captain Watson, of the commissariat depart- 
ment, was shot dead by a stray bullet in the same 
way. He was a first-rate officer, and the best of 
comrades, and, I sorrow to say, leaves a widow and 
four children to lament his fate. War is indeed 
cruel ! But it is not any pleasanter to be shot when 
out foraging or reconnoitring. Yet our casualties 
incurred on these duties since we came here on 
31st October are steadily mounting up. I explained 



IX LIFE IN TIRAH 117 

in my last letter the system on which the collection 
of forage and supplies is conducted, and I might 
have added what is the fact, that these parties 
never go out without encountering marauding bands 
of Afridis, and becoming engaged with them more 
or less seriously. Success in one or two raids 
makes these men extremely bold, and they are as 
cunning and clever as they are audacious. They 
show much patience in watching and waiting for 
their prey, and great dash and impudence in their 
attacks when they make them. Nearly always 
they are beaten off, but sometimes drivers will get 
frightened, mules will stampede, and escorts will 
get separated. So that almost daily we lose a few 
men killed and wounded in these inglorious combats. 
It is doubtless true that we kill and wound some of 
them too, but we rarely have the satisfaction of 
being able to speak with any certainty on the 
point ; and, after all, they hold life very cheap, and 
think they have done well if at the cost of a few 
lives of their own they have slain some of us and 
have captured some of our mules and baggage. In 
any case, actions of this class are fought by us on 
the defensive. All the moral advantages and ela- 
tion pertaining to the attack are theirs ; all the dis- 
advantage and depression ours. 

The question, then, of the hour, is Quousque 
tandem ? How long is this situation to last ? 
When will it change ? In what direction will the 
next development be ? It is understood that as 



ii8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

soon as representative jirgahs of the tribes can 
be assembled the terms of Government will be 
announced to them. But we must first catch our 
jirgahs. At present they show small sign of coming 
in to parley with us. Some of the Samil Orakzais 
certainly have arrived, and it is said that some of 
the Afridi clans are also on their way in. But the 
most important and powerful of all of them, the 
Zakka-khels, openly defy us to do our worst, and 
urge the others, many of whom have reason to fear 
them, not to yield. Accordingly, we are doing our 
worst to them. Sir William Lockhart has hitherto 
issued the strictest orders to spare the houses and 
villages in the country we have passed through 
and in the valley in which we are halted. But the 
Zakka-khels do not understand clemency of this 
kind. They put it down to weakness. It is known 
that they are the mainspring of the revolt. They 
were the leaders of the unprovoked attacks on our 
forts in the Khyber, and carried off from them the 
bulk of the loot ; and they are the section which 
has principally opposed our advance, raided our 
convoys, attacked our foraging parties, and fired 
into our camps. For these very sufficient reasons 
Sir William Lockhart has decided not to allow the 
Zakka-khels any more law, and all their fortified 
houses in Maidan, from the loop-holed walls and 
towers of which we are fired on daily, are to be 
burned and levelled to the ground. Whether this 
measure will have the effect of making them yield 



IX THE AFFAIR OF THE 9TH NOVEMBER 119 

their submission, or whether it will exasperate them 
into making a big attack on our camp, time alone 
can show. We should all prefer the latter ; but as 
to the justice of their punishment there cannot be 
two opinions. 

loth November. 

The events of the last two days have been such 
as to accentuate all that I have already written. I 
have, in fact, to record now an occurrence so unfor- 
tunate that the term disaster may almost be applied 
to it. An outline of what happened has, of course, 
been wired to you, but the fuller details one can 
give in a letter will not be without interest. There 
is a mountain a short five miles north-east of this 
camp, named Saran Sar. Its height is about 8000 
feet. A rough but evidently much used road leads 
over it into the Upper Bara Valley, and by this road 
when we first arrived, and almost daily since, Afridis 
have been seen going and coming — going, that is, 
on our approach, and coming, when they think they 
safely can, to remove from their villages and houses, 
at the eastern extremity of the valley, the grain, etc., 
left behind when they first hastily fled. Sir William 
Lockhart decided to pay Saran Sar a visit on the 
9th inst., partly to look up these tribesmen, Zakka- 
khels all, and destroy their fortified houses and 
towers, and partly to have the adjacent country sur- 
veyed and mapped. Accordingly, Brigadier-General 
Westmacott was nominated to command the expe- 
dition, and the following troops placed under his 



120 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

orders for the day : — The Northamptons and the 
36th Sikhs, of his own brigade, and the Dorsets 
and the 15th Sikhs, of the 3rd (Brigadier-General 
Kempster's) brigade ; also the following Divisional 
troops:— No. 8 British M.B. R.A., No, 5 Bombay 
M.B., and No. 4 Company Madras Sappers and 
Miners. Sir William Lockhart himself rode out 
with his staff to witness the operations. 

The troops breakfasted early and started at about 
7 A.M. Within about two miles of camp they en- 
countered opposition, and dispositions were made to 
attack. The artillery, escorted by the 15th Sikhs, 
climbed a steep hill on the right, and, coming into 
action against groups discernible on the lower slopes 
of the mountain, speedily dispersed them. The 
Dorsets were sent to the left to make that flank 
secure, the Northamptons and Sappers advanced in 
the centre, and the 36th Sikhs on their right. The 
enemy, as usual, gave way before this direct attack, 
and by 1 1 a.m. the summit of the mountain had 
been gained with only trifling casualties. The survey 
party at once got to work, and Sir William Lock- 
hart arrived later and joined Brigadier - General 
Westmacott on the crest of the ridge, whence a fine 
view was obtainable of the country beyond. So far 
so good. If only we could always advance and 
never retire ! So long as we front our foes, and 
attack them, and press them, no matter what the 
odds, so long do they acknowledge our superiority 
and yield to the inevitable. But our first movement 



IX THE AFFAIR OF THE 9TH NOVEMBER 121 

in retreat is the signal for them in turn to become 
the assailants. And so it was now. At 2 p.m. the 
retirement commenced. The Sappers and the 36th 
Sikhs were first sent back to a position in rear, fol- 
lowed later by three companies of the Northamptons. 
Thus five companies of this regiment were tem- 
porarily left on the crest by themselves, more than 
enough to hold their own against any number of 
Afridis, for there was still plenty of daylight, and 
support was close behind. At this time hardly an 
enemy was in sight, but as these companies were 
gradually withdrawn the tribesmen appeared as if by 
magic, and, pressing on their heels, delivered a hot 
fire at close range, causing at once many casualties 
in the rearmost company, commanded by Captain 
Parkin. The men, however, rallied bravely round 
their officer, and, with great courage and coolness, 
kept the foe at bay, while all the wounded were 
picked up and brought along. Sergeant Lennon of 
this company particularly distinguished himself by 
his deliberate shooting, and set an excellent example 
of steadiness in a trying situation, which had the 
best effect. The result was that the supports in rear 
were at last safely reached, and the casualties up to 
this" time were only ten or twelve men wounded. 
The 36th Sikhs, well posted now, allowed the whole 
of the Northamptons at this point to pass through 
them, and, when they had given them time to reach 
the foot of the hill, followed them down, easily keep- 
ing the enemy at arm's length, and incurring no 



122 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

casualties themselves. At the base of the hill, 
however, they overtook the Northamptons, who, 
encumbered by their wounded, had been able to 
move only slowly ; so Colonel Haughton, command- 
ing the 36th, again took up positions to cover their 
further retreat. At this point the ground breaks 
up into deep stony ravines. The Northamptons, 
unfortunately, elected to regain camp by marching 
through one of these which led almost directly home 
from this point. I say "unfortunately," because if 
attacked in such a situation the best and bravest 
men must be dreadfully handicapped. Companies 
and sections get broken up and separated, and re- 
gular control or united action becomes impossible. 
And something of this kind happened now. It was 
already close on six o'clock, and getting dusk. The 
camp was only a short two miles distant, and, slowly 
trailing its weary length over the difficult boulder- 
strewn bed of the stream, the head of the North- 
ampton column was almost home, while the tail was 
still at the foot of the hill in touch with the cover- 
ing 36th Sikhs. When Colonel Haughton was 
assured by a report sent to him that the North- 
amptons were fairly started, assuming them to be 
in line with the Dorsets and two companies of the 
1 5th Sikhs, guarding their right flank, he withdrew, 
clear of the ravine, and eastwards of the hill on 
which the guns had been in action in the morning, 
in order to fulfil the role assigned to himself of safe- 
guarding the left flank of the force on the homeward 



IX THE AFFAIR OF THE qth NOVEMBER 123 

march. Shortly after 7 p.m. he reached camp with 
his regiment. 

In the meantime a tragedy had been enacted in 
the centre. A body of Afridis, who had from the 
slopes above marked the situation, swooped down 
on the Northamptons entangled in the ravine, and, 
firing from the high banks on the western side, they 
shot down the stretcher-parties who were nobly en- 
gaged in carrying off and protecting their wounded ; 
and though officers and men battled bravely for 
honour's cause, yet they were not fighting on equal 
terms, and the desperate struggle went heavily 
against them. At this juncture a company of the 
36th Sikhs, under Lieutenant Van Someren (not one 
of those that had been with Colonel Haughton, but 
one that had previously been detached to support 
the guns), returned to their aid, and, taking the 
enemy in flank and rear, extricated the North- 
amptons from their perilous plight. On reaching 
camp, at about half-past seven, the roll was called, 
and it was found that Lieutenant Waddell and six 
men were killed, Lieutenant Trent and twenty-nine 
men wounded, and Lieutenant Macintire and eleven 
men missing. I may say here that these "missing" 
were all killed. A search party found their bodies 
the next day in the ravine where the fight occurred. 
They had, of course, been stripped of clothing and 
arms, and some of them slashed with swords, but 
their bodies had not otherwise been mutilated. 

The further casualties incurred on the 9th were : 



124 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

— Dorsets. — Lieutenants Ingham and Mercer and 
six men wounded. 15th Sikhs. — One man killed, 
and three wounded. 36th Sikhs. — Three men 
wounded. 

Such is the plain, unvarnished tale of this un- 
fortunate day. It is needless to say that in a great 
camp like this many and diverse opinions are held, 
not only as to what might, could, and should have 
happened, but also as to what did happen ; and no 
two men are agreed as to how the blame for the 
catastrophe should be distributed. I have, however, 
given you, I believe, a correct and impartial state- 
ment of the facts ; while as to blame, it is easy 
enough to say that the General should have done 
this, or that regiments should have done that ; but 
the simple truth is that the Northamptons themselves 
had not the training and experience, and the practical 
knowledge of the enemy's methods and tactics, 
necessary to enable them to carry out successfully 
that most delicate and difficult operation of war, 
namely, a retreat closely pressed by a savage foe, 
and conducted, encumbered by wounded, through a 
terribly difficult country. It was no question of 
dispositions by the General, of support by other 
troops, or of valour shown by themselves. It was 
simply lack of the right kind of experience which 
led them into errors, such as entering the ravine at 
all. The result was disastrous. It must, however, 
be said for Colonel Chaytor, that this was the route 
the regiment had advanced by ; that it was therefore 



IX THE AFFAIR OF THE 9TH NOVEMBER 125 

known to them all, and was the most direct road 
back to camp ; and that with a number of wounded 
to protect, and believing probably that it was flanked 
on the right and left by other corps, it was natural 
perhaps that he should choose it to retire by. 

Also, in justice to the gallant Northamptons, it 
must be recorded that the way in which they stuck 
to their wounded, and brought them through that 
terrible nullah, was a display of heroism and devotion 
worthy of a regiment that fought at Albuhera. 
Surrounded by the enemy, exposed to a galling 
fire from the high banks to which they could not 
effectively reply, with dead and dying men on every 
side, and the horror of their desperate situation 
accentuated by the gathering darkness, they fought 
on resolutely and bravely, and sacrificed themselves 
without hesitation to protect and save if possible 
their wounded comrades who could not help them- 
selves. 

I cannot do better than conclude this chapter 
with some extracts from the Pioneer of Allahabad, 
which bear testimony to the noble conduct of officers 
and men on this memorable occasion. 

The following extracts (says the Pioneer) are 
from a private letter written by one who was in the 
thick of the fray : — 

Tirah, Maidan, loih November 1897 : . . . Yesterday we had, 
a fearful day, had to attack a pass and got there without any loss, 
but in retiring to camp the enemy seemed to rise up from the 
ground, and gave G Company of the Northamptons, which was 



126 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

the rear company, an awful basting. As luck would have it, 
there were C, D, F and K Companies close by, and they at once 
went to the assistance of their comrades. It was here that 
Lieutenant Waddell and Sergeant GofTey were killed. Sergeant 
Litchiield was shot through the knee and will lose his leg : 
Sergeant Underdown slightly wounded. Colour-Sergeant Hull 
shot through the ankle; he must lose his foot. Lieutenant 
Trent wounded in the thigh. It was too awful. The bullets 
rained about me like hailstones, and in retiring I had to keep 
covering the unfortunate wounded men so as to get them alive 
and if possible safely into camp. It was terrible to see their 
sufferings : they were bad enough when we could carry them 
comfortably, but when they had to be carried anyhow you can 
imagine what they went through. Sad to tell. Lieutenant 
Macintire, Sergeant Luck, and eleven men are missing. The 
battalion went out to look for them this morning, and I will not 
close this till to-morrow to wait for the battalion's return. . . . 
Sad news. The whole of the party missing are killed. Total 
killed, twenty; wounded, twenty-eight. They have brought in 

the bodies, which are to be buried to-night. is fearfully cut 

up. I never saw any one so terribly affected as he was at the 
loss his regiment has sustained. . . . The only consolation their 
relations have is that they died protecting our wounded men. 
No one can say enough in praise of the men of the Northamptons 
who were in the engagement. They were literally fired at from 
every side at once, but they were as cool and deliberate as if they 
were on an ordinary field day. General Westmacott in command 
of our brigade is full of praise of the Northamptons, and says, " I 
never could have believed a regiment could have under such cir- 
cumstances behaved with such pluck and coolness." 

Again : — 

Lieutenant Trent was hit; there were only three stretchers 
with the company and they were all full, but one man who was 
only slightly wounded said he could walk, and Lieutenant Trent, 
who was shot in the thigh with a Lee-Metford Dum-Dum bullet, 
was put in. Lieutenant Macintire, a sergeant, and eleven men, 
were now the last of all, and they were urgently ordered to retire, 



IX THE AFFAIR OF THE 9TH NOVEMBER 127 

but Macintire said he could not leave the wounded, to whom he 
stuck, and he and all his men were killed. By this time the rest 
had reached the village, and there was not a man left to return 
the fire of the enemy, every man being either wounded or carrying 
a wounded man on his back or a stretcher. They therefore made 
a slight detour to avoid the village, and while doing so the 
stretcher in which Lieutenant Trent was being carried broke ; 
the men carrying it put it down, and coolly repaired it under a 
hail of bullets, one man having a button of his coat on his chest 
shot off, and the other two bullets through his clothes. The be- 
haviour of the Northamptons that night was truly magnificent, 
calmly returning over open ground, carrying their wounded men 
under a galling fire without being able to retaliate. 



CHAPTER X 

STILL IN TIRAH THE TERMS TO THE ORAKZAIS THE 

AFFAIR OF THE i6tH NOVEMBER 

Maidan, Tirah, 1 2th Novetnber. 

In order to get even with the Zakka-khels, to 
continue the destruction of their fortified houses, 
and to complete the survey of the eastern portion of 
this valley, Sir William Lockhart ordered Brigadier- 
General Gaselee's brigade/ supported by artillery, 
to visit the Saran Sar again yesterday. Sir William 
again himself accompanied the troops. On this 
occasion there was no mishap of any kind. General 
Gaselee, long well known as the Colonel of the 5th 
Gurkhas, and an officer of vast experience in frontier 
fighting, directed the movements with great judg- 
ment, and though the Afridis again followed up the 
retirement, they never got a look in at all. The 
Queen's shot uncommonly straight, the artillery 
too ; and the 3rd and 4th Gurkhas, with the 3rd 

1 Scouts : 3rd and 5th Gurkhas, the Queen's R.W. Surrey Regiment, 
the Yorkshire Regiment, the 4th Gurkhas, and the 3rd Sikhs. The 3rd 
Gurkhas moved out in the afternoon to co-operate in the retirement. The 
batteries out were No. I, M.B. R.A., and No. 2 (Derajat) M.B. 




^/ 



^;V% ^"l^t 



CHAP. X STILL IN TIRAH 129 

Sikhs, forming the rearguard, the enemy were kept 
thoroughly well at bay, and lost at least thirty men 
killed and wounded. A great many of their defences 
were burned, including the fortified residence of 
Chikkun, one of their principal maliks. Our 
casualties were trifling — Lieutenant Wright, Queen's, 
slightly wounded, one man of the Queen's killed, 
and one of the 3rd Gurkhas slightly wounded. It 
was an entirely successful and satisfactory day, 
and in a brigade order General Gaselee conveyed 
Sir William Lockhart's appreciation of the day's 
work by the troops. 

Yesterday, somewhat unexpectedly, the Gar 
Orakzai jirgahs came in. The whole of the Orakzai 
clans being thus fully represented. Sir William 
Lockhart received them in camp to-day. Sir 
William was attended by Brigadier-General Nichol- 
son, the Chief of the Staff; by Sir Richard Udny 
and Mr. L. White King, his chief political advisers, 
and by the whole of the headquarters staff, and 
escorted by a guard of honour of 100 rank and file 
of the Gordon Highlanders. When all was ready 
the jirgahs were ushered in, and ranged in a semi- 
circle by clans by Sir Richard Udny's assistants. 
They were nearly all venerable old graybeards of 
the tribes, and there was certainly nothing either 
warlike or truculent in their bearing or demeanour. 
About 100 of them were admitted, of course without 
arms. They are our guests while with us. A con- 
veniently neighbouring village is allotted to them to 

K 



I30 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 ch/ 

live in, picquets are placed over them for their pr 
tection, and supplies are sent to them from our cam 

The proceedings opened by Sir William Loci 
hart rising, and requesting Sir Richard Udny 
say that, now that we had established ourselves : 
the heart of their country, the terms offered I 
Government would be announced to them, and 1 
explain that they must be fully complied with with: 
fourteen days ; also, that in any event he intend? 
to visit every part of their country, and that it wou' 
depend upon themselves whether he came as a frier 
or as an enemy. 

Sir Richard Udny, who is a most practised ar 
fluent Pushtu scholar, fully explained all this to tl 
jirgahs, and clearly and with emphasis announce 
the terms of Government to the expectant throni 
These were : — 

I St. Full restoration of all arms and propert 
etc., looted from the Khyber forts, or taken from i 
on any subsequent occasion. 

and. Surrender of 500 breech-loading rifles. 

3rd. Payment of a fine of 30,000 rupees. 

4th. Absolute forfeiture of all subsidies and allo'v 
ances granted to the tribes in the past. 

5th. Formal submission to be tendered in durba 

The Maliks listened with marked interest ar 
attention while these terms were announced 1 
them. But it was not to be gathered from the 
countenances, or from anything they said, whetb 
they thought them severe or lenient. There can 1: 



X THE TERMS TO THE ORAKZAIS 131 

no question that, considering the unwarrantable and 
unprovoked nature of the outbreak, the loot carried 
off, and the damage done to life and property, and 
the enormous expense that Government has been 
put to in the effort to restore order and re-estab- 
lish its authority, the conditions imposed are ex- 
tremely easy. I shall be very much surprised if they 
are not promptly accepted. 

This was the whole of the ceremony. The 
jirgahs withdrew as they had come, and the pro- 
ceedings terminated. If the Orakzais submit now, as 
it may be reasonably hoped they will, it is improbable 
that the Afridis will continue the struggle much 
longer by themselves. There are indications, indeed, 
that they have already had enough of it. They 
cannot doubt our power, or that whatever petty 
successes they may here and there score, in the long 
run we must beat them and bring them to their 
bearings. For the last three nights not a shot has 
been fired into our camps, and even the telegraph wire 
has not been touched, so perhaps a little ray of light 
can be seen ahead, and the outlook is more hopeful 
than when I commenced this letter. 

15//% November. 

The Orakzai jirgahs have come and gone. They 
are allowed until the 26th inst. to comply with the 
terms offered them. Opinion is a good deal divided 
as to whether they will accept and comply with them 
or not. Personally I have little doubt that their 
answer will be affirmative, and that they will do their 



132 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

best to carry out the conditions imposed within the 
time fixed. There can be no question that they 
were all immensely relieved to find that their country 
is not to be permanently occupied or annexed by 
us ; and, assured of their independence, they are not 
disposed to haggle now over any minor point, their 
punishment being, as a matter of fact, an extremely 
lenient one. They have now asked our political 
officers to help them to divide fairly between their 
Gar and Samil factions the amount of the fine, and 
the number of the rifles demanded ; because, left to 
themselves (they say) they would certainly quarrel, 
and never come to an amicable agreement as to the 
share to be produced by each. Accordingly, Mr. 
White King, under whose special political charge 
the Orakzai clans are, aided by Messrs. Hastings, 
Donald, and Blakeway, having talked the matter 
over with the leading Maliks of each faction, a 
decision was speedily arrived at, that each should 
pay half, they being practically equal in numbers, 
in importance, and in wealth. They then dispersed 
to their homes, and it is to be sincerely hoped that 
within the next few days we shall receive from them 
some substantial proofs that they are earnest in 
their expressed desire to " kiss and be friends." 

Meantime, on our side. Sir William Lockhart, 
anxious to be conciliatory, and to show consideration 
to those evincing any disposition to yield or to treat, 
has let it be generally known that from this time, 
and until some definite answer is submitted by the 



X THE TERMS TO THE ORAKZAIS 135 

jirgahs, payment will be made for all forage and 
supplies taken by the troops, or collected, or brought 
in for their use by the tribes. This is a wise and 
considerate measure, and should have a good effect. 
But, on the other hand, they have been given to 
understand that the supplies and forage we must 
have, and that if any obstruction is offered to the 
collection of it, or if our parties are fired on, swift 
and severe punishment will most assuredly follow. 
Although up to the present it is only the Orakzai 
jirgahs that have been admitted to an audience, yet 
the same method has been extended to those Afridi 
clans whose jirgahs are in waiting — viz., the Malik- 
din-khels, the Khambar-khels, and the Adam-khels ; 
and as " they are a most avaricious race, desperately 
fond of money " — vide " Official Gazetteer " — the 
hope of gain may for the time being keep them 
quiet and make them ready to help. 

But there is no reliance whatever to be placed on 
the word of an Afridi : — 

Ruthless, cowardly robbery, cold-blooded, treacherous murder, 
are to him the salt of life. Brought up from his earliest child- 
hood amid scenes of appalling treachery and merciless revenge, 
nothing can ever change him. As he has lived — a shameless, 
cruel savage — so he dies. And it would seem that, notwith- 
standing their long intercourse with the British, and the fact that 
very large numbers of them are, or have been, in our service, and 
must have learnt in some poor way what faith, and mercy, and 
justice are, yet the Afridi character is no better than it was in the 
days of his fathers. . . . Much has been said of their fidelity in 
fighting against their own people for us, but when it is remembered 
that an Afridi generally has a blood feud with nine out of ten of 



134 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

his own people, the beauty of this attachment fades. They have 
always been more noted in action for a readiness to plunder than 
to fight. On the whole (says Elphinstone) they are the greatest 
robbers among Afghans, and have no faith or sense of honour 
whatever. 

A cheerful picture, is it not ? but not, I fancy, 
overdrawn. 

The boom of guns and the crack of rifles, showing 
that in some directions, at all events, our foraging 
parties are not finding it all plain sailing, are 
punctuating my sentences as I write. Still, there 
are indications that even the Afridis have had 
enough of it now, and would be glad to see our 
backs ; and motives of self-interest may prompt 
them to climb down at no very distant date. They 
know by this time that we do not mean to annex 
their country. That, no doubt, has been their great 
and haunting fear. Other considerations are of a 
secondary importance to them. The money fine, 
whatever it may be, the rendition of loot, and the 
surrender of arms, they will put up with without 
much fuss. The forfeiture of all subsidies will, of 
course, be a nasty pill to swallow, because the sum 
paid them by Government in the past, for maintain- 
ing order on the Khyber route, has been consider- 
able, about 100,000 rupees per annum ; and of this 
aggregate, the Zakka-khels, our present bitterest 
opponents, have been used to take the largest share. 
But, great as may be the sacrifice involved by 
giving up this grant, it is better than being kept 
indefinitely out of lands and homes, and seeing their 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 135 

defences levelled, and their substance devoured, 
with the certainty that they must be beaten in the 
long run, and that their eventual punishment will be 
the severer the longer they resist. 

For these reasons, there is some room to hope 
that ere long we may see our way to some settle- 
ment which will enable us to withdraw from this 
inhospitable country. We cannot expect the present 
fine dry weather to last much longer, and a change 
to rain or snow will at once send large numbers of 
men and followers into hospital. Moreover, the 
strain on the Commissariat and Transport is daily 
becoming more severe, and the question of feeding 
this large assemblage of men and animals is con- 
stantly assuming a more serious aspect ; so for 
every reason we shall be glad to cast out our shoes 
over Tirah, and bid the Afridi a long farewell. 

i^th November. 

Since the above lines were penned an event has 
occurred which distinctly discounts the sanguine 
expectations expressed. The future, it is written, 
is always full of "precious possibilities," and no- 
where can this saying be more applicable than on 
this wild frontier amid these savage surroundings, 
where truly no man can say what the next twenty- 
four hours may not bring forth. I have already 
told you that when conveying to the jirgahs the 
terms on which Government would accept their 
submission and pardon their offences, Sir William 



136 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Lockhart informed them that, in any event, he 
intended to visit every part of the Afridi-Orakzai 
country, and that it would depend upon their own 
behaviour whether we came as friends or foes. 
Partly in pursuance of the policy thus declared, 
partly to carry out survey operations, and partly to 
continue the punishment of the Zakka-khels by 
destroying more of their fortified villages, and 
notably the residence of the Mullah Sayid Akbar, 
Aka Khel, the principal leader of the revolt, 
Brigadier-General Kempster was sent on the 13th 
into the Waran Valley, vid the Tseri Kandao Pass, 
with a force which comprised the Gordon High- 
landers, the Dorset Regiment, the 15th Sikhs, the 
2nd Gurkhas, No. 8 British Mountain Battery, 
No. 5 Bombay Mountain Battery, No. 4 Madras 
Sappers and Miners, and No. 4 Company Bombay 
Sappers and Miners. The 36th Sikhs, now well 
known to fame as the brave defenders of Forts 
Gulistan and Saragheri on the Samana range in 
September last, were also placed at General 
Kempster's disposal to hold the Tseri Kandao 
Pass during the two or three days during which 
he would be absent, and to preserve communication 
between him and the main column in Maidan. 

There was practically no opposition to the 
advance of this force. The tribesmen, as usual, 
allowed it to proceed to its destination without 
offering serious resistance, preferring to harass it 
when settled down in its camp, and to attack in 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 137 

earnest whenever it should commence its return 
march. These are their invariable tactics. The 
point aimed at by General Kempster was only a 
short four miles down the valley east of the pass, 
and, as it was only about four miles from this camp 
(Maidan) to the summit (it is quite a low pass), the 
whole march was only some eight miles. Yet such 
are the extraordinary delays and difficulties attendant 
on moving with mule and pony transport on a 
single narrow hill road that, although a start had 
been made from Maidan at daylight, the last of the 
baggage and the rearguard were not in the new camp 
until half-past nine o'clock at night. The four miles 
of road on this the western side are'pretty fair going, 
because our Sappers and Pioneers have been at 
work on them, and have ramped the ravines and 
nullahs, and improved and widened the bad places. 
But on the far side the country was a terra incognita, 
and the track (for it was nothing more) was stony, 
steep, narrow, and difficult, dipping after the first 
mile suddenly down into a boulder-strewn, dry bed 
of a torrent between high, precipitous banks, beyond 
which on either side the hills towered up to a 
considerable altitude. These heights, of course, 
had to be held while the main body and baggage 
passed through the defile I have described, and thus 
the march was a difficult and trying one, though its 
actual length was insignificant. 

However, it was safely accomplished, and that 
night, though one or two shots were fired into it, 



138 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

the camp was practically unmolested. During the 
next two days, the 14th and 15 th, the survey of 
the adjacent qountry was completed, and recon- 
naissance and foraging operations were successfully 
carried out. Several Zakka-khel fortified houses 
were destroyed, also some belonging to a section 
known as Zia-ud-din-khels ; and the residence of 
the notorious Mullah Sayid Akbar, the chief in- 
stigator of the revolt and preacher of rebellion and 
sedition, was visited and levelled. The mosque 
attached to it was, however, let alone. Before 
destroying the Sayid's house it was searched to 
discover whether it contained anything of interest 
or value. Little was found, however, except a 
certain amount of correspondence, which was taken 
charge of by the political staff, ^ and a mimbar, or 
kind of rude pulpit, from which, no doubt, the 
Mullah used to make his frenzied addresses to his 
rude audience. It is fitted with a staff on one side, on 
which is fixed an iron bracket intended, apparently, 
to hold a lamp or light of some kind. It was 
brought away, and will be kept as an interesting 
memento of the visit. 

To resume. On both these days, the 14th and 
1 5th, there was some skirmishing when the troops 
were out. On the latter date the enemy were 
numerous and vigorous in their movements, but 
the brigade was well handled, and all went well, 

' Some of the letters found are extremely interesting, and will repay 
perusal. Translations have appeared in some of the Indian papers ; selections 
are given in an appendix to this chapter. 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 139 

while the casualties were trifling. The camp was 
a good deal fired into on the nights of the 14th and 
15 th, and three or four casualties resulted. 

On the 1 6th the brigade returned to Maidan to 
rejoin the main column, and this was not a success- 
ful day. The whole of the baggage was fairly 
started by 9 A.M., the main body with it. The 
rearguard, under the command of Colonel Eaton 
Travers, of the 2nd Gurkhas, collected its outlying 
pickets at about half-past nine, and shortly after- 
wards commenced its movement in retreat. Colonel 
Travers had with him his own regiment, the 2nd 
Gurkhas, one company of the Gordon Highlanders, 
one company of the Dorsets, five guns of No. 8 
British Mounted Battery, and the 3rd Gurkha 
Scouts — a sufficient and compact force for the 
purpose in hand. The enemy at this time were 
visible in groups here and there on the adjacent 
heights, but contented themselves with long shots, 
and the retirement proceeded without 'serious 
interruption for about a mile and a half, when, 
finding he was gaining ground too quickly, Colonel 
Travers took up a strong position across the valley, 
which he maintained until about one o'clock in the 
afternoon, when, noting that the main column was 
now well on its way up the final ascent, he resumed 
his retrograde march. The enemy now for the 
first time displayed some vigour in pursuit, and the 
left of Colonel Travers' line was severely pressed. 
The Gurkhas who were here, were, however, 



14° THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

thoroughly steady, and, though they were under 
a hot fire and had several casualties, they held the 
Afridis in check until the summit of the pass was 
gained safely by about 3 p.m. 

It was shortly before the summit was reached that 
poor young Wylie of the 2nd Gurkhas was killed. 
He was the brightest and best of boys, a great 
favourite in his regiment and out of it. Shortly 
before he was hit he had been exposing himself 
somewhat recklessly, but, in deference to a friendly 
suggestion from his colonel, had got under cover, 
lying flat behind a rock. In this position he in- 
cautiously raised himself on his elbow while he 
turned round to speak to his men a little in rear 
of him. His head must have shown above the rock, 
for he was instantly shot through the brain, and, of 
course, killed on the spot. Captain Macintyre, his 
great friend in the regiment, seeing him drop, at 
once went out under a heavy fire and brought in his 
body, which was carried into Camp Maidan the 
same evening. 

When the force under Colonel Travers reached 
the top of the Tseri Kandao Pass it was much 
exhausted, for, though the direct distance from camp 
was short, yet the ground was extraordinarily diffi- 
cult, and the necessity for continually occupying 
commanding heights to the right and left of the 
route, to say nothing of the watchfulness and vigour 
necessary to stave off the enemy's incessant attacks, 
had added immensely to the fatigues of the day. 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 141 

All this had been foreseen by General Kempster, 
and it had been pre-arranged, therefore, that from 
this point the 15th Sikhs, under Colonel Abbott, 
should cover the retirement. They were, in fact, in 
position on the heights north and south of the pass 
when Colonel Travers and his troops arrived. These, 
accordingly, passed through now, and followed the 
main column to camp, and the 15th Sikhs took up 
the rearguard duties. 

These duties at once claimed their pressing atten- 
tion, for the Afridis now swarmed down from the 
heights of the Saran Sar, and, skilfully availing 
themselves of the screen provided by the timber 
which is thick on the northern side of the pass, 
closed round the 15 th with a determination and 
boldness which compelled them to stand fast, and 
think rather of defending themselves and their 
numerous wounded with resolution, than of risking 
any movement in retreat until assured of some 
support. The fire of the mountain guns at this 
juncture would have been welcome music to this 
gallant regiment, but an order sent by the General 
for a battery to come into action at a particular spot, 
where it would certainly have rendered signal service 
to the hard-pressed infantry, was misunderstood, and 
no help came from this quarter. But the brave Sikhs, 
splendidly led, fought on with grand resolution. Their 
comrades, the 36th Sikhs, under Colonel Haughton, 
were already retracing their steps to support them, 
and, encouraged by the approach of this reinforce- 



142 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

ment, they battled bravely against the hordes that 
assailed them ; and, inflicting on the enemy losses 
more than equal to those sustained themselves, 
they gradually withdrew from their advanced posi- 
tion. It was about this time, between 4 and 5 p.m., 
that, elated by the offensive rdle they were assuming, 
some hundred Afridis left the shelter of the trees 
and attempted to rush the retreating 15 th. They 
were met by such a well-aimed and steady fire, and 
such a prompt counter-attack, that few of the hundred 
lived to regain the protection of the wood ; and prob- 
ably in no engagement since this expedition started 
have their losses been so severe as on this occasion. 
The 36th had now come up, half the battalion 
only, under Colonel Haughton, and with them a 
handful of the Dorsets under Lieutenant Cowie. The 
other half was still behind, under Major Des Vceux. 
Colonel Abbott had been severely wounded in 
the face and neck by gunshots in the fighting 
above described ; the command of the party, there- 
fore, devolved now on Colonel Haughton. It was 
rapidly getting dark, the ground was precipitous, 
broken, and difficult, the enemy thick on every side, 
and the camp still four miles distant. Moreover, the 
supply of ammunition was running short. The situa- 
tion was, therefore, distinctly serious, and its gravity 
was suddenly accentuated by a volley from a cluster 
of four houses^ directly in the path of the retiring 

' These houses had been burned earlier in the day, and were still 
smouldering, their outline showing a dull red against the darkness. 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 143 

column. There was only one solution of this 
difficulty. Colonel Haughton at once gave the order 
to fix bayonets and charge. This was promptly 
done, and, with loud shouts and cheers, the hamlet 
was bravely carried, the enemy in it shot, or bayon- 
eted, or driven out, and the place captured. It was 
in this operation that Captain Lewarne, of the 15 th 
Sikhs, was killed, and Lieutenant Munn, of the 36th, 
wounded. Captain Custance, of the 36th, had been 
shot through the thigh some little time previously. 
As the wounded were now numerous, some five-and- 
twenty altogether, and as darkness had now set in, 
Colonel Haughton decided to stay where he was for 
the night. Under his orders all at once set to work 
to make their position as secure as possible, and 
to do what they could to render first aid to the 
wounded, and to make them comfortable for the 
night. Fortunately, from this time the enemy's fire 
became desultory, and by about 11 p.m. his attack 
died away, so that the night was passed in com- 
parative peace. This fact alone is sufficient proof 
that the Afridis had been very roughly handled, for 
otherwise they would never have let the troops alone. 
I must explain here that Major Des Voeux, with 
the rest of his own battalion, and a weak half-com- 
pany of the Dorsets, under Captain Hammond, who 
had come up in time to take part in the gallant 
charge above referred to, had seized a house across 
a nullah, about 400 yards away from Haughton's 
party, and at once intrenched himself as well as he 



144 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

could. Hardly were his rough preparations com- 
pleted, when the Afridis swarmed up out of the 
nullah, hoping to occupy this very house, from which 
they could have effectively enfiladed Colonel Haugh- 
ton's position. They met, however, with such an 
unexpected and hot reception that they soon drew 
off, shouting threats against Major Des Vceux's 
Pathan servant, whom they apparently recognised, 
and promising to cut his throat when they got hold 
of him ! 

But there had, unhappily, been serious misfortune 
in another direction. When the 36th Sikhs had 
been sent back to help the 1 5th, two companies of 
the Dorset Regiment had been at the same time 
detached to support the 36th. One and a half of 
these companies were ordered by the senior officer, 
Captain Hammond, to take post in a house on the 
line on which the Sikhs were presumably falling 
back. The other half-company, with Captain Ham- 
mond and Lieutenant Cowie, went on and, as we 
have seen, joined, some Colonel Haughton, and some 
Major Des Voeux. These men thus got through 
the night safely. But the others were shortly after- 
wards attacked, and, considering their position 
untenable, they, unfortunately for themselves, left 
their post and attempted to retreat to camp. In 
the gathering darkness they missed the road, got 
entangled in ravines, very much as the Northamp- 
tons did on that fatal 9th, and, assailed on all sides 
by the Afridis, were soon broken up into little 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 145 

knots and groups, which defended themselves indeed 
with courage and desperation against their savage 
assailants, but, as may be imagined, with small chance 
of success. On such ground, and in such circum- 
stances, the Pathan is probably a better man than the 
Britisher ; and the result of this deadly struggle in the 
dark was that in twos or threes during the night a 
poor remnant of these Dorsets struggled wounded and 
weary into camp, their blood-stained bayonets and 
battered gun-stocks attesting the desperate nature of 
the conflict in which they had been engaged. But 
eleven of them, including their two officers, Lieuten- 
ants Crooke and Hales, were left behind dead, and the 
rifles of these men fell, of course, into the hands of the 
Afridis, who by this time have got quite a good stock 
of our Lee-Metfords, and plenty of ammunition. 

It is only fair to say, when speaking oi companies 
being detached, that I am informed on the best 
authority that the party with Lieutenants Crooke 
and Hales consisted of only twenty-eight men all 
told. 

The actual casualties on this i6th November 
were : — 

Dorsets. — Killed, Lieutenant Crooke (attached 
from Suffolk Regiment), Lieutenant Hales (attached 
from East York Regiment), and nine rank and file ; 
wounded, ten rank and file. 

1 5th Sikhs. — Killed, Captain Lewarne, and seven 
men ; wounded. Colonel Abbott, three native officers, 
and fifteen men. 

L 



146 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

36th Sikhs. — Killed, six men ; wounded, Captain 
Custance, Lieutenant Munn, and seven men. 

2nd Gurkhas. — Killed, Lieutenant Wylie, and 
three men ; wounded, five men. 

At daybreak on the 1 7th Brigadier - General 
Gaselee's brigade went out to meet Colonel Haughton 
and his gallant Sikhs, and found them already on 
their way in, with all their wounded. 

In the evening the officers and men killed were 
buried on the outskirts of the camp. Sir William 
Lockhart, and every one off duty, attending. It 
was sad to see the long procession of stretchers 
carried past, but after all, to die in battle "facing 
fearful odds" is a befitting death for a soldier, and 
events march too rapidly here, and casualties have 
been too frequent, to admit of much time being spent 
in vain regrets. Hardly, in fact, had the remains 
of our late comrades been committed to the grave 
when the usual firing into camp commenced, and 
each of us was reminded that their fate to-day might 
be ours to-morrow. 

I should mention that before the funeral (which 
did not take place until dusk). Sir William Lockhart 
saw the Dorsets and Northamptons on parade, and 
addressed them a few words of commendation for 
courage in most trying circumstances, and of en- 
couragement and advice for the future. " We must 
remember," said Sir William, "that we are opposed 
to perhaps the best skirmishers, and the best natural 
shots, in the world, and that the country they inhabit 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 147 

is the most difficult on the face of the globe. The 
enemy's strength lies in his thorough knowledge of 
the ground, which enables him to watch all our 
movements unperceived, and to take advantage of 
every height and every ravine. Our strength, on 
the other hand, lies in our discipline, controlled fire, 
and mutual support. Our weakness is our ignorance 
of the country, and the consequent tendency of 
small bodies to straggle and get detached. The 
moral of all this is that careful touch must be main- 
tained, and that if by mischance small parties do 
find themselves alone they should as much as possible 
stick to the open, and shun ravines and broken 
ground, where they must fight at a disadvantage, 
and run every risk of being ambuscaded and cut 
off. I trust," said Sir William in conclusion, 
" that we may soon meet the enemy and wipe out 
all old scores with him, and I am confident that 
when that time comes you will all behave with a 
steady courage worthy of the best traditions of your 
corps. In the meantime there is no occasion to be 
depressed because some of us have been surprised, 
outnumbered, and overwhelmed on bad ground." 

Afterwards addressing the Sikhs and Gurkhas, 
Sir William Lockhart praised them highly for their 
gallant conduct, and said he was proud to have such 
regiments under his command. He explained to 
them, too, with what interest and sympathy the 
Queen personally watches the progress of events in 
these wild regions (and, indeed, Her Majesty's 



148 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

frequent and gracious inquiries are warmly appreci- 
ated by all ranks), and said to them, as he had said 
to the British regiments, that he hoped they would 
soon have an opportunity of meeting the enemy 
again on better terms, and paying off all old scores 
with interest. 

PS. — The following extracts from a private note 
written for me by an officer who was present 
throughout this affair, will be read with deep 
interest :— 

Meanwhile darkness had come on, and it was exceedingly 
difficult to keep touch with each other. The ground was cut in 
high terraces, down which we clambered as best we could, the 
men tripping, sliding, and falling over each other, for no path 
existed, and it was too dark even to distinguish the drop from 
one terrace to the next. The difficulty of bringing our wounded 
along, under such circumstances, may be imagined, but cannot 
be described. 

The Afridis were completely taken aback by our sudden 
charge and onslaught, just when they thought they had got us on 
the run, and very few waited for the bayonet, but Munn, who was 
the first man to reach the centre house, got his sword through 
one of them, and several more were shot as they bolted. The 
scene of excitement and confusion at this moment was indescrib- 
able. The only light came from the smouldering houses, and it 
was almost impossible to distinguish friend from foe. When we 
had pulled ourselves together, and were able to look round, the 
situation was not very encouraging. There was practically no 
cover ; the enemy were still firing at us from three sides, and 
casualties continued to occur, and many of us had narrow escapes, 
bullets going through our helmets or clothes. However, it would 
have been madness to attempt any further move, so Colonel 



X THE AFFAIR OF THE i6th NOVEMBER 149 

Haughton made the best dispositions he could under the circum- 
stances. The men were made to lie down in groups round the 
house, and the wounded were placed in the only bit of cover 
available, between a high bank and the smouldering ruins of the 
house, the warmth from which undoubtedly helped to save some 
of their lives. Wherever it was possible we made rude stone 
breastworks, etc., but materials were sadly wanting, and many of 
the men were wholly unprotected on the eastern side, whence the 
enemy still kept up a desultory fire. Fortunately the darkness 
prevented their aim being good, and most of their bullets whizzed 
harmlessly overhead. About 11 p.m. they left us altogether, and 
we settled down to endure a long and bitter night as best we 
could. The cold was intense, and the men had no greatcoats 
with them ; and nothing to eat, for we had expected to reach 
camp that evening. The only way they could get any relief was 
by taking it in turns to huddle together on the still warm rubble 
which had fallen from the burning houses. It was an anxious 
time for the officers, for it was anticipated that the enemy might 
find courage to make another attack when the rising moon should 
reveal the weakness of our position. But the coolness and con- 
fident bearing of Colonel Haughton kept us all in good heart, 
and made us feel perfectly certain that we should come out right 
side uppermost. 

Still it was with feelings of intense relief that we saw the pale 
gray dawn appear, and knew that we could soon be up and 
doing. Communication was at once opened with Des Voeux, 
across the nullah, and all the ground near by was carefully 
searched to see if any of our men had been left behind, killed or 
wounded, in the hurry and tumult of the events of the night. 
Then we commenced our movement on camp, sending on the 
wounded first under a strong escort. The enemy opened fire on 
us from the surrounding hills at once, but in the uncertain light 
their aim was bad, and no one was hit. We sent the wounded 
along the main nullah running past the camp, and covered them 
on one side with the 15 th Sikhs, and on the other with a 
company of the 36th Sikhs and the few Dorsets who were 
with us. These latter, a mere handful of men, showed great 
gallantry and steadiness all through the affair, and although they 



I50 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, x 

suffered much from the cold and exposure, responded cheerfully 
to every call made upon them. 

We had not gone far when we met a force coming out from 
camp to help us ; and right glad we were to be able to march 
straight in without any further trouble. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTER X 

THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE MULLAHS 
{From the ^^ Pioneer" of Allahabad) 

The following are translations of letters found in 
Saiyid Akbar's house in the Waran Valley : — 

Translation of a letter from the Mullah of Adda to the Mullah of 
Sipak, the Mullah of Aka Khel, Badshah Sahib, Malik 
Amin Khan, Malik Sher Muhammad Khan, the Kamar 
Khel, Khambar Khel and Aka Khel Maliks, Maliks Yar 
Muhammad, Feroz, Walt Muhammad Khawas, Samandar 
and other people of Tirah, dated the "jth Rabie-us-Sani 
13 1 5 H. = '-^th September 1897. 

After compliments. — On the ist Rabie-us-Sani 13 15 H. = 
30th August 1897, I determined with a lashkar to go out for a 
holy war and defend the religion of the Holy Prophet. When I 
reached Lashkar Killa, and was staying there for the night, I 
received a "firman" from "Zia-ul-millati-uddin," the King of 
Islam, in reply to my petition, and understood its contents, which 
were to the following effect: — 

" You should wait for a few days in your former place, so that 
I may hold a consultation with the Khans, Maliks, chiefs, and 
respectable men about ghaza and decide what steps should be 
taken. I will then either come myself or send to you my son 
loi jehad, with our victorious troops and supplies, such as rations 
and food, and will let you know again. I will, with the greatest 



152 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

pleasure, make exertions in the way of jehad." I therefore write 
to you people that I have postponed my intentions for the reasons 
given above, but that you should, on receipt of this letter, consult 
among yourselves and let me know faithfully of your decision, so 
that I may come to you with the Mohmand people, the Khan 
of Nawagai, and other Mussalmans. You should try your best 
to save the religion of the Prophet. I shall await your reply. 

Translation of a letter, without date, from the Daulaizai and 
Sturi Khel Mullahs to the Aka Khel Mullah and other 
Afridi Mullahs. 

After compliments. — We attacked the Muhammadzai post on 
Thursday and destroyed it. We killed many Government 
servants and returned with success to Ublan. Our casualties 
were two wounded, who have not yet died. Please let us know 
whether we should stay on here committing raids on Kohat, or 
should dismiss the lashkar to their homes, because we have no 
supplies here. Please also let us know by the bearer if we are 
wanted there, or if you will send us reinforcement here. The 
Shia Sipahs are afraid lest their property may be looted. We 
have stood surety to them that none of the Afridis or Zia-uddins 
will cause them any injury. We have made peace with the 
Sipahs in order that they may join us in the ghaza, and you 
should see that none of the Sipah property or animals are inter- 
fered with. 

Translation of a letter, without date, from the Mullah of Adda to 
all the Mullahs and elders of the Afridi and Orakzai 
tribes. 

After compliments. — The Kafirs have taken possession of all 
Mussulman countries, and, owing to the lack of spirit on the part 
of the people, are conquering every region. They have now 
reached the countries of Bajaur and Swat, but, though the 
people of these places showed want of courage in the beginning, 
they have now realised their mistake, and having repented and 
become ashamed (of their former deeds), they attack them (the 
Kafirs) day and night, and have quite confounded them. I have 
myself informed the people of Lughman, and Kunar, and the 



X THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE MULLAHS 153 

Mohmands, Ningraharis, and Shinwaris, and they are all prepared 
to take part in the fighting. They are simply waiting for the 
summer to pass, as the country of Bajaur is without water and 
shade, and common folk cannot afford to arrange for the 
necessaries oi jehad. It is difficult for them to fight in summer. 
I inform you also that you may try your best to further the cause 
oi jehad, which is the best of all devotions, and the truest of all 
submissions, so that we may not be ashamed before God on the 
day of judgment, and be glorious before His Prophet. Though 
these men have no means, yet as the holy verse runs that 
" victory and triumph rest with God," it is possible that God may 
give us victory and power to recover the country of Mussalmans 
from the hands of Kafirs, but, if we fail, we shall have done our 
best, and can bring a reasonable excuse before God on the day 
of judgment, because God does not expect a thing from a man 
which is beyond his power. I have deputed Mullah AbduUa 
Akhundzada of the Mohmand country, to attend on you, and, 
God willing, he will reach you. Please let me know whatever 
decision you may unanimously arrive at, so that it may be acted 
upon. If you decide to send for me there, I am willing to come ; 
but, if you wish to come here, I also agree. If you choose to 
commence fighting there, and desire me to fight in this direction, 
I am ready to do so ; but it is necessary to fix the time and day 
of fighting, so that, by the grace of God, the work be accom- 
plished. And as it is said that the only thing a man can do in 
a matter is to try his best, and that the accomplishment of the 
matter rests with God, so to leave everything in the hands of 
God is the best thing of all, and all Mumins (true believers) must 
trust in God. May God, the Almighty, lead us all to the path 
of virtue at our last moment, and save us from the punishment 
of the next world. And may He enable us to do an act which 
may be acceptable to Him. Peace be upon all believers ! 

Translation of a letter from Sufi. Sahib to the Mullah Sahib of 
Sipah, the Mullah of Aka Khel {Saiyid Akbar), Badshah 
Sahib, Malik Amin Khan, Malik Sher Muhammad Khan, 
Maliks Yar Muhammad Khan, Feroz, Wall Muhammad 
Khan, Khawas Khan, Samandar, and the Maliks of 



154 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Kamar Khel, Khambar KM, Aka Khel and other Maliks 
and people of Tirah, dated the ']th Rabi-us-Sani 1315 H.^ 
i^th September 1897. 
After compliments. — I started with the people of the Kot 
Valley, of Mohmandarra, of the Hisarak Valley and of the whole 
of Ningrahar, for jehad in that direction, but on reaching the 
limits of Batikot with the lashkar, I received a letter from my 
spiritual leader, the Akhundzada Sahib (of Adda), the perusal of 
which gave me pleasure, and I understood its contents. He 
wrote to say that I should return to my residence, with the 
Ningrahar lashkar, and should wait for a few days, when, he said, 
he could let me know again. In compliance therefore with his 
instructions I returned to my place. I now write to say that on 
receipt of this letter you should assemble together, exert yourselves 
in the way oi jehad, and let me know faithfully of the result (of 
your meeting), so that I may understand it. God willing, the 
" Pir Sahib " (Adda Mullah) with his lashkar of Bajauris, the Khan 
of Nawagai, and the people of the Nigrahar, and myself too, will 
start at once in that direction and will try our best to save the 
religion of the Prophet. Consider it an urgent matter. 

Translation of a letter from Fakir Shah {? probably some Afghan 
official in Ningrahar) to the {Aka Khel) Mullah (Saiyid 
Akbar), dated the 14th Rabi-us-Sani 1315 H. = -i.2th 
September 1897. 

After compliments. — I received your letter and understood 
its contents. I hope you will write daily the news of that side 
and send it to Mullah Idris, who will forward it to me, so that I 
may remain informed of the state of affairs in that direction, and 
sympathise with the Prophet. Rest assured in every way from 
this side, and always send us news of that side. 

Translation of a letter from Adam Khan {Khambar Khel) to his 

brother Muhammad Zaman Khan (sent from Kabul), 

dated the i?>th Jamadi-ul-Awal 13 15 H. = \^th October 

1897. 

After compliments. — I also joined the Afridi and Orakzai 

jirga, which was well received by the Amir. His Highness 



X THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE MULLAHS 155 

asked us about the causes which led to the quarrels between the 
Afridis and the British Government. We stated that the British 
Government were day by day violating the former agreements, 
were forcibly encroaching upon our limits, and were realising 
fines and compensations from us for the arms which were stolen 
in the Khyber by their own servants, and that these naturally led 
to the disturbances. His Highness said that if he could he 
would try to make peace between us and the British Government. 
We stated that, if the British Government agreed to give up all 
frontier territories forcibly taken possession of by them, and did 
not ask for the return of arms looted by us in fair fight, we would 
make peace. The Amir then communicated our statement to 
the British Government, and a reply to that is awaited. We are 
staying here, and every consideration is paid to us by the Amir. 
Rest assured. Till the result (of our mission) is known, take 
care that you are not deceived by the English, whom you should 
not believe. 

Translation of a letter from Kazi Mira Khan, and other Adam 
Khels composing the Afridi jirga at Kabul, to Mullah Saiyid 
Akbar, Aka Khel, dated the 2?>th Jamadi-ul-Awal 1315 
H. = 2^th October 1897. 

After compliments. — Let it be known to you that having been 
appointed by you and other Mussalman brethren as a jirga to 
attend on His Highness the Amir, we arrived here, and held an 
interview with His Highness, who advised us not to fight with 
the British Government, and this was, and has been his advice 
ever since. We said we accepted his advice, but that our wishes 
ought to be met by the British Government. We were ordered 
to record them in detail, when His Highness said he would, 
after consideration, submit them to the British Government, and 
see what reply they would give. We put down our wishes in 
detail, and presented them to His Highness, who submitted 
them to the British Government, but no reply has yet been 
received. We shall see what reply comes. 

There is a British Agent at Kabul who has on his establish- 
ment many Hindustani Mussalmans. One of these became our 
acquaintance. This man is a good Mussalman and a well-wisher 



IS6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

of his co-religionists. He has given us a piece of good and 
correct news, which is to the following effect : — 

"You, Mahommedans, must take care lest you be deceived 
by the British, who are at present in distressed circumstances. 
For instance, Aden, a seaport, which was in possession of the 
British, has been taken from them by the Sultan. The Suez 
Canal, through which the British forces could easily reach India in 
twenty days, has also been taken possession of by the Sultan, and 
has now been granted on lease to Russia. The British forces 
now require six months to reach India. The friendly alliance 
between the British and the Germans has also been disturbed, 
on account of some disagreement about trade, which must result 
in the two nations rising in arms against each other. The 
Sultan, the Germans, the Russians, and the French are all in 
arms against the British at all seaports, and fighting is going on 
in Egypt too against them. In short, the British are disheartened 
nowadays. The Viceroy, and the Generals who are to advance 
against you, have received distinct orders from London that the 
operations in the Khyber and Tirah must be brought to an end 
in two weeks' time, as the troops are required in Egypt and at 
other seaports. In the case of the Mohmands, and people of 
Gandab, who had killed ten thousand British troops, and had 
inflicted a heavy loss of rifles and property on them, the British, 
in their great dismay, concluded a settlement with them for 
twenty-four rifles only, whereas thousands of rifles and lakhs of 
rupees should have been demanded. This peace with the 
Mohmands is by way of deceit, and when the British get rid of 
their other difficulties they will turn back and demaijd from the 
Mohmands the remaining rifles, and compensation for their 
losses. They will say that, as the Mohmands have become 
British subjects by surrendering twenty-four rifles, they must 
make good the remaining loss too. The British are always giving 
out that their troops will enter Khyber and Tirah on such and 
such dates, but they do not march on those dates and remain 
where they are. This is deceitful on the part of the English, 
who wish to mislead Mussalmans by a payment of 5 rupees and 
seek for an opportunity to make an attack by surprise. I have 
thus informed you of the deeds and perplexities of the English." 



X THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE MULLAHS 157 

We, ih&Jirga people, consider it necessary to inform you of 
this, so that you may be aware of the distress, confusion, and 
deceitfulness of the British, and may communicate the informa- 
tion to all the Mussalmans of the lashkar, in order that they may 
be on the alert against being cheated by the British in any way. 
You should also send us daily news for our information, and see 
that no attacks are made on you by surprise. Also appoint a few 
clever men as messengers to bring us daily news and letters from 
you and vice versa. Send us by the bearers all news of that side, 
and in future, too, send us fresh news daily by other messengers, 
as it is important that we should know about each other. 

Translation of a letter from Sherdil Khan and Abdul Rahim, son 
of Malik Sinjah Khan Orakzai (of Barki), to Malik Sinjab 
Khan, dated the 2Zth Jamadi-ul-Awal 1315 H. = 2Z^th 
October 1897. 

The Amir received our jirga of the Orakzais and Afridis with 
great honour and respect. He asked the causes which led to 
the commencement of the hostilities between the Orakzais and 
Afridis on the one side, and the British on the other. In reply to 
his inquiry we stated that the British had encroached upon our 
frontier limits by taking forcible possession of the Samana and 
other like places, and that they (the British) were demanding 
compensation and fines from us for the arms stolen in the 
Khyber by their own troops from the middle of their own army, 
and that these were the causes which naturally led to the quarrels 
between the two parties. The Amir then said that if he could 
he would tiy to effect peace between us and the British Govern- 
ment. Upon this we said that, if the English gave up our 
frontier territories, and abandoned the idea of re-occupying them, 
and would not demand the restoration of arms taken by us in 
action from British troops, we would make peace. After this 
the Amir, for the welfare of Mussalmans, communicated all that 
we had stated to the British Government, and a reply to this is 
expected. We are now staying here, and the Amir treats us 
with great consideration. You must therefore rest assured for us. 
Do not negotiate with the British, and take care that you are not 
taken in by them. Do not believe them. For the rest all is well. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE MOVE TO BAGH TERMS TO THE AFRIDIS 

THE RECONNAISSANCE TO DWATOI 

Bagh, Tirah, 7.(>th November. 

Still in the Maidan Valley, but at last, we are 
thankful to be able to say, on the move. It was a 
weary wait of nearly three weeks in the last camp, 
Maidan. But our halts and our marches are dictated 
not so much by the military exigencies of the situa- 
tion as by political considerations. It is for "the 
powers that be " in Simla and at the India Office to 
order, for us to obey ; and it is to be presumed that 
the long halt in Maidan was arranged, partly, to 
allow Government to make up its mind as to what 
terms should be exacted, and what policy pursued ; 
and partly, in the hope that, seeing us in possession, 
the Afridis would throw up the sponge, and come 
in. We know now that anything like annexation 
is not, and probably never was, contemplated ; and 
we also know now that to wait for our friends the 
Zakka-khels to climb down was a mistaken and 
vain idea. So far they have not only defied us, and 



CHAP. XI THE MOVE TO BAGH 159 

held their own against us with quite a fair measure 
of success, but also they have had influence enough 
with other sections of the tribes, notably with the 
Kuki-khels, the clan next to themselves the most 
numerous, and the most powerful, to prevent them 
up to date from even offering to make any terms 
with us. 

At the same time, our prolonged sojourn in one 
spot has been their opportunity. It has resulted in 
daily skirmishes and rearguard affairs in which they 
have often got the best of it. They have absolutely 
nothing to learn from us, these Afridis, in irregular 
methods of fighting. Contrariwise, their dashing and 
bold attack, the skill with which they take advantage 
of ground, the patience with which they watch for a 
favourable moment, and their perfect marksmanship 
— all these qualities have again and again won our 
admiration, and made a sensible impression upon 
our men. And as the proof of a pudding is in the 
eating, so if we go through the record of our three 
weeks at Maidan, and total up our gains and losses, 
moral as well as physical, and estimate what theirs 
have been, and then strike a balance, I fancy it will 
not be very much in our favour. Our actual casual- 
ties in battle up to the present time, including those 
sustained by the Peshawar and Kurram columns (an 
insignificant percentage), are well over 650, and if 
an equal number of the enemy have been put hors 
de combat by us, we have not the satisfaction of 
knowing it. And when we consider, in addition, the 



i6o THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

rifles and ammunition we have lost, the baggage 
that has been raided, and the transport animals, etc., 
that have been carried off, then it becomes obvious, 
and outside argument, that in the class of warfare 
involved by sitting down in a stationary camp, and 
trying to keep open a long and difficult line of com- 
munications, and to live (to a great extent) by 
forage, we are at a great disadvantage compared 
with our savage foe. 

Let us be glad, then, that that trying period is 
past. The force broke up from its old bivouac on 
the 1 8th. On that, and the next three days, the 
whole of the troops, and an enormous accumulation 
of stores were moved to this present spot, Bagh, 
mentioned by me in my letter of 5th November 
(Chap. VIII.), and described as the place famed for 
its musjid and sacred grove, in which the Afridi 
rebellion and the Khyber raid were planned, and in 
which fanaticism, intrigue, and sedition have always 
been hot-bedded and nourished. Bagh is rather in 
Khambar-khel and Malikdin-khel country than in 
Zakka-khel territory, and only a short four miles 
west of our late camp. But short though the march, 
and notwithstanding that the jirgahs of the two 
sections named came in recently, the flanks of the 
route had to be strongly guarded during the move- 
ment, and the new camp was laid out under a per- 
fect mitraille from sharpshooters ensconced under 
cover in every adjacent house. There were numer- 
ous casualties, of course, but fortunately no officer 




b 
<, 






XI THE MOVE TO BAGH i6i 

was hit, though many had miraculous escapes.'^ I 
say " officer " only because officers have already 
fared so badly, the percentage of losses sustained in 
the commissioned ranks being extraordinarily high. 
Hundreds of these Afridis, be it remembered, have 
been in our service, and they not only easily recog- 
nise our officers by their conspicuous head-dress and 
gallant leading, but they well know their value, and 
undoubtedly they select them for their attentions, 
and pick them off. 

Every house in this valley, and there are hundreds 
of them, is, as I have described elsewhere, a little 
fortress. Each has thick strong walls, loopholes, 
and one or more lofty towers. When these amiable 
savages are not driven by necessity to unite to face 
a common danger, they are continually warring 
among themselves, and it is no uncommon occur- 
rence to find one -half of a village carrying on a 
skirmish with the other half, which may last for 
several consecutive days, the parties firing upon 
each other from towers, or from behind rocks or 
other shelter. When all their ammunition is ex- 

1 " One of the gun-layers was picked off while he was laying the gun, and 
hardly a second after Brett, who had been showing him the ' target,' had got 
up from the same position. Another gunner was knocked over at my feet, 
and as I knelt over him I got a bullet through my breeches. Brett next had 
his ear chipped by a splinter, and Robinson's sword-scabbard was struck by a 
bullet. These were fairly close shaves. It was a hot comer while it lasted. 
Our left section was much exposed, and at last I had to retire it. In coining 
away it had to run the gauntlet of a heavy fire, but by trickling away one 
mule at a time at a trot I got them all away untouched. I don't think the 
Afridi is good at a moving object." — Extract from a letter from Captain 
Parker, R.A., commanding No. 2 (Derajat) M.B. 

M 



i62 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

hausted, or after seven or eight casualties have 
occurred on either side, the quarrel is generally- 
settled by an interchange of marriages ! 

These fortified houses have, therefore, been a 
standing danger to us, and as the troops have been 
repeatedly fired on from them, and serious losses 
sustained. Sir William Lockhart reluctantly ordered 
them — that is, all those groups of them adjacent to 
our camp, or to our main communications with the 
Mastura Valley, vid the Arhanga Pass — to be de- 
stroyed. The houses have accordingly been burned, 
and the towers blown up by the Engineers, and if 
the consequence be to punish some innocent with 
the guilty, it must be borne in mind that the 
measure was not prompted by anger or malice, 
but dictated by stern necessity, and the instinct of 
self-preservation. 

Just before leaving camp Maidan, Sir William 
Lockhart once more specially addressed the 15 th 
Sikhs to bid them good-bye, and to assure them 
that he sent them back only in their own interests. 
The regiment is sadly reduced in strength in officers 
and men, as it has been in the forefront of all the 
fighting in this part of the world since August last, 
and has suffered many casualties. Its companies 
were barely twenty files strong as it stood on parade 
now. Sir William, speaking in Hindustani, again 
referred to the splendid endurance and pluck shown 
by all ranks on the i6th inst. (fully described in my 
last letter), and told the men they were worthy 



XI TERMS TO THE AFRIDIS 163 

representatives of the great Sikh Khalsa, and that 
in placing them temporarily on the line of com- 
munications he was only giving them a well-earned 
rest, but that should occasion require it he would 
gladly send for them again. The gallant 15th 
were visibly gratified by the Chiefs appreciation 
and soldierly praise, and cheered loudly as he 
concluded. 

The 30th P. I., who have all this time been hold- 
ing the twice-captured Dargai heights, are coming 
up in their place. The 2nd P.I. are also on their 
way to the front, and the Royal Scots Fusiliers too, 
their places being taken on the line of communica- 
tions by regiments from the reserve at Rawal 
Pindi. 

On the 2 1st Sir William Lockhart received the 
jirgahs of four Afridi clans — the Malikdin-khels, 
the Khambar-khels, the Adam-khels, and the Aka- 
khels. The Zakka-khels and the Kuki-khels were, 
of course, conspicuous by their absence ; but news 
travels quickly in the East, and it would not be 
many hours after the dismissal of the four jirgahs 
named before the terms imposed by Government 
would be known to all the absentees. These terms, 
as announced by Sir Richard Udny, were : — 

1. Restoration of all arms, property, etc., plun- 
dered at the sack of the Khyber forts, or on any 
other occasion. 

2. Surrender of 800 breech-loading rifles. 

3. Payment of a fine of 50,000 rupees. 



i64 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

(The foregoing terms to be fully complied with 
in seven days.) 

4. Formal tender of submission in open durbar. 

Further, the jirgahs were told that Government 
reserved the right to decide hereafter the question 
of the management and administration of the 
Khyber Pass route, but that whatever order they 
might give in the matter the tribes would be re- 
quired to comply with it. Sir Richard Udny, who 
is a fluent and forcible speaker, then went on to say 
that amongst the letters found in the Mullah Sayid 
Akbar's house in Waran was one foolish one from 
their own deputation in Kabul informing them that 
the English were in a bad way, that they had lost 
Aden and the Suez Canal (!), that their trade was 
ruined, and that they were threatened by complica- 
tions at home and abroad which required the speedy 
presence of their troops elsewhere.^ The Afridis, 
therefore, might continue to fight against the Eng- 
lish confident that they could not do them much 
harm, and that they would very soon have to 
evacuate their country, willy-nilly. Sir Richard 
begged them, if they had ever placed any reliance 
on this precious effusion, to believe now that it was 
an utterly mendacious statement. We had come 
into their country with deliberation and purpose, 
and they might rest assured that we had the power 
and the intention to remain in it until our just 
demands were complied with. With this exhorta- 

' See Appendix to Chap. X. 



XI TERMS TO THE AFRIDIS 165 

tion the proceedings came to an end, and the 
members of the jirgahs dispersed to their homes. 
Amongst them were men who had seen service in 
our own ranks, and one old fellow had no less than 
four medals on his breast — Afghanistan, 1878-80; 
North- West Frontier, India, 1887 ; and the Egyp- 
tian and Khedive's medals, 1882. 

Although the political officers are not very 
sanguine in their present estimate of the situation, 
I cannot help thinking there is room to hope for an 
early and amicable settlement. It may be true that 
the Zakka-khels, thanks chiefly to their geographical 
situation in relation to the other sections, are the 
most powerful of all the Afridi clans, and that they 
still defy us and continue recalcitrant. Also, that 
the Kuki-khels, another strong division, have not 
" come in " yet. But these Khambars and Malik- 
dins, who have come in, are almost as important, 
and numerically very nearly equal to the two first- 
named, and there can be no doubt that they are 
sincere in their desire to make terms with us, and 
to see us depart. We have no final answer from 
them yet — there has not been time for that ; but I 
quite expect that when received it will be a friendly 
one, though doubtless they may ask for a little more 
time for compliance with the conditions imposed : 
and that will not be unreasonable, as the looted 
arms and property, for example, must be scattered 
over a wide area, and will take time to collect. In 
the thorough destruction of the Zakka-khels' towers 



i66 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

and defences, and of many of their own too, they 
have received now a stern object-lesson, and they 
are convinced of our power to give further illustra- 
tions if they drive us to it. Moreover, we daily 
receive fresh evidence that in the memorable fight 
on the 1 6th inst., described in my last letter, the 
losses inflicted were very severe indeed. Reliable 
reports place them at 293 killed and wounded ; and 
independent testimony from the Peshawar side has 
reached us fully corroborating this estimate, and 
speaking of the engagement as the most costly in 
life to them that they have yet been engaged in. 

There is, therefore, good reason to believe that 
ere long submission will be generally tendered, 
particularly as the tribesmen note the steady deter- 
mination with which Sir William Lockhart is carry- 
ing out his publicly-announced plan to visit every 
part of their country in turn, it resting with them- 
selves whether he comes as a friend or an enemy. 
We were no sooner established here (Bagh) than a 
three days' expedition was arranged to visit the 
Rajgul Valley and look up the Kuki-khels. Sir 
William himself accompanied this party, the com- 
mand of which was intrusted to Brigadier-General 
Westmacott, whose troops included the King's Own 
Scottish Borderers, the 3rd Gurkhas, 36th Sikhs, 28th 
Bombay Pioneers, No. 4 Company Madras Sappers, 
No. 3 Company Bombay Sappers, the Gurkha 
Scouts, and No. 5 Bombay Mountain Battery. The 
idea was to march to Dwatoi (lit, the two rivers) 




TIIK DH'ATOI LiEHLF. 

■' A deep gorge fi.nnicd by prccipic'Ji which rise up sheei- sevci-al hundred feet on either side. 

Tojacc /'age 167. 



XI THE RECONNAISSANCE TO DWATOI 167 

on the 22 nd, reconnoitre and map on the 23 rd, and 
return to Bagh on the 24th. The district to be 
visited was absolutely unknown, but it had been 
ascertained that the road to Dwatoi lay through a 
long, dangerous, and difficult defile, and it was fairly 
certain that the Kuki-khels, who chiefly inhabit 
Rajgul, would oppose the movement. The troops 
therefore moved on the lightest possible scale, 
taking nothing but their great-coats, water-proof 
sheets, and a couple of blankets, one day's rations 
in their haversacks, and two more carried for them 
on mules ; officers ditto ; while Sir William Lock- 
hart was attended by only one A.D.C. ; and of his 
staff only Brigadier -General Nicholson, Captain 
Haldane, Sir Richard Udny, and Lord Methuen 
accompanied him. 

The distance to Dwatoi proved to be about 
seven miles, but it is almost impossible in words to 
adequately describe the difficulties of the road to it. 
Within a couple of miles of Bagh it suddenly plungee, 
following the stream which drains the Maidan basin, 
into a deep gorge formed by precipices which in places 
rise up sheer several hundred feet on either side, and 
are topped by rugged heights which, on the day of the 
movement, were crowned by the Yorkshire Regiment 
on one hand, and by the 2nd Gurkhas on the other. 
To call it a road now is only a fagon de parler. It 
is a mere stony track scrambling along the river bed, 
sometimes on the right bank, sometimes on the left, 
and as often as not in mid -stream in ice-cold 



i68 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

water up to the knees. The water was nearly two feet 
deep now. After rain, when the stream is in flood, 
this route must be quite impassable for hours, or 
possibly days, together. Sometimes the gorge 
opens out a little, and the road runs out of it on to 
higher ground, when, needless to say, the troops or 
transport following it at once come under fire from 
the heights above. There are about three miles of 
this pleasant walking, and then the worst part of the 
defile is past, the last mile and a half into Dwatoi, 
though still following the river bed, running through 
a more open and an easier country. 

To force a defile like this, and take a strong 
brigade through it with its baggage, requires cir- 
cumspection and dash. The first step was, of 
course, to crown the heights on either side, and 
drive off the enemy who held them. This was done 
in excellent style by the specially detailed troops, 
the Yorks and 2nd Gurkhas, who started in the 
bitter cold before daylight, and, breasting the climb 
in gallant fashion, accomplished their task with but 
few casualties, which, however, included Lieutenant 
Jones, killed, and 2nd Lieutenant Watson, severely 
wounded, both of the Yorks, while bravely leading 
on their men. The heights being thus in our hands, 
Westmacott's Brigade advanced, the Gurkhas lead- 
ing the way, and by four in the afternoon Dwatoi 
was occupied, the enemy offering throughout a 
desultory resistance, which, as usual, such excellent 
long shots are they, cost us a few men wounded. 



XI THE RECONNAISSANCE TO DWATOI 169 

Sir William Lockhart himself, and some of his staff, 
did not escape by any margin to speak of, from 
being picked off by some sharp-shooters who had 
securely established themselves in an eyrie on the 
rocks above, whence they made one particular 
crossing on the road below them extremely dan- 
gerous. Four of the Borderers were knocked over 
on this one strip, and eventually Sir William sent 
up his personal escort, a few files of the 3rd Sikhs, 
to dislodge these marksmen, which they did. 

But though the troops, after a most toilsome and 
exhausting march, had reached Dwatoi, their 
baggage did not arrive, and such were the extra- 
ordinary difficulties of the road that none of it came 
in that night. It was five o'clock on the following 
afternoon before the last of it, escorted by Colonel 
Haughton and his splendid Sikhs, the 36th, reached 
the bivouac. Consequently the General, and his 
staff", and the men, all alike, had to lie out on the 
hill-sides during that bitter night, the thermometer 
registering 20 degrees of frost. Every one, be it 
remembered, was wet to the skin almost up to the 
waist, and, arriving on the ground only a little 
before sunset, there was no time to dry even one's 
socks and boots ; while as to fires, a few well-directed 
bullets from the enemy soon scattered the shivering 
groups that had crowded round them. 

As a matter of fact, the largest proportion of the 
men had at once to climb the adjacent ridges, drive 
the enemy off", and hold them during the freezing 



170 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

night. This they did with a cheeriness and dash 
which were admirable. The Borderers in particular 
were sharply engaged before they established them- 
selves on their ground, and were conspicuous by the 
resolution and spirit with which they attacked and 
captured their point. It was not a cheerful night 
either for the baggage, away some two miles in 
rear, and it was an anxious time for the rear-guard 
commander. When darkness came on Colonel 
Haughton parked all the mules on some terraced 
fields, and, placing strong picquets round them, 
like St. Paul, "waited for the day." Owing to 
the good arrangements made, neither the baggage 
nor the main body was seriously attacked during 
the night. 

During the 23rd reconnaissances were made in 
various directions, and valuable mapping was carried 
out by survey parties, all of it under fire, for on all 
sides the enemy were active and evidently collecting 
for attack. During the night the camp was a good 
deal fired into, but not much harm done ; and long 
before daylight on the 24th the baggage was loaded 
up and the return march to Bagh commenced. The 
intensity of the cold, which was accentuated by a 
wind that pierced like Rontgen rays, may be 
imagined from the fact that the spray from the water 
splashed up by wading, froze as it fell, while 
moustaches became mere blocks of ice, and the 
horses' tails as they swished them about in the 
stream were covered immediately with long spiky 



XI THE RECONNAISSANCE TO DWATOI 171 

icicles. Several cases of frost-bite occurred before 
camp was reached. 

The heights on either side of the defile previously 
described were still held by the Yorks and 2nd Gurk- 
has, who never quitted them after capturing them 
on the 22 nd, until the returning troops had all passed 
safely through ; and the rear-guard of the brigade 
was composed of the 3rd Gurkhas and 36th Sikhs, 
with two companies of the Borderers, the whole under 
the command of Colonel Haughton. The enemy, 
of course, pressed these troops severely during the 
retirement, and many casvialties occurred, particularly 
amongst the 36th, on whom the brunt of the 
fighting fell. But the men, admirably handled by 
Haughton, bravely led by their officers, and en- 
couraged by the presence of Brigadier - General 
Westmacott, who was constantly with them through- 
out, were as steady and cool as if they were man- 
oeuvring on a field-day, and returned the Afridis' fire 
with a judgment and precision that most effectually 
disconcerted them, and kept them at arm's length. 
It is quite impossible to describe the difficulties and 
risks of taking a long baggage train through a 
long and dangerous defile such as this is. Nothing 
but individual courage, high training, perfect disci- 
pline, and calm judgment will pull troops through 
successfully, when acting as rear-guard in such a 
country, and opposed to such an enemy. All these 
qualities were exhibited now in a high degree by 
commander and men alike, with the result that the 



172 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, xi 

enemy were eventually beaten off, leaving for once 
in a way some of their killed behind them, and 
allowing even three of their rifles to fall into our 
hands. Before sunset the whole force was safely in 
camp, and a most interesting expedition had been 
brought to a most successful conclusion. 

The manner in which the Yorks and 2nd 
Gurkhas were withdrawn from the heights on the 
flanks was also admirable. Sir William Lockhart 
was extremely pleased with the soldierly spirit 
shown by all ranks on this occasion. There was 
enough fighting, hardship, and exposure on these 
three days to satisfy the keenest warrior ; but 
everything was faced and endured with patience, 
pluck, and cheerfulness, and General Westmacott, 
who was in command of the brigade, is to be con- 
gratulated on the complete success of the enter- 
prise. 

The casualties during this retreat were : 36th 
Sikhs, two men killed, twelve wounded, and one 
officer, Captain Venour, 5th P.I. (attached to the 
36th), slightly wounded ; Borderers, two wounded ; 
3rd Gurkhas, one killed and three wounded. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE 1ST BRIGADE IN MASTURA — THE PUNISHMENT 
OF THE CHAMKANIS — PREPARATIONS TO LEAVE 
TIRAH 

Bagh, yd December. 

I MAY refer now for a moment to the doings of 
the 1st Brigade, which, it will be remembered, when 
we advanced into Tirah, was left in the Mastura 
Valley to keep an eye on the Orakzais, and to 
maintain communication between Khangarbur in 
the Khanki Valley and the headquarters in Tirah. 
Under Brigadier-General Hart's vigorous adminis- 
tration, the Mastura Post, as it was called, was soon 
converted into a strong position, and large convoys 
of stores and supplies coming up, and of wounded 
and sick going down, were passed through daily 
with ease and regularity. Foraging parties were 
sent out frequently, and successful reconnaissances 
were freely pushed in all directions (notably one on 
the 25th November to the summit of the Torsmats 
Pass, 7970 feet high), which resulted in the acquisi- 
tion of much valuable information regarding the 



174 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

surrounding country, which has now been all 
thoroughly explored and mapped. The Orakzais 
in the Mastura Valley were not so aggressively 
hostile at this time as the Afridis in Tirah. Still, 
skirmishes with them were of constant occurrence, 
and the troops had plenty of practice in fighting 
and marching, to prepare them for the sterner work 
which this brigade, with the rest of the ist Division, 
under Major-General Symons, was shortly to under- 
take. 

On 8th November, for example, a party of the 
1st Gurkhas, on duty on the southern slopes of the 
Arhanga Pass, succeeded in surprising some of 
the enemy who were lying in wait to attack convoys 
near the village of Unai,^ and inflicted heavy loss 
upon them ; and on the 1 3th, when some hundreds 
of Orakzais pressed an attack upon one of our 
foraging parties in the valley, close to the Mastura 
Post, they were repulsed decisively, with many 
casualties to them, and at the cost of only six 
wounded to ourselves ; which included, however, 
two officers. Captain Bowman of the Derbyshires, 
and Major Money, i8th Bengal Lancers. The 
troops on this occasion were commanded by Major 
Smith- Dorrien, Derbyshire Regiment, who handled 
his force with considerable skill. 

In my last letter I described the reconnaissance 
to Dwatoi. Sir William Lockhart rejoined head- 

1 This was our artillery position in the attack on the Arhanga Pass. See 
Chap. VIII. 



XII THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CHAMKANIS 175 

quarters at Bagh on 24th November, and allowing 
himself only two days for office work and corre- 
spondence — and it is astonishing how even in the 
field papers and telegrams do accumulate in a very 
short time — started again on the morning of the 
27th for a longer and more extended tour through 
the Chamkani-Massozai-Mamuzai country. These 
are sections, lying due west of our present camp, 
about two or three marches only, but separated from 
this valley by a range of precipitous hills called the 
Durghai Ghar, across which there are several un- 
explored and difficult passes, between 7000 feet and 
8000 feet in height. The Chamkanis and the 
Massozais — the latter particularly — were, in the 
beginning of this trouble, exceedingly bumptious and 
aggressive. When Sir William Lockhart published 
his first proclamation to the tribes, announcing his 
coming and his purpose, the Massozais sent an 
insolent reply, stating that they had their own orders 
from their Mullahs ; that they protested altogether 
against the occupation of the Khyber, Samana, and 
Swat ; and that they would certainly oppose our 
advance. They have since fully kept this promise, 
and have throughout been actively hostile in the 
Khurmana Valley,^ keeping us constantly on the 



1 Here I may mention that on 7th November Colonel Hill, commanding 
the Kurram column, made a reconnaissance in force from Sadr, through the 
Khurmana defile, to Hissar, in order to explore the ground through which his 
column would move in the event of operations being subsequently undertaken 
against the Chamkanis. The following troops accompanied him : — Central 
India Horse, 100 lancers mounted, 100 dismounted; 12th Bengal Infantry, 



176 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

alert at Sadda (or Sadr), and regularly firing on our 
patrols and picquets whenever they got the chance. 

For these reasons, as well as because it is Sir 
William's declared policy to visit and explore 
thoroughly every part of their country, it was 
essential to look up these Chamkanis and Massozais 
and Mamuzais, who, notwithstanding that their 
jirgahs had been received, and that they had practi- 
cally agreed to the conditions imposed, showed no 
disposition to submit and pay up their fines. 

The command of the troops in this expedition 
was intrusted to Brigadier-General Gaselee, who 
started on the 26th with the Gurkha Scouts of the 
3rd and 5th Gurkhas, the Queen's Royal West 

100 men ; Sth Gurkhas, 250 men ; Kapurthala Imperial Service Troops, 100 
men ; Kurram Militia, 400 men ; and the maxim gun, Royal Scots Fusiliers. 

The defile was found to be seven miles in length, and passable for cavalry. 
The enemy being taken by surprise did not oppose the advance. 

On the, return of the column to Sadr the same day, the enemy, who mean- 
while had collected in considerable numbers, followed up the rear-guard, but 
being driven back with heavy loss by the 5 th Gurkhas, discontinued their 
attack, and the last five miles were traversed without a shot being fired. Our 
casualties, so far as known at the time, consisted of two native soldiers killed 
and four wounded, but the next day, the O. C. Kapurthala Infantry reported 
that one native officer and thirty-five men of his regiment were missing. 
It appears that a picquet of fifty men had been directed to occupy a hill 
on the flank of the column, and when recalled by signal, which was duly 
acknowledged, it moved off to join the rear-guard. Thirty-five men with a 
Subadar, taking what the native officer must have believed to be a short cut, 
became entangled in bad ground, and found their further progress barred by 
a jungle fire which had been lighted early in the day. They turned back to 
regain the road by which they had ascended the hill, but the enemy had dis- 
covered their predicament, and assembling in strength, succeeded in shooting 
down the whole party. In the meantime, the remainder came in safely, and 
believing the Subadar and his party to have arrived ahead of them, a report 
of " all present " was made to Colonel Hill, who knew nothing of what had 
happened until the following day. , 



XII THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CHAMKANIS 177 

Surrey Regiment, the 3rd Sikhs, 4th Gurkhas, 28th 
Bombay Pioneers,^ No. i Kohat Mountain Battery, 
and Nos. 3 and 4 Companies Bombay Sappers and 
Miners — a very compact Httle force. But this was 
not the whole of it. It was only intended on this 
first day to advance about five miles up to the foot 
of the Kahu, or Durbi Khel Pass, 8700 feet, leading 
into the Massozai country, for it was known that 
the road would require a lot of improving both up 
to that point and beyond it ; hence the large pro- 
portion of Sappers and Miners accompanying the 
brigade. So Sir William Lockhart, in order to 
gain an extra day for his own work in camp, left 
Bagh himself, with his staff, on the 2 7th, taking on 
with him the York Regiment, a wing of the Royal 
Scots Fusiliers (who had only marched in the day 
before), the 2nd Gurkhas, and No. 2 Derajat 
Mountain Battery. These troops overtook General 
Gaselee in the forenoon of the 28th, and the com- 
bined column, under his orders, crossed the pass 
safely, with all its baggage, the same day. There 
was no organised opposition, but between Bagh and 
the summit of the pass the country is thickly studded 
with houses and towers, and some of these on both 
days had to be cleared of the enemy's sharp-shooters 
before the main body could proceed. 

As the road entered the low hills fringing the 
foot of the pass, the ground was all in favour of the 

1 This regiment returned to Bagh after completing work on the road to the 
foot of the Durbi Khel Pass. 

N 



178 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

enemy and several casualties occurred. But our 
men and ofificers are now every day improving in 
the skirmishing attack and defence methods essential 
to success in this kind of warfare, and they steadily 
drove the Afridis before them, shooting several as 
they ran, and burning the houses from which we 
had been fired at. At one point on a rocky ridge 
some of the enemy had sangar-ed themselves 
strongly, and held their ground very doggedly. 
But a company of the Queen's, led by Lieutenant 
Engledue, went for them in dashing style, and 
made them vacate at the bayonet's point, killing six 
of them actually in the sangar, and securing their 
rifles, rare trophies with us. Our total casualties on 
the two days were one man of the Queen's, and 
two of the Yorkshires, killed, and eight Yorkshires, 
one Royal Scots Fusilier, four 4th Gurkhas, two 
Gurkha Scouts, two Sappers, and one doolie-bearer 
wounded. 

On the 28th all the troops and baggage had 
crossed the pass, and the force concentrated the 
following day at Dargai. The Massozais, who had 
hitherto blustered exceedingly, were apparently 
startled to find themselves suddenly invaded, and 
their principal village occupied by our troops : and 
almost as we marched in their jirgahs appeared on 
the scene, and tendered submission. Their country 
seems extremely fertile, with much pasturage, and 
many well-built villages, which no doubt they were 
anxious to save. There are also splendid forests of 



i%?S,. 




xii THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CHAMKANIS 179 

oak, fir, birch, and walnut. The jirgahs promised 
to pay up their fines at once, and, as a matter of fact, 
brought in an instalment of thirty rifles the next day.^ 
The Khani Khel Chamkanis, however, further 
to the west, showed no sign of coming in, so Sir 
William arranged to look them up without delay. 
Leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Spurgin, Royal Scots 
Fusiliers, in command at Dargai, with one battery, 
a wing of his own regiment, the Yorkshires, 2nd 
Gurkhas, and the two Sapper Companies, with 
orders to improve the road to Khanki Bazar, in 
which direction it was intended to march later. Sir 
William himself, with Brigadier-General Gaselee, 
and No. i Kohat Mountain battery, the Queen's, 
the 4th Gurkhas, the 3rd Sikhs, and the Gurkha 
Scouts, marched to Hissar, and there joined hands 
with Colonel Hill,^ with whom helio communication 
had been opened the previous day, and who had 
come up from Sadr, through the Kharmana defile, 
in compliance with orders previously sent him from 
headquarters. 

1 A few shots were fired into the headquarter's camp on the night of the 
29th, and two of Sir William's personal escort were wounded : also his 
extra aide-de-camp, Sir Pratap Singh of Jodhpur. The following reference 
to this incident is from Despatches: — "I take this opportunity of expressing 
my thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel His Highness the Maharaj Dhiraj Sir 
Pratap Singh, G.C.S.I., who was attached to me throughout the expedition 
as extra aide-de-camp. This very gallant Rajput nobleman was wounded on 
the 29th November, and characteristically concealed the fact until I discovered 
it by accident some days after the occurrence." 

2 Colonel Hill had with him 100 mounted men and 300 dismounted of 
the 6th B.C., and the Central India Horse ; 400 rifles 12th B.I., 200 rifles 
5th Gurkhas, and 200 rifles Kapurthala Infantry. 



i8o THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

It had been quite expected that the Mamozais 
and the Massozais would show fight, and that the 
Chamkanis, a small and insignificant section, would 
submit quietly. But, as is often the case, it was 
the unexpected which happened. The Massozais 
and Mamozais tendered their submission, and paid 
up their fines, as soon as our columns appeared on 
the scene ; while the Chamkanis, on the other hand, 
hurled their defiance at us, and promptly dared us 
to do our worst ! They were accordingly tackled 
at once (on ist December), their punishment being 
intrusted to Colonel Hill. 

Colonel Hill's force consisted of 200 of the 5th 
Gurkha Rifles, 12th Khelat-i-Ghilzai Regiment, the 
Kapurthala Infantry, the 4th Gurkha Rifles, 400 
dismounted cavalry (6th B.C. and Central India 
Horse), the Kohat Mounted Battery, two Maxims 
(Royal Scots Fusiliers), and last, but not least, the 
Gurkha Scouts. His objective was the principal 
Chamkani settlement of Thabi, about seven miles to 
the north-west of Hissar, and his orders were to 
burn and destroy every fortified post and tower either 
in it or on the road to it. This programme was 
not, however, fully carried out on the ist, because, 
owing to the extremely difficult country, and the 
stubborn resistance offered by the enemy, un- 
expected delays occurred ; and, thorough co-opera- 
tion between the two columns, into which for the 
purpose of attack Colonel Hill had divided his 
troops, did not take place : moreover, it was 



XII THE PUNISHMENT OF THE CHAMKANIS 



I8i 



necessary to return to Hissar during daylight, to 
avoid the risk of an attack on the rear-guard after 
dark by the Massozais. The casualties on our 
side on this day were eight killed and seventeen 
wounded. Amongst the former was Richmond 
Battye, of the 6th B.C./ and in the latter were 
included Villiers - Stuart, 5th Gurkhas, severely 
wounded ; Vansittart, 5 th Gurkhas, and Pennington, 
1 2th B.C., slightly wounded. 

On the next day, the 2nd, Sir William directed 
a fresh attack to be made. Colonel Hill again 
commanding, taking with him half a battalion 
of the Queen's, and half a battalion of the 3rd 
Sikhs, the 4th and 5th Gurkhas, the Gurka 
Scouts, and the Kohat Mountain Battery. On this 
occasion complete success attended the operations. 
Some commanding heights, from which the attack- 
ing columns had been . much harassed on the pre- 
vious day, were scaled in great style by the 
Gurkhas, the Scouts leading ; and though the 
Chamkanis fought well they were driven from ridge 
to ridge and suffered heavily, leaving many of their 
dead behind them, so hot-foot in pursuit were the 
Scouts under the bold leading of Captain Lucas and 
Lieutenant Bruce. Mirak Shah, the chief Malik of 

^ With reference to the death of Lieutenant Battye, the Pioneer wrote : — 
" It is now almost a tradition with the Battyes that all shall die on the battle- 
field ; but one may nevertheless regret the death so early of yet another of 
this gallant family. Richmond Battye was a young officer of only eight 
years' service, eager, active, alert, and conscientious in the discharge of his 
duties, of a sound understanding, and full of a generous enthusiasm for his 
profession." 



i83 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

the Khani Khels, and Mahmud and Saidu, two 
other important Maliks, are said to have been 
among the slain. The defences of Thabi were 
razed to the ground, and the return march to Hissar 
was unmolested. Our own casualties on this day- 
were nominal. 

The Chamkanis having been thus effectively 
punished, Colonel Hill, with the troops of his own 
command, and taking with him all the sick and 
wounded, was directed to return to Sadda (or 
Sadr), where he arrived on the 5th without in- 
terruption by the way, and resumed his duties 
as Warden of the Kurram Valley while these 
frontier disturbances last ; and Sir William Lock- 
hart, marching leisurely via Khanki Bazar ^ and 
the Chingakh Pass (7700 feet), returned to Bagh 
on 6th December. 

Here, in accordance with instructions previously 
issued, every preparation had been by this time 
completed for the evacuation of Tirah. For the 
cold here is already intense, and winter is coming 
on us now with rapid strides. Directly snow falls 
it would be impossible to maintain ourselves in 
these bleak highlands, which the Afridis themselves 
always abandon during the winter months. It was 

I At Khanki Bazar a column joined which had come up the valley from 
Khangarbur, with supplies for Sir William Lockhart's force. It consisted of 
the 30 P. I., 2nd P. I., 4 guns, Kashmir Mountain Battery, and a squadron 
18 B.L., the whole under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Maisey. 
No opposition was encountered by the way. When Sir William Lockhart 
marched for Bagh* this column returned to Khangarbur, with the exception 
of the 2nd P.I., which now joined Brigadier-General Gaselee's brigade. 



xii PREPARATIONS TO LEAVE TIRAH 183 

decided, therefore, to move to a milder clime while 
the weather continues fine, and by sending off well 
beforehand, vid Shinauri and Kohat, all heavy 
baggage and surplus stores, all sick and weakly 
men, and even all Staff and departmental officers, 
and officers not absolutely required on the march 
with the headquarters of the army, or of divisions, 
it was arranged that everything should be ready for 
a start the day after Sir William Lockhart's return 
from his excursion into the Chamkani-Massozai 
country. The troops remaining would then move 
on the lightest possible scale, without tents, as the 
success of the impending manoeuvres must depend 
largely upon the mobility of the columns engaged 
in them. The scheme is, briefly, to change the 
base of operations from Kohat to Peshawar. The 
2nd Division, General Yeatman- Biggs command- 
ing, and Sir William Lockhart and Staff accom- 
panying, will march, viA Dwatoi, down the Bara 
Valley, to Barkai. General Symons, with General 
Gaselee's and General Hart's Brigades, will start 
from the latter's camp in the Mastura Valley, and 
move down the Mastura, destroying on the way the 
defences of the Aka Khel villages, in the Waran 
Valley : thence they will cross the Sapri Pass, and 
join the 2nd Division near Barkai or Bara Fort. 
Here the whole force will link up with General 
Hammond's " Peshawar column," and be within 
easy reach by a good road of Peshawar itself ; and 
at Bara, also, we should pick up again all our heavy 



i84 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

baggage, etc., and be rejoined by all those who are 
now travelling round by Shinauri-Kohat-Pindi to 
Peshawar. 

Finally, the Peshawar column, which hitherto 
has remained in the vicinity of Peshawar, has been 
directed to advance as far as Barkai by the 8th 
December, and there to select camping-grounds and 
store supplies, for the main column, and to improve 
the roads between Barkai and Bara fort.^ 

By thus sweeping down the Mastura and Bara 
Valleys (Waran being visited en route) the whole of 
the Afridi-Orakzai highlands will be explored from 
end to end : and, on the completion of the march, 
the force will be concentrated about Barkai- Bara- 
Jamrud, conveniently close to Peshawar, in a posi- 
tion to operate with effect against the Afridi settle- 
ments in the lower Bara and Bazar Valleys, and to 
reoccupy the Khyber. 

Seeing us thus established in positions dominat- 
ing their country, and within striking distance of 
those lower valleys into which they themselves are 
driven by the approach of winter, the Zakka-khels, 
the most implacable of our foes, must see the futility 
of prolonging a struggle so disastrous to themselves, 
and which, if persevered in, will in all probability 
result in a permanent weakening of their power by 
depriving them of the premier position which un- 

1 "On my arrival at Barkai on the 14th December, I found that my 
instructions on these heads had been most thoroughly carried out." — Sir Wm. 
Lockkart's Despatches. 



XII PREPARATIONS TO LEAVE TIRAH 185 

doubtedly they hold now, and always have held in 
the past, among all the Afridi clans. For amongst 
most of the other sections there appears to be a 
genuine inclination to accept our terms, and to bury 
the hatchet ; and should the Zakkas, by obstinate 
resistance to the bitter end, protract the anxieties 
and hardships and sufferings of all, it is quite on 
the cards that the Malikdin-khels, the Khambar- 
khels, and others (between whom and the Zakka- 
khels there is no love lost) will make separate terms 
with us, and, as the quickest way of relieving their 
country of our presence, will combine with us to 
compel compliance by the Zakka-khels. 

These, however, are only what the gifted " Ali 
Baba",used to describe as "precious possibilities." 

It only remained at this juncture to notify to the 
tribes why we were leaving Tirah, and the subjoined 
proclamation was accordingly circulated among the 
clans by special messengers sent out by the political 
officers : — 

" I am going away from these highlands of Maidan," wrote Sir 
William, " because snow is coming, and I do not wish my troops 
to be exposed to the cold of winter. But I am not going to 
leave your country. On the contrary, I shall remain in your 
country until you fully comply with the terms of Government ; 
and it is my intention to attack you in your other settlements 
during the winter. Whatever your evil advisers may tell you, I 
say that the Afridis attacking the English is like flies assailing a 
lion ; and, as an old friend of many of you, my advice to you is 
to submit, and so let your wives and families return from the 
cold mountains to their homes." 



CHAPTER XIII 

THROUGH THE DWATOI DEFILE AGAIN, AND DOWN 
THE BARA VALLEY 

Mamanai, i^th December. 

Leaving to our friends the Zakka-khels, and others, 
this document to think over, the movement, vid the 
Dwatoi defile, down the Bara Valley was commenced 
on 7th December. The force, which consisted only 
of the Second Division, under General Yeatman- 
Biggs and Army Headquarters, had been cut down, 
as I have explained, in the way of baggage to the 
lowest possible scale, and was rationed only up 
to 14th December, by which date therefore it was 
essential that a junction should be effected with 
Brigadier - General Hammond and the Peshawar 
column somewhere about Barkai. The whole dis- 
tance to be traversed was only about forty miles, 
and but little was known about the road except that 
it was bad ; opposition throughout its length was 
certain ; and a margin had to be allowed for delays 
in getting through the Dwatoi defile, and for an 
expedition en route to attack the Kuki-khels in 



CH. xiii THROUGH THE DWATOI DEFILE AGAIN 187 

Rajgul. Thus, to take only seven days' supplies 
with the column was cutting it rather fine, but the 
difficulties of transport are a ruling factor in all these 
matters, and, carrying only this small provision, the 
baggage animals with the troops numbered nearly 
12,000 mules and ponies. 

The advance was led by Brigadier-General West- 
macott's Brigade, Sir William Lockhart and staff 
accompanying, I have described before the defile 
between Bagh and Dwatoi. My first estimate of 
its vast natural strength and appalling difficulties is 
not diminished, but rather strengthened and con- 
firmed, by a second inspection of it. Literally one 
might say of this place — 

In yon strait path a thousand 
May well be stopped by three. 

But, most fortunately, our passage through the most 
dangerous portion of it was not opposed by the 
enemy at all. The Malikdin-khels, who claim lord- 
ship over the country through which lie the first 
few and worst miles, had been happily squared by 
our energetic political officers,^ and on the promise 
that their houses in the neighbourhood should be 
spared they agreed not to obstruct our march. Not- 
withstanding, no military precaution to insure a safe 

1 Colonel Warburton-'s influence is very great with all Afridis, and, chiefly 
through his efforts, eight of the Malikdin Maliks came in on the evening of 
the 6th, and promised to post unarmed picquets of their own men on the 
heights through which our road lay to Dwatoi. This they did, and for three 
days and two nights, that is, until our troops were clear of the defile, not a 
shot was fired in it. 



188 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

transit was neglected. The thermometer registered 
2 1 degrees of frost on the morning of 7th December, 
but long before daylight the troops of the advanced 
guard, under Lieutenant - Colonel C. Pulley, 3rd 
Gurkhas, had scaled the towering heights on either 
flank of the advance, and made secure the most 
important points. Colonel Pulley's force consisted 
of his own splendid battalion, half a battalion of the 
2nd Punjab Infantry, the 28th Bombay Pioneers, a 
company of Madras Sappers, and a Mountain Battery, 
which last, of course, had to follow the river bed. 
The Pioneers and Sappers worked at the road as 
they went along, while the flanking parties were 
furnished chiefly by the Gurkhas. Close behind 
the troops of the advanced guard came the rest of 
Westmacott's Brigade, and then followed the trans- 
port of the division, a surging mass of struggling 
animals and shouting drivers that blocked the narrow 
pass for miles and for hours, or rather for days, but 
which came through safely, nevertheless, by the 
evening of the 9th, under the protection of General 
Kempster's Brigade, which formed the rear-guard of 
the division. 

I may mention here that, as General Kempster's 
Brigade left Bagh for Dwatoi, General Gaselee's 
Brigade (just returned with Sir William Lockhart 
from the Massozai country) started, via the Arhanga 
Pass, to join its own division (under Major-General 
Symons) in the Mastura Valley ; so that on 9th 
December the evacuation of Maidan was completed, 



XIII THROUGH THE DWATOI DEFILE AGAIN 189 

and General Symons with his division commenced 
his march down the Mastura simultaneously with 
our movement down the Bara. 

To resume. Although the passage of the defile 
was not opposed by the enemy, yet we were fired 
on as soon as we emerged from it and headed for 
our camping- ground. A brisk advance, however, 
under General Westmacott's own direction, soon 
drove the enemy off, and strong picquets were at 
once posted on all the surrounding heights, while 
the main body occupied their bivouacs, and the 
transport slowly filed on to the ground. Night by 
this time had come on, but there was nearly a full 
moon, which made it as bright as day. This was all 
in our favour, and enabled our tired troops to stave 
off successfully every attack made on them (and 
they were numerous up to midnight),^ and prevented 

1 " We (F. Company, K.O.S.Bs.) rushed this position (heights above 
Dwatoi) with pipes playing. The enemy now retired to another sangar in 
a clump of trees, slightly below us, about 300 yards away, and held other 
sangars beyond, and commanding it. We had to lie close here, as bullets 
were coming in thick. As this was to be our post for the night (it was 
now only 3 p.m.), we entrenched ourselves as well as we could, and Captain 
Macfarlane, who commanded us, posted one section under Sergeant Watson 
in a small sangar about sixty yards to our right. We left loopholes in the walls 
we built up, so that the sentries could look out without exposing themselves. 
It was a bitter cold night, and we were all wet through with wading during 
the day. 

" When it got dark the Afridis began to fire at us, but we didn't reply. 
Suddenly one of the sentries called out, ' Stand to ! They're on us ! ' We 
all sprung to our posts, and opened fire independently on a mob of men who 
were charging down with loud shouts. Some of them were within twenty yards. 
Our fire checked them, and they drew off. We could hear groans, and the 
noise made by bodies being dragged and carried away. One dead man was 
lefl within ten yards of our wall. 

' ' They now established themselves under cover all round us within very 



19° THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

much of the loss and confusion amongst the trans- 
port which otherwise would have ensued from being 
benighted on the road. 

On the next day, the 8th, our fine weather 
deserted us at last. There had in fact been a drizzle 
during the night, and when we roused in the morn- 
ing the hills all round us were dusted with snow. 
The highlands of Tirah had not been evacuated a 
day too soon. It would have been disastrous indeed, 
to be caught up there by the snow, which lies thick 
in a severe winter for weeks together, and we con- 
gratulated ourselves that we were well out of it. 

The only incident of note on the 8th was a 
brilliant little dash by a detachment composed of 
3rd Gurkhas and 36th Sikhs, supported by the fire 
of some mountain guns, to capture a peak about a 
mile up the stream, which was strongly held by the 
enemy, and which completely commanded the road 
up the valley by which it was intended on the follow- 
ing day to push a punitive reconnaissance. The 
men had already been marching and fighting for 

short ranges, fired frequently, shouted abuse in Hindustani, and threw stones, 
by which several of us were hit. We took no notice, by Captain Macfarlane's 
orders, but waited to give them the bayonet should they come on. 

"Twice men were seen by the sentries trying to crawl up close ; and each 
time as the sentry rose to bayonet them, he was shot dead through the head 
by marksmen who were on the look-out. The men killed in this way were 
Privates Waits and Young. Up to 10 P.M. we were much harassed, and 
constantly threatened by rushes, but after midnight they let us almost alone. 
It then came on to snow. At daylight they fired briskly again, but none of 
us were hit ; and later in the day, when the Gurkhas and Sikhs captured a 
hill which commanded their position, they cleared out altogether. We were 
relieved at noon by H. Company." — From a letter by an Officer with the 
Picquet. 



xiiJ THROUGH THE DWATOI DEFILE AGAIN 191 

more than thirty-six hours at a stretch when they 
were ordered to fall in for this attack, but they 
started at once light-hearted and cheerful, and, 
splendidly led by Lieutenants West and Van 
Someren, breasted the tremendous climb in the 
most gallant style and captured the hill-top right 
away, with a loss of only four men killed and 
wounded. 

On the 9th, General Kempster's Brigade having 
come in and taken over the picquets, General West- 
macott marched his brigade up the Rajgul Valley, 
Sir William Lockhart accompanying, with the 
object of mapping the country, which is all a terra 
incognita to our surveyors, and of punishing the 
Kuki-khels by destroying their towers and defences. 
I speak of the Rajgul Valley, but in reality it is 
throughout its length (three or four miles) more 
a defile than a valley. Shut in on either hand 
by lofty hills, whose wooded spurs run down until 
they almost meet in the stream at their feet, it is a 
place in which troops must be handled with the 
greatest caution. But the 4th Brigade are seasoned 
warriors now, quick to understand their general's 
instructions, and alert and resolute in carrying them 
out ; and so, without a hitch or falter, they worked 
steadily up the valley, crowning height after height 
on the flanks, taking advantage of the ground like 
the practised skirmishers they are now, driving the 
enemy back with only trivial loss to themselves, and 
holding them in check until the Sappers and Pioneers 



192 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

behind them had accomplished their work of destruc- 
tion and the survey parties had finished their maps. 
The mountain guns again were well to the front and of 
the greatest service in expelling the enemy from the 
shelter of their sangars, and supporting and cover- 
ing the infantry attack. The batteries out on this 
day were No. 8, under Major Shirres, and No. 5, 
under Captain Money, and the accuracy of their fire 
was the subject of general remark. 

The retirement to camp was as usual actively 
pressed by the Afridis, but the handling and work- 
ing of the troops were admirable, and the enemy 
made no impression on them whatever ; while their 
own losses must have been severe. The 3rd 
Gurkhas, 36th Sikhs, 2nd P. I., 28th Bombay 
Pioneers, Scottish Borderers, and two companies 
Royal Scottish Fusiliers were the troops engaged. 

And now, on the loth, commenced our difficult 
and arduous march down the Bara Valley. The 
stages were — Dwatoi to Sandana, eight miles ; to 
Sher-khel, ten miles ; to Narkandai, eight miles ; 
and to Swaikot-Mamanai (about one mile east of 
Swaikot) eight miles. 

From the above you will see there were only four 
comparatively short marches to make before joining 
up with General Hammond and the Peshawar 
column. It sounded so simple, but I think most of 
us understood that it meant four days of the sternest 
work and stiffest trial that the force has had yet. 
For though we knew well enough that our march 



XIII DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 193 

was not, in the accepted sense, a movement in 
retreat, yet it was quite certain that such was the 
construction the enemy would put upon it. We knew 
very well that we were sweeping down the Bara and 
Mastura Valleys merely by way of carrying out part 
of a thought-out programme, that the march Pesha- 
war-wards was only reculer pour m.ieux sauter, and 
that the measure was only preliminary to fresh raids 
up the Bazar and Khyber Valleys. But the Afridis, 
intelligent though they be, would not look at our 
ulterior aims. They would only consider the situa- 
tion of the present and the opportunity of the 
moment. Their Mullahs would tell them that we 
were flying from their country, defeated, and un- 
successful in our venture, and would urge them to 
follow close on our tracks, and to strike hard for 
vengeance' sake, and for their faith. 

And, indeed, they did all this, and played their 
own game throughout the retirement with a deter- 
mination and boldness and skill which often com- 
pelled our admiration, although it cost us dear. But 
I must not anticipate. 

Our march commenced at daylight on the loth. 

The general arrangement was that the 4th Brigade, 

Westmacott's, should lead the way, and the 3rd 

Brigade, Kempster's, bring up the rear, the whole 

of the baggage and hospitals, etc., moving between 

the two brigades. The Bara Valley is nowhere a 

mile in breadth, and in many parts narrows in to 

very much less than that. Down the centre of it 

o 



194 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

runs the Bara stream, a muddy torrent almost knee- 
deep, 30 to 40 feet wide, brawling over a rocky bed, 
winding like a great red snake backwards and for- 
wards from one bank to the other, anon breaking up 
into a dozen smaller branches, and then collecting 
again into one channel as it rushes through a rocky 
gorge. The average width from bank to bank of 
the river-bed is less than half a mile, mostly laid 
out in terraced rice-fields, and though above the river 
on the left bank there is a narrow bridle-path, the 
whole of the transport was kept below, partly be- 
cause of the broad front on which it could there 
move, and partly because of the protection afforded 
by the banks. Beyond the river banks are rice-fields 
again in terraces, and beyond these again the hills, 
rising abruptly into peaks and ridges which run up 
to 9000 and 10,000 feet, all thickly covered now with 
recent snow. Throughout its length, therefore, the 
valley is commanded by the heights on either side, 
and as every yard of our progress was fiercely con- 
tested, it is easy, or, rather, it is not easy — to realise 
the tremendous exertions, and I may add, risks, 
involved in clearing these, mile by mile, in holding 
them while the baggage passed through, and, finally, 
in withdrawing from them. 

It must be remembered that never before on our 
North- West Frontier have we had to deal with an 
enemy armed with long-ranging breech-loaders, as 
these Afridis are. It may be much argued where 
they got them from, but the fact remains that they 



xiii DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 195 

possess them. The majority have Martini-Henry 
rifles, with which they shoot very straight up to 
1200 and 1500 yards. But in addition they have a 
few Lee-Metfords, fifty or sixty probably, taken or 
stolen from us at various times, notably on the 9th 
and 1 6th of November, and their supply of am- 
munition is apparently unlimited. Consequently, 
the work thrown on flanking parties now is ex- 
tremely heavy. In the days when the enemy had 
nothing better than the jezail and a few Enfields 
and Sniders, it was practically enough to keep them 
a good half-mile clear of the line of march. Now 
the flankers must go much farther afield than that, 
and points have to be occupied and held fully a mile 
away on either hand before the road can be con- 
sidered safe. 

To accentuate the difficulties of the march under 
the conditions I have indicated, it rained and sleeted 
and snowed throughout the night of the 9th and 
during the loth ; and that rain made a cruel differ- 
ence to the wretched transport animals, and shiver- 
ing drivers, and hospital kahars, who (like every 
one else, for that matter) had to lie out in it without 
tents or shelter. For it not only drenched them to 
the bone, and froze them to the marrow, but it also 
converted the rice-fields, across which they had to 
plough their way, into veritable bogs, and in these 
many a poor beast plunged up to his girths, and, 
too exhausted to get on his legs again, was left 
behind and lost. The ice-cold river, too, had to be 



196 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

forded ten or a dozen times in every mile, and long 
before Swaikot was reached many unhappy followers, 
frozen by the cold, and terrified by the bullets 
whistling overhead, collapsed and died by the way, 
in spite of the efforts of the escorts to keep them all 
together, and bring them safely along. 

However, we had to take the country as we 
found it, and the weather as it came, and war cannot 
be waged without losses of this kind occurring. As 
a matter of fact, on this first march, on the loth, the 
casualties were not very numerous, either amongst the 
troops or the followers — about twenty only in the two 
brigades amongst the former. It was on the next 
day, the nth, that the weather was at its worst, the 
fighting more severe, and the losses considerable. 
The enemy seemed to realise that they had a great 
chance now, and they attacked the rear-guards, who 
were terribly delayed and embarrassed by the trans- 
port, and particularly by the hospitals, with great 
determination. The wretched kahars, hardly able 
to carry the doolies when empty, seemed quite 
unable to bear them when loaded with the weight 
of a wounded man. Yet they had to be brought 
along, and the troops had often to fight desperately 
to hold the savage pursuers at bay while the dooly- 
bearers got safely away with their precious burdens. 
At last night came on while the tail of the rear- 
guard was still nearly three miles from its bivouac 
with the main body. It consisted at this time of 
70 men of the Gordons, 220 of the 2nd Gurkhas, 



XIII DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 197 

30 of the 2nd P. I., and 30 of the Dorsets, and was 
commanded by that good soldier Major Downman, 
of the Gordons. 

Encumbered as he was at this time with twenty- 
one wounded men, and with darkness approaching, 
while scores of the enemy surrounded him on every 
side, Major Downman promptly decided to seize a 
house, and intrench himself for the night. A clump 
of huts on the right bank of the river seemed to 
afford the shelter sought for, and his little column 
made for them. The enemy, noting his intention, 
attempted to forestall him in the possession of this 
vantage-ground, but Captain Uniacke, with a hand- 
ful of Gordons, made a brilliant dash and got in 
first. The rest of the party soon followed, and the 
detachment was safe for the night. They had been 
fighting from daylight to dark, and were thankful to 
get some rest. The men had behaved with steadi- 
ness and resolution in the most trying circumstances, 
and the officers had set a most brilliant example of 
courage and endurance. Among the wounded this 
day were Lieutenant Williams, Hants Regiment, 
transport officer, and Captain Norie, 2nd Gurkhas, 
whose left arm was shattered into matches by a bullet 
which strucjf it high up near the shoulder. 

When day broke on the 1 2th Major Downman 
heliographed in for help to Sher-khel, and General 
Kempster went out with a couple of regiments and 
a battery, and brought his gallant little detachment 
in. The total casualties on the nth were not less 



198, THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

than fifty or sixty amongst the troops ; and, owing 
to the inclement weather and the dreadful state 
of the flooded country, there is no doubt that a 
number of followers were lost, and that consider- 
able quantities of stores and baggage and animals 
were abandoned, and fell into the hands of the 
enemy. 

- On the 1 2th Sir William Lockhart halted. A 
rest was imperatively necessary, for, what with con- 
stant marching and fighting and heavy picquet duties, 
the strain had been incessant since the 7th inclusive. 
From this point, too, the order of march was changed. 
The 3rd Brigade was directed to lead the advance 
and the 4th Brigade to undertake the rear-guard 
duties. 

The enemy by this time had increased in numbers 
and daring, until it was plain they thought they had 
us on a " down grade." They fired into our crowded 
camp on the night of the nth with considerable 
effect ; and parties sent out to forage during the 
day, though very strongly guarded, were engaged 
in a skirmish more or less severe all the time. All 
the sections of the Afridis were represented in the 
hungry crowd, attracted no doubt by the hope of 
plunder, but the bulk of them were Zakka-khels and 
Aka-khels, and they had not forgotten to bring their 
Lee-Metfords with them ! It was actually necessary, 
as the only way to disperse these prowling guerillas, 
to pitch a few shells into them, where on the moun- 
tain side fully 2500 yards away a little knot of marks- 



XIII DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 199 

men had established themselves across the river, 
whence they kept up a most harassing fusilade 
on the camp throughout the day and far into the 
night. 

On the 13th the march was resumed. Fortu- 
nately the clouds had now cleared away, and once 
more the weather was bright and fine. The cold, 
however, was intense, and the river had as usual 
to be forded many times during the day. Rarely 
have troops been engaged in severer fighting than 
Westmacott's Brigade on this memorable 13th of 
December. Encouraged by their recent successes, 
and with their appetites for plunder whetted by the 
stuff that had fallen into their hands on the nth, 
the Afridis plunged into the fray now with a keener 
zest than ever. Before even the picquets had been 
withrawnj and while we were still not clear of the 
camp at Sher-khel, they were pressing their fierce 
attack, and were only held at arm's length by the 
most determined fighting. But Westmacott's men 
were comparatively fresh, and with a full reliance on 
their General, who was ever amongst them, animat- 
ing them by his presence and his words, they 
hardened their hearts for a stiff day's work ; and 
disputing stubbornly every inch of ground, fell back 
slowly and steadily, firing on the crowding enemy 
with deadly effect whenever a chance offered, and 
backing and supporting each other with a coolness 
and judgment that was admirable to a degree. The 
Scottish Borderers nobly bore their share in the 



200 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

day's operations, and the Northamptons were 
engaged also, but the brunt of the fighting fell on 
the 36th Sikhs and on the 3rd Gurkhas, more 
especially on the last-named. And never did 
Gurkhas or Sikhs behave more valiantly than on 
this trying day. The former, under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Pulley (who commanded his battalion on 
this occasion with conspicuous ability), and the latter 
under Major Des Voeux (of Gulistan fame). Colonel 
Haughton being temporarily sick, displayed a cool- 
ness and courage that could not be surpassed. 
Pressed by the en^my, who was unrelenting in his 
attack, and desperate in his efforts to work round 
the flanks and drive it home, encumbered by 
numerous wounded men whom they had to carry 
along with them, and often running short of ammu- 
nition, these two grand regiments held their own 
more than successfully against all comers, and 
defeated every attempt of the foe to break their 
line or even to hurry their retreat. They were 
splendidly supported by the Borderers, under 
Colonel Dixon, one of the finest regiments in the 
Force, while the artillery, as usual, rendered ines- 
timable service, pouring in a deadly fire from every 
coign of vantage ; so that, when darkness at last put 
an end to the struggle, heavy though the casualties 
of the Brigade had been, the General and his men 
could lie down conscious that their duty had been 
thoroughly and bravely and effectively done, and 
also that the enemy had been very severely handled. 



XIII DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 201 

His losses this day were well over 300, at a very 
moderate estimate, while ours must have been 
between fifty and sixty in the rear -guard alone, and 
included the gallant Lieutenant West, of the 3rd 
Gurkhas, who was killed on the spot by a shot 
through the heart, and Captain Bateman-Champain, 
of the same regiment, wounded. The Gurkhas had 
besides six men killed and sixteen wounded ; the 
Borderers, two killed and twelve wounded ; and the 
36th Sikhs, three killed and nine wounded. 

That evening the whole Division bivouacked at 
a place called Narkandai (Spin Kamar in the 
Despatches'). About 3|- miles from Sher-khel we 
left the valley of the Bara, and followed a track 
across the hills on the left bank, in order to avoid a 
dangerous defile which lay ahead. About \\ miles 
along this track, and then night coming on, a halt 
was called. We were here far from any water, but 
the men had been warned to replenish their water- 
bottles before leaving the river, and with that to 
drink, and such food as they had in their haver- 
sacks, they lay down to sleep just as they were. 
There was no village near us — the name Narkandai 
is the name of the locality merely — ^and we passed a 
comparatively quiet night. 

I should mention that communication was opened 
with General Hammond this day by helio, and, in 
compliance with a request previously forwarded to 
him by special messenger from Sher-khel, he had 
sent out to meet us a large number of extra kahars 



202 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

and doolies, of which we now stood sorely in 
need. 

On the next day, the 14th, the march was 
renewed, and the fighting, the same troops taking the 
rear-guard. But the enemy, though still active in 
pursuit, kept at a much more respectful distance ; 
and though it was again a hard day, with several 
casualties, it was not nearly so trying as on the 13th, 
and, at the same time, was quite as successful. Four 
miles out of Swaikot (or Barkai) Brigadier-General 
Hammond met Sir William Lockhart, and by five 
in the evening we were all comfortably encamped at 
Mamanai, inside his brigade. That night, free 
from care, we slept the sleep of the just, and joyfully 
thought of the morrow, when we should see our 
heavy baggage once more, and enjoy, perchance, the 
luxury of a tub and a change of clothes. 

Here, too, we were glad to learn that General 
Symons' Division had arrived safely in the neigh- 
bourhood of Bara, and to hear the details of his 
interesting march down the Mastura, of his brilliant 
raid into the Waran Valley en route, and of his 
successful passage of the hitherto unexplored Sapri 
Pass. His march had been chiefly through Orakzai 
territory, and, therefore, had been practically unop- 
posed ; but the Waran expedition against the 
Aka-khels, which had been entrusted to General 
Hart's Brigade, had been most skilfully managed 
(the casualties on our side being very few, while the 
punishment of the enemy was very thorough), and 



xiii DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 203 

the crossing of the Sapri, a most difficult pass, had 
been carried out with enterprise and judgment.^ 

Sir William Lockhart's whole force now stood 
united about Swaikot (Barkai), Bara, Jamrud, and 
the first phase of the Tirah campaign was ended. 
It may be confidently asserted that in no expedition 
or war in India since the great Mutiny has there 
been such severe and constant fighting, or such 
heavy losses. Hardships and frequent exposure, 
too, of no ordinary kind, have been incurred daily 
and n-ightly, and the strain on the troops has been 
incessant. We are too much accustomed to think 

' "The 1st Division, while moving from Mastura to Bara, met with com- 
paratively slight opposition, but the march was an arduous one, and in all 
respects was carried out in accordance with my wishes." — Sir William Lock- 
harfs Despatches. 

The Passage of the Safri Pass (5350 feet) : "On the nth the column 
halted about two miles from the foot of the pass. The rain came down 
steadily all that day and the following night, and as we were mostly encamped 
on rice-fields and boggy ground, it was not a cheerful time. Our column 
(Brigadier- General Hart's) included 7300 troops and followers, and about 
5000 transport animals. Throughout the nth the Sappers and Pioneers 
worked hard to improve the road ahead, but it was desperately bad, and the 
dreadful weather increased the difficulties of their task. Long before daylight 
on the 1 2th the advanced guard made a'start up the mountain-side, but so slow 
was the progress made that though the leading troops, with Major-General 
■ Symons, got through to Sapri (twelve miles) on the same day, the rest of the 
column was benighted when only some nine miles had been accomplished, 
and halted at a place called Khwaja Khidder. It was quite dark at 6 P.M., 
and as the transport was not then all in, General Hart had a long line of 
bonfires lighted, stretching four miles, from the summit of the pass right into 
camp. By the cheery blaze of these beacons the tired animals were safely 
guided through the dark forest, and not a load was lost. It was a sight that 
will not be easily forgotten by those who saw it — the lurid leaping flames, the 
black dancing shadows, the endless procession of pack-animals and drivers, 
and the groups of armed men keeping watch and ward. Fortunately the 
enemy made no serious attack during the night. Only a few shots were 
fired, and we only had a couple of men wounded." — From a Staff-Officer with 
the 1st Brigade. 



204 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

of the tribes on our frontier as an undisciplined 
rabble to be treated with contempt, and brushed 
aside with ease, whenever we choose to advance 
against them in lordly fashion. We have learned 
now that the conditions no longer exist which 
warranted such a belief. We have seen that the 
Afridis and Orakzais are practically as well armed 
as ourselves, except that at present they possess no 
artillery ; that they can shoot as straight as our own 
men ; that they can skirmish a great deal better 
than most of them ; and that they are enterprising 
and bold, and thoroughly understand how to make 
the best use of the natural advantages which their 
woods and mountains and rocky defiles, and their 
freedom from the cares of transports and hospitals, 
and such like impedimenta give them. Such a foe is 
to be treated with respect ; and the next time we 
approach him, our generals, and our staff officers, 
and our men will be better prepared to tackle him 
(for forewarned is forearmed) than some of them at 
least were in the commencement of the present 
campaign. 

The 2nd Division will now be given a much- 
needed rest, stationed about Bara-Barkai. Nearly 
all the hard fighting has fallen to its lot, and in 
killed and wounded alone its losses since the 
commencement of the operations are little short 
of 1000 men.'' General Yeatman-Biggs himself 

1 " During the march from Bagh, through Dwatoi, down the Bara valley, 
the troops of the 2nd Division were almost unceasingly engaged A*ith the 



XIII DOWN THE BARA VALLEY 205 

is ill, and only devotion to duty, and determina- 
tion to see the thing through, has kept him at 
his post at the head of his splendid Division 
during these trying weeks of fighting, hardship, 
and exposure.-^ 

The 1st Division, under Major-General Symons, 
with Brigadier-General Hammond's column, which 
is quite fresh and yearning for the fray, will 
concentrate at Jamrud, preparatory to moving up 
the Khyber and Bazar Valleys. This will probably 
be a ten days' affair, and undoubtedly there will be 
more hard knocks going, as the Zakka-khels appear 
to be still full of fight. A start will be made about 
the 23rd, and Sir William Lockhart will accompany 
the expedition himself. 

several sections of the Afridis through whose country they passed ; and 
towards the end of the march they were followed up by a large gathering 
representing every section. The flanking, picquet, and rear-guard duties in 
the presence of such an active and enterprising enemy were exceedingly 
onerous, while the line of march was along the bed of a river, the water of 
which was of icy coldness, and had to be repeatedly forded. The followers 
and kahars suffered most from the cold, and to assist the latter wounded men 
had to be frequently carried by their own comrades." — Sir William Lockharfs 
Despatches^ 

^ Major-General Yeatman-Biggs died at Peshawar on the 4th January, 
lamented as an accomplished gentleman, a gallant soldier, and a good friend, 
by every one who knew him. The following general order was issued from 
Headquarters on lOth January : — 

"The Commander-in-Chief has it in command from the Viceroy and 
Governor-General in India to express to the army His Excellency's deep 
regret at the loss which it has sustained in the death of Major-General 
Arthur Godolphin Yeatman-Biggs, C.B., and his high appreciation of the 
services rendered to the State by that officer. 

"The record of General Yeatman-Biggs' services covers a period of 
thirty-seven years, during which he was employed in the following campaigns 
and military expeditions — 

"The operations against the Taeping rebels in China, 1862; the South 



2o6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, xiii 

When this operation is completed the troops 
will all go into winter quarters and await develop- 
ments. Some regiments will be relieved by others 
from India/ and some will probably return to their 
stations without relief. Doubtless, too, the Head- 
quarters Staff and the Divisional Staffs will be, 
to a great extent, reorganised and reduced, as, 
even if it should be necessary to resume active 
operations in the spring, they will not be on the 
same scale. 

African war, 1 879, during which he commanded one of the parties sent in 
pursuit of Ketchewayo, and subsequently served as Staff-OfRcer of the 
Lydenburg column against Sekukuni ; and the Egyptian campaign of 1882. 
In August 1897 General Yeatman-Biggs was intrusted with the command 
of the troops in the Kohat and Kurram Valleys, then threatened by a 
formidable combination of the Afridi and Orakzai tribes, and he conducted 
the operations on the Ublan Pass, as well as those on the Samana, which 
ended with the defeat of the tribesmen and the relief of Gulistan. 

" On the formation of the Tirah Expeditionary Force he was appointed to 
the command of the 2nd Division, which he held until a few days before his 
death. The Commander-in-Chief shares the regret which will be felt by the 
army at the premature death of this gallant oflScer." 

■' The Devons were relieved at once by the Royal Sussex Regiment, 
the Dorsets by the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, and the Northamptons 
by the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; all "having been much 
weakened by losses in action, or by sickness." — Despatches. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE BAZAR VALLEY EXPEDITION AND REOCCUPATION 
OF THE KHYBER — THE AFFAIR AT SHIN KAMAR 
— THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN 

If the Afridis were under the impression that with 
the evacuation of Tirah we had done with them, 
they were now to be undeceived. Sir William 
Lockhart had warned them before starting on his 
march down the Bara that he had no intention of 
leaving their country until they had fully complied 
with the terms imposed by Government ; and he 
now proceeded without a day's delay to carry out 
his threat, failing their submission, to attack them 
in their other winter settlements. On the 15th and 
1 6th December the Peshawar column, under General 
Hammond, marched from Swaikot for Jamrud, where 
it was concentrated by the 1 7th, and joined on the 
19th by the ist Division and the Gurkha Scouts, 
under Major-General Symons. 

A reconnaissance into the Khyber on the i8th, 
by General Hammond, as far as Fort Maude, 
showed that the road had not been injured. The 



2o8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

telegraph line, of course, had been wrecked, and 
everything combustible in the fort itself had been 
burned. No one was seen or met during the day, 
and Ali Musjid, about four miles further up the 
pass, appeared to be deserted. 

The operations now about to be undertaken com- 
prised measures for reopening the road through the 
Khyber Pass (which had been closed ever since the 
end of August 1897) ." for reconstructing the Khyber 
posts, which had been destroyed by the Afridis, in- 
cluding the defensible serai at Landi Kotal ; for 
restoring the Landi Kotal water-supply ; and for de- 
stroying the defences of all Zakka Khel villages in the 
Khyber. At the same time, the Bazar Valley was to 
be visited and swept with the besom of destruction. 

On the 2ist and 22nd December the Sappers 
and Pioneers were busy making roads to selected 
artillery positions at the mouth of the Khyber 
Pass. On the 23rd General Hammond's column 
advanced to Ali Musjid, the 9th Gurkhas, and 
Captain Barton's Khyber Rifles, leading the way, 
and crowning the heights on the flanks. No enemy, 
however, was encountered, and the village of Lala 
China, near Ali Musjid, was without any sign of 
life. Its towers were blown up the next day, and 
large quantities of forage and fuel taken out and 
brought into camp. As regards the fort of Ali 
Musjid, the mischief done to it was not so great 
as was expected. The roofs and wood-work of 
the buildings inside it had been burnt, but the 



XIV THE BAZAR VALLEY EXPEDITION 209 

walls were for the most part standing, and in good 
order. 

On the next day the ist Division marched out 
from Jamrud, and encamped at Lala China. Sir 
William Lockhart arrived at the same time, 
accompanied by General Sir Havelock- Allan, V.C., 
M.P., who had come out from England to have 
a look at the Frontier, and had been invited by 
Sir William to join him during the Bazar expedition. 
A few shots were fired into camp this night, and one 
man was wounded. 

On the 25th, Christmas day, the ist Division 
entered the Bazar Valley in two columns. Sir 
William Lockhart himself accompanied the left 
column, which consisted of the regiments of General 
Gaselee's Brigade, No. i M.B. R.A., No. 2 
(Derajat) M.B., the Gurkha Scouts, and No. 3 
Cpmpany Bombay Sappers and Miners. This 
column marched, via the Chora Pass, to Chora 
village ; about eight miles through low hills covered . 
with brushwood, by a fairly easy road. No 
opposition was encountered, and the next day the 
column reached China, its objective, eleven miles, 
which of course was deserted. The rear-guard 
had a skirmish on this march with small parties 
of the enemy, and two men were killed and four 
wounded. The next day the towers and defences 
of China were destroyed, and the column returned 
to Chora. The enemy on this occasion attacked 
the rear -guard with some pertinacity, but were 



210 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

repulsed with heavy loss to themselves, a noted 
Mullah, named Idris, being among the killed. 

Meantime Brigadier-General Hart's Brigade had 
been having an arduous time. In the advance of the 
division into the Bazar Valley it formed the right 
column, and its march was directed, via the Alachi 
Pass, to Karamna. Major-General Symons accom- 
panied this column in person. Karamna should 
have been reached on the 25th, for General Ham- 
mond was co-operating by holding the Aspoghar 
heights on the right flank of the ist Brigade, and the 
village of Alachi itself. But the pass was found very 
much more difficult than had been anticipated, and 
an endless string of camels encountered in the Khyber 
interfering with the march of the troops, soon after 
they had started from their bivouac, the movement 
was so much delayed that the whole of the transport 
had to spend the night a la belle dtoile to the east of 
the Alachi Pass, where, under the protection of the 
Royal Sussex Regiment and the ist Gurkhas it re- 
mained safe. The next morning it came on, all 
well, to Karamna, and the same day the force 
pushed on another three miles to Burg. Opposition 
was encountered throughout, and a few casualties 
were sustained ; but the enemy were easily driven 
off, and considerable loss inflicted upon them. 
Communication was now opened with the left 
column, and while, on the 27th, the bulk of the 
troops stood fast at Burg, a strong detachment 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Cafe, Royal Sussex Regi- 



XIV THE BAZAR VALLEY EXPEDITION 211 

ment, moved out towards Walai.to picquet the heights 
and protect the flank of General Gaselee's brigade 
during its withdrawal from China to Chora, already- 
described. These picquets were attacked by the 
Afridis, and lost three men killed, and an officer. 
Lieutenant Julius, Royal Sussex Regiment, and four 
men wounded. 

I should mention here that from Karamna a road 
leads via the Bori Pass to a place called Lala Beg 
in the Khyber Pass, not far from Landi Kotal. Sir 
William Lockhart had originally intended to join 
the ist Brigade on his return from China, and 
march with it to Ali Musjid by this route. But on 
Christmas day General Symons, who had reached 
Karamna with the leading troops of the brigade 
comparatively early, reconnoitred the Bori Pass 
and the road leading over it, and found the physical 
difficulties so great for laden animals that Sir 
William, on his report — knowing, too, that there was 
great difficulty about water at Karamna — gave up 
the idea, and both . columns eventually withdrew 
from the Bazar Valley by the same route by which 
they had entered it. By the 30th December the 
division was again concentrated at Jamrud. The 
2nd Brigade returned without opposition, but the 
I St Brigade was constantly engaged in skirmishes 
more or less severe, and sustained some loss, 
inflicting more, however, on the enemy. The 
total casualties in the ist Division during these 
operations in the Bazar Valley were one British 



212 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

officer,-' six British soldiers, and four native soldiers 
killed ; and one British officer, thirty British soldiers, 
and seventeen native soldiers wounded. 

While the ist Division had thus explored the 
Bazar Valley, General Hammond's column had pro- 
ceeded, on the 26th December, to Landi Kotal. 
The walls and gates of the serai were found to be 
intact ; but, inside, all the buildings had been 
wrecked, the roofs, the iron-work, the wood-work 
either removed or burnt, and all movable property 
and stores carried off. The quarters in which 
Captain Barton, the Commander of the Levies, used 
to live, were a ruin, and everything they contained 
had, of course, been destroyed or looted. The 
piping of the water-supply was breached, and many 
of the pipes carried off, but the great tanks about a 
mile and a half below the Kotal, constructed at a 
cost of three lakhs of rupees, £2,0,000, had not been 
touched. Government have already decided to re- 
build and repair in the Khyber wherever necessary, 
and Landi Kotal, being the most important point 
on the line, the work there will be put in hand 
forthwith. 

On the 27th a reconnaissance was pushed from 
Landi Kotal towards the Bori Pass, as Sir William 
Lockhart wanted information about the state of the 
road on the Khyber side as well as on the Bazar 
side. It was soon ascertained to be quite imprac- 

^ Lieutenant C. R. Tonga, R.E., killed by the premature explosion of a 
dynamite charge. 



XIV REOCCUPATION OF THE KHYBER 213 

ticable for the passage of a brigade, as a portion of 
the defile through which the track ran was found to 
be a winding passage, in places only four feet wide, 
flanked by perpendicular cliffs. 

General Hammond's troops were from this time 
employed in working parties on the Fort, in foraging 
and demolishing village defences of the Zakka- 
khels all along the line of the Khyber, in picquet- 
ing the hills which command the route throughout, 
and in convoying supplies and material sent up from 
the base. These seem trivial duties when written 
down, but they mean incessant work and watchful- 
ness for those who have to execute them, surrounded, 
as the whole locality is, by a keen and enterprising 
and relentless enemy. Encounters were, of course, 
of daily occurrence, and every now and then a few 
casualties would occur. On the 30th December, 
however, an engagement somewhat more serious 
than usual took place. The picquets of the Oxford 
Light Infantry were fired into and attacked in 
earnest while they were being withdrawn for the 
day. Three men were killed, and three officers 
(Lieutenant- Colonel Plowden, Captain Parr, and 
Lieutenant Owen) ^ and eleven men wounded. 

1 The forward picquet in the valley commenced to retire at 3.30. p.m., and 
was joined by the section under Captain Parr, and also by the section from 
the Buddhist tope, which latter retired as a 'support to the two former in 
extended order. After passing the Buddhist tope by about 250 yards a 
volley was fired into them from the left rear and three men were wounded. 
The sections then got under cover in a nullah on their left as they retired ; 
two of the wounded who could walk were sent along the nullah to the medical 
officer of the regiment, while the third was dressed by Colonel Plowden on 



214 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

News of this misadventure was brought into Landi 
Kotal at half-past five in the evening by a bugler of 
the Oxford Light Infantry, who galloped in on 
Colonel Plowden's charger with a note asking for 
help. General Hammond at once set out with 
reinforcements, extricated the Oxfords from their 
dilemma, and brought them all safely into camp, 
with all their dead and wounded. 

The Ali Musjid picquets were attacked on the 
same day, and as the attitude of the Zakka-khels 
seemed to be now increasingly hostile, Sir William 
Lockhart strengthened the force occupying the pass 
by ordering the ist Brigade from Jamrud to Ali 
Musjid, and reinforcing the Landi Kotal garrison 
with the 45th Sikhs and the 4th Gurkhas. 

It may be mentioned here that on the 30th 
December, on which date the pass seems to have 
been alive with Afridis, General Sir Havelock- 
AUan was killed. Sir William Lockhart thus 
describes the sad incident in his Despatches : — 

the spot, under cover from fire. When all the wounded had got clear away the 
rest retired, and in so doing had to cross a bit of open ground where Corporal 
Bell was hit in the head and killed on the spot. Colonel Plowden, Lieutenant 
Owen, and Lieutenant Fielden dragged him away up the nullah, and all re- 
tired under cover of the banks until the nullah broke away on their left flank 
and again exposed them to fire. Here Private Butler was hit in the leg, and 
Captain Parr and Lieutenant Carter having dressed his wound, the last- 
named officer took him on his back and carried him across the exposed bit 
of ground ; but in the middle of this Private Butler was again hit and killed. 
Lieutenant Carter being knocked over by the force of the blow. Fielden 
then came to the rescue and both ofiicers got him under cover, while Colonel 
Plowden and Lieutenant Owen carried Bell's corpse across the dangerous bit, 
and were both wounded in doing so. — Special Correspondent of the 
*' Pioneer." 



XIV THE AFFAIR AT SHIN KAMAR 215 

He left me at Lala China (on the 2 8th), and with my permission 
proceeded to Landi Kotal, arrangements being made to provide 
him with a sufiScient escort. I deeply regret to report that on 
December the 30th, as be was returning to Jamrud, he un- 
fortunately left his escort near Ali Musjid, and riding down a 
ravine by himself was shot by the enemy. Every precaution had 
been taken to secure his safety, and on bidding him good-bye at 
Lala China I had impressed upon him the necessity of invariably 
remaining with the troops detailed for his protection. 

While these events had been taking place in the 
Khyber and Bazar Valleys, the 2nd Division had 
been enjoying a well-earned rest at Mamanai and 
Bara ; and it would not have been necessary to 
refer to its doings again but for a most unfortunate 
affair in which the 4th Brigade was involved on 
the 29th January. On that day an expedition was 
planned to surround, and capture if possible, the 
Afridi flocks and herds, with their attendant guards, 
which, it was reported, were brought down daily in 
large numbers to graze on the Kajurai plain, a 
locality due west of Bara, and enclosed on the north, 
west, and south by low spurs from the main range 
which separates the Bara and Bazar Valleys, To 
effect this four columns were ordered out simul- 
taneously on the 29th January — one from Bara to 
strike across the plain due west ; one from Jamrud, 
and one from Ali Musjid, as " stops " on the northern 
boundary ; and one, to be furnished by the 4th 
Brigade at Mamanai, to ascend the Shin Kamar Pass 
and block escape in a westerly direction. 

Although the utmost secrecy was observed about 



2i6 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

this enterprise, it may be surmised that news of it 
was in some way conveyed to the Afridis, for after a 
weary tramp of many miles, the Ali Musjid, Jamrud, 
and Bara columns returned to camp without seeing 
anything or any one. The Mamanai column did 
not fare so well. It was commanded by Colonel 
Seppings, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 
and consisted of Colonel Sepping's own battalion, 
200 rifles 36th Sikhs under Colonel Haughton, and 
two guns of No. 5 (Bombay) Mountain Battery. 
The advance of this force was, as usual, hardly 
opposed by the enemy ; but directly retirement 
commenced they assumed a vigorous offensive, and 
crowded to attack with great boldness. 

Owing to a mistake in transmitting, or in receiv- 
ing an order by Colonel Seppings, a company of 
the 36th was prematurely withdrawn from a com- 
manding knoll to the west of the pass. This 
vantage-ground was instantly seized by the Afridis, 
and as a part of the force with Colonel Haughton 
was at this time still down the far side of the pass, 
where it had been sent to explore some caves about 
a mile below the crest, it was imperative to re- 
occupy it. Two companies of the King's Own 
Yorkshire Light Infantry attacked, therefore, at 
once, gallantly led by Lieutenants Dowdall and 
Walker, and driving the enemy back, established 
a footing on the knoll, but only to find themselves 
confronted by scores of tribesmen in a still stronger 
position about 1 50 yards farther back, and against 



SHIN KAMAR 

29* January 1898. 



The contours are only intended 
to shew the lie of the ground 







References. 

A. 2 Co'^-" York L.I. B. / Co. JS<^S/ks. C. / Co. York L.I. 

D.E.F.G.H.K. Positions occupied by Companies York L.I. during successive retirements. 

+ Spot where Its. Dondall and Walker fell. 

+ + Spot where Col Haughton and Lt. Turing fell. 



X- Crest of the Pass. 



7d /jce pa^e 2//. 



XIV THE AFFAIR AT SHIN KAMAR 217 

the hot fire delivered by these men at this short 
range they could barely hold their ground. A 
third company of the King's Own Yorkshire Light 
Infantry, Captain Ottley's, held a small knoll on 
the east of the pass, and the whole were under the 
command of Major Barter, King's Own Yorkshire 
Light Infantry. 

In the meantime Colonel Haughton, with his 
Sikhs, had returned. Sending three of his companies 
down the pass, he remained on the crest himself 
with one company, and his adjutant, Lieutenant 
Turing, to support the retirement of the Yorkshire 
Light Infantry, who were now ordered to withdraw 
from the heights on the right and left. But the two 
companies on the left were now so encumbered by 
wounded, and so fiercely attacked by the enemy, 
that compliance with this order was almost impossible. 
Colonel Haughton's company, and Captain Ottley's, 
were, at this time, both engaged in keeping off a 
fresh body of tribesmen who were now assailing the 
pass itself by a direct attack from the north ; and 
an urgent message for help was therefore sent back 
to the main body below at the foot of the pass. 

A reinforcement under Major Earle, King's Own 
Yorkshire Light Infantry, soon arrived, but in the 
meantime disastrous casualties had occurred. 
Lieutenants Walker and Dowdall, of the York- 
shire Light Infantry, had been killed ; also the 
gallant Haughton and Lieutenant Turing ; and 
many men of the Yorkshires had been struck 



2i8 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

down. Even after Major Earle's arrival the 
fighting was desperate, and at such close quarters 
that the officers repeatedly used their revolvers with 
effect. But the Yorkshires in this trying situation 
showed the utmost resolution and courage ; and 
though they had to abandon their dead, they 
eventually brought away their wounded, and held 
the savage foe successfully at bay until all had 
been safely sent to the rear. Before they were 
clear of the fatal pass many more casualties had 
occurred, Lieutenant Hughes, Yorkshire Light 
Infantry, being among the killed, and Major Earle, 
Captain Marrable, and Lieutenant Hall, all of the 
same regiment, wounded. The total casualties 
were twenty-seven killed and thirty-two wounded, 
a heavy list indeed. 

Two miles out of the pass the column was met 
by General Westmacott, with reinforcements from 
camp ; and under cover of these troops Colonel 
Sepping's exhausted force completed its homeward 
march in safety. 

The death of the brave Colonel Haughton in 
this unfortunate affair, after he had successfully, and 
with such credit and fame to himself, survived the 
perils of the Samana fights in September, and the 
desperate actions on the 9th and i6th November, 
previously described, besides all the chances of an 
arduous campaign, was an event most deeply and 
universally lamented. . His courage was conspicuous 
always, and his coolness and judgment were never 



XIV THE AFFAIR AT SHIN KAMAR 219 

disturbed by the clash of arms and the scenes of 
bloody strife by which he was so often surrounded. 
His men, as brave as himself, simply idolised him, 
and for years to come, Harton Sahib, as they 
called him, will be a name to conjure with where 
the 36th Sikhs are concerned. 

An officer who was present writes to me — 

All fought well. Haughton and Turing died like heroes. 

Haughton, apparently, went forward with half-a-dozen men to see 
what was going on on the left, and how he could best help the 
Yorkshires. Turing followed with a couple of Sikhs. One of 
these was killed by his side, and as men were dropping fast, and 
the enemy getting quite close, Turing proposed a charge, but was 
almost immediately shot dead. Haughton was himself using a 
rifle at this time to keep the enemy in check. He evidently saw 
it was no use, for turning to a Yorkshireman near him, he said, 
" We will fire a few more shots, then charge, and die like men ! " 
He fired five times, and then fell, shot through the head. A 
better and a braver man never lived. Turing was a splendid little 
fellow, and the loss of these two officers is a terrible blow to the 
36th. 

There is no doubt the Yorkshires were in one of the tightest 
corners in the campaign, and were very highly tried. But they 
came out of it well. They were kept together, and well handled 
by their officers, and fought like men. The grim work was all 
new to them, for thiey had only just come up to the front, and 
none of them had been in a fight before. They must have a rare 
lot of officers. The battalion is a better battalion now than it 
was a week ago. 

The Sikhs also did well, as usual. Young van Someren assumed 
command when the others were killed, and kept his men steady 
and well together. It was a great trial for him. His clothes 
were torn by bullets. 

There is little else to record. It was feared at 
one time that this Shin Kamar affair would break off 



220 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

abruptly all negotiations for a peaceful settlement, 
and necessitate perhaps a resumption of active 
operations. But happily this has been avoided. 
Throughout January, February, and March there 
was outwardly little change in the attitude of the 
Afridi clans, but by slow degrees they were realising 
that they have been playing a losing game. The 
blow to their prestige, the material losses they have 
suffered, the hardships they and their people have 
endured, and above all, the determination and 
method and patience and judgment with which 
the operations have been directed against them by 
Sir William Lockhart : these have all been powerful 
factors in convincing them that to prolong the 
struggle was only to prolong their own misery, to 
weaken themselves permanently, and to make their 
punishment in the end severer, and their abase- 
ment more complete. 

Influenced, no doubt, by these considerations, 
convinced of our determination and our power to 
enforce our will, and dreading a second invasion in 
the spring, one section after another has come in 
and tendered its submission, and finally even the 
Zakka-khels, the most truculent and redoubtable of 
them all, have at last climbed down, and paid in the 
fines and rifles demanded from them. 

There can be no question that this happy result, 
by which further bloodshed is avoided, is in the 
main due to Sir William Lockhart's own personal 
influence amongst these wild tribes on the border. 



XIV THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN 221 

To many of their leading men he is known well ; 
by all he is liked and respected. For years past he 
has been a tower of strength on the frontier. His 
patience, and judgment, and firmness in dealing 
with these Afridis during these long and weary 
weeks, since we emerged from the Bara Valley, 
have not been less conspicuous than his energy and 
decision while active operations were in progress. 
And they knew him for a man of his word, and felt 
that if he was compelled to strike again, he would 
do it, and would strike hard. 

Well, that necessity has been happily avoided, 
and no more convincing evidence of Sir William 
Lockhart's personal share and dominant influence 
in achieving a peaceful end to the negotiations 
could be cited, than the extraordinary fact that when 
released at last from duty on the 5th April, and 
about to start from Peshawar for England, to enjoy 
a much-needed change and some well-earned repose, 
crowds of Afridis, four or five hundred at least, 
with Zakka-khels in numbers amongst them {mira- 
bile dictu /), surrounded his house, in cantonments, 
wanted to hoist him on their shoulders, and drag 
his carriage to the station, and finally sent him off 
with shouts and cheers that made the welkin ring, 
vowing that in future they would be the friends of 
the English, and fight on their side ! Surely no 
campaign had ever such a remarkable ending ! ! 

I cannot do better than close this narrative with 
an extract from Sir William Lockhart's final De- 



222 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

spatch, and a copy of his farewell order to the 
troops. He writes — 

I wish to record my high appreciation of the conduct of 
the British and Native troops serving with the Tirah Expedi- 
tionary Force. Up to the present date (26th January) their 
losses have amounted to 1050 killed and wounded. They have 
been subjected to great hardship and exposure, harassed at 
night by assaults at close quarters or by distant rifle fire, and 
engaged in long and trying rear-guard actions. Their duties on 
picquet and in guarding foraging parties have been particularly 
onerous. Hardly a day or night has been passed without 
casualties, and whether we advanced or retired, every soldier had 
to be constantly on the alert against enemies who made no stand 
in the open, but were unrivalled as skirmishers and marksmen. 
The operations were carried out in a country which offered every 
natural advantage to the tribesmen, and imposed on the regi- 
mental officers, and the rank and file, the necessity for individual 
initiative, unremitting watchfulness, and personal activity. I am 
glad to say that the troops responded nobly to the call made upon 
them. Cheerful and soldier-like under exceptionally trying cir- 
cumstances, officers and men have upheld to the utmost the 
traditions of their corps and the honour of Her Majesty's 
Army. 

The following was Sir William Lockhart's fare- 
well order to the Force — 

TIRAH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE ORDERS BY GENE- 
RAL SIR W. S. A. LOCKHART, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., 
COMMANDING. 

Camp Peshawar, ^th April 1898. 
Special Order. 
On relinquishing the command of the Tirah Expeditionary 
Force, which is about to be reduced to a single Division, I thank 
all ranks for the work which, through their bravery and devotion, 
has been successfully accomplished in the past six months. 



XIV THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN 223 

From the beginning of October to the middle of January the 
Force was engaged in active operations, and seldom have troops 
been called upon to undergo greater fatigue, or to meet a more 
vigilant and enterprising enemy. After long marches in cold and 
wet, harassed by distant rifle-fire and by assaults at close quarters, 
the columns bivouacked in positions which had to be protected by 
numerous strong picquets posted on commanding heights, and 
those picquets were always liable to determined attacks, and to 
molestation in withdrawal. There was, in fact, little or no rest 
for the force, the most carefully chosen camping-ground being 
generally open to long-range fire from scattered individual marks- 
men, armed with the most accurate weapons. 

The boast of the tribes was that no foreign army, Moghal, 
Afghan, Persian, or British had ever penetrated, or could ever 
penetrate their country ; but, after carrying three strong positions, 
and being for weeks subsequently engaged in daily skirmishes, 
the troops succeeded in visiting every portion of Tirah, a fact 
which will be kept alive in the minds of future generations by 
ruined forts and towers in their remotest valleys. 

In this recognition of the gallantry and devotion of all ranks, 
British and Indian, I include the contingents sent by the Princes 
and Chiefs of India, corps which have fought side by side with 
the troops of the regular army, and have shared in the dangers 
and hardships of the campaign. 

For the past two and a half months the troops have been em- 
ployed on the tedious duties of a blockade, and their discipline 
during this period is deserving of high commendation. 

I congratulate the soldiers under my command on the success- 
ful result of the operations. In no previous campaign on the 
North-West Frontier have the difficulties to be overcome been 
more formidable ; in none has the punishment inflicted on the 
tribesmen been more exemplary, or their submission more 
complete. 

W. S. A. LocKHART, General, 
Commanding Tirah Expeditionary Force. 



CHAPTER XV 

TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 

My narrative of the campaign in Tirah is ended, 
but I venture, before dismissing the subject, to add 
a few notes made during the progress of the opera- 
tions, which may be useful to soldiers of all ranks 
should they, on some future occasion, find them- 
selves fighting on the north-west frontier of India. 

The first essential fact to be recognised — one 
which I think many of us did not fully appreciate 
at the commencement of the campaign — is that the 
tribes on the frontier (not all of them perhaps, but 
the Afridis certainly) are now fairly well armed with 
the Martini-Henry rifle. As to the means by which 
they have become possessed of these arms of pre- 
cision there has been much discussion, and there is 
still much diversity of opinion. Some think they 
are exported from Birmingham or Belgium, and 
thence find their way via the Persian Gulf to the 
Indian frontier ; some imagine that they are obtained 
from the Amir's workshops in Cabul ; and some be- 
lieve that they are stolen in India, and sold for fancy 



CH.xv TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 225 

prices across the border. Probably from each of 
these sources the supply is maintained ; but, whence- 
soever they get them, it is certain that the Afridis 
now possess Martinis in large numbers, and have 
besides an apparently unlimited stock of ammunition. 
They have, too, a good many Sniders, the bullets 
of which inflict frightful shattering wounds ; and in 
the recent operations they obtained forty or fifty 
Lee-Metfords, and made uncommon good use of 
them. 

But not only have they got these arms of pre- 
cision now in large numbers, and not only are they 
thoroughly expert as marksmen, but also, it must be 
borne in mind, that hundreds of them enlist in our 
service, and when they take their discharge, and 
return to their homes, carry with them all the ex- 
perience and confidence of men who have been 
carefully trained by British officers, and have 
marched, and often fought side by side with our 
own troops. I do not mean for a moment to imply 
that familiarity has in this case bred contempt. 
The truth is probably far otherwise. But these 
men cannot have served in our ranks without 
acquiring an insight into our military system and 
methods,'^ which in the day of battle they are bound 
to turn to useful advantage. I have previously said 
that we met amongst them several old much be- 
medalled pensioners, and it was a common thing 

1 One of our best companies of Sappers and Miners is recruited from 
Afridis. 

Q 



226 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

to find our drill-books and musketry regulations — 
Urdu editions — in their deserted houses ! 

It must also be remembered, when considering 
the conditions of fighting and the tactics to be 
employed against these Afridis, that they are 
mountaineers of the best type. Bred and born 
amongst steep and rugged hills, and dark and 
dangerous ravines, inured to extremes of heat and 
cold, and accustomed from childhood to carry arms 
and to be on their guard against the wiles of the 
treacherous kinsmen by whom they are surrounded, 
it is small wonder that they are hardy, alert, self- 
reliant, and active, full of resource, keen as hawks, 
and cruel as leopards. 

Further, it is to be noted that their country is, 
like Caledonia, "stern and wild": high mountains, 
precipitous cliffs, dangerous defiles, wild ravines, 
and rushing torrents everywhere ; while roads of 
any kind are conspicuous by their absence — a 
country, therefore, in which strict " formations " and 
precise "manoeuvres," as we find them described 
and defined in our drill-books, are impossible ; and 
in which marches must be performed under condi- 
tions in which they become slow, exhausting pro- 
cessional movements, the long trailing flanks of 
which are dangerously exposed to attack from start 
to finish. 

The difficulties and dangers and risks involved 
in waging warfare against such a foe in such 
a country are obvious. In former days when 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 237 

expeditions have been launched against the tribes 
on our frontier, we have found them for the most 
part armed with jezails, and a few Sniders and 
Enfields. The extreme effective range of the best 
of these weapons was barely 1000 yards, so that if 
the flanks of a marching column were protected by 
detachments pushed out half a mile or so, the 
column was fairly safe. But the Martini is effective 
up to a mile, and the Lee-Metford up to two miles, 
particularly when the target is a mass of troops and 
transport crowded into a river-bed, and covering 
several miles of road. Consequently, flanking de- 
tachments must be pushed out to right and left for 
a full mile or more before safety can be assured. 
Every march made in a country like Tirah is practi- 
cally a march through a defile from beginning to 
end. The road followed is the bottom of the valley, 
the river-bed. This valley is sometimes wider, some- 
times narrower — generally narrower, and is com- 
manded throughout by the hills on either side. It 
may be imagined, then, what toils are involved to 
the troops, what delays, and what risks in crowning 
these successive heights during even a short march 
of eight or nine miles. 

Yet no advance can be made until the flanks are 
thus made safe. The enemy, who know every inch 
of the ground, occupy the summit of every com- 
manding knoll with great skill, and invariably 
intrench or sangar themselves. A company or two 
is sent up the bare and rugged slopes to dislodge 



228 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

them. It is bravely done, but not without incurring 
casualties. The enemy retreat higher up the 
mountain side. The lower spurs are now held by our 
men. The column passes on, more positions in suc- 
cession being captured in like manner as it advances, 
by other detachments, from the advanced -guard. 
At last, the rear -guard comes in sight, probably 
hotly engaged with skirmishing bands, who are 
following it boldly, eager for plunder, and anxious, 
if possible, to secure a much-prized rifle or two. 
The flanking detachments are now one after another 
withdrawn, and join the rear-guard. It is during 
this withdrawal that the greatest risks are run. The 
watchers above swoop down at once. The ground 
is all in favour of their guerilla tactics, and they 
know every dip and break in it. Two or three 
soldiers are wounded. They cannot be left behind 
to the tender mercy of the Afridi. They must be 
carried. Four men are thus at once put out of 
action to each man wounded ; and as many groups as 
there are wounded men are immediately formed, to 
become excellent targets to the pursuing enemy. 

Let any one try to picture this scene to himself, 
and he will have some faint idea of the stern reality, 
of the pluck and devotion of the men, of the cool- 
ness and judgment of the officers, and of the endur- 
ance and hardihood of all, which enable them, not 
once or twice, but repeatedly, and day after day, to 
face such situations with resolution, and to emerge 
from them with success. 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 229 

Regiments new to this savage mountain warfare, 
which have only practised drill-book methods of 
attack and retirement, find themselves seriously 
handicapped when brought suddenly face to face 
with the conditions I have described. The drill- 
book makes no allowance for wounded men who 
must be picked up as they fall, and carried along by 
their comrades ; nor does it presuppose a terrain in 
which the activity of a goat is necessary for the 
individual soldier, and in moving over which a com- 
pany is certain to be broken up into almost as many 
units as it has men. The drill -book, moreover, 
apparently assumes a slow and dignified pursuit on 
the part of the enemy, and accordingly directs that 
" retirements should usually be performed in quick 
time" and that " in moving from cover to cover an 
upright position must be maintained " ! But the 
drill-book was not written for frontier fighting. Yet 
it is the guide for us all in India, as iii England, and 
if these are the only methods constantly practised on 
cantonment parade-grounds, it must be impossible 
to shake them off at a moment's notice, and it is 
small wonder that across the border the attempt to 
do so does not always lead to satisfactory results. 

As a matter of fact, it was found in practice in 
Tirah, that while in attack, an advance could not 
be too deliberate, in order to prevent scattering and 
exhaustion, and to give time for echelons in support 
to close up, and for out-flanking movements to be 
developed, — the surest way of making an enemy 



230 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

quit ; in retirement, movements had frequently to 
be made at a run, otherwise the enemy would be 
on the top of the retreating skirmishers before they 
had made good their point. 

The Pathan of the present generation seems quite 
to have given up the practice of charging sword 
in hand, for which he was once famous. As the 
quantity and quality of their firearms have increased 
the necessity for close combat has diminished. The 
clansmen find it is now more easy, and much less 
dangerous, to shoot you from behind a rock several 
hundred yards away, than to rush in with a sword, 
and try to slay you by cutting you down. Also, 
the hill-man, despite his fierce nature and fanaticism, 
has the bump of caution very highly developed, and 
never takes risks that he can avoid. Consequently, 
so long as even a few men, well-posted, are lying 
down, and firing steadily at him, he is extremely shy 
of coming on ; and it was the practice, therefore, with 
those regiments who knew the business best, in a 
retirement, to cover the withdrawal of companies by 
selected men, who fired independently until their 
company was established in its new position in rear, 
and then rising all together after a final volley, raced 
back to their support, and invariably got away safely 
before the Afridis realised that they had gone.^ 

1 " The 29th of December was a particularly hard day. We were the 
rear-guard, and the enemy, apparently knowing it was their last chance at 
us, followed us up very boldly. We have got very cunning by this time at 
these rear-guard actions, and had only fifteen casualties (I believe there were 
one or two in other regiments as well) as the result of being chased for several 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDINC NOTES 231 

In attack, on the other hand, great deliberation was 
enjoined. Officers were directed not to lead too 
quickly, but to regulate the pace by the difficulties 
of the ground and the condition of their men, the 
great object being to maintain a steady advance 
without getting scattered or unduly separated from 
supports. All "attack formations," as laid down in 
the drill-book, are, of course, entirely inapplicable to 
hill-fighting. To attack a position on a mountain 
top an extended line of skirmishers used to lead the 
way, an officer always with them, and each company 
followed its own skirmishing section, itself not 
extended, but with files well opened out. Other 
companies followed closely in support, and generally 
more or less in echelon. Great depth in attack was 
not considered necessary, as it is in civilised warfare, 

hours by the Zakka. That does not sound dignified, but it is exactly what 
happened. The way we have found most paying to conduct these retirements 
is as follows : — The rear-guard is formed in successive lines, one behind the 
other, each on the most suitable bit of ground possible, generally the crest 
line of a ridge. When the moment to retire begins the line nearest the 
enemy doubles straight down as fast as it can past the other lines and takes 
up a position behind the rearmost one. The line immediately behind the 
retiring line covers the movement by its fire. These beggars move so fast 
over this country that the only practical method is, when once a retire- 
ment is begun, for the retiring men to run like hares, otherwise one gets 
caught in the undesirable position of having one's back to the enemy. The 
time when things begin to be serious is when one or two are hit between the 
time of leaving a position and reaching the next line. For many reasons it is 
impossible to leave dead or wounded men behind, as would be done in 
European warfare, and a retirement through this country, which is quite 
difiBcult enough for an active man to get over unhampered, is, when there are 
several wounded men to be helped along, not all joy. This has been 
pretty nearly the only sort of fighting we have had ever since the Sampagha 
was taken, and we none of us love it ; the chances are very one-sided, and the 
enemy know this just as well as we do. " — Extract from a Utter from an 
Officer in the Derbyshire Regiment. 



332 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

but the importance of an enveloping attack was 
not to be over-estimated. Directly the tribesmen 
thought there was the slightest danger to their flank 
or line of retreat, they were off. 

As a general rule the Afridis never await a 
charge, but if ever a position is stubbornly held, 
and must be carried by assault, there is no doubt 
that the whole of the troops in the front line should 
charge together, their supports following close. To 
send them forward in detachments or driblets is 
disastrous. This was fully exemplified at Dargai 
on the 20th October. Up to the time the Gordons 
arrived no attempt to cross the decisive zone had 
been made by any body of troops larger than a 
company at a time. These detachments suffered 
such terrible losses in crossing the fire-swept space 
that they pulled up at the next cover they reached. 
When the Gordons charged, they sallied out, with 
the 3rd Sikhs in close support, practically all in one 
mass. That ended the affair. The enemy saw 
they were not to be denied, and they evacuated 
the position in which for several hours they had 
defied a whole brigade. 

Dargai was the only instance in which the 
Afridis made a resolute stand against a serious 
attack. Their losses on that occasion were probably 
more heavy than we supposed at the time, and 
taking the lesson to heart, they did not again during 
the campaign attempt to meet us in the field, or to 
defend, with any appearance of being in earnest. 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 233 

even such strong positions as the Sampagha and 
Arhanga Passes, or the heights of Saran Sar, But 
one must beware against being lulled into any false 
sense of superiority or security by the small resist- 
ance offered to an advance, or by the ease and 
trifling loss with which such immensely strong 
positions are won. The tribesmen's tactics are not 
dictated by timidity. They do not know what fear 
means. But they have plenty of common sense, 
and conscious that they cannot stop us if we really 
mean to come on, they quietly fall back as we 
advance, and patiently await their turn, which they 
know will come as soon as we begin to retire. 

That instant they assume the offensive. Where 
only three or four men have been seen before, they 
now appear in dozens. The rapidity of their move- 
ments now is quite extraordinary ; and their marks- 
manship and the skill with which they skirmish 
from rock to rock, availing themselves of every 
feature of ground, and constantly threatening to 
work round the flanks, are marvellous. To retire 
successfully before such an enemy requires great 
coolness and judgment. If there is any mistake 
made, or any sign of hesitation or wavering, it is 
instantly taken advantage of, and in a moment, 
where all was going well the minute before, disaster 
may ensue. 

So much moral elation pertains to the rdle of 
assailant, and so much depression to that of the 
soldier who has constantly to defend himself against 



234 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

attack, that, with all Orientals, whether dwellers in 
the hills or plains, it is most necessary to assume a 
vigorous offensive whenever opportunity offers, and 
whatever are the odds. In a great standing camp, 
however, such as we had for some weeks in Tirah, 
it was unavoidable that we should constantly afford 
the Afridis the opportunity of attacking, while we 
were compelled to assume a defensive role. Because, 
every day our foraging parties, strongly escorted by 
never less than a brigade, with artillery, had to go 
far a-field to collect fodder and supplies, returning 
to camp by sunset ; and on these occasions they 
were invariably followed up by the enemy, who 
were, no doubt, as invariably beaten off. Still for 
the time being they attacked while we defended, 
and hardly a day passed without a few casualties 
being sustained in this most trying kind of warfare. 
One point that must strike every one where hill 
fighting is in question, whether attack or defence, 
is the great difficulty of exercising superior control 
or supervision. A General may have half a 
dozen gallopers at his disposal, but on such ground 
they are useless. Messages must be carried by 
men on foot, and that takes a long time. Some- 
times, but not always, they can be signalled. The 
difficulty, therefore, in transmitting orders is extreme, 
and the delay in getting them executed, or in learn- 
ing what is happening, is often serious enough to 
make a commander desperately anxious. It is most 
necessary, therefore, for every officer to know 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 235 

beforehand what is the "general idea," so that even 
when isolated, and without orders, he may intelli- 
gently co-operate. In no other kind of warfare 
will company and section commanders find such 
unlimited scope for the exercise of individual 
initiative and control ; and much or everything 
may depend upon the judgment and decision which 
they display at critical moments. 

The safety of camps and bivouacs by night is a 
subject on which a few words may be usefully said. 
Here, too, the drill-book, admirable as are its 
maxims, was not of much help to us ; and here, too, 
the fact that the Afridis now possess long-ranging 
arms of precision compelled the posting of picquets 
outside the camp at distances far exceeding anything 
found necessary in previous expeditions. One 
great source of annoyance and loss to the troops in 
Tirah was the firing into camp by night, vulgarly 
known as " sniping " ; and the only way to stop it 
was to hold all surrounding commanding points, 
within a range of 1500 yards to a mile, by strong 
picquets. Even then, on dark nights, prowling 
marauders would get in between the picquets and 
the camp, and make it extremely unpleasant for us 
while their ammunition lasted ; or until, in their 
turn, they were stalked and ejected by the Scouts, 
of whom I shall speak presently. 

But as regards the picquets themselves, it may 
be noted that their strength was always such that 
they were independent of support, which, indeed, 



236 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

on a dark night, and over ground which was a net- 
work of precipices and ravines, it would have been 
impossible to send to them. For the same reason 
the picquets were always instructed to fight where 
they stood, and never under any circumstances to 
attempt to fall back on the camp. The positions 
occupied by them were generally held by the enemy 
when we marched on to the ground. These posi- 
tions were at once attacked and captured. Half a 
company, or a whole company, was then left as a 
picquet to hold each of them, or as many of them 
as were considered necessary, and the rest of the 
troops were at once withdrawn. The picquets then 
promptly intrenched themselves strongly, and placed 
such obstacles round their posts as they could 
improvise. They quite understood that they had 
only their own watchfulness and efforts to depend 
upon to see them safely through the night. They 
were often fiercely attacked, but they always held 
their ground successfully, and generally with very 
few casualties, and there was no instance during the 
campaign of a picquet being overpowered. Their 
sentries were always placed inside the intrenchment. 
The rest of the men slept on their alarm-posts. 
Patrolling of any kind in the night was, of course, 
entirely out of the question, and was never attempted. 
I have more than once in the course of this 
narrative referred to the splendid services of the 
Artillery. We had six Mountain Batteries with us, 
and the way in which they were handled, the pre- 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 237 

cision of their fire, and the wonderful effect of it, 
were the admiration of all onlookers. At Dargai 
on the 1 8th and 20th October, and at the attacks 
on the Sampagha and Arhanga Passes, the batteries 
were massed, and their fire concentrated, with 
marked effect. But, speaking generally, and remem- 
bering that these guns can follow infantry over almost 
any ground, greater effect can usually be obtained 
by dispersion of the guns, and by splitting up even 
a single battery to work by sections. An officer of 
great experience with mountain artillery writes to 
me as follows : — 

My idea is to push on a couple of guns, with the infantry, 
to every height and ridge which they occupy, under cover of the 
fire of those in rear, and then to push the rear-guns on in turn 
(by sections), spreading them over the whole line of advance, 
and so firing on the sangars from many directions instead of 
directly from one only. In country such as we have been fight- 
ing in, I never work my six guns together if I can help it. By 
splitting them up good positions are more readily obtained, the 
guns afford a smaller mark to the enemy, they can be more easily 
and rapidly pushed forward, or withdrawn, under cover of each 
other's fire, and their converging fire from different directions is, 
I feel sure, more effective against a strong position than the con- 
centrated fire of double the number of pieces firing directly from 
one spot. 

In advanced-guard work two guns can always be safely kept 
with the most advanced infantry, and in rear-guard affairs with 
the most hotly pressed. But in either case, a whole battery is 
too big a unit to be worked thus in the fighting line in hill war- 
fare, for it takes too long to advance, or retire it, as a whole. 

I am a firm believer in our present gun, the 2. 5 -inch, for 
mountain battery work, provided the gun is new, and not old or 
worn out. I have seen it now in Burmah, Hazara (1891), 



238 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

Samana (1891), Chitral (1895), and in Tirah, and have been 
with ray present battery for ten years, so can speak with some 
little confidence of its merits. The gun shoots as straight as' a 
die up to all useful ranges, and never gets out of order if new at 
the commencement of a campaign. It stands any amount of 
knocking about, and throughout the Chitral and Tirah ex- 
peditions my artificers seldom had to put a hand to gun or 
carriage. 

I cannot help asking why every one is full of its praises 
during an expedition ; and why, as soon as it is over, do they 
set to work to abuse it in the papers or elsewhere ? They say 
it can't knock down sangars. They started saying this after the 
Malakhand in 1895. But the sangers there were enormous 
natural boulders which a 40 -pounder could not have moved ! 
Personally, I never try to demolish sangers. I try to kill the 
men inside them, and it is on record that we did this with some 
success at the Malakhand. On the 14th September 1897 we 
brought down the Tsalai tower with two percussion shrapnel, 
and sent the stones of the Saragheri sangars flying high in the 
air. Firing at houses in Maidan and Bagh, our shells would go 
through the walls, and burst inside, which is exactly .what is 
wanted; and on two occasions we set buildings ablaze by our 
fire. 

These are some of my reasons for my faith in the gun. I 
have no belief in the outcry for a howitzer. If we get both in 
the same battery, the Lord help us ! 

Lastly, why are we constantly kept to roads, and then 
pitched into for taking up so much room? and offered many 
useless and impossible suggestions for reducing the number of 
our mules? We claim that we can go wherever an infantry 
soldier can, so long as he does not go on his hands and knees. 
Many Generals and Staff Officers do not realise this, and so we 
lose many chances. 

One last, word: there is one first principle which wants to 
be widely known and strictly observed by all, but more especi- 
ally by Staff Officers. It is this : Dorit speak to the CO. of a 
battery when his guns are in action, any more than you would 
speak to the man at the wheel. They all do it ! and I had to 




S / ( vd, Siuila 



I I lUI \- 111] 1 \\\ M \I 1 ki \I 




Aiigcs 23S and 239. 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS. AND CONCLUDING NOTES 239 

. explain, firmly to one man who assailed me with suggestions, 
that with only four guns I really could «^jf^fire at more than six 
different objects' at. one and the same time ! 

The, Gurkha Scouts have been so often men- 
tioned, and have been so much in evidence, during 
the campaign in Tirah, that a few remarks on their 
organisation and work will be appreciated. They 
included a body of about 120 picked men of the 
3rd and 5th -Gurkha Regiments, under Capta:in 
Lucas of the 5th Gurkhas ; and Lieutenants, the 
Honourable C. G. Bruce, 5th Gurkhas, and A. B, 
Tillard, 3rd Gurkhas, specially trained to work on 
the steepest hill-sides, and selected for their wiry 
physique, fleetness of foot, and skill as marksmen. 
Their careful preparation in peace-time had made 
them hardy, active, intelligent, self-reliant, and 
resolute, and throughout the expedition, under 
the bold leading of their officers, they were con- 
spicuousf by their dash and daring, both in attack 
and defence. 

The Scouts wore the uniform of their regiments, 
and their equipment differed in no respect from that 
of the regular soldier, except when engaged in night 
affairs, when they sallied out by themselves to try 
and stalk, and cut off "snipers," who were harass- 
ing the camp — a feat which more than once they 
successfully accomplished. On these occasions they 
went barefooted, wore plain clothes, and took with 
them just their rifles and bayonets, a few rounds of 
ammunition, and, of course, their knives — the well- 



240 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

known kukri, without which the Gurkha never stirs 
from his bivouac. 

That the special services of these Scouts were 
appreciated may be inferred from the fact, that at 
the close of the first phase of the campaign their 
numbers were increased to 500 men and six officers, 
at Sir William Lockhart's particular recommenda- 
tion/ 

At the same time, as the special duties on which 
they were employed were precisely those which in 
the Peninsular days could have been undertaken by 
the " Light Companies" which were then kept up in 
every regiment, and to which it was an honourable 
distinction to be posted, the question arises whether 
it would not be a sound thing once more to introduce 
the " light company " into every battalion, and dis- 
pense with Scouts. Of course, in these days, one 
company is theoretically " as good as another, if not 
better," and all are supposed to be equally trained to 
the highest pitch of perfection. But the experience 
gained with these Scouts shows that specially selected 
men, under specially selected officers, can, under 
special conditions — the harder the conditions the 
stronger the argument — "go one better" than the 
average line company, in which the physique of the 
men — to deal with one point only — is not equal all 

1 "During the present expedition the Scouts drawn from the 3rd and 5th 
Gurkhas have proved especially valuable. Being trained mountaineers and 
accustomed to guerilla warfare, they were able to climb the most precipitous 
hills, lie in ambush at night, and surpass the tribesmen in their own tactics. " — 
Sir Wm. Lockhart's Despatches, 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 241 

through. And the spirit of emulation is now so 
much abroad, and is such a powerful incentive in the 
struggle for distinction, that it seems worth con- 
sidering whether immense good might not be done, 
and the fighting power of every battalion substan- 
tially increased, by reviving in each the old Light 
Company, posting to it only picked men and officers, 
training them highly and specially, and in return 
granting them some small distinctions and privileges 
in time of peace, and posts of honour and danger in 
time of war. 

I think many practical soldiers would like to see 
this idea taken up. 

Amid the clash of arms, the hum of camps, the 
commotion of marches, and the turmoil of retreats, 
the great Military- Medical Services, British and 
Indian, are apt to receive scant notice from a 
chronicler of events, whose attention (naturally, 
perhaps) is directed rather to the narrative of 
stirring deeds in the field than to descriptions of 
the earnest, patient, self-denying work of those 
whose business it is to bind up wounds and tend 
the sick. But where so many pages have been 
devoted to telling the story of the fighting in Tirah, 
and of the pluck and endurance of the troops in 
many situations, it is only in accordance with the 
fitness of things that some reference should also be 
made to the Medical Department during this arduous 
campaign, whose work, if it has not been so much 

R 



242 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

in evidence, or so much noised abroad, as have the 
stories of frays and forays, and "deeds of derring- 
do " of the soldiery, has at least entailed on those 
engaged in it as much toil and exposure, and has been 
performed with as much zeal and devotion to duty. 

Few people, probably, outside the Department, 
have any conception of the strain and responsibility 
devolved on the Medical Services, not merely during 
the continuance and stress of active operations, but 
also in the preparations necessary before an army is 
ready to take the field. Here figures may be of 
use to help the imagination. Twenty-three field 
hospitals altogether were mobilised for service in 
Tirah. Each of these could accommodate 100 
sick men, and was fully equipped with supplies 
and comforts for three months. In addition, base 
hospitals were formed at Rawal Pindi, Nowshera, 
and Kohat, in which beds were provided for 
upwards of 3000 men. These figures will give 
some idea of the scale of the organisation. But the 
wild, roadless country in which the operations were 
conducted enormously increased the difficulties with 
which the Department had to contend in making 
arrangements for the care and treatment and trans- 
port of the wounded and sick. From Bagh in Tirah 
to the advanced base at Shinauri is about thirty- 
five miles by a track traversable only by mules and 
ponies, or on foot. For these thirty-five miles those 
who were too ill or too weak to ride, and there 
were hundreds such, had to be carried in doolies 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 243 

(palanquins) and stretchers, and strongly escorted 
all the way, for the road throughout was in hostile 
territory, except the last few miles. 

From Shinauri wheeled ambulances were avail- 
able for seventy-five miles, until the railway was 
reached at Khusalgarh, whence it was a run of 
eighty miles to Rawal Pindi. 

It may easily be believed that the work of carry- 
ing the wounded, and transporting them to the base 
hospitals, was a very real difficulty. The dooly at 
a:ny time is heavy, cumbrous, and awkward to carry, 
even on level ground, and when the bearers are 
trained carriers. But when the roads are steep, 
stony, and narrow, and crowded with transport and 
troops, and when the bearers are wretched untrained 
coolies, caught up from the nearest bazaars, and 
pressed into an unwilling service — then it may be 
imagined what delays and accidents ensue, and what 
terrible sufferings must often be endured by the 
wounded from the jolts, and jars, and drops, that 
they get en route. When an enemy is near, and 
bullets are whistling around, the doolies, with their 
pale-green flapping canvas covers, form a con- 
spicuous target, and are often hit ; the panic-stricken 
bearers are always ready to drop them, and fly, if 
they can ; and it frequently happened that the 
wounded, abandoned by the regular carriers, had to 
be carried by their own comrades. One would much 
like to see the dooly extinguished, but it has been 

the feature of our ambulance system in India for the 

R 2 



244 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap. 

last hundred years, and no one seems to be able to 
suggest an efficient substitute for it. 

But if the dooly bearers were bad, the riding and 
baggage ponies supplied to the hospitals were 
worse. These are matters for which the Medical 
Department is not responsible. They take what is 
given them, and have no choice ; and as the strain 
on the Commissariat Transport was extraordinary 
at this time — so many expeditions being on hand 
simultaneously — the animals supplied to the Field 
Hospitals in Tirah were of the most wretched 
description, and were directly the cause of not a 
little of the delays and losses incurred in marching 
down the Bara Valley, as rear-guards and escorts 
were constantly stopped either to help animals that 
had fallen and thrown their loads, or to give them 
time to get along. 

Complete reorganisation of the present system 
of providing ambulance seems an imperative 
necessity. 

923 wounded men were treated in the Field 
Hospitals in Tirah.-' Of these the Gordons con- 
tributed 70, the Dorsets 80, the K.O.S.Bs. 34, the 
Northamptons 55, the Derbys 35, the Yorks 42, 
the 3rd Sikhs 28, the 15th Sikhs 48, the 36th Sikhs 
72, the 2nd Gurkhas 66, and the 3rd Gurkhas 40. 
These were the principal figures. Other corps made 
up the balance. The proportion of wounded to 
killed was as 3 to i. With the Germans in 1870- 

^ Up to the middle of January 1898. 



XV TACTICAL LESSONS AND CONCLUDING NOTES 245 

71 it was as 5 to I. The wounds were inflicted by- 
all sorts of rifles, Lee-Metfords, Martinis, Sniders, 
and sporting rifles, those by the Snider being the 
most terrible of all. 

One noticeable feature of the medical arrange- 
ments which should be recorded was the use for 
the first time in the field (in India, at all events) of 
Rontgen rays. They were found of the greatest 
value in locating bullets and splinters of lead. The 
apparatus was brought out (entirely at his own 
expense) and worked by Surgeon -Major Beevor, 
A. M.S., to whom all the credit of the innovation is 
due. 

Numerous medical officers obtained a well- 
deserved mention in Despatches, in which also the 
subjoined passages occurred : — 

The officers of the Army Medical Staff, and of the Indian 
Medical Service, have fully maintained their high reputation by 
their attention to the sick and wounded, both under fire and in 
hospital. The hospital arrangements were generally excellent, 
but I consider that the field equipment is too heavy and elaborate 
for mountain warfare, and that it might be materially reduced 
without hardship to the patients. The conspicuous colour of the 
canvas doolies is very objectionable, as it attracts the enemy's fire. 

Surgeon-Major-General G. Thomson, C.B., I. M.S., has been 
my Principal Medical Officer in the field, and I desire to express 
my indebtedness to him, and to the other officers of the depart- 
ment of which he has been in charge, for the high state of 
efficiency in which it has been maintained, often under very 
unfavourable conditions. 

The P.M.O. speaks in high terms of his Secretary, Surgeon- 
Major W. A. Morris, A.M.S. 

The Commander-in-Chief in India, in submitting 



246 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-98 chap, xv 

these Despatches to the Government of India, 
wrote : — 

The administration of the Military-Medical Service has been 
successfully and satisfactorily carried on during the same period 
by Surgeon-Major-General A. A. Gore, P.M.O., H.M.'s Forces in 
India, through whose efforts, and the ready co-operation of officers 
and subordinates, the Department has, at a time of pressing emer- 
gency, been able to comply with the heavy demands made 
upon it. 

The extent of these demands may be best realised from the 
statement that it was considered necessary to provide hospital 
accommodation for 1 2 per cent of troops and followers. On this 
basis 6526 beds were made available, including 36^^ field 
hospitals. The accuracy of this forecast may be gauged from the 
fact that on the 20th December 1897 the number of sick in 
hospital, then at its highest, was 11.16 per cent of the force. 
The results obtained in the treatment of the sick, and especially 
in surgical cases of wounds, have been most satisfactory. 

1 Twenty-three of these for Tirah ; the remainder for other expeditions. 



APPENDIX 

The subjoined summary of casualties incurred during 
the Tirah Expedition will be of interest. 

From the I2tk. October 1897 to the 6th Apiil 1898 

Killed, all ranks . . . . . . .287 

Wounded . . . . . . . -853 

Missing ........ 10 



Total . . .1150 



British Officers 

Killed: as per list A . . ... 23 

Wounded: as per list B ... 56 



Native Officers 
Killed, 4 ; wounded, 1 6 



LIST A 

TIRAH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 

Nominal Roll of British Officers Killed during the Expedition 



Rank. 


Names. 


Corps, 


Date. 


Major . 


R. D. Jennings-Bramly . 


Gordon Highlanders 


1 8th Oct. 1897 


Captain 


W. E. C. Smith . 


Derbyshire Regt. 


20th ,, 


Lieutenant . 


A. Lamont . 


Gordon Highlanders 


»j )) 


Captain 


C. B. Judge . 


2nd Gurkhas . 


>j j» 


jj 


F. R. M 'Butts 


No. 5 (Bom.) M.B. 


29th „ 


Lieutenant . 


C. L. Giffard 


Northampton Regt. 


6th Nov. 1897 


Captain 


E. Y. Watson 


D.A. Com.-Genl. 


8th 


Lieutenant . 


J. T. Waddell 


Northampton Regt. 


9th „ 


2nd Lieut. . 


A. H. Macintire . 


)> 


)j jj 


Lieutenant . 


G. D. Crooke 


2 -v Suffolk Regt. 


i6th 




R. E. A. Hales . 


■Sgf 

1*^; East York Regt 


)) J» 


, 




G. M. Wylie 


I /2nd Gurkhas 


)J H 


, 




N. A. Lewarne 


15th Sikhs . 


35 )J 


) 




D. E. O. Jones 


Yorkshire Regt. 


22nd „ 






R. M. Battye 


6th Bengal Cavalry 


1st Dec. 1897 


> 




G.W. M. West . 


l/3rd Gurkhas 


13th 


) 




C. R. Tonge . 


Royal Engineers 


28th 


Major 


D. W. Hickman 


34th Pioneers . 


3rd Jan. 1898 


Lieutenant . 


M. R. Walker 


York Lt. Infantry 


29th „ 


jj 


T. P. Dowdall 


)» 


J) 3) 


2nd Lieut. . 


E. S. G. Hughes . 


J5 


J) )) 


Lieut. -Col. 


J. Haughton . 


36th Sikhs . 




Lieutenant 


A. H. Turing 


J) 


)1 JJ 



LIST B 

TIRAH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 

fOMiNAL Roll of British Officers Wounded during the Expedition 



Rank. 


Names. 


Corps, 


Date. 


Jeutenant . 


M. L. Pears . 


Scottish Rifles 
(attached to Gordon 
Highlanders) 


1 8th Oct. 


1897 


!;aptain 


D. R. Sladen 


K. O. Scot. Borderers 


J, , 




tnd Lieut. . 


T. H. Keyes . 


j> 


)» ) 




!!;aptain 


W. R. Arnold 


Dorsetshire Regt. . 


20th , 




s> 


J. G. Robinson 


i/2nd Gurkhas 


j> 




Jeutenant . 


G., E. White . 


3rd Sikhs 


J) J 




ilajor . 


F. Macbean . 


Gordon Highlanders 


)> 3 




Lieutenant . 


K. Dingwall . 


jj 


»3 J 




jeut.-Col. . 


H. H. Mathias, C.B. . 


J) 


3) 3 




Daptain 


H. P. Uniacke 


j> 


J) J 




l^ieutenant . 


M. F. Meiklejohn . 


j> 


33 3 






G. S. G. Crauford. 


)S 


33 3 




Captain 


F. F. Badcock, D.S.O. . 


(Staff) l/5th Gurkhas 


25th , 




Lieutenant . 


G. D. Crocker 


Munster Fusiliers . 


3> S 




Lieut. -Col. . 


R. C. Hadow 


15th Sikhs . 


26th 






C. A. P. Sage 


2/ist Gurkhas 


28th 




Major . 


R. Hanford-Flood . 


West Surrey Regt. . 


29th , 




!!laptain 


C. T. A. Searle . 


36th Sikhs . 


31st 




Lieutenant . 


E. G. CafEn . 


Yorkshire Regt. 


1st Nov. 


'1897 


!^aptain 


T. G. MacLaren . 


K. 0. Scot. Borderers 


)) J 






E. L. Sullivan 


36th Sikhs . 


6th 




Lieutenant . 


O. P. S. Ingham . 


Dorsetshire Regt. . 


9th , 




. 


A. A. Mercer 


J) 


Tl ) 






G. A. Trent . 


Northampton Regt. 


»3 , 






G. E. G. Cameron 


Gordon Highlanders 


loth , 




2nd Lieut. . 


W. D. Wright 


West Surrey Regt. . 


nth , 




daptain 


J. H. Bowman 


Derbyshire Regt. 


13th , 




Major . 


G. A. Money 


1 8th Bengal Lancers 


)) > 




Captain 


H. : L. Custance 


36th Sikhs . 


1 6th 




Lieutenant . 


R. G. Munn . 


J) 


j> J 




Lieut. -Col. . 


H. A. Abbott 


15th Sikhs . 


" ' 





2S0 THE CAMPAIGN IN TIRAH, 1897-g 

LIST "Z— Continued 



Rank. 


Names. 


Corps. 


Date. 


2nd Lieut. . 


0. C. S. Watson . 


Yorkshire Regt. 


22nd Nov. 


1897 


Captain 


W. E. Venour 


5th Punj. Infantry . 
(attached to 36th Sikhs) 


24th , 




Lieutenant . 


B. C. W. Williams 


Yorkshire Regt. 


29th , 




j» 


F. 0. Wyatt . 


R.A. . 


jj J 




») 


W. H. Pennington 


6th Bengal Cavalry . 


1st Dec. 


1897 


11 


W. D. Villiers- Stuart . 


l/Sth Gurkhas 


1? > 




Major . 


E. Vansittart 


J, 


)> ) 




Lieutenant . 


R. Fowke . 


Dorsetshire Regt. 


loth , 




Captain 


C. E. Norie . 


I /2nd Gurkhas 


nth , 




Lieutenant . 


W. de L. Williams 


Assistant Transport 
Officer 


)) ? 




Captain 


A. Bateman-Champain . 
F. de Sausmarez-Shortt 


I /3rd Gurkhas 
Scots Fusiliers 


13th , 




Lieutenant . 


S. de V. A. Julius . 


Sussex Regt. . 


27th , 




Lieut. -Col. . 


F. Plowden 


Oxford Lt. Infantry 


30th 




Captain 


C. Parr 


») 


)) » 




Lieutenant . 


R. Owen 


>j 


,, , 




)3 


H. D. Hammond 


R.H.A. . 


1st Jan. ) 


898 








(since dead] 


Captain 


F. G. Bond . 


R.E. . 


ii J 




Major . 


H. Earle, D.S.O. 


York Lt. Infantry 


29th , 




Captain 


A. G. Marrable 


5) 


j> » 




2nd Lieut. 


G. C. W. G. Hall . 


J» 


,, , 




5J 


D. S. Browne 


36 th Sikhs . 


31st , 




Surg. -Lieut. 


M. Dick 


>> 


J) J 




2nd Lieut. . 


H. J. de la Condamine 


D. of C. Lt. Infantry 


nth Mar. 


1898 


Captain 


E. W. Margesson . 


Norfolk Regt. 


26th , 





THE END 



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NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION IN ONE VOL. 



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FORTY-ONE YEARS IN INDIA 

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GUARDIAN. — "It is not every one who can be trusted to write his own 
life ; but some great men have successfully accomplished the feat, and to their 
number must be added Lord Roberts. Nothing could well improve upon these 
volumes. The story is told with the modesty which is a part of the author's 
nature. It is of the highest interest from the first page to the last, and the style 
is admirably clear." 

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED, LONDON. 



MACMILLAN AND Co.'s BOOKS RELATING TO INDIA 

A HISTORY OF THE INDIAN MUTINY and of the Dis- 
turbances which Accompanied it among the Civil Population. By 

T. Ric£ Holmes. Fifth Edition, Revised throughout and slightly Enlarged. 

With Maps and Plans. Extra crown 8vo. 12s. 6d. 
"T. P." in the JVE £ A'L V SWJV says: — "It is but a poor and an insufficient compli- 
ment to say that the book is more interesting than any work of fiction. For myself, I have 
read it as breathlessly as though it were an exciting novel ; with that added sense that I was 
reading of reality and not of fiction. . . . I mpartialityj profound knowledge, a charming style, 
unassailable accuracy — these are qualities that are not often found in combination ; they are 
found in this noteworthy volume." 

REMINISCENCES OF THE GKEAT MUTINY, 1857-1859. 

Including the Relief, Siege, and Capture of Lucknow, and the Campaigns in 

Rohilcund and Oude. By William Forbes - Mitchell, late Sergeant 

93rd Sutherland Highlanders. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

SPECTA TOR.—" One of the very best soldiers' books ever written. There is not a dull 

page in it, and exciting yarns of all descriptions follow each other without intermission. . . . 

No one who wants to be amused and to be made to feel proud of our army should fail to 

read it." 1 

THE RELIEF OF CHITRAL. By Captain G. J. Younghusband, 

Queen's Own Corps of Guides, author of "Eighteen Hundred Miles on a 
Burmese Tat," "Frays and Forays," "The Queen's Commission," etc., 
and Captain Frank E. Younghusband, CLE. , Indian Staff Corps (late 
Political Officer in Chitral). With Map and Illustrations. 8vo. 8s. 6d. net. 
BROAD ARROIV, — "Will probably be accepted as the standard work on the brilliant 
little campaign which has illustrated the history of the British Army in 1895." 

CAWNPORE. By the Right Hon. Sir G. O. Trevelyan, Bart., 

author of " The Competition Wallah. " Third Edition. Crown 8vo. 6s. 
LITERARY WOTfZZ).—" There is a fascination about it which few will be able to 
resist if once the book comes within their reach." 

THE HISTORY OF THE INDIAN NAVY. An Account of the 
Indian Marine Service, 1613 to 1864. By Charles Rathbone Low, late 
Indian Navy, F. R.G.S. 2 vols. Demy 8vo. 36s. 

LORD ELLENBOROUGH'S ADMINISTRATION IN INDIA. 

Contaihing his Letters to Her Majesty the Queen, and Letters to and from 
the Duke of Wellington. Demy 8vo. i8s. 

SELECTIONS FROM OFFICIAL WRITINGS of the RIGHT 

HON. MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE. Edited, with a Memoir, by 
Professor G. W. FORREST. Demy 8vo. 21s. 

THE PROTECTED PRINCES OF INDIA. By William Lee- 

Warner, C.S.I. 8vo. los. 6d. 
TIMES. — "To students of Anglo-Indian constitutional history his work is of great value. " 

THE SOUL OF A PEOPLE : An Account of the Life and 

Belief of the Burmese. By H. Fielding. Demy 8vo. 14s. 

A THEN/~SUM. — " This is in several ways a noteworthy book. It is all too uncommon 
to find a European official displaying appreciative, even admirable, sympathy with the 
religious belief and life of an Oriental people whom he has had to govern." 

TRAVELS IN INDIA. By Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Baron 

of Aubonne. Translated from the original French Edition of 1676, with a 

Biographical Sketch of the Author, Notes, Appendices, etc. , by V. BALL, 

LL.D. , F.R.S., F.G.S., Director of the Science and Art Museum, Dublin; 

Author of "Jungle Life in India," "The Economic Geology of India," etc. 

With Illustrations and Maps. In two vols. Med. 8vo. 42s. 

SPEAKER. — " It is with a feeling; of reluctance that we rise from the study of this most 

fascinating book. Dr. Ball deserves high praise as a translator and editor. But it is rather 

for the picture, at once comprehensive and exact, of an India which has passed away, that we 

chiefly owe him gratitude." 

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED, LONDON.