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№ 556


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

Pair: Major William Loch, 1st Bombay Light Cavalry

Ghuznee 1839, unnamed as issued, fitted with replacement swivel suspension; Punjab 1848-49, 1 clasp, Mooltan (Lieut., 1st Lt. Cavy.) light contact marks, otherwise good very fine (2) £600-700

William Loch was born at Calcutta in 1818 and received a classical and mathematical education at the New Academy, Edinburgh. He was nominated as a Cadet for the Bombay Cavalry in 1834, and appointed a Cornet in February 1835. Arriving at Bombay in July 1835, he was posted to the 2nd Bombay Light Cavalry the following August, becoming a Lieutennat in February 1837 and transferring to the 1st Bombay Light Cavalry in January 1838.

As part of the Bombay Column of the Army of the Indus, he took part in the campaign in Sind and Afghanistan in 1838-39, and was present at the storming and capture of Ghuznee on 23 July 1839, on which occasion he had his horse shot under him (Medal). Loch was appointed an A.D.C. to the Governor of Bombay in June 1839, and appointed 2nd-in-command of the Poona Auxiliary Horse in August 1839, accompanying this unit on the expedition into the Ghilzai country.

Lieutenant Loch commanded a detachment of the Poona Irregular Horse in the expedition against the Baluchis of Upper Sind in 1840. He was mentioned in a despatch of Major Clibborn for his ‘cheerful and arduous exertions’ during the unsuccessful attempt to relieve the garrison of Kahun at the action of Nuffoosk Pass on 31 August 1840, when he volunteered to act with 50 men as skirmishers during the action. Though severely wounded by a sword cut on his head, he was leading his men to the attack on foot when he was stunned by a blow from a stone. His orderly, Trooper Ahmed Khan of the Poona Auxiliary Horse, went to his rescue in the face of the enemy and by sheer physical strength removed him and placed him in a dooly. Although deserted by his dooly bearers, Ahmed Khan remained with him though surrounded by Baluchi tribesmen in every direction. Eventually he succeeded in placing and binding Lieutenant Loch behind Silladar Ahmed Bux Khan, who was on horseback and who carried him out of action. Trooper Ahmed Khan was rewarded with the Order of Merit 3rd Class for his bravery and devotion.

Lieutenant Loch was ordered to rejoin his regiment, the 1st Bobmay Light Cavalry, in October 1848, and took part in the operations of the Army of the Punjab at the siege and capture of Mooltan (despatches, medal with clasp). He was promoted to Captain in February 1849, and to Major in April 1860, but died at Cheltenham on the 19th November of that year. Sold with full research including a photograph of his portrait in oils by T. Bose, painted in 1848, wearing his Ghuznee medal.