RARE Defence of Chitral casualty. 4th Kashmir Rifles
India General Service 1895, clasp Defence of Chitral 1895, 369 Naick Than Bahadar 4th Kashmir Rifles.
KILLED in ACTION 3rd March 1895
There is plenty written about the siege; for a good general account follow this link
The garrison in Chitral from 3rd March 1895 when the siege began comprised some 500 Sikh and Kashmiri troops
On 3rd March 1895, Sher Afzal occupied villages within two miles to the South of Chitral Town. Captain Campbell, the senior British military officer, advanced to meet Sher Afzal with 200 men of the 4th Kashmir Rifles (Dogras and Gurkhas). Lieutenant Gurdon in his ‘Memories of Chitral’ described how he attempted to dissuade Campbell and his second-in-command, Captain Baird, from attacking the Chitralis. It was clear to Gurdon that these two officers underestimated the fighting qualities of the substantial number of tribesmen who were opposing them, many of whom were armed with breach loading rifles and were skilled mountain fighters and overestimated the competence of their own soldiers from the Kashmir Rifles, who were not fully trained in the use of their firearms.
Gurdon described how members of the Kashmir Rifles dropped rounds of ammunition during the fighting on 3rd March 1895 and failed to recover them, Gurdon picking up some of them himself. Robertson commented on the Kashmiri soldiers firing too high.
Gurdon urged Baird not to attack without support from the unengaged party of Kashmir Rifles, particularly as the Jandolis and Chitralis had infiltrated along the heights to their rear. Baird insisted on his rash assault, which led to his own fatal wounding and the death or incapacitation of most of his men.
In the fight on 3rd March 1895 the Chitralis and Jandolis inflicted heavy casualties on the Kashmiris and Captain Baird was gravely wounded in the stomach. Campbell received a severe wound to the knee. Gurdon took over command and, after putting Baird in the care of Lieutenant Whitchurch of the Indian Medical Service, conducted a difficult withdrawal through Chitral Town to the river bridge.
Lieutenant Harley provided cover for the final retreat to the fort with 50 of the 14th Sikhs. The Sikh and Kashmiri troops withdrew into Chitral Fort and the siege began on the evening of 3rd March 1895.
In the action on 3rd March 1895, the Kashmiris suffered 25 dead and 30 wounded, out of 150 men engaged.
Robertson’s view was that the heavy defeat of the Kashmir Rifles on 3rd March 1895 made them largely ineffective during the siege and ruled out aggressive action by the garrison
Condition – GVF+