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Defence of Lucknow, 71st Native Infantry, an Original Defender at Lucknow, who received a monetary award for his gallant conduct from Sir James Outram.


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Defence of Lucknow, 71st Native Infantry, an Original Defender at Lucknow, who received a monetary award for his gallant conduct from Sir James Outram, RARE

Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Defence of Lucknow, Drum Major E. Hughes, 71st. Regt. N.I.

Edward Hughes transferred to the 71st Native Infantry from the 49th Native Infantry as a Drummer on 24 July 1839, and was promoted Drum Major on 1 May 1840. At the outbreak of the Great Sepoy Mutiny he was serving with the 71st N.I. stationed at Lucknow.

The Outbreak of the Mutiny at Lucknow
‘The first to rise and the most conspicuous among the mutineers at Lucknow on the night of 30 May 1857 were the sepoys of the 71st. Parties of them had previously been told off to murder the officers and fire the bungalows. A portion of the 71st were got together by Captain Strangways and after some delay a small number were marched up and took post on the right of the Europeans. They bought, however, neither their colours or their treasure of which the mutineers had possessed themselves.
Of the native officers and men of the 13th, 48th and 71st Regiments of Native Infantry who have been amongst the defenders of the Residency, it is difficult to speak too highly. Their courage and constancy under the severest of trials is worthy of all honour. Every native commissioned and non-commissioned officer and soldier who has performed as part of the garrison shall receive the Order of Merit, with the increase of pay attached thereto, and shall be permitted to count three years of additional service.’

For his services at Lucknow Hughes was granted a reward of 68 Rupees by Sir James Outram, G.C.B.

The grant of a monetary reward is an interesting one. Clearly Hughes must have served with some distinction during the Defence of Lucknow, and he was in all probability a Eurasian Christian, and because of this would not have been entitled to either the (Indian) Order of Merit or the Distinguished Conduct Medal, because at the time he would have been regarded as neither a native nor a European. Presumably Sir James Outram thought that a monetary award was the only option to recognise his service at the time. This rule was changed in 1879 allowing men with European parentage to be eligible for the award of the Indian Order of Merit from that date.

It is interesting to note that at this time it was common that members of the regimental band were Eurasian.
Hughes is noted as transferring from the 49th Regiment NI to the 71st on the 24th July 1839 and had by the time of the Mutiny had already served for some considerable time,Hughes subsequently transferred to the Oude Military Police after the Mutiny.
Provenance: Sold as part of the antiquarian collection of Mr A. C. Lamb, of Edinburgh, February 1898; George McIlroy Collection.
Condition – NEF, minor edge nicks.