First Anglo-Afghan War

First Anglo-Afghan War

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The First Anglo-Afghan War (also known as Auckland's Folly) was fought between British India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game
The Great Game
The Great Game or Tournament of Shadows in Russia, were terms for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813...

, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 between the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, and also marked one of the worst setbacks inflicted on British power in the region after the consolidation of British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 by the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. It is considered one of Britain's worst disasters in Asia before Japan's "invasion of Malaya
Japanese Invasion of Malaya
The Japanese Invasion of Malaya, or Battle of Kota Bharu, began just after midnight on 8 December 1941 before the attack on Pearl Harbor...

 and capture of Singapore
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

" during World War II. Often unemphasized is the fact that most of the British troops and casualties were Indian.

Causes


In the 1830s, the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 were firmly entrenched in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 but by 1837, the British feared a Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n invasion of India through the Khyber
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 and Bolan Pass
Bolan Pass
The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

es as the Russian Empire had expanded towards the British dominion of India
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

. The British sent an envoy to Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 to form an alliance with Afghanistan's Emir Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan between 1826 and 1863. He first ruled from 1826 to 1839 and then from 1843 to 1863. He was the 11th son of Sardar Pāyendah Khan who was killed by Zaman Shah Durrani in 1799...

 against Russia. Dost Mohammad had recently lost Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 to the Sikh Empire and wanted support to retake it, but the British were not inclined. When Governor-General
Governor-General of India
The Governor-General of India was the head of the British administration in India, and later, after Indian independence, the representative of the monarch and de facto head of state. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William...

 George Eden
George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland
George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, GCB, PC was a British Whig politician and colonial administrator. He was thrice First Lord of the Admiralty and also served as Governor-General of India between 1836 and 1842....

 (Lord Auckland) heard about the arrival of a supposed Russian envoy in Kabul and the possibility that Dost Mohammad might turn to Russia for support, his "politically insane" advisers exaggerated the threat. British fears of a Russian invasion of India took one step closer to becoming a reality when negotiations between the Afghans and Russians broke down in 1838. This led Persian troops along with their Russian allies to attack the Afghan city of Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 in western Afghanistan in an attempt to annex it. Russia, wanting to increase its presence in South and Central Asia, had formed an alliance with Persia which had territorial disputes with Afghanistan as Herat had been part of the Persian empire and only in 1750 had it been taken over by Afghanistan. Lord Auckland's plan was to drive away the besiegers and install a ruler in Afghanistan who was pro-British in place of the current Afghan ruler. The British chose Shuja Shah Durrani
Shuja Shah Durrani
Shuja Shah Durrani was ruler of the Durrani Empire from 1803 to 1809. He then ruled from 1839 until his death in 1842. Shuja Shah was of the Sadozai line of the Abdali group of Pashtuns...

 to be the new leader of Afghanistan.

"To justify his plan, Lord Auckland issued the Simla Manifesto in October 1838, setting forth the necessary reasons for British intervention in Afghanistan. The manifesto stated that in order to ensure the welfare of India, the British must have a trustworthy ally on India's western frontier. The [official] British [position] that their troops were merely supporting [Shah] Shuja's small army in retaking what was once his throne" was generally seen as pretext for incorporating Afghanistan into the British empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. "Although the Simla Manifesto stated that British troops would be withdrawn as soon as Shuja was installed in Kabul, Shuja's rule depended entirely on British arms to suppress rebellion and on British funds to buy the support of tribal chiefs. The British denied that they were invading Afghanistan, instead claiming they were merely supporting its legitimate Shuja government "against foreign interference and factious opposition." However, with Persia ruled by a pro-Russian, it may well have been the case that Britain was trying to install a pro-British leader in Afghanistan to prevent Russia from becoming the dominant power and threatening India's North-West Frontier.

Invasion



An army of 21,000 British and Indian troops under the command of Sir John Keane (subsequently replaced by Sir Willoughby Cotton
Willoughby Cotton
Lieutenant General Sir Willoughby Cotton GCB, KCH was a British soldier. During his career, Cotton played major roles in the First Anglo–Burmese War, the 1831-32 slave revolt in Jamaica and the First Anglo-Afghan War....

 and then by William Elphinstone
William Elphinstone (major-general)
Major-General William George Keith Elphinstone CB was an officer of the British Army during the 19th century.-Biography:...

) set out from Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 in December 1838. With them was William Hay Macnaghten
William Hay Macnaghten
Sir William Hay Macnaghten, 1st Baronet was a British civil servant in India, who played a major part in the First Anglo-Afghan War....

, the former chief secretary of the Calcutta government, who had been selected as Britain's chief representative to Kabul. By late March 1839, the British forces had reached Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, crossed the Bolan Pass and begun their march to Kabul. They advanced through rough terrain, crossed deserts and 4,000-metre-high mountain passes, but made good progress and took Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 on April 25, 1839. On July 22, in a surprise attack, they captured the until-then impregnable fortress of Ghazni
Ghazni
For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni ProvinceGhazni is a city in central-east Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people...

, which overlooks a plain leading eastward into the North West Frontier Province. An Afghan had betrayed his sovereign, and the British troops managed to blow up one city gate and marched into the city in a euphoric mood. In taking this fortress, they suffered 200 men killed and wounded, while the Afghans lost nearly 500 men. 1,600 Afghans were taken prisoner with an unknown number wounded. The fact that Ghazni was well supplied eased the further advance considerably.

1838–1842: The first conflict resulted from actions of the East India Company, which invaded in 1838 with a force of 16,000 British and sepoy regiments. This force captured Kabul in 1839 but could not subdue the countryside. In 1841 the Afghans struck as the British fell back to Peshawar, defeated by the cost of occupation and winter weather. During the retreat, which became a panicked rout, the entire force (4,500 troops and 12,000 civilians) was massacred; only one man reached Jallalabad. A punitive expedition returned and retook Kabul, but the country was abandoned again in 1842 in the face of continued resistance. Britain lost nearly 20,000 troops, and the myth of its martial invincibility was broken. To repair the damage, it conquered Sind and the Sikh kingdom in Punjab.

Following this, the British achieved a decisive victory over Dost Mohammad's troops, led by one of his sons. Dost Mohammad fled with his loyal followers across the passes to Bamian, and ultimately to Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

. In August 1839, after almost thirty years, Shuja was again enthroned in Kabul.

Qalat/Kalat


On November 13, 1839, while en route to India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, the Bombay column attacked, as a form of reprisal, the Baluchi tribal fortress of Kalat, from where Baluchi tribes had harassed and attacked British convoys during the move towards the Bolan Pass
Bolan Pass
The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

.

Occupation


The majority of the British troops returned to India (only 8,000 remained in Afghanistan), but it soon became clear that Shuja's rule could only be maintained with the presence of a greater number of British forces. The Afghans resented the British presence and the rule of Shah Shuja. As the occupation dragged on, William Hay Macnaghten
William Hay Macnaghten
Sir William Hay Macnaghten, 1st Baronet was a British civil servant in India, who played a major part in the First Anglo-Afghan War....

 allowed his soldiers to bring their families to Afghanistan in order to improve morale; this further infuriated the Afghans, as it appeared the British were setting up a permanent occupation. Dost Mohammad unsuccessfully attacked the British and their Afghan protégé, and subsequently surrendered and was exiled to India in late 1840.

By this time, the British had vacated the fortress of Bala Hissar
Bala Hissar
Bala Hissar is an ancient fortress located in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated date of construction is around the 5th century A.D. Bala Hissar sits to the south of the modern city centre at the tail end of the Kuh-e-Sherdarwaza Mountain...

 and relocated to a cantonment
Cantonment
A cantonment is a temporary or semi-permanent military or police quarters. The word cantonment is derived from the French word canton meaning corner or district, as is the name of the Cantons of Switzerland. In South Asia, the term cantonment also describes permanent military stations...

 built to the northeast of Kabul. The chosen location was indefensible, being low and swampy with hills on every side. To make matters worse, the cantonment was too large in relation to the number of troops camped in it and had a defensive perimeter almost two miles long. In addition, the stores and supplies were in a separate fort, 300 yards from the main cantonment.

By October 1841, disaffected Afghan tribes were flocking to support Dost Mohammad's son, Mohammad Akbar Khan
Akbar Khan
Amir Akbar Khan Amir Akbar Khan Amir Akbar Khan (1816 – 1846;, born as Mohammad Akbar Khan and famously known as Wazir Akbar Khan, was an Afghan Prince, a general, a tribal leader and Emir. He was active in the First Anglo-Afghan War, which lasted from 1839 to 1842...

, in Bamian. In November 1841, a senior British officer, Sir Alexander 'Sekundar' Burnes
Alexander Burnes
Captain Sir Alexander Burnes was a Scottish traveller and explorer who took part in The Great Game. He was nicknamed Bokhara Burnes for his role in establishing contact with and exploring Bukhara, which made his name.-Early life:He was born in Montrose, Scotland, to the son of the local provost,...

, and his aides were killed by a mob in Kabul. The British forces took no action in response to the incident, which encouraged further revolt. The British situation soon deteriorated when Afghans stormed the poorly defended supply fort inside Kabul on November 9. In the following weeks, the British commanders tried to negotiate with Akbar Khan. Macnaghten secretly offered to make Akbar Afghanistan's vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 in exchange for allowing the British to stay, while simultaneously disbursing large sums of money to have him assassinated, proceedings that were reported to Akbar Khan. A meeting for direct negotiations between MacNaghten and Akbar was held near the cantonment on 23 December, but MacNaghten and the three officers accompanying him were seized and slain by Akbar Khan. Macnaghten's body was dragged through the streets of Kabul and displayed in the bazaar. Elphinstone had partly lost command of his troops already and his authority was badly damaged.

Destruction of Elphinstone's army


On 1 January 1842, following some unusual thinking by Elphinstone, which may have had something to do with the poor defensibility of the cantonment, an agreement was reached that provided for the safe exodus of the British garrison and its dependants from Afghanistan. Five days later, the withdrawal began. The departing British contingent numbered around 16,000, of which about 4,500 were military personnel, and over 12,000 were civilian camp followers. The military force consisted mostly of Indian units and one British battalion, 44th Regiment of Foot
44th Regiment of Foot
The 44th Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment in the British Army. After 1782 the regiment became known as the 44th Regiment of Foot. The lineage of the 44th transferred to the Essex Regiment in 1881...

.

They were attacked by Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

 warriors as they struggled through the snowbound passes. The evacuees were killed in huge numbers as they made their way down the 30 miles (48.3 km) of treacherous gorges and passes lying along the Kabul River
Kabul River
Kabul River , the classical Cophes , is a 700 km long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass...

 between Kabul and Gandamak
Gandamak
-Description:The village is located between Kabul and Peshawar, from Jalalabad on the old road to Kabul. On the retreat from Kabul of General Elphinstone's army in 1842, a hill near Gandamak was the scene of the Battle of Gandamak, the massacre of the last survivors of the force: twenty officers...

, and were massacred
Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army was the destruction by Afghan forces, led by Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammad Khan, of a combined British and Indian force of the British East India Company, led by Major General William Elphinstone, in January 1842....

 at the Gandamak
Gandamak
-Description:The village is located between Kabul and Peshawar, from Jalalabad on the old road to Kabul. On the retreat from Kabul of General Elphinstone's army in 1842, a hill near Gandamak was the scene of the Battle of Gandamak, the massacre of the last survivors of the force: twenty officers...

 pass before a survivor reached the besieged garrison at Jalalabad. The force had been reduced to fewer than forty men by a withdrawal from Kabul that had become, towards the end, a running battle through two feet of snow. The ground was frozen, the men had no shelter and had little food for weeks. Of the remaining weapons possessed by the survivors, there were approximately a dozen working muskets, the officers' pistols and a few swords. The remnants of the 44th were all killed except Captain James Souter, Sergeant Fair and seven soldiers who were taken prisoner. The only Briton to reach Jalalabad was Dr. William Brydon
William Brydon
William Brydon CB was an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War and is famous for being the only member of an army of 4,500 men to reach safety in Jalalabad at the end of the long retreat from Kabul.He was born in London of Scottish descent...

.

Reprisals


Along with the attacks on the garrison at Kabul, Afghan forces also beleaguered the other British contingents in Afghanistan. These were at Kandahar (where the largest British force in the country had been stationed), Jalalabad
Battle of Jellalabad
The Battle of Jellalabad in 1842 was an Afghan siege of the isolated British outpost at Jellalabad about 80 miles east of Kabul...

 (held by a force which had been sent from Kabul in October 1841 as the first stage of a planned withdrawal) and Ghazni. Ghazni was stormed, but the other garrisons held out until relief forces arrived from India, in spring 1842. Akbar Khan was heavily defeated near Jalalabad and plans were laid for the recapture of Kabul and the restoration of British hegemony.

However, following a change of government in Britain, Lord Auckland
George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland
George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, GCB, PC was a British Whig politician and colonial administrator. He was thrice First Lord of the Admiralty and also served as Governor-General of India between 1836 and 1842....

 had suffered a stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 and had been replaced as Governor-General by Lord Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough GCB, PC was a British Tory politician. He was four times President of the Board of Control and also served as Governor-General of India between 1842 and 1844.-Background and education:...

, who was under instructions to bring the war to an end. He ordered the forces at Kandahar and Jalalabad to leave Afghanistan after inflicting reprisals and securing the release of prisoners taken during the retreat from Kabul.

In August 1842, General Nott
William Nott
Sir William Nott GCB was a British military leader in British India.- Early life :Nott was born in 1782, near Neath in Wales, the second son of Charles Nott, a Herefordshire farmer, who in 1794 became an innkeeper of the Ivy Bush Inn at Carmarthen in Wales...

 advanced from Kandahar, pillaging the countryside and seizing Ghazni, whose fortifications he demolished. Meanwhile, General Pollock
George Pollock
Field Marshal Sir George Pollock, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCSI was a British soldier.-Military career:Educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Pollock was commissioned into the Bengal Artillery in 1803....

, advancing through the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

 from Jalalabad, inflicted a further crushing defeat on Akbar Khan. The combined British forces defeated all opposition before taking Kabul
Battle of Kabul (1842)
for other uses of the term see Battle of KabulThe Battle of Kabul was fought from August to October, 1842, between British and Afghan forces. It was the concluding engagement of the First Anglo-Afghan War. The British advanced on Kabul from Kandahar and Jalalabad to avenge the earlier Massacre of...

 in September. A month later, having rescued the prisoners and demolished the city's main bazaar as an act of retaliation for the destruction of Elphinstone's column, they withdrew from Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. Dost Muhammad was released, reestablished his authority in Kabul, and died on June 9, 1863.

Legacy


In the three decades after the First Anglo-Afghan War, the Russians advanced steadily southward towards Afghanistan. In 1842, the Russian border was on the other side of the Aral Sea
Aral Sea
The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

 from Afghanistan; but five years later the Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

's outposts had moved to the lower reaches of the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

. By 1865, Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

 had been formally annexed, as was Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 three years later. A peace treaty in 1873 with Amir Alim Khan of the Manghit dynasty, the ruler of Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

, virtually stripped him of his independence. Russian control then extended as far as the northern bank of the Amu Darya.

In 1878, the British invaded again, beginning the Second Anglo-Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
The Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the nation was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended in a manner...

.

Lady Butler
Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler was a British painter, one of the few female painters to achieve fame for history paintings, especially military battle scenes, at the end of that tradition...

's famous painting of Dr. William Brydon, initially thought to be the sole survivor, gasping his way to the British outpost in Jalalabad, helped make Afghanistan's reputation as a graveyard for foreign armies and became one of the great epics of Empire.

In 1843, the British army chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 Rev G.H. Gleig wrote a memoir of the disastrous (First) Anglo-Afghan War, of which he was one of the very few survivors. He wrote that it was "a war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it. Not one benefit, political or military, was acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated”.

Battle Honour


The battle honour
Battle honour
A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags , uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible....

 of 'Afghanistan 1839' was awarded to all units of the presidency armies of the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 that had proceeded beyond the Bolan Pass
Bolan Pass
The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 kilometres from the Afghanistan border....

, by Gazette of the Governor-General, dated 19 November 1839, the spelling changed from 'Afghanistan' to 'Affghanistan' by Gazette of India No. 1079 of 1916, and the date added in 1914. All the honours awarded for this war are considered to be non-repugnant
Repugnant battle honours of the Indian Army
Some battle honours earned by Indian Army units, which are descended from erstwhile units of the British East India Company, and later the British Raj, have been declared as repugnant by the Government of India. Indian Army units do not inscribe these battle honours on their colours and do not...

. The units awarded this battle honour were:
  • 4th Bengal Irregular Cavalry - 1 Horse
  • 5th Madras Infantry
  • Poona Auxiliary Horse - Poona Horse
  • Bombay Sappers & Miners - Bombay Engineer Group
    Bombay Engineer Group
    The Bombay Engineering Group, or the Bombay Sappers as they are informally known, are a regiment of the Indian Army Corps of Engineers. The Bombay Sappers draw their origin from the erstwhile Bombay Presidency army of the British Raj. This regiment has its centre in Khadki, Pune in...

  • 31st Bengal Infantry
  • 43rd Bengal Infantry
  • 19th Bombay Infantry
  • 1st Bombay Cavalry - 13th Lancers (Pakistan)
  • 2nd, 3rd Bengal Cavalry - Mutinied in 1857.
  • 2nd, 3rd Companies of Bengal Sappers and Miners - Mutinied in 1857.
  • 16th, 35th, 37th, 48th Bengal Infantry- Mutinied in 1857.
  • 42nd Bengal Infantry (5th LI) - Disbanded 1922.

See also

  • British military history
    British military history
    The Military history of Britain, including the military history of the United Kingdom and the military history of the island of Great Britain, is discussed in the following articles:...

  • Chapslee Estate
    Chapslee Estate
    Chapslee Estate is a small locality adjacent to the Lakkar Bazaar in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The estate houses the erstwhile Secretary's Lodge which is now a heritage hotel run by the Maharaja of Kapurthala.- History :...

  • European influence in Afghanistan
    European influence in Afghanistan
    The European influence in Afghanistan refers to political, social, and sometimes imperialistic influence several European nations have had on this historical development of Afghanistan.-Rise of Dost Mohammad Khan:...

  • Invasions of Afghanistan
    Invasions of Afghanistan
    Afghanistan has been invaded many times, its boundaries and governments almost always in dispute. Invaders include the Mughal rulers of South Asia, Russian Tsars, Soviet Union, British Empire, and currently a coalition force of NATO troops with UN-backing led by US armed forces.-Purpose of...

  • Second Anglo-Afghan War
    Second Anglo-Afghan War
    The Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought between the United Kingdom and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the nation was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended in a manner...

  • Third Anglo-Afghan War
    Third Anglo-Afghan War
    The Third Anglo-Afghan War began on 6 May 1919 and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. It was a minor tactical victory for the British. For the British, the Durand Line was reaffirmed as the political boundary between the Emirate of Afghanistan and British India and the Afghans agreed not to...


Fictional depictions


The First Anglo-Afghan war was depicted in a work of historical fiction, Flashman
Flashman (novel)
Flashman is a 1969 novel by George MacDonald Fraser. It is the first of the Flashman novels.-Plot introduction:Presented within the frame of the supposedly discovered historical Flashman Papers, this book describes the bully Flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays...

 by George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser, OBE was an English-born author of Scottish descent, who wrote both historical novels and non-fiction books, as well as several screenplays.-Early life and military career:...

. This work is Fraser's first 'Flashman' novel. The ordeal of Dr. Brydon may have influenced the story of Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

, although his wound was obtained in the Second war.
Emma Drummond's novel ' Beyond all Frontiers'(1983) is based on these events.

Further reading

  • Fowler, Corinne, (2007) Chasing Tales: travel writing, journalism and the history of British ideas about Afghanistan, Rodopi: Amsterdam.
  • Greenwood, Joseph, (1844) Narrative of the late Victorious Campaign in Affghanistan, under General Pollock: With recollections of seven years' service in India. London: H. Colburn
  • Hopkirk, Peter, (1992) The Great Game, New York, NY: Kodansha America, ISBN 1-56836-022-3
  • Kaye, Sir John, (1860) History of the First Afghan War, London.
  • Macrory, Patrick, (2002) Retreat from Kabul: The Catastrophic British Defeat in Afghanistan, 1842. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press. ISBN 978-1-59921-177-0
  • Perry, James M., (1996), Arrogant Armies: Great Military Disasters and the Generals Behind Them. New York:Wiley. ISBN 9780471119760

External links