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1857-58 Indian Mutiny Medal Pair "Victoria Cross Recipient"

Stock code: MD000024
The campaign pair to Lieutenant Duncan Charles Home, V.C., Bengal Engineers, Hero of the Kashmir Gate at the assault of Delhi, who was killed in an explosion shortly afterwards.

Punjab 1848-49, 2 clasps, Mooltan, Goojerat (2nd Lieut. D. C. Home, Engrs. 3rd Cy. Sappers); Indian Mutiny 1857-59, 1 clasp, Delhi (Lt. D. C. Home, Bengal Engrs.) the first with some edge bruises and surface marks, very fine, the second nearly extremely fine (2)

Ex Roger Perkins, Brian Ritchie Collections.

Acquired by Perkins directly from the family in 1982. The catalogue of his sale in 1990 states that the “Cross, unfortunately, was lost in the 1920s. The children took it out of the house while ‘playing soldiers’ and it was lost in a field. Intensive searches then and later failed to locate it. After so many years it seems unlikely that it will ever be recovered.”

Duncan Charles Home, the third son of Major-General Richard Home, Colonel of the 43rd Bengal Native Infantry, and Frances Sophia, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Fraser, 7th Light Cavalry, was born at Jubbulpore, Central Provinces, on 10 June 1828. He was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, from January 1841 to 1843, and afterwards for one and half years by Messrs. Stoton and Mayor at Wimbledon. He attended Addiscombe from 1845 to 11 December 1846, on which day he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers, but undergoing the usual course of instruction at Chatham did not sail for India until 20 June 1848. He arrived at Calcutta in the Barham in the middle of October, and within a few days was despatched to the Upper Provinces to do duty with the headquarters of the Corps of Sappers and Pioneers then employed in operations before Mooltan. He was present at the siege and capture of that place and was afterwards present with the corps at the battle of Gujerat. He was subsequently posted to the 3rd Company of Sappers at Lahore. In October 1849 he was appointed to the Public Works Department, and became Assistant Executive officer, third division, Ganges Canal, until April 1852, when he was placed at the disposal of the Superintending Engineer, Punjab Circle, for employment in the Civil Engineers Department, being appointed Assistant to the Executive Engineer of the Bari Doab Canals at Malikpur. A year later he was appointed Executive Engineer of the first division of the Bari Doab Canal, and on 15 February 1854 was promoted Lieutenant. He was serving in this capacity at Madhopur when the Mutiny broke out in May 1857.

The insurrection did not at first affect him in his duties, but he was soon ordered to raise three companies of Punjab Sappers (or Pioneers) for service at Delhi from the Mazbi Sikh workmen employed on the Grand Trunk Road. He received the order one morning and the companies marched away the following evening under Lieutenant H. W. Gulliver, Bengal Engineers. At the beginning of July, Home raised two more companies of Punjab Sappers, and was later himself summoned to augment the small number of Engineer officers on the Ridge.

Home arrived at Delhi in August and on the 22nd was appointed a Field Engineer in orders. As part of the plan for the final assault on 14 September, Home and Lieutenant Philip Salkeld, also of the Bengal Engineers, were assigned to lead the Explosion Party which was to blow in the Kashmir Gate in advance of Colonel Campbell’s No. 3 Column. At day break just as the British siege guns had ceased firing, Brigadier Nicholson gave the order to advance, leading Nos. 1 and 2 Columns himself from the Kudsia Bagh, while No. 3 Column issued from the vicinity of Ludlow Castle. Two hundred skirmishers of the 60th Rifles ran out to cover the storming columns, and instantly the walls of Delhi blazed with rebel musketry.

At the front of No. 3 Column, Home and Salkeld led forward their detachment which, carrying ladders and powder bags, comprised three British N.C.O’s, fourteen I

1854-95 India General Service Medal Pair "Victoria Cross Recipient"

Stock code: MD000035
The campaign pair to Colonel R. K. Ridgeway, V.C., C.B., 44th Gurkha Regiment of Bengal Infantry, awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Konoma in the Naga Hills when he was severely wounded.

India General Service 1854-94, 2 clasps, Naga 1879-80, N.E. Frontier 1891 (Capt. R. K. Ridgeway, 44th Bengal N.I.), India General Service 1895-1902, 3 clasps, Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897, Tirah 1897-98 (Lt. Coll. R. K. Ridgeway, V.C. I.S.C.) official correction to ‘V.C.’, good very fine (2).

This pair is from the collection of Colonel R. B. Jay, who died on 23 June 1964, and who was the author of Men whose Fathers were Men, published under the pseudonym “Centurion”. His collection was for many years held at Norwich Castle until disposed of by auction some 20 years ago. The whereabouts of the Victoria Cross itself is not known.

Richard Kirby Ridgeway, the second son of R. Ridgeway, Esq., F.R.C.S., and Annette, daughter of R. Adams, Esq., of Cavanagh, County Cavan, was gazetted from Sandhurst to H.M’s 96th Regiment as Ensign on 8 January 1868. He became Lieutenant on 14 February 1870 and was transferred to the Bengal Staff Corps in 1872. Appointed to the 44th (Sylhet) Regiment of Native Infantry, he served as Adjutant from 1874 to 1880, and in February 1875 took part in the punitive expedition to Ninu after the attack by Naga tribesmen on Lieutenant Holcombe’s survey party (mentioned in despatches).

On 14 October 1879 the Nagas again carried out an unprovoked attack this time on the Local Commisioner, Mr Damant, who was killed together with Jemadar Prem Singh and ten Sepoys of the 43rd Gurkhas. An expedition was mounted to restore order in Naga territory; the force comprising a small party of the 34th N.I., a detachment of 300 Gurkhas of the 43rd N.I. and the whole of the 44th N.I., under Colonel Nuttall, with two 7-pounder mountain guns. The Field Force was commanded by Brigadier-General J. L.Nation, and, having taken to the field, a detachment of the 43rd attacked and secured the village of Sephima on 15 November. On 21 November the Field Force prepared to attack the fortified Naga village of Konoma on the following day.
‘This village, which bore the finest fighting reputation throughout the Naga hills, was situated on a sort of rocky island in a valley, and was strongly fortified in terraces, with stone walls and towers. The attack was made by 500 rifles, three-fourths being 44th, with their two 7-pounder guns, and one fourth 43rd, together with 26 Frontier Police. The stoutness of the defence created surprise. True, it was probable that several thousand men were behind the walls and stockades of Konoma, and that half of them were equipped with firearms, including many Sniders and Enfields, but such preparations, and such stubborn resistance, were a new feature in Naga warfare. The village was first shelled by the two guns, but without effect on the fortifications, so Colonel Nuttall decided to storm the place. The outlying fortifications were soon taken, but then the attackers found themselves faced by the inner lines, a stone-faced scarp, surmounted by a loopholed stockade, the whole about twelve feet high. The guns were brought up to within seventy yards, and the gateway was more or less shattered. Two assaults on the stockade were made; these were led with the greatest gallantry by Lieutenant R. K. Ridgeway, Adjutant of the 44th, who was severely wounded as he reached the gateway, where he heroically remained until the men were able to force an entrance.’

The 44th’s assault, which cost the lives of Major C. H. Cock, D.A.A.G., Lieutenant H. H. Forbes, 44th, Subadar-Major Narbir Sahi, 44th, and seventeen men, came to a standstill at nightfall. The artillery detachment had used all its ammunition during the day-long fight and although the force prepared for another major assault on the following day, the Nagas evacuated Konoma during the night, retreating to entrench