The VC Winners in Delhi, September 1857
VC by Ballot was introduced into the original Warrant as Clause 13 on a suggestion by Prince Albert. It was not used for veterans of the Crimean War and came into practice during the Indian Mutiny. Under this new clause, officers could now choose one of their number together with one non-commissioned officer and two privates from the other ranks. The first unit to make use of the provision would be the 60th Rifles at Delhi.
In all, 8 VCs were awarded to men of the 60th, of which 7 would be for actions in Delhi. We have already followed the exploits of four of them in “Spirited Daring” and “For Valour”:
We shall now look at the last three, an impressive, but temperamental set:
William Sutton, the audacious bugler
John Divane, the problematic rifleman
George Waller, the respected colour-sergeant
William Sutton – the Audacious Bugler
Born in 1830 in Ightham, Kent, William Sutton, at the time of his enlistment in 60th Rifles, an orphan being brought up by his older siblings. The life of an agricultural labourer apparently did not appeal to young William and by 1857 he was in Meerut with his regiment in the function of a bugler.
With more than 20 bugle calls in his repetoir, Sutton was instrumental in regulating life in the camp, with calls signifying the different parts of the day – morning Reveille, the First Post and at the end of the day, the Last Post were just a few he would have had to master. The bugle was primarily a means of communication – its sound could be heard over a long distances and was an effective method to give orders especially during battles. For any of my readers interested in hearding the Bugle Calls of the British Army, a linke is below: https://www.yorkshirecorpsofdrums.com/Bugle%20Calls.html
Sutton was not a man to shy from a fight, – He proved himself on the 2nd of August, when he charged a rebel bugler who was attempting to sound a command and shot him dead, leaving the rebels momentarily bereft of orders.
Nor did he lack imagination. On the 6th of August during a particularily dark night alive with heavy fire, Ensign Alfred Heathcote had been sent over to the right of the Ridge to the heavy batteries were the rebels were keeping up a heated fire from their battery, barely 40 yards away. Heathcote recalled,
“The air was every minute lighted with the fuses of the enemy shells whizzing over our heads, then flashed right in front from their muskets, and the sharp ping of their bullets with the bursting of the shrapnel close amoung us and in our rear...” Heathcote managed to lead his men across the rocky ground down to the breastwork which was being attacked by the mutineers. With neither party willing to give ground it became a back and forth exchange – “…they would give a shout and charge, when up would jump our men and give them a volley…this went on all night with their heavy guns and ours playing over our heads.” Outnumbered, Heathcote could not call his men to charge, it was all he could do to prevent being overrun when William Sutton had another idea. Without an order from Heathcote, Sutton “got up on the parapet of the breastwork and sounded our “Regimental Call”, the “Retire” and the the “Double.” I was fearfully angry; and told him that I had a good mind to cut him down, and why did he do it, for, as he knew, the Rifles never retreat. His answer was, “Nevermind Sir, you’ll see what will come of it.” Sure enough on they came out of their breastwork with their bayonets fixed, thing we were on the go, when I gave the order to fire and the guns opened on them with canister and grape. Seeing that it was dodge of ours to draw them on they hastily retreated with heavy loss..and then with a cheer we charged them and drove them from their position.”
If audacity was part of his nature, then bravery was not far behind. Sutton was one of the men who volunteered to join Lang and Medley on their adventure of the 13th of September to reconnoitre the breach in the wall. Having climbed down into the dry moat in front of the wall, Sutton joined the engineers in scrambling up to the breach to ascertain if it suited for the assault. For this feat, the bugler was awarded the VC, nominated by ballot by his comrades in the 60th.
Very little is known about what happened to William Sutton after his service in India. Gazetted on the 20th of January 1860, Sutton received his VC from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in November of the same year. By 1871, Sutton was married and had four children but he was no longer in the army. In 1872, he lost his VC and had to purchase a replacement medal. He listed his occupation as a “labourer” living in Rotherhithe. His fortunes, however, would not improve. By 1881, Sutton was a widower and living with this brother-in-law in Halling, Kent with only 2 of his children. His profession was unchanged, Sutton was still a labourer, in the employ now of a bricklayer. His time in Halling soon came to an end and Sutton returned to his native Ightham, only to end up in the Union Workhouse in Malling, where he died, at the age of 58 in 1888. He was buried in an unmarked grave and his VC is now in the possession of the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester. A plaque dedicated to William Sutton hangs in the Lady Chapel at St. Peter’s Church in Ightham. His grave is lost.
His citation reads;
“For gallant conduct at Delhi on the 13th September 1857, the night previous to the assault, in volunteering to reconnoitre the breach. This soldier’s conduct was conspicuous throughout the operations, especially on the 2nd August 1857, on which occasion, during an attack by the enemy in force, he rushed forward over the trenches and killed one of the enemy buglers who was in the act of sounding.” (The London Gazette of 20 January 1860, No. 22347, p. 178)
John Divane – the Problematic Rifleman
Born in 1823, John Divane was born in Carrabane, County Galway. Only semi-literate, Divane misspelled his own name, having put the tail on the wrong side of the “u” thus altering the spelling from Duane to Divane when he enlisted in the 60th Rifles in April 1854. He was on older recruit at the age of 31 and possibly set in his ways. Soldiering might have been preferable to starvation but it proved somewhat difficult for Divane to adjust to. He was repeatedly punished between 1854 and 1857 with periods of detention and forfeiture of pay. However, he appears to have cleaned up his act and by 1857, although not a model soldier, the punishments had stopped.
Divane would have been one of the men sent out with a covering party to protect the work parties during the construction of the Siege Batteries in September – as his citation states he won his VC on the 10th of September, it would appear the action for which he was rewarded occurred during the construction of Siege Battery No.2.
“On more than one occasion before Battery No. 2 was finished, the mutineers sallied out from the Cashmere Gate, and poured forth a volley of musketry at that spot; and it required a very strong guard of infantry to protect the battery from a closer attack….”
For the 10th of September, there is only one mention of a man from the 60th, in the narrative of Mr. Rotton –
“I regret to have to record the fact that Lieutenant Eaton, of H. M.’s 60th Royal Rifles, was wounded on the 10th of September; and it was believed, mortally. Lieutenant Eaton was present at one of the advanced batteries; his tour of duty was over, as he had been relieved; but still, he would linger at the spot. The enemy was keeping up a heavy fire of artillery and musketry at the time; which they continued to do the whole of the day: and the results were somewhat disastrous to the covering and working parties, whose employments inevitably exposed them to its heat. We lost in killed and wounded, during the twenty-four hours, no less than fifty; and among the wounded was the gallant young Eaton, whose head was fractured, and the brain laid open. His recovery was a marvel of divine goodness, and agreeably disappointed the expectations of his medical advisers.” (Chaplain’s Narrative of the Siege of Delhi – J.Rotton, p. 249-50) It is rather grisly to note that Eaton survived his injury, although he lost a “largish piece of his skull. ” The hole was covered up with a silver plate on which, “in addition to his crest, was engraved his monogram and the record of his wound…” (R.G. Wilberforce, pp, 139-140)
Whether this was the same action which involved Divane, is unfortunately unknown. However from what we can surmise, Divane must have been somewhere close to the front of the batteries as his citation states he was heading a successful charge,
“…made by the Beeloochee (Baluchi) and Sikh troops on one of the enemy’s trenches…He leapt out of our trenches, closely followed by the Native Troops, and was shot down from the top of the enemy’s breastworks.” (No. 22347″. The London Gazette. 20 January 1860, p. 178).
Unfortunately for Divane, his valour cost him dearly. Severely wounded, his leg was amputated and he would be invalided out of the army in January 1858.
He was elected by the privates of the corps for the VC according to Clause 13 of the Royal Warrant and was invested with the medal by Queen Victoria on the 9th of November 1860, at Windsor Castle. Divane spent the rest of his life as a fish hawker on the streets of Penzance in Cornwall and died in December 1888. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the Penzance Cemetery. In 1995 a headstone was organised by the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission- as the first one was deemed unfit to withstand the weather of Cornwall, another one, this time of polished granite, was placed over his grave. The location of his VC and his Indian Mutiny Medal with the clasp for Delhi remain unknown as these were never sold or donated.
George Waller, the Respected Colour-Sergeant
The rank of colour sergeant was first introduced during the Napoleonic Wars to reward long-serving sergeants and those who had shown themselves to be courageous on the battlefield. It was a prestigious rank to hold and as colour-sergeants in line regiments were set to protect the ensigns (the most junior officers) whose duty it was to carry the battalion’s Colours to rally the troops in battle. There was only one colour sergeant appointed to each company as the senior Non-Commissioned Officer. The rank came with a variety of administrative tasks and usually acted as the pay sergeant.
One of these men was George Waller, Colour-Sergeant of the 60th Rifles.
Born in 1827, Waller enlisted in the 39th (Dorset) Regiment in 1843 at the age of 16. In 1844, he transferred to the 60th and sailed for India the following year. His regiment was far from idle – Waller took part in the Second Sikh War and served not only at the battle of Multan but at Gujrat. For his service, Waller was awarded the Punjab medal with 2 clasps. He then saw action on the North-West Frontier Province from 1849 to 1850 in the skirmishes against the Afghan tribes.
On the 19th of June 1857 during the desperate action which cost so many lives, Waller was shot in the thigh. Although he may not have been sufficiently recovered by September, he was one of the men who refused to remain behind and on the 14th of September, he took his place in the ranks with his comrades for the final assault. It was through his gallantry, the guns near the Kabul Gate were captured and turned on the rebels – he then assisted in the repulse of the mutineers from the Chandni Chowk on the 18th of September, saving one of the British guns from capture. He was nominated by the NCOs of his regiment for the VC.
His citation in the London Gazette is short:
*For conspicuous bravery at Delhi on the 14th of September, 1857, in charging and capturing the Enemy’s guns near the Cabul Gate; and again, on the 18th of September, 1857, in the repulse of a sudden attack made by the Enemy on a gun near the Chaudney Chouk. Elected by the Non-Commissioned Officers of the Regiment.” (No. 22347″. The London Gazette. 20 January 1860, p. 178).
The remainder of his career in India remains unmarked by anything more auspicious than his marriage to Elizabeth Sutcliffe in Calcutta in 1859. In 1860, Waller was presented the VC by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. He left the service in 1865 with the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal pinned to his chest, a fitting end to a successful 20-year career in India.
Not that Waller was ready to retire. His next position was that of staff instructor with the 13th Sussex Rifle Volunteers who would eventually become part of the Territorial Army. Waller continued to imbibe his experience to recruits for another 12 years until his death in 1877. In 1871, Waller took up the tenancy of a local pub in Hurstpierpoint, on the high street“…where, no doubt, customers learned of far off lands – and fearsome encounters and perhaps encouraged to sign up for the Volunteers. As a tough army veteran and a former colour sergeant – he would have had little difficulty maintaining order in his establishment.”
When Waller died, he may not have been rich but he certainly was not poor and escaped the fate of so many of his mutiny comrades who spent their remaining days in the workhouse. He was able to live off his army pension, very possibly was given a modest amount for his services as an instructor and still had the pub. He died at the age of 50, suffering from an internal complaint. The town showed their respect for the former colour sergeant with a lengthy obituary in the local newspaper and an impressive turnout at his funeral. Interestingly enough, his grave was not marked by a headstone until 2014 when a local historian successfully pinpointed the location of Waller’s grave and, while money was being raised by donations, an undertaker and a businessman from Hurstpierpoint offered to pay for the stone. A ceremony took place in December 2014 for the unveiling of the new headstone under the auspices of a representative of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
Ryan and McGuire of the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers
The 60th Rifles were not the only regiments to honour their brave at Delhi. Not to be outdone in pluck and daring Miles Ryan and James McGuire of the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers can hardly be outdone.
Miles Ryan had enlisted in the EICo army for a service of 10 years in 1847 – at the age of 21 the former blacksmith from Londonderry, Ireland sailed to India aboard the troopship Ellenborough, arriving in October 1849. In 1852, Drummer Miles Ryan saw active service for the first time with the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers in Burma for which he received the campaign medal with a clasp for Pegu. His life ran, for a time, in step with that of James McGuire.
James McGuire was born in Enniskillen, Ireland. He enlisted in the EICo service in 1849, like Ryan, for 10 years of service. He sailed to India on the Ellenborough. He too served in Burma with the 1st Bengal European Fusiliers and received the campaign medal with the Pegu clasp. When the regiment returned to India in 1855 after an absence of 2 1/2 years, they were first quartered at Dinapore before proceeding to Dagshai in 1856. On the 13th of May 1857, the regiment was ordered to Delhi.
“The soldiers of the Regiment were immediately assembled on parade, the weakly men being formed into a depot for the protection of the sick and Station of May 13th, Dugshai; and, such was the energy displayed by all, that at 4 p.m. on the same day on which the order had been received, the Regiment commenced its march towards Umballa, probably never in finer condition to take the field, both in physique and discipline. The Regiment was 800 strong, there was not a recruit in the ranks, and there had for many months preceding been almost a total absence of crime.” Under Major G.O. Jacob they marched the 60 miles to Amballa in less than 38 hours. On the 7th of June orders were issued for the advance to Delhi, and following the battle of Badli-ki-Serai, the Fusiliers took their place on the Ridge.
The 1st Bengal European Fusiliers were hardly outdone by other regiments in gallantry, with a total of 5 VCs awarded during the mutiny, of these 3 were at Delhi. Following John McGovern in June who had carried a wounded comrade into camp under heavy fire, Ryan and McGuire would accomplish a feat which might have left a good few cavaliers on the Ridge bursting with pride for their regiment.
During the fighting on the 14th of September, Sergeant McGuire and Drummer Miles Ryan were waiting for orders while replenishing their ammunition pouches at the Kabul Gate, together with men of the 75th Regiment and some Sikhs. All of a sudden, possibly caused by sparks from surrounding buildings, three ammunition boxes caught fire. Within seconds, two had exploded and others were starting to burn. In the confusion, some men lost their heads and ran around panic-stricken while others remained standing as if glued to the spot, unable to move. Ryan and McGuire however appeared to have been rather more alert than their colleagues. Without a moment’s hesitation, they both ran into the burning mass and, grabbing the boxes, threw them, one after another, over the parapet into a water-filled ditch below. Their prompt action saved countless lives and the Kabul Gate.
Having completed his service, Drummer Miles Ryan was discharged from the army on the 16th of May 1859 with a pension of 1 shilling a day. What became of him is unknown – he was buried in India, sometime in January 1887, never having returned to Ireland. There is no trace of either his death or burial records and his VC, which was presented to him in India in 1859, is lost.
Similarly, Sergeant James McGuire took his discharge on the 19th of May 1859. Unlike Ryan, he returned home to Enniskillen and was presented with the VC on the 4th of January 1860 at Windsor Castle. While his comrade, Miles Ryan disappeared from history, McGuire would attain a certain amount of notoriety during his lifetime and the cards he had been dealt were none too favourable.
An ugly family dispute, in which McGuire was accused and found guilty of stealing a cow from his uncle, (though it appears McGuire took the cow as repayment of a debt) found the retired sergeant serving a sentence of 9 months in Derry Goal in 1862. His VC, as a result of the conviction, was forfeited and subsequently, his name was struck from the recipient’s list in December 1862. McGuire petitioned unsuccessfully to have not just the medal but his annuity of £ 10 restored and although he received support from the magistrates involved in his case, the judge who had sentenced him refused to offer him any leniency. The result of the judge’s decision led to a refusal of the Secretary of State at the War Office to submit his case to the Queen and McGuire died shortly after.
According to VConline, it is theorised McGuire was buried under a false name – Patrick Donnelly – in Donagh Cemetery, Lisnakea, County Fermanagh, Ireland; the grave is unmarked.
His VC is held by the National Army Museum, Chelsea. His name remains however in the Gazette together with Drummer Miles Ryan.
“At the assault on Delhi on the 14th September 1857, when the Brigade had reached the Cabul Gate, the 1st Fusiliers and 75th Regiment, and some Sikhs, were waiting for orders, and some of the Regiments were getting ammunition served out (three boxes of which exploded from some cause not clearly known, and two others were in a state of ignition) when Serjeant McGuire and Drummer Ryan rushed into the burning mass, and, seizing the boxes, threw them, one after the other, over the parapet into the water. The confusion consequent on the explosion was very great, and the crowd of soldiers and native followers, who did not know where the danger lay, were rushing into certain destruction, when Serjeant McGuire and Drummer Ryan, by their coolness and personal daring, saved the lives of many at the risk of their own.” ( “No. 22212”. The London Gazette. 24 December 1858, p. 5519).
Though not all men disappeared into the absolute obsucurity of Ryan and McGuire, however are Patrick Green and Henry Smith are not far behind.
Patrick Green, Private in the 75th Regiment of Foot
Born in 1824 in Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, Patrick Green enlisted in the 75th Regiment of Foot and arrived in India in 1849. There appears to be nothing known of him previous to his joining the army and his later service is nearly as obscure as that of Miles Ryan.
His name is not mentioned in any accounts nor is the event on which he received his VC discussed in any detail. It was however a solemn act of bravery which should not have been overlooked by the learned historians.
On the 11th of September, Private Patrick Green was on piquet duty in the Kadsia Bagh when a large body of mutineers attacked the position, forcing the party to retire to safer grounds. As they were retreating, Green spotted a comrade lying wounded – with no regard for his own safety, Green rushed back and carried the wounded man to safety.
His citation for the VC was published three months after he had received the medal which was invested by Sir Colin Campbel at Allahabad in July 1858. Green reached the rank of Colour-Sergeant before retiring from the army. He returned to Ireland and died in Cork at the age of 75 in 1889. Although he was laid to rest in Aghada Cemetery in Cork, in an unmarked grave. His medal has never been held publicly and its location, like his grave, remains unknown.
For the Act of Bravery recorded in a General Order, issued by the Commander-in-Chief in India, of which the following is a copy:
” Head-Quarters, Allahabad, July 28, 1858.
” The Commander-in-Chief in India is pleased to approve that the undermentioned soldier be presented, in the name of Her Most Gracious Majesty, with a Medal of the Victoria Cross, for valour and daring in the field, viz.:
Private Patrick Green, Her Majesty’s 75th Foot, for having, on the 11th of September, 1857, when the picquet at the Koodsia Baugh at Delhi was hotly pressed by a large body of the Enemy, successfully rescued a comrade, who had fallen wounded as a skirmisher.
(Signed) C. CAMPBELL, General, Commander-in-Chief, East Indies.” (The London Gazette of 26 October 1858, No. 22194, p. 4574).
Henry Smith of the 52nd Regiment
The taking of Delhi, as we have seen, was not a simple business. The initial assault on the 14th of September had not been the success it was supposed to be, with none of the columns reaching their goals and amid the chaos, the smoke and general gore of such an attack, it stands to reason that one of the main considerations for many of the men on that day was the preservation of their own skins; not from cowardice but the natural instinct of survival. However one man would stand out, at least in the eyes of Colonel George Campbell, and that was Lance-Corporal Henry Smith.
As part of Column No.3, Smith had charged through the Kashmir Gate and then proceeded to fight his way up through the Chandni Chowk where the intention had been to meet up with the other columns. The rebels were having none of it and after a fierce attack, Colonel Campbell, who had declared the 52nd never retire, found himself ordering just that. The column fell back on the Begum Bagh and then further still, back to St. James’ Church. During the retreat under heavy fire, Henry Smith had the presence of mind to pick up a wounded comrade and carry him to safety quite contrary to the orders that the wounded were to be left behind. The action so impressed Campbell he mentioned Smith in dispatches on the 16th of September and recommended him immediately for the VC. In General Orders, Archdale Wilson stated the following:
“Lance-Corporal Smith most gallantly carried away a wounded comrade under a heavy fire of grape and musketry on the Chaundee Chouck, in the city of Delhi, on the morning of the assault on the 14th September 1857. “(General Order of Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., dated Head Quarters, Delhi City, September 21, 1857.)
Five days later Wilson announced Smith had been awarded the VC. It was gazetted on the 24th of April 1858 but there was never any formal presentation of the medal.
Smith chose to remain in India after the mutiny and rose to the rank of sergeant – his career was unfortunately cut short by cholera and he died in Gwalior on the 18th of August, 1862. He was buried in a mass unmarked grave with other victims of the disease on the same day. He was 37 years old.
An older recruit, Smith had enlisted in the 52nd Regiment in 1853 at Ditton, Surrey, at the age of 28. What had led him to enlist or what profession he had pursued is not known but in the 9 years he served with the 52nd, Smith had at least for a short time, proved himself a man of courage.
Robert Haydon Shebbeare, 60th BNI and the 4th Column
Born in 1827 in Clapham, London, there was very little doubt in anyone’s mind that Robert would join the army. He was educated at King’s College School, London (where he was a fellow pupil of Philip Salkeld) after which he joined, in Addiscombe. At the age of 17, Robert sailed for India as a subaltern cadet at the start of his career in the army.
What followed was 11 years of regimental duty. Unlike his fellow officers, Robert did not have a vast connection of family acquaintances to fall back on nor did he have the patronage of any relatives to secure him better positions. His life was that of a regular officer. He did excel in passing the language examinations which possibly helped stave off some of the boredom he was facing, rising to the rank of adjutant, while serving with a regiment which seemed doomed to never see any active service.
In 1844, Robert was attached to the 36th BNI but by 1848, he was commissioned to the 60th BNI. In 1857, the regiment was in Ambala. His regiment had been staunch but only up to a point – they mutinied on their way to Delhi, leaving Robert without a regiment.
Arriving on the Ridge, he quickly found himself appointed 2nd in Command of the Guides Infantry and he was posted to Hindu Rao’s House. Barely 4 years earlier, Shebbeare had despaired of ever seeing service – now he would see more than he could ever have imagined and he would be wounded no less than 6 times. He sustained 3 injuries on the same day, which he described in a letter to his mother,
“I was wounded by three bullets on the 14th of July…in addition to these wounds, two musket balls went through my hat. The first slightly grazed my scalp giving me a severe headache and making me feel very sick. The second cut through a very thick turban and knocked me down on my face but without doing me any injury. On the same day and short afterwards a ball hit me on the right jawbone but glanced off with no worse effect than making me bleed violently and giving me a very mumpish appearance for some days.”
The wounds kept Shebbeare on the sick list until the 25th of July. He was finally back in the fray on the 26th and at his position at Hindu Rao’s House until the final attack on Delhi.
On the 14th of September, Shebbeare was assigned to the 4th Column under Major Reid, whose objective was to storm the Lahore Gate. It was, from the start, something of a lost cause. Reid was promised guns but all he received was one gun and no gunners to go with it and when the Kashmir Contingent suddenly dashed off on their own, Reid was forced to order the advance without any artillery support. Throwing out a skirmishing party under Captain Muter, Reid tried to draw off the fire of the enemy away from the Kashmir Contingent. Meanwhile, the rebels were reinforcing their position in the Kissanganj and as Reid was planning a feint attack on the breastworks of the rebels, he was severely wounded. He managed to give over command to Captain Richard Lawrence but it was Muter who withdrew the troops to their previous position at Hindu Rao’s House, leaving Lawrence to bear the brunt of the blame for the failure of the 4th Column. He protested on behalf of the Kashmir Contingent, saying they continued to fight in the field long after the rest of the troops had retired. It was in all, a rather controversial affair and finally only Wylie Norman’s semi-official report was deemed as being closest to the acceptable truth.
“No.4 column…advanced from the Sabi Mandi towards Kissengunge, the Cashmere contingent cooperating on its right. The latter, however, was so sharply attacked by the insurgents, who were in great force, that, after losing a great number of men and four guns, they were completely defeated and fell back to camp…”
Amid this fray, was Robert Shebbeare.
He was at the rear of the column during the Kissenganj attack when Major Reid was shot in the head. In consequence, writes Robert, “…the Fusiliers, who had led the attack, were not properly supported, as we in the rear received no orders. However we, shortly afterwards, went up to the front and finding it impossible at the moment to advance in the face of terrible fire, from the front and flanking fire from both sides, we tried a garden wall which gave us some shelter. This position we held for some time. I tried to get the men to make another attack and jumped over the wall followed by Murray, McLean and Koodrutoola Subhadar, with a sergeant called Dunleary of the 1st Fusiliers, two Riflemen and three or four Guides, but we were not supported and could do no good by advancing. I went back to call more men, while Murray with the other knelt behind a small bank. At that moment poor Murray was struck by a bullet in the middle of his chest and died on the spot. McLean said to him, “where are you hit?” and he put his hand on his chest but could not speak…I did not know it at the time, for, seeing the enemy annoying our men very much by firing from a small temple to the right of our position, I went with some of our men to run them out. Shortly afterwards we found the enemy coming round our flank to cut off our retreat and we withdrew towards our old position, as could never have made good our attack on the guns in the face of the overwhelming force which had assembled against us… “
Murray’s body was collected from the field the next day and duly buried.
Interestingly enough, Robert Shebbeare does not mention anything in the letter which would give the impression he had done service warranting a VC. The official citation in the London Gazette reads
“For distinguished gallantry at the head of the Guides with the 4th column of assault at Delhi, on the 14th of September, 1857, when, after twice charging beneath the wall of the loopholed Serai, it was found impossible, owing to the murderous fire, to attain the breach. Captain (then Lieutenant) Shebbeare endeavoured to re-organize the men, but with one-third, of the Europeans, having fallen, his efforts to do so failed. He then conducted the rearguard of the retreat across the canal most successfully. He was most miraculously preserved through the affair but yet left the field with one bullet through his cheek, and a bad scalp wound along the back of the head from another.” (No. 22318. The London Gazette. 21 October 1859, p. 3792).
Although he was wounded and could not take part in the actual taking of Delhi, Shebbeare once again found himself in the thick of things on the 20th of September in the last action of the Guides before Delhi, accordingly described by Wylie Norman.
“Every post is occupied, save two, the bridgehead across the Jumna and the Delhi Gate to the south of the city…To the former, the Guides Infantry are about to proceed.” The Infantry, under Shebbeare, Hawes and McLean, on arriving at the Bridge of Boats, found the insurgents had placed a 24-pounder gun on the opposite bank, and supported by infantry, intended to sweep the bridge with a devastating fire. The Guides, whether in a moment of impetuousness or rash courage, dashed across the bridge. The rebels, apparently shocked by the suddenness of the move, fired off a few musket shots, spiked the gun and fled, leaving the Guides to bring in the gun.
As for Shebbeare shortly after Delhi, he was sent to the Punjab to raise a new regiment of Mazhabi Sikhs – the 15th Punjab Pioneers who in 1860, volunteered with Shebbeare at the lead and now a captain, as a part of the China expeditionary force. However Shebbeare’s health was failing and shortly after leaving Calcutta, he was finally forced to report sick. While the regiment landed, Shebbeare remained on board the ship under the care of the ship’s surgeon.
The regiment was called into action and Shebbeare, distressed he was being left behind, and much against the doctor’s wishes, insisted on taking a boat ten miles up to Pehtang and from there, mounting his horse rode another ten to join the camp. By the time he arrived, Shebbeare was unfit for anything at all. He was conveyed back down the river and ordered home on a sick certificate.
With home before him, Robert refused a kind offer from an English merchant to remain a while longer until his health improved; he insisted on remaining on the ship. When the SS Emau arrived in England, his family was waiting at the quayside to welcome him home only to be told he had died en route and his body had been buried at sea, south of Shanghai on the 16th of September 1860. In a letter to Shebbeare’s father, a friend, G.A. Aufrere Baker tried to ease the shock, telling them nothing had been spared for the comfort of his son, that “all the army were glad to render assistance. General Napier most kindly, in conjunction with Lumsden of our regiment, did all in their power to render the transit easy…”
His parents erected a stained glass window in his memory in St. Mark’s Church in their home town of Surbiton but it was destroyed during a bombing raid in WWII.
Shebbeare was never offically invested with the VC and it was posted to his parents to his parents after his death.
The Explosion Party
As we have already read in some detail the work of the explosion party led by Philip Salkeld and Duncan Home on the 14th of September, it is sufficient to leave it here with the official citation in the Gazette.
“Lieutenants Duncan Charles Home- and Philip Salkeld, Bengal Engineers, upon whom the Victoria Cross was provisionally conferred by Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., for their conspicuous bravery in the performance of the desperate duty of blowing in the Cashmere Gate of the Fortress of Delhi, in broad daylight, under a heavy fire of musketry, on the morning of the 14th September 1857, preparatory to the assault, would have been recommended to Her Majesty for confirmation in that distinction, had they survived.” (No. 22154″. The London Gazette. 18 June 1858. p. 2961).
Duncan Home was born in 1828 in Jubbulpore on the 10th of June, the son of Major General Richard Home of the Bengal Army. At the age of eight, he was sent to England for his education, and after completing his formal schooling, Home joined Addiscombe. After leaving the institution at the head of his class in 1846, Home joined the Royal Engineers in Chatham and returned to India as a subaltern in the 3rd Company of the Bengal Engineers. His career, up to the mutiny was standard fair for an engineer. Although he served at the final battle of the Punjab Campaign at Gujurat in 1849, until the mutiny, Home was to be found working as a civil engineer, supervising canal construction in the Punjab. However, the outbreak of the mutiny gave Home an interesting opportunity. Now a lieutenant, Home was instructed to take 160 of his best men and report to Delhi where they arrived on the 20th of August.
Following the blowing up of the Kashmir Gate and the subsequent taking of Delhi Home was assigned to the field force under Colonel Greathed in pursuit of the rebels. Although he had been slightly injured during the assault, Home had managed to survive the Siege of Delhi, his health intact. Luck is a fickle friend. The field force halted at Malagarh Fort which had been used by the rebels as an arsenal. Home was and the engineers were tasked with blowing up the fortifications and making the fort safe – on the third day, he was killed in an explosion. A horrified Alfred Lang wrote,
“Yesterday the gateway, bastion and escarp were very successfully blown in. The last mine to be blown was in the counterscarp, by which we should make a broad, smooth road into the place. Steveson and I rushed up on the ruins of the bastion and saw Home run laughing up to the mine; he put his hand out and to our horror instantaneously the mine sprung; down we rushed, put every man to work to scrape and dig. Sergeant Robson, a few feet from poor Home, had been knocked down and was not really injured but of poor Home…we saw no trace..about twenty yards off in the hollow of a well I recognised his body, all mangled and covered with dust…his legs were broken in two places, his arms broken and one nearly torn off: his death must have been instantaneous…I could not realise that merry Home, so full of life and happiness just before, was now dead.”
His remains were buried in the Birlaspur Cemetery, Bulandshahr, near Aligarh. Home was 29 years old. His VC was sent to the father on the 7th of July 1858.
Philip Salkeld’s career had taken a similar turn as Robert Shebbeare’s – educated at King’s College School in London, Philip joined Addiscombe as Shebbeare’s junior. He obtained a commission into the Bengal Engineers and left shortly after for India. Then, like Home, Salkeld was employed in canal and road projects; while in 1857 found Home in the Punjab, Salkeld was in Delhi as the Executive Engineer with the Public Works Department, working on a stretch of the Grand Trunk Road. On the 11th of May, Salkeld narrowly escaped the mutineers running riot through the city. With a small party of survivors, he managed to manufacture rope consisting of sword belts attached together to allow the ladies to climb down. It would not be until June when Salkeld returned to Delhi, having recovered sufficiently from the privations of the escape to join the Meerut Column under Wilson.
He managed to escape injury and even sickness through the torrid months of the Delhi Siege – however, on the 14th of September, Phillip Salkeld was mortally wounded during the taking of the Kashmir Gate. Following the amputation of his arm at the field hospital, mortification set in and Salkeld died, most likely of gangrene, on the 10th of October, aged 26.
Before he died, he learned he had been awarded the Victoria Cross and Wilson, in a hope to rally Salkeld’s spirits, sent a length of crimson ribbon to the dying man, which an aid of his pinned to his bedclothes.
Sergeant John Smith, NCO
“For conspicuous gallantry, in conjunction with Lieutenants Home and Salkeld, in the performance of the desperate duty of blowing in the Cashmere Gate of the fortress of Delhi in broad daylight, under a heavy and destructive fire of musketry, on the morning of 14 September 1857, preparatory to the assault.” (General Order of Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., dated “Head Quarters, Delhi City, September 21, 1857.”)
Although Salkeld and Home are generally accepted as the men who blew up the Kashmir Gate, it is easy to forget they were not alone. In their party was also Sergeant John Smith of the Bengal Sappers and Miners.
Born in Tickall, Derbyshire in 1814, Smith had taken up the family profession of cordwainer – a maker of boots and shoes but at the age of 22, for reasons known to him alone, he accepted a recruiting sergeant’s drink and took the King’s Shilling and found himself embarking, 18 months later on his way to India. He had spent the months before embarkation at the EICo depot at Chatham, training as an engineer and in 1839 he was posted to the Bengal Sappers and Miners.
Promoted to Sergeant in 1840, Smith served through the 1840 campaign in Afghanistan, through the occupation of Kabul. He returned to India in time to join the later part of the Sutlej Campaign and was present at the Battle of Subraon. He then fought his way through the second Sikh War, earning his campaign medal with clasps for Multan and Gujrat.
One of the men who survived the botched and mishandled mutiny of the Sappers and Miners at Meerut on the 13th of May 1857, Smith was subsequently ordered to join the Delhi Field Force, arriving on the Ridge two weeks later with 45 NCOs and privates 124 Indian Sappers – the remnants of the mutinied regiment.
He left behind his own account of the events of the 14th of September and they read certainly less polished than the official accounts.
“…my duty (was) to bring up the rear and see that none of them remained behind. Lieutenant Salkeld had passed through the temporary (outer) gate with Sergts. Carmichael and Burgess, but four of the natives had stopped behind the above gate and refused to go on. I had to put down my bag and take my gun, and threaten to shoot them when Lieutenant Salkeld came running back and said, “Why the hell don’t you come on?” I told him that there were four men behind the gate and that I was going to shoot them. He said, “Shoot them, damn their eyes, shoot them!” I said, “You hear the orders, I will shoot you,” raising my gun slowly to the present to give fair time, when two men went on Lieutenant Salkeld said, “Don’t shoot, your bag it will be enough.”
Following the explosion, Smith, in the ditch with the rest of the party, set about looking for survivors. Burgess and Carmichael were dead but Salkeld was still alive. He bound up his wounds as best he could fetch a stretcher and order Bugler Hawthorne to remain with Salkeld until he could be taken to the field hospital. Meanwhile, Smith busied himself to clear the rubble from the gate and helped to drag the undamaged door across the ruined bridge so the British could bring the guns into the city. He was gazetted on the 27th of April 1858 but when and where he received his cross is unknown.
Following the Siege of Delhi, Smith was engaged in operations in Oudh and after 18 months of hard fighting, in 1859 was assigned to the post Sub-Conductor and acting Barrack Master for Jalandhar and Phillour. He received his promotion to Ensign in 1860 and later served as Barrack Master at Peshawar, Subathu and Darjeeling. He died of dysentery on the 26th of June 1864 while on leave in Jalandhar. He was buried in the Artillery Cemetery.
Bugler Robert Hawthorne of the 52nd Regiment
Born in 1822 in Maghera, County Londonderry, Ireland, the life of Robert Hawthorne before joining the 52nd Regiment was one of poverty and strife. By the age of 10, he was already listed as working as a labourer – it is little wonder when at 14, he chose to join the army. With his regiment, Hawthorne was destined to see something of the world – first to the West Indies, then Canada before returning to Ireland. In 1853, the regiment was sent to India.
“Bugler Hawthorne, who accompanied the explosion party, not only performed the dangerous duty on which he was employed, but previously attached himself to Lieutenant Salkeld, of the Engineers, when dangerously wounded, bound up his wounds under a heavy musketry fire, and had him removed without further injury”. (General Order of Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B., dated Head Quarters, Delhi City, 21 September 1857 / The London Gazette, 27 April 1858, No. 22131, p. 2051)
His subsequent career in India is something of a mystery but it can be surmised he remained with his regiment until he returned to England, by his own choosing, in 1861. Like Smith, there was no presentation ceremony for Hawthorne and how he eventually received his VC is unknown, however, he was one f 52 Irishmen to receive a VC during the mutiny.
Hawthorne retired to Manchester and spent his remaining years working as a porter at a bank. Upon his death, in 1879, the 52nd arranged his funeral with full military honours. Unfortunately, his headstone was removed or destroyed in 1950 when Ardwick Cemetery, Manchester, was levelled. His medal remains with the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester.
The Fighting Surgeon
Unlike the other VC winners at Delhi, Herbert Taylor Reade was born in Perth, Ontario, Canada, the son of Staff Surgeon George Hume Reade of the 3rd Regiment of Canadian Militia. Herbert completed his medical education in Canada and Ireland in 1850 – the same year he joined the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment as an Assitant Surgeon. In 1853 his father died at the hospital in Scutari during the Crimean War by which time, Herbert was already in India. His regiment had been there since 1845.
In 1857, Herbert Reade was promoted to Staff Surgeon, 2nd Class; his regiment was stationed in Ferozepore and joined the one wing ordered to march to Delhi in June. They arrived on the Ridge on the 1st of July.
There is no mention of Reade until the 14th of September but it can be surmised he was busy – the march had taken its toll on the regiment and cholera plagued them throughout the siege but on the day of the assault, Reade was to found “in the thick of the fighting, ministering to the wounded and cheering the men.” The 61st had formed part of No. 5 Reserve Column and followed Column No. 3 through the Kashmir Gate.
While attending to the wounded, a party of sepoys advanced from the opposite end of the street, who, after taking possession of a house, commenced firing on Reade and the wounded men from the roof. Unflinching, Reade drew his sword and called for volunteers. Under heavy fire and with only ten men, Reade charged the rebel position – in a ferocious attack, Reade dislodged the mutineers, thus saving the wounded. In the charge, 2 of the men who had followed Reade were killed and six wounded.
As if to cement his reputation, on the 16th of September, Reade joined the attack on the Magazine. He was one of the first up the breach in the wall and for good measure, together with a sergeant of the 61st spiked a rebel gun.
For his actions, Reade was recommended by his commanding officer for the VC. After numerous delays, the commendation was accepted and Reade received his citation in February 1861 in 1862, General Sir R. Douglas presented Reade with the medal.
In 1864, Reade was appointed to the Staff and took up the position of Brigade Surgeon in 1879, ending his career as Surgeon General in 1886. He retired in 1887. Reade never returned to Canada but remained in England until his death at Bath in June 1897. He was buried at Locksbrook Cemetery.
Reade was not alone in India – his younger brother, John (born in 1832) who had served with the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade in Crimea until he was wounded in 1855, had joined his regiment in India and would see action in Cawnpore, the capture of Lucknow and through the Oudh Campaign. Although there was no VC for John, he retired as Surgeon Major-General Sir John Reade, K.C.B., Rifle Brigade and Army Medical Department.
George Renny of the Artillery and Edward Thackeray of the Engineers
The last VCs for Delhi were awarded to two men, as different as they were brave.
George Alexander Renny was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1825, the son of a British merchant who had settled on the coast of the Baltic Sea. His father died shortly after George was born and his mother took him and his siblings to Scotland. After completing his formal education, George joined Addiscombe.
He obtained a commission as a second lieutenant in the Bengal Horse Artillery in 1844 and shortly after embarked for India. In 1846 he took part in the Sutlej Campaign and by 1857, Renny was commanding the 5th Native Troop of the 1st Brigade. On the 7th of June, Renny was in Jalandhar when the rather shameful mutiny took place (Actions in the Punjab, I and II). It is interesting to note that during the mutiny at Jalandhar, only Renny’s troops remained loyal and would remain the only native artillery battery to do so. He marched them to Delhi and they continued to prove they could be trusted, though sorely tried. On the 9th of July, they had to face the humiliation of having their horses and guns taken from them following the attack by rebel cavalry. The move was considered prudent, in case Renny’s men mutinied. Remonstrations with Wilson and his staff had no effect – the men were assigned to a mortar battery on the Ridge which they continued to man, without relief, until the end of the siege.
Following the mutiny, every native officer of his troop received the Order of British India, while the Indian Order of Merit was bestowed on all the NCOs. As a further reward, their horses and guns were restored to them. It speaks much for Renny’s strength as a leader – at the age of 32, he had led his men to glory.
During the assault on the 14th, Renny commanded No. 4 Siege Battery (Tomb’s Battery) and when the infantry stormed the walls, together with some gunners of his troop, he trained a 12-pound mortar on the houses and streets in front of the attack. When the Kashmir Bastion was finally taken, it was Renny who turned a captured gun on the rebels, pouring a withering fire directly on their ranks.
His citation for the VC reads as follows:
“Delhi, Indian Mutiny, 16 September 1857, Captain George Alexander Renny, Bengal Horse Artillery.
Lieutenant-Colonel Farquhar, Commanding the 1st Belooch Regiment, reports that he was in command of the troops stationed in the Delhi magazine, after its capture on 16 September 1857. Early in the forenoon of that day, a vigorous attack was made on the post by the enemy and was kept up with great force for some time, without the slightest chance of success. Under cover of a heavy crossfire from the high houses on the right flank of the magazine, and from Selimghur and the Palace, the enemy advanced to the high wall of the magazine and endeavoured to set fire to a thatched roof. The roof was partially set fire to, which was extinguished at the spot by a Sepoy of the Belooch battalion, a soldier of the 61st Regiment having in vain attempted to do so. The roof having been again set on fire, Captain Renny with great gallantry mounted to the top of the wall of the magazine, and flung several shells with lighted fuzes over into the midst of the enemy, which had an almost immediate effect, as the attack at once became feeble at that point, and soon after ceased there.” (No. 22248 The London Gazette. 12 April 1859, p. 1483).
He continued to serve through the mutiny, impressing his superiors with his daring- do. For his efforts, Renny had the satisfaction of a special mention in supplementary despatches and a brevet-majority. In 1860, he received his VC on the 9th of November at Windsor Castle from Queen Victoria.
As Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Renny, he took command of the battery of Horse Artillery during the Hazara and Black Mountain campaign of 1868 and retired, 10 years later with the honorary rank of Major General. He died in Bath, at the age of 61 and was buried in the Locksbrook Cemetery.
The final VC for Delhi, awarded the same time as Renny’s, belongs to Edward Talbot Thackeray of the Bengal Engineers.
“For cool intrepidity and characteristic daring in extinguishing a fire in the Delhi magazine enclosure, on 16 September 1857, under a close and heavy musketry fire from the enemy, at the imminent risk of life from explosion of combustible stores in the shed in which the fire occured.” ( “No. 22621”. The London Gazette. 29 April 1862. p. 2229).
Born in 1836 to Reverend Francis Thackeray of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, Edward was educated at Marlborough before entering Addiscombe. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1854 and was commissioned to the Bengal Engineers as second lieutenant in 1857 a few weeks before the start of the mutiny and was stationed in Roorkee.
He first saw action at the Hindun River during the march to Delhi under Wilson, followed by Badli-ki- Serai.
Although he left 2 accounts of the Mutiny, “Two Indian Campaigns” (1896) and *Reminiscences of the Indian Mutiny and Afghanistan (1916), he rather understates his participation in the Siege of Delhi, leaving the accolades to those around him. He was one of the youngest engineers on the Ridge and had been nicknamed “My Lord” by the others for at 21, “fresh from the correct magnificence of England”, it would appear he had not yet learned to laugh at himself. He took objection to Charles Thomason’s eccentric way of dressing which Thackeray considered a disgrace to the Corps (Thomason believe the colour green offered protection from the rays of the sun and in consequence, insisted his shoulders and spine were covered by bright green patches sewn into his clothes) but the last laugh was still on Thomason who earned the nickname “Robinson Crusoe.”
In his first book, Thackeray completely omits his participation in the events at the Delhi Magazine leaving all the glory to Renny. To read Thackeray’s account in his “Reminiscences” from 1916, he adds a little more detail, but it still appears as if he had merely doused an annoying fire. In his 1900 book, the impressive “Biographical Notes of Officers of the Royal (Bengal) Engineers”, he carefully avoids mentioning himself at all.
After Delhi, Thackeray was present at many actions during the mutiny, and it would appear he had forgotten about the Delhi Magazine completely. A year later, the Bengal Engineers having heard that Renny had been cited for a VC they set about securing one for Thackeray. Colonel Baird Smith personally petitioned the War Office and though five years had passed since the event, they eventually agreed to award Thackeray a VC. He was gazetted on the 29th of April, 1862 and received his medal in Dover in the same year.
Following the Afghan War of 1878-1880, he was made Commandant of the Bengal Sappers and Miners, a position he held until his retirement in 1888. He was an active member of the Red Cross and served as Chief Commissioner of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. He retired to Italy and during WWI was Commissioner of the Bordighera branch of the British Red Cross. It earned him a mention in Despatches and WWI campaign medals – possibly the only veteran of the Indian Mutiny to be thus honoured.
He died in Bordighera on the 3rd of September, 1927, aged 91.
Of Subadar Ratan Singh of Patiala
As the chapter on Delhi comes to a close, there is perhaps no more fitting time than now to mention an Indian officer named in the account left us by Lord Roberts, Ruttun Sing of Patiala. His special courage was one born of his heart.
“Amongst the Native officers killed was Subadar Ruttun Sing, who fell mortally wounded in the glacis. He was a Patiala Sikh and had been invalided from service. As the 1st Punjab Infantry neared Delhi, Major Coke saw the old man standing in the road with two swords. He begged to be taken back into the service, and when Coke demurred, he said: “What! my old corps going to fight at Delhi without me! I hope you will let me lead my old Sikh company into action again. I will break these two swords in your cause.” Coke acceded to the old man’s wish, and throughout the siege of Delhi, he displayed the most splendid courage.
At the great attack on the “Sammy House” on the 1st and 2nd of August, when Lieutenant Travers of his regiment was killed, Ruttun Sing, amidst a shower of bullets, jumped onto the parapet and shouted to the enemy, who were storming the picquet: “If any man wants to fight, let him come here, and not stand firing like a coward! I am Ruttun Sing of Patiala.” He then sprang down among the enemy, followed by the men of his company, and drove them off with heavy loss.
On the morning of the assault, the regiment had marched down to the rendezvous at Ludlow Castle, “left in front.” While waiting for the Artillery to fire a few final rounds at the breaches, the men sat down, and falling in again, were doing so “right in front.” Ruttun Sing came up to Lieutenant Charles Nicholson, who was commanding the regiment and said, “We ought to fall in ‘left in front,'” thereby making his own company the leading one in the assault. In a few minutes more Ruttun Sing was mortally wounded, and Dal Sing, the Jemadar of the company, a man of as great courage as Ruttun Sing, but not of the same excitable nature, was killed outright.” (Roberts, p.254)
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’.
Extracts from the Letters and Nostes Written During the Siege of Delhi in 1857 – Sir Charles Reid
The Chaplain’s Narrative of the Siege of Delhi – John Edward Wharton Rotton, M.A. (1858)
History of the Indian Revolt and of the Expeditions to Persia, China and Japan- George Dodson (1859)
History of the Bengal European Regiment -Lieut.Col. P.R. Innes (1885)
Kaye’s and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58 Vol IV- edited by Colonel Malleson C.S.I. (1889)
Selections from the Despatches and other State Papers Vol I – edited by George W. Forrest, B.A. (1893)
An Unrecorded Chapter of the Indian Mutiny – Reginald G. Wilberforce (1894)
Two Indian Campaigns – Colonel E.T. Thackeray (1896)
Forty-One Years in India Vol I – Field Marshal Lord Roberts (1897)
Richard Baird Smith – Colonel H.M. Vibart, R.E. (1897)
Memoirs of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wylie Norman – Sir William Lee-Warner K.C.S.I. (1908)
A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi – Charles John Griffiths (1910)
The Punjab and Delhi in 1857 Vol II- Rev. J. Cave-Browne M.A. (1911)
General Sir Alexander Taylor – His Times, His Friends, His Work – A. Cameron Taylor (1913)
Reminiscences of the Indian Mutiny and Afghanistan – Col. Sir Edward Thackeray (1916)
The Siege of Delhi -Mutiny Memories of an Old Officer – Richard Barter, (London, the Folio Society, 1984)
Lahore to Lucknow – the Indian Mutiny Journal of Arthur Moffatt Lang – edited by David Blomfield (1992)
The Indian Mutiny and Beyond – The Letters of Robert Shebbeare, VC – edited by Arthur Littlewood (2007)
The Victoria Crosses that Saved an Empire – Brian Best (2016)