Lot Archive


№ 295


2 December 1992

Hammer Price:

A rare Defence of Chitral I.O.M. pair awarded to Naik Nain Singh, 4th Kashmir Rifles, for gallantry on the same occasion that Surgeon Captain Whitchurch won the Victoria Cross

INDIAN ORDER OF MERIT, 3rd class, the reverse officially engraved '3rd Class Order of Merit' fitted with silver ribbon buckle, some chipping to blue enamel, INDIA GENERAL SERVICE 1895-1902, 1 clasp, Defence of Chitral (408 Naik, 4th Kashmir Rifles) contact marks and pitting, therefore good fine or better (2)

On 3rd March, 1895, the garrison of Chitral Fort made a sortie. When about one-and-a-half miles from the Fort, Captain Baird was mortally wounded, and Surgeon-Captain Whitchurch went to his assistance. The enemy, in great strength, had now succeeded in forcing their way through the fighting-1ine. Darkness had set in, and, with only a small handful of Goorkhas and men of the 4th Kashmir Rifles, they were completely isolated from assistance. Placing the wounded officer in a dhoolie, they then attempted to return. The Goorkhas most bravely clung to their load until three of them were killed and a fourth severely wounded, upon which Surgeon Whitchurch took Baird upon his back and continued the journey. Unable to take a direct road, they were obliged to make their way by a circuitous route of three miles, exposed to a raking fire from the enemy who were posted on all the surrounding cliffs and walls, and it was only the darkness that prevented the total annihilation of the devoted little band. Time after time, in order to force a way over some walls held by a more than usually obstinate group of the enemy, Whitchurch had to lay down his burden, and charge with his men, after which he would pick him up and make his way on a little further. Eventually the Fort was reached, with but seven men remaining, whose devotion to their wounded officer has seldom been equalled. Just as the doctor reached the Fort, Baird was hit for the third time, the bullet striking him in the face, and, in spite of every care, he died next day. Before his death, however, he was able to tell of the heroic devotion of Surgeon Whitchurch, being anxious it should not go unrecognized. Surgeon Captain Whitchurch was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross and 14 men of the 4th Kashmir Rifles, under Subadar Badri Nar Singh, were awarded the 3rd class Order of Merit. Numbered amongst these heroes was No. 408 Naik Nain Singh who was very severely wounded during the action. (G.G.O. No. 744 of 1895)