The excessively rare ‘Peshawur Light Horse’ campaign pair awarded to Private P. Bourke, 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot, a survivor of the 1854 Charlotte sinking and one of a handful of men from his regiment who joined this short-lived mounted unit for Cotton’s Sitana Expedition
Indian Mutiny 1857-59, no clasp, 2942 Patk. Burke. H.Ms. 27th Regt.; India General Service 1854-95, 1 clasp, Northwest Frontier, Pte. P. Bourke Peshr. Lt. Horse.
Patrick Bourke was born at Timolin, County Kildare, on 5 May 1835. He enlisted into the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot at Dublin on 27 April 1854, aged 19, and survived the sinking of the troopship Charlotte in Algoa Bay, South Africa in December 1854.
Based at Peshawur on 24 May 1857, he was hospitalised with dysentery, but recovered sufficiently to take part in the Indian Mutiny campaign. He then served during the Umballa campaign as a Private in the Peshawur Light Horse. This short-lived unit, raised on 3 June 1857, comprised men of the 27th, 70th and 87th Foot, mounted on horses. It was commanded by Captain F. Fane, and its strength was two officers, four sergeants and 84 men. Medals to this unit are thus very rare, for it was disbanded in 1861.
The unit took part in General Sir Sydney Cotton’s expedition to Sitana in April-May 1858. Only 30 men of the 27th Foot took part in this operation, and just three are believed to have claimed an I.G.S. named to the ‘Peshawur Light Horse’. Bourke received Good Conduct Pay on 27 April 1859, and was promoted to Corporal on 4 December 1860.
He rose to Sergeant on 24 January 1862, but was imprisoned for ‘drunkenness unbecoming of a Non-Commissioned Officer.’ Despite being four times tried by court martial, he eventually became Colour-Sergeant in the 27th Foot. Discharged at Colchester on 29 May 1878, he transferred to the Donegal Militia, which became the 5th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers under the 1881 Childers Reforms. He spent 15 years on this unit’s permanent staff.
He died as a Chelsea Pensioner (number 281) on 12 February 1927, aged 91. His only son was killed at the Battle of Colenso in December 1899;
Condition – heavy contact marks, the second with suspension claw loose, good fine. (Note use of Regimental number on Mutiny shows it was a slightly late issue, which is normal for this regiment, as they were all issued slightly later)
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