EVII obverse.
The date " 1895 " is omitted from the reverse of the second type.




India Medal 1895 NWF VCs 1895-98


   Victoria Crosses of the North West Frontier 1895 - 1898




Surgeon-Captain Harry Frederick Whitchurch, Indian (Bengal) Medical Service, 24th Bengal Native Regiment.


Harry Frederick Whitchurch

     On the 3rd March 1895, the garrison of Chitral Fort made a sortie. When about one-and-a-half miles from the Fort, Captain Baird was mortally wounded, and Surgeon-Captain Whitchurch went to his assistance. The enemy, in great strength, had now succeeded in forcing their way through the fighting-line. Darkness had set in, and, with only a small handful of Goorkhas and men of the 4th Kashmir Rifles, they were completely isolated from assistance. Placing the wounded officer in a dhoolie, they then attempted to return. The Goorkhas most bravely clung to their load until three of them were killed and a fourth severely wounded, upon which Surgeon Whitchurch took Baird upon his back and continued the journey. Unable to take a direct road, they were obliged to make their way by a circuitous route of three miles, exposed to a raking fire from the enemy who were posted on all the surrounding cliffs and  walls, and it was only the darkness that prevented the total annihilation of the devoted little band. Time after time, in order to force a way over some walls held by a more than usually obstinate group of the enemy, Whitchurch had to lay down his burden, and charge with his men, after which he would pick him up and make his way on a little further. Eventually the Fort was reached with but seven men, whose devotion to their wounded officer has seldom been equalled. Just as the doctor reached the Fort, Baird was hit for the third time, the bullet striking him in the face, and, in spite of every care he died next day. Before his death however, he was able to tell of the heroic devotion of Surgeon Whitchurch, being anxious it should not go unrecognized.
    Captain Younghusband in his story of Chitral says that Mr. Robertson, Political Agent, wrote in his report to Government saying, " It is difficult to write temperately about Whitchurch," and men who have themselves won the Victoria Cross have said that never has it been more gallantly earned than on this occasion.

     Dr. Whitchurch, son of Mr. F. Whitchurch, of Sandown, Isle of Wight, was born on September 22, 1866. Educated in England, France and Germany. Entered St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 1883 ; and the Indian Army, 1888, serving in the Looshai Expedition and the relief of Aijal and Changsil, Defence of Malakand ; relief of Chakdara, North-West Frontier of India, 1897-8 ; China, 1901, taking part in relief of Pekin Legations..



Lieutenant Edmond William Costello, Indian Staff Corps.


Edmond William Costello

   On the night of the 26th of July 1897, during the fighting at the Malakand, Lieutenant Costello, with the assistance of two Sepoys, saved the life of a wounded Lance-Havildar, who was lying sixty yards away on the football field. At the time of this gallant act, the field was swarming with the enemy's swordsmen and a heavy rifle-fire directed upon it.

   Edmond Costello, son of Surgeon-Colonel Costello, I.M.S., was born on August 7, 1873. Educated at Beaumont and Stonyhurst College, he joined the 14th West Yorkshire in August, 1892, and was attached to the 22nd Punjab Infantry in 1894. During Malakand Campaign was twice wounded.


Major / Brevet Lieutenant- Colonel Robert Bellew Adams, Indian Staff Corps.


Robert Bellew Adams

    At Nawa Kili, in Upper Swat, North-West Frontier of India, on August 17, 1897, Lieut.-Colonel Adams and some of the Guides started in pursuit of the tribesmen after the action of Landakai, and it is believed that the horse of Lieutenant R. T. Greaves bolted with his rider. When nearing the enemy, Greaves was shot through the body and fell to the ground, being quickly surrounded by the tribesmen. Major Adams, Lieutenants McLean and Fincastle, seeing Greaves predicament, rode to his rescue and succeeded in recovering his body. They drove off the enemy, but Greaves was killed by another shot just as they commenced to carry him away. Major Adams most bravely stood between the enemy and McLean and Fincastle while these two officers were attempting to put their wounded friend on to one of their horses. Lieutenant McLean was mortally wounded while engaged in this humane act.

   Robert Bellew Adams was born in 1856, and entered the Army in 1876, becoming Captain, 1887 ; Major, 1896. Served in the Afghan War, 1879, and Chitral Relief Force, 1895. Is A.D.C. to His Majesty the King. Was presented with the Victoria Cross by the late Queen Victoria at Windsor on July 9, 1898.


Lieutenant Alexander Edward Murray, Viscount Fincastle, 16th Lancers.


Alexander Edward Murray

   Associated with with Colonel R. B. Adams (V.C.), in the gallant attempt to save the life of Lieutenant Greaves, of the Guides, at Nawa Kili, Upper Swat, India, on August 17, 1897.

   Born on April 22, 1871, son of the Earl of Dunmore, Viscount Fincastle joined the 16th Lancers in 1891, becoming Captain, October 17, 1899. Was A.D.C. to the Viceroy of India, 1894. Served in Dongola Expedition, 1896, and Boer War, 1899-1902, commanding Fincastle's Horse during that time.


Lieutenant Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean, Indian Staff Corps.


Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean

     This officer, had he survived, would have been awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallant conduct on August 17, 1897, in Upper Swat, India, when, as recorded in the account of Colonel Adams (V.C.), he attempted to save the life of Lieutenant Greaves. Lieutenant MacLean had served in the Hazara Expedition.

Lieutenant Thomas Colclough Watson, Royal Engineers.


Thomas Colclough Watson

      On September 16, 1897, Lieutenant Watson while at the attack on the village of Bilot in the Mamund Valley, collected a few men of the Buffs and Bengal Sappers and led them into the burning village, in order to dislodge some of the enemy who were inflicting loss on our troops. With conspicuous courage he made two gallant attempts, but was on both occasions repulsed and severely wounded.

   Captain Watson, born on April 1, 1867 entered the Army in 1888, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on November 19, 1898.


Lieutenant James Morris Colquhoun Colvin, Royal Engineers.


James Morris Colquhoun Colvin

On the 16th of September 1897, at the village of Bilot, in the Mamund Valley, Indian Frontier, Lieutenant Colvin, after Lieutenant Watson (V.C.) had been incapacitated from his wounds, continued in the attempt to drive out the enemy from the burning village. His conduct was most brave and his devotion to his men most noticeable, as, during the whole affair, a very heavy fire was kept up against them by the enemy.

   Born at Bijnor, India, on August 26, 1870, Major Colvin is the son, of Mr. J. C. Colvin, late Bengal Civil Service. Educated at Charterhouse and Royal Military Academy, he joined the Royal Engineers in 1889, becoming Lieutenant in 1892 ; Captain, April 1, 1900 ; and Brevet-Major, August, 1902, for his services in South Africa as an officer on special service. Took part in the Chitral Relief Force, 1895 ; Malakand Field Force, 1897 (mentioned in despatches) ; Buner Field Force, 1898 ; and South Africa, 1901-2.



Corporal James Smith, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).


James Smith

     On the night of the16th of September1897, Lieutenant Watson (V.C.) called for volunteers to enter the burning village of Bilot (North-West Frontier of India), and drive the enemy out with the bayonet. Corporal Smith followed his officer, and was particularly noticeable for his gallant conduct on that occasion. Later, although wounded, he continued firing coolly and steadily,  and assisted in removing the wounded to a place prepared for their reception. The officer afterwards left to obtain assistance for the wounded, leaving Corporal Smith in charge of the men ; and during his absence Smith directed the fire of his party, exposing himself freely in order to watch the enemy, who were unable to take the position, which was held most gallantly.

Lieutenant Henry Singleton Pennell, Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment).


Henry Singleton Pennell

    On October 20, 1897, during the attack on the Dargai Heights, Captain W. E. G. Smith, of the Derbyshire Regiment, was shot, and Lieutenant Pennell, under a terrific hail of bullets, ran to him, and twice attempted in a most brave manner to carry him into shelter. It was only when he found that the officer was dead that he desisted from any further attempts.

    Son of Mr. Edwin Pennell, of Dawlish, in Devonshire, Captain Pennell was born on June 18, 1874. Educated at Eastbourne College, he joined the Derbyshire Regiment in 1893 ; promoted to 1st Lieutenant, 1896 ; Captain, 1900. Served in Tirah Campaign, 1897-8, being mentioned in despatches as well as gaining the Victoria Cross, which was presented to him by Lieut.-Colonel Dowse at Bareilly, North-West India, on September 2, 1898. Took part in the Boer War, 1899-1902, being twice mentioned in despatches. Was severely wounded during the Relief of Ladysmith.


Piper George Findlater, Gordon Highlanders.


George Findlater

    The historic and superb storming of the Dargai Heights took place on October 20, 1897. Piper Findlater was shot through both feet, but sat up, under a terrific fire, and continued playing the regimental march in order to encourage his comrades in the charge. Decorated at Netley Hospital by Her late Majesty Queen Victoria.

Private Edward Lawson, Gordon Highlanders.


Edward Lawson

   Decorated for his conspicuous bravery at the assault of the Dargai Heights on October 20, 1897. Under a terrific fire from the enemy he carried Lieutenant Dingwall, who was severely wounded, from an open spot to a safer position. Afterwards he acted in a similarly brave manner towards Private McMillan, and during his heroic action was wounded in two places.

Private Samuel Vickery, Dorsetshire Regiment.


Samuel Vickery

   Decorated for his courageous conduct on October 20, 1897, at the storming of the Dargai Heights, when he ran down the slope, under a very severe fire, to the help of a wounded soldier whom he subsequently carried back to shelter. Later on, when with Brigadier-General Kempster's column in the Waran Valley, he became separated from his company and was attacked by three of the enemy, all of whom he killed.




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