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Indian Mutiny – Defence of Lucknow (Alumbagh) / Lucknow, 78th Highlanders.


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Indian Mutiny – Defence of Lucknow (Alumbagh) / Lucknow, 78th Highlanders.

Indian Mutiny clasps, Lucknow, Defence of Lucknow, J. Carty, 78th Highlanders

John Carty was born in Bellintemple, Co cavan, 1827, and enlisted on the 2nd April 1848.

His service papers state “Engaged in the defence of the AlamBagh in 1857

His papers and medal roll confirm both clasps.

The 78th Highlanders returned to India in May 1857 to help suppress the Indian Rebellion. It took part in the recapture of Cawnpore in July 1857 and then took part in the reinforcement of Lucknow,

Outram arrived at Cawnpore with reinforcements including the 78th Highlanders, on 15 September. He allowed Havelock to command the relief force, accompanying it nominally as a volunteer until Lucknow was reached. The force numbered 3,179 and was composed of six British and one Sikh infantry battalions, with three artillery batteries, but only 168 volunteer cavalry.

The advance resumed on 18 September. This time, the rebels did not make any serious stand in the open country, even failing to destroy some vital bridges. On 23 September, Havelock’s force drove the rebels from the Alambagh, four miles south of the Residency. Leaving the baggage with a small force (including Carty) in the Alambagh, he began the final advance on 25 September.

The force met heavy resistance trying to cross the Charbagh Canal, but succeeded They then turned to their right, following the west bank of the canal. The 78th Highlanders took a wrong turning, but were able to capture a rebel battery near the Qaisarbagh palace, before finding their way back to the main force. After further heavy fighting, by nightfall the force had reached the Machchhi Bhawan. Outram proposed to halt and contact the defenders of the Residency by tunnelling and mining through the intervening buildings, but Havelock insisted on an immediate advance. (He feared that the defenders of the Residency were so weakened that they might still be overwhelmed by a last-minute rebel attack.) The advance was made through heavily defended narrow lanes. Neill was one of those killed by rebel musket fire. In all, the relief force lost 535 men out of 2000, incurred mainly in this last rush.

Strongly defending the residency until it was relieved in November 1857 The regiment won eight Victoria Crosses during the campaign and was hailed as the ‘saviour of British India’ and feted for its conduct at Lucknow. This included being commemorated by poets such as John Greenleaf Whittier and Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Condition – GVF, some contact marks, unofficial rivets between clasps.