88th Regiment of Foot

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Known as the Connaught Rangers.

Contents

Chronology

  • 1760 raised as the 88th Regiment of Foot (Highland Volunteers) or Campbell's Highlanders
  • 1763 disbanded
  • 1793 raised in Ireland by Earl of Clanricard as the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers)
  • 1881 merged with the 94th Regiment of Foot to become 1st Battalion The Connaught Rangers
  • 1922 disbanded on Irish independence

Regimental History

The Connaught Rangers. (The History of the Regiment) by Lieut.-Colonel H. F. N. Jourdain and Edward Fraser. In three volumes, published 1924-28, and available at the British Library, UIN: BLL01001096428 , and also in a reprint edition.[1]. Vol I: 1793-1922 1st Battalion, formerly 88th Foot; Vol II : 1572-1922 2nd Battalion, Formerly 94th Foot; Vol III: 1914-1919 5th & 6th Service Battalions. Officers. The Colours. Music.

History in India

The following history of the Connaught Rangers (during the period 1857-1870) was extracted by Chris Bateman of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The original work was entitled The Connaught Rangers - 1st Battalion, Formerly 88th Foot by Lieutenant-Colonel H.F.N. Jourdain, C.M.G., and was published in London in 1924. It has been extracted with the footnotes identified and included in the main text. This section was part of the Family History in India website, which was designed by Cathy Day to help people trace their British and European ancestry in colonial India . Cathy has kindly allowed us to transfer this page to our wiki.


1857-1858

1857

The 88th remained at Aldershot until June 1857 when it was moved to Portsmouth preparatory to embarkation for India. The depot rejoined Headquarters in the same month. On July 3rd Lieu.-General Sir William Codrington, KCB presented new Colours to the regiment on Southsea Common. The ceremony was attended by Admiral Sir George Seymour (the Port Admiral and Naval Commander-in-Chief), Major-General Breton (the Lieutenant-Governor) and other distinguished persons, who were afterwards entertained by Colonel G.V. Maxwell, C.B., and the officers of the 88th at luncheon at Hollingsworth's Rooms.* [Footnote: This part of the function is described in a contemporary newspaper as "a superb repast." As the lunch appears to have cost £305, besides charges for private guests, it is to be hoped that there was, in fact, a "good spread."]

The regiment, which had a strength of 990 of all ranks at this time besides the depot of about 100, embarked during the month in four detachments. The first, consisting of three companies under Lieut.-Colonel E.H. Maxwell, embarked on the 'Ulysses' on July 9th; Headquarters with three companies and the band embarked on the 'Surrey' on July 15th; Major Maynard with six other officers and 222 men (two companies) embarked on the 'Calabar' on July 17th; lastly, Major the Hon. J.J. Bourke with the remainder sailed in the 'Cambodia' on the 19th. Ten companies altogether sailed, leaving as a depot the cadres of two companies. The Surrey and Ulysses arrived in the Hoogly almost at the same time, at the end of October, both vessels reaching Calcutta on November 1st. The Calabar, which did not arrive till November 23rd, disembarked its troops at Calcutta on the 27th. The Cambodia also arrived in that month.

The 88th had been put under orders for India in the ordinary course of relief. When they embarked the news of the first outbreak of mutiny among the Sepoys had only just reached England. It was as yet however only vaguely known that "disturbances" had occurred and their extent and character were not realized. As the long voyage in sailing ships round the Cape without touching anywhere brought The Connaught Rangers to Bengal with nothing later than the English information of three and a half months before, they were at the outset somewhat bewildered when the lightship at the mouth of the Hoogly signalled "Delhi is taken." It was in fact only when the pilots came on board that they first heard any account of the great Sepoy mutiny.

Sir Colin Campbell the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief in India, when the 88th reached Calcutta, was on his way to Cawnpore to organize the advance for the second relief of Lucknow. He had left orders for the prompt despatch up country of all troops as they arrived, so as to keep up a flow of reinforcements, and consequently Headquarters of the regiment and three companies were ordered immediately on arrival to proceed to Chinsura by river steamers. Thence, this detachment, in spite of Colonel G.V. Maxwell's representations as to its unprepared condition in the matter of suitable clothing, etc., was sent on to Ranigunj by rail under the command of Lieut-Colonel E.H. Maxwell. The detachment was transferred to bullock carts at Ranigunj and travelled day and night until, on November 21st, Cawnpore was reached. No one in the regiment knew a word of Hindustani. Also the men had with them nothing but their sea-kit and a few necessaries which had been served out to them at Ranigunj - in the dark. The regiment halted one day at Cawnpore, where they received Indian tents "which at first no one knew how to pitch," and were then marched out 3 miles from the city to join Brigadier Carthew's command, under Major-General Windham.

Sir Colin Campbell, on moving forward from Cawnpore on November 9th with the troops for the relief of Lucknow, had left General Windham with about 500 European soldiers and a few Sikhs to maintain the post at Cawnpore and guard the bridge of boats across the Ganges there, upon which Sir Colin's communications depended. Windham was reinforced a few days later by half a Madras native battalion and a few guns, under Brigadier Carthew, but his position meanwhile was being threatened by the revolted Gwalior Contingent under Tantia Topee from the direction of Kalpee. That was the position when the companies of the 88th were added to Brigadier Carthew's command on November 22nd, the day after their arrival. The force moved forward on the 24th to a bridge on the Kalpee road and encamped. Another portion of the 88th (which Captain Vernor in his diary calls "our detachment of two compaines") joined Lieut-Colonel Maxwell on the 25th, as did the band, who had to take their places in the ranks and serve as privates. Six companies of the Rangers had now reached the front, of whom four were at Cawnpore and two with Colonel G.V. Maxwell near Futtipore, where they arrived on the 27th.

General Windham having decided to take the offensive, early on the morning of the 26th formed his force into two so-called brigades. Carthew's "brigade" consisted of the half-battalion of the 88th and four companies of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, with four 6-pounder guns in charge of Madras artillerymen. The other "brigade," under Colonel Kelly, comprised the 34th Regiment of Foot and four companies of the 82nd Regiment of Foot, with four 9-pounder guns. They advanced during the forenoon of the 26th as far as Pandoo Nuddee, driving the rebels before them. The Rifles, who formed the skirmishing line, supported by the 88th, were pushed on through a number of fields of high growing grain till they arrived at a thick tope of trees, at which point the enemy opened a sharp fire of grape and round shot. In clearing the place a number of men were killed. Among them Ensign Mitchell was severely wounded by a round shot and died in hospital a few days afterwards. Captain Day, who rushed forward at the head of his men across a clear space between the tope and the enemy's guns, was killed close to a well. [Footnote: At the time it was not known exactly how Captain Day had fallen, but, on inquiry and search some months later, his body was recovered from the well, and the injury to the skull indicated the effect of a round shot. He was only twenty-one years old. A full account of the discovery of his body is given in J. W. Sherer's Memoirs of the Mutiny.] Captain Henning led his men against the guns. He was joined by the skirmishers of the 34th who were on the left and it became a race to reach the guns first. They were two in number and both were taken: one was an 18-pounder. Captain Baynes, meanwhile, took his men to the right to support the Rifles. Windham, however, though successful at the moment, was in the end obliged to withdraw towards evening to his original position, as being the only one his small force could hold pending Sir Colin Campbell's return from Lucknow. Camp was pitched again and the night passed quietly.

Next morning, November 27th, the regiment paraded before daybreak. General Windham said, in the hearing of the 88th when on parade, "If the enemy has crossed the canal bridge I will attack him: if not we shall have a quiet day." His only cavalry consisted of fifty troopers of a native Police Corps and some of these had been sent out to scout: the sole precaution apparently that was thought necessary. They returned soon, with the English lieutenant in charge, and reported that they had not found any of the enemy, whereupon it was arranged to give up the day for the men to clean themselves and their clothing which they had no opportunity of doing before. The troopers' reconnaissance however had been incomplete, and danger soon proved nearer at hand than was anticipated. Before the morning was far advanced a gun was heard, then another, and quickly afterwards round shot were hurtling through the camp. It was an unpleasant surprise. "What, twelve o'clock so soon!" said some of the men as they heard the first gun. The bugles at once sounded the alarm, and the 88th were quickly under arms. Some of the men, indeed, who were washing, buckled on their belts without waiting to get on their coats. It was a bad surprise and the camp was thrown into confusion at the outset. The camels at once became unmanageable and went off over the plain: the bullocks also ran off: the elephants trumpeted and got unmanageable. Many of the native followers at the same time deserted, making for Cawnpore. The enemy, who were the Gwalior rebels and had forty guns with them, appeared to be firing from in front and also from both flanks. As the men fell in, one party of the Rangers was told off to skirmish together with the Rifles, and another to act as escort to the naval gun, belonging to the Shannon's Naval Brigade accompanying the force, which was posted near the road. Its bullocks had all run away, and the officers and men with the gun had all been either killed or wounded. The skirmishers, under Lieut.-Colonel Maxwell, were sent to its assistance and the gun was dragged away by men of the 88th and Rifle Brigade, with some of the 82nd. The adjutant of the 88th, while keeping the men steady under a severe fire, was wounded in the leg and obliged to retire. Lieutenant Vernor was ordered temporarily to act as adjutant in his place.

Part of the enemy's force had meanwhile entered the town of Cawnpore , between the British right and the Ganges, which made the situation awkward. If not checked they might reach the boat bridge upon which everything depended. Brigadier Carthew thereupon received orders to take the 88th and the six Madras field guns in that direction. The Rangers on their way had to march through narrow streets, and several small combats occurred while doing so. One rebel sepoy at one place ran out of a house from a few yards distance and fired at Lieutenant Vernor, who was riding in rear. Luckily the bullet only grazed the officer's head and then the sepoy was bayoneted. In defending himself, he cut off the left thumb of the private who bayoneted him. Then the 88th got more of a chance. Some of the enemy were suddenly discovered in an open space with piled arms and occupied with preparing to cook a meal, under the impression apparently there could be no British near. The leading files of the 88th fired into them, and all then with a cheer charged them. The place was soon cleared, upwards of fifty of the rebels being bayoneted. Brigadier Carthew, after having swept part of the town clear, now advanced towards the old Assembly Rooms, a line of pickets being formed connecting with the 34th on the right and the 82nd on the left. The loss of the 88th, in the two days, was one officer killed (Captain Day), five officers wounded (Lieutenants Gilby and Evans, Ensigns Birch, Austin, and Mitchell), and 100 non-commissioned officers and men killed and wounded.* [Footnote: Ensign Mitchell died of his wound, as already stated. A Lieutenant Clarke, attached to the regiment as interpreter, was also wounded.]

The following night was an anxious one. This is an incident connected with the regiment. One of the pickets of the 88th was posted at a bridge over a small stream which ran into the Ganges a short distance above the canal. It was fired on by a couple of rebel guns on the road, but as the men were lying down on each side of, the bridge, no harm was done. Lieutenant Vernor then took measures. He obtained the colonel's permission to try to seize and disable the guns, which were about a quarter of a mile away. Vernor, in his own reminiscences, compiled in later years, says this: "I took twenty men of my own company (the Grenadiers) with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets. We sneaked up behind any cover we could find and, when within fifty yards, fired a volley and then rushed the guns. With the exception of a few dead gunners, we found the rebels had disappeared. We spiked the guns and returned without having a man of the party killed or wounded." The 88th were fortunate in finding food and drink in a deserted "hotel," as it is called, which had been in enemy occupation the previous morning. Otherwise, most of the men would have had nothing that day since breakfast.

On the morning of November 28th the pickets of the 88th were relieved by the 34th, and the regiment was ordered to the house occupied by Major-General Windham, where they were engaged throwing up earthworks until the afternoon. Lieut.-Colonel Maxwell then received orders to advance the whole detachment and cover the flank of the position. The Rangers remained doing that until evening when they were recalled to Windham's Head-quarters. Tantia Topee set fire to part of the town during the night; burning a quantity of stores belonging to the British army, including clothing provided for the relieved garrison of Lucknow. There was some sharp fighting on the 28th, which prevented the enemy from reaching Windham's entrenchment and the Ganges bridge. Brigadier Carthew however could not with the inadequate force at his disposal make serious impression on the rebels. Colonel Malleson in his history comments on Windham's measures in these words: "A real general," he says, "having in reserve a fine British regiment, such as was the 88th, would have at once hurried to the scene of action." The strength of The Connaught Rangers however, it should be said, after the previous fighting could hardly have much exceeded 300 men. That evening, the 28th, Sir Colin Campbell with his staff, riding in advance of his troops, crossed the still intact bridge of boats into Cawnpore. He promptly took stock of the situation and prepared measures to retrieve the misfortunes of General Windham. Sir Colin had successfully on the 25th brought away the Lucknow garrison and the women and children. On the 29th and following days the regiment furnished pickets and working parties. Vernor states that during this period the rebels managed to get field-pieces on to the top of some houses and "killed and wounded a few of our men," also that they were dislodged or silenced by a party of thirty good shots. On December 30th Colonel G.V. Maxwell arrived with the two companies from Futtipore and resumed command. He had now six companies (the Grenadiers, Nos. 2, 4, 5, 7, and the Light Company, and also a part of No. 6). Sir Colin meanwhile, in order to disencumber himself of his long train of sick, wounded and non-combatants, spent several days in bringing them across the Ganges and despatching them towards Calcutta. He attacked and defeated the rebels on December 6th, but the 88th was not engaged. Nos. 3 and 8 Companies, under Major Maynard and Captain Priestley, reached the camp of the 88th on December 17th. They had come by rail from Calcutta to Ranigunj, by rail again for 40 miles from Allahabad, and by bullock dak the rest of the way. En route, at one place they occupied and burned a rebel village. The remaining detachment, under Major Bourke, also arrived during the month.

Sir Colin Campbell, with his main force, left Cawnpore for the final relief of Lucknow on December 24th. After his departure three companies of The Connaught Rangers, a company of Royal Engineers, and half a battery of Artillery were sent on the 27th to Bithoor to search for treasure in the ruined palace of Nana Sahib and watch the neighbouring ford of the Ganges. A good deal of treasure was found in a well near the palace. The detachment remained at Bithoor for nearly two months.

1858

On January 15th 1858 regimental Head-quarters marched from Cawnpore to Akbarpore, on the road to Kalpee. Seven companies were at Akbarpore on February 1st, making a strength of 594 of all ranks: three companies were at Bithoor with 216 of all ranks, 29 men were on detachment, and 142 sick; making a total of 981.

The main body of the Rangers marched next day from Akbarpore to Bhognapore, forming, with two Royal Artillery guns and forty-two troopers of native police (Sikhs) under Lieutenant Mowbray Thompson, a column which was under the command of Colonel G.V. Maxwell. It was attacked at daybreak on the 4th by the rebels from Kalpee, to the number of about 1,000, and a sharp little fight ensued. Two companies of the Rangers were first sent out to keep the enemy in check until there was sufficient daylight to ascertain the extent of the attack. They were reinforced by the other companies in succession shortly afterwards and drove back the enemy, whose skirmishers retired in regular order for about 4 miles towards Kalpee. The sepoys then made a stand in broken ground and threatened our left with their cavalry. Major Mauleverer, on that, attacked a village on the right with his own (the Light) company and another, and carried it with some difficulty. The enemy however could not be pursued farther, as the troops would have come within range of the guns of Kalpee: and so the action had to be broken off. One private of the 88th was mortally wounded in the affair, and the lieutenant in charge of the Police Corps and one of his troopers were wounded. These were the only casualties. The rebels on their side suffered a loss of about eighty. The column returned to Akbarpore on February 6th and was joined there two days later by the three companies from Bithoor. On the 13th, the Rangers (now again assembled as a complete battalion) marched from Akbarpore to Shulie and thence on the 18th to Sheorajpore, throwing out two companies with pickets at all fordable points on the Ganges. The move was made in the hope of intercepting Nana Sahib, who was believed to be trying to pass the Ganges, making off north as a fugitive. He was, however, of course never captured and his ultimate fate is unknown, being eventually said to have died of fever in the jungle. The Rangers returned to Akbarpore on the 24th.

Then, on Sunday March 7th, as the regiment was dressing for church parade, an order, the delivery of which had been delayed two days, suddenly arrived. It was to set out and join the force under Sir Colin Campbell for his final attack on Lucknow. The 88th started at 11 a.m. and, to make up for lost time accomplished the distance to Cawnpore, about 27 miles, in one day. The last cart got into camp a little before midnight. It was a remarkable performance for a march through the heat of the day at that time of the year in the Ganges valley. From the diaries of two officers who took part it is however plain that everybody was much fatigued, in consequence of which next day the regiment rested. On the 9th, they marched across the Ganges to Busseratganj, about 17 miles; on the 10th to Bunnee Bridge, another 17 miles; and on the 17th, to the Alum Bagh, about 15 miles. The bombardment of the enemy's position before Lucknow was in progress, and the regiment came in much elated at the prospect of taking part in so important an operation under the Commander-in-Chief himself.

Disappointment, however, was unfortunately in store for the Rangers. Just as they had marked out the ground for their camp in the morning an order came for their immediate return to Akbarpore. Renewed danger was threatening there. The Colonel telegraphed to Sir Colin's headquarters to ask if the order could not be altered, but the reply confirmed it. The return march commenced at noon the same day, 5 miles being covered before halting. On the 13th the regiment marched to Nawabganj, 17 miles; on the 14th to Oonao, 17 miles; on the 15th through Cawnpore to the Canal, also about 17 miles. Finally, on the 16th, Akbarpore was again reached. Not all the battalion, however, was allowed to settle down to rest. Nos. 4, 5 and 6 Companies paraded at two next morning and marched, under Colonel Maxwell, to Deerapore, whence they proceeded on the 18th to Secundra. They got in touch there with hostile cavalry outposts, but the enemy made off as they approached and got beyond reach, with the result that a return had to be made to Akbarpore. This futile marching, it may be mentioned, earned for The Connaught Rangers at this time the local name of "Maxwell's Flying Column." An East India cadet* [Footnote: Alexander Lindsay, ultimately appointed to the 1st Bengal Cavalry (Skinner's Horse), with which he remained till his death in 1872.] temporarily attached to the regiment, wrote this home in a letter dated March 21st 1858: "Our men march like Trojans, but they would like to have something more brilliant. Just remember that all our sleep is from about 9 to 1 o'clock, that we march on empty stomachs, and that the hot season has begun. Day after day I have fallen asleep on my horse's back, and been roused by almost falling off. In this fortnight we have marched upwards of 200 miles." He speaks further of "the toil and fatigue that few can stand like the light-hearted heroes of the 88th."

For the next two months The Connaught Rangers supplied mobile detachments to keep the country between the Ganges and the Jumna clear of the enemy, the permanent camp continuing at Akbarpore. The ten companies had usually a little over 800 of all ranks available, with about 120 or so on the sick list.

Meanwhile, during these two months, Sir Hugh Rose with the "Central India Field Force" was approaching Kalpee from the south-west. After capturing Jhansi on April 4th and Koonch a month later he reached the neighbourhood of Kalpee on May 15th. Colonel Maxwell, who was strengthened about the same time by Major Ross's Camel Corps (nearly 700 strong) and some mortars, advanced towards Kalpee on the 18th and established communication with Sir Hugh Rose, sending on the night of the 20th the whole of the Camel Corps with two companies of the 88th and 124 Sikh infantry across the Jumna. Sir Hugh Rose prepared for battle on the 22nd but was himself attacked that morning. The ensuing fight was one of the fiercest during the Mutiny; indeed the issue was at one time in doubt. The rebels however were in the end decisively defeated, the Camel Corps sent by Colonel Maxwell rendering timely help at the critical point. The rebels at Kalpee were shelled by the mortars on the forenoon of the 23rd, a portion of the 88th lining the river bank and engaging with musketry fire. The enemy, however, soon proved to be so disheartened by their defeat of the previous day that they evacuated the place, which was entered without opposition during the day. At that period the weather was extremely hot, and several of the men died from sunstroke.

Owing to the trials of the hot weather campaign under canvas the Rangers were ordered into cantonments at Cawnpore, arriving there on June 2nd. The cessation of active work, however, with its excitement produced the usual reaction, with the result that, notwithstanding the better protection from the heat, fever and cholera broke out and before long more than half the battalion was on the sick list. The sickness fortunately abated after some weeks, and then, on July 17th, The Connaught Rangers left Cawnpore for Lucknow, once more in British hands. The regiment, after being at first under canvas at Bohura, moved to the "Old Cantonments" at Lucknow on August 5th. Five companies, with the regimental Head-quarters, remained there. The other five companies were attached to the Field Force at Nawabganj, an arrangement that continued with little alteration for about five months. The half-battalion at Lucknow was generally over 400 strong, while the five Field Force companies mustered about 350 of all ranks fit for duty. On July 1st, there had been 207 sick. This number decreased to 108 by September 1st, and to 45 only on December 1st. Although drafts were received from home from time to time, the enrolled strength in India between August and December 1858 decreased somewhat, from 917 to 872.

No very active operations were practicable during the rains, until the latter part of September. By that time the Mutiny as an organized rebellion had been suppressed, but there yet remained the task of hunting down and destroying various mutinous bands under arms. Restoring order and authority in so extensive a country was necessarily long and arduous work. Oudh, where the 88th was stationed, had been a principal centre of rebel activity throughout, and was in many parts still infested by rebel sepoys, being even occupied in places by them in force.

In the Lucknow district, one pressing need was to dislodge a band under a chief named Moosahib Ali, holding an entrenched position at Selimpore, not many miles from Lucknow. Two converging columns started for this purpose late on the evening of September 22nd, one from Nawabganj, the other from Lucknow. Both columns included portions of The Connaught Rangers. The Nawabganj column, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Pratt, consisted of 200 of the 23rd Foot, 200 of the 88th under Major Bourke, and 200 of the 90th; with 133 sabres (British and Native cavalry) and six guns. They marched about midnight and a little before seven next morning found the enemy, 2,000 men or more, posted on each bank of the Goomtee. Selimpore is on the farther side of the river, approaching from Nawabganj. The British infantry advanced in line, with the guns in the intervals, and in the course of an hour drove the enemy into broken ground by the river, where they dispersed. The day however as the sun got higher became excessively hot and several of the 88th and 90th were struck down by sunstroke. Lieut.-Colonel Pratt in consequence halted for the day after his attack in the last tope of trees; having previously ascertained that the other column had also been successful and required no assistance. He began the return march to Nawabganj at 7 p.m., after burning the enemy's huts.

The Lucknow column comprised 180 of the 23rd Foot, 120 of the 88th (under Captain Delme Radcliffe), 400 Native Police Infantry, and 800 Native Police Cavalry with four guns. Major Bulwer of the 23rd (Welch Fusiliers) was in command. Selimpore was to have been reached by these at daybreak, but, owing to delay in starting and a bad road for the guns, Major Bulwer was still 2 miles away when he heard the firing of the Nawabganj column on the opposite side of the Goomtee. Pushing forward the cavalry, however, he succeeded in surrounding the rebels' entrenched position, after which he brought up his guns, covered by the 23rd and 88th, and soon afterwards stormed the place. As Major Bulwer stated in his despatch, "Captain Radcliffe led the assault on the fort most gallantly." One private of the 88th was killed and one officer (Lieutenant Moore) and two rank and file were wounded. Captain Radcliffe in the following spring was gazetted to a Brevet-Majority for his services on this occasion.

Then followed another expedition. On the afternoon of October 4th Brigadier J. Chute, commanding at Lucknow, received information that the Police force at Sundeela, a town some 30 miles north-west of Lucknow, was being threatened by a large body of rebels under a leader named Hurrichund and in need of assistance. He despatched to the rescue the same night a mixed force under Major E. G. Maynard of The Connaught Rangers, consisting of two guns, two mortars, a company of the 88th (about 130 strong), 278 of the 5th Oudh Police Cavalry and 600 of the 7th Oudh Police Infantry. Major Maynard reached Mulleabad about seven next morning and was joined there by 460 of the 2nd Oudh Police Cavalry. The march was resumed at 3 p.m. to Ruheemabad, where the force halted for the night. That however was not all.

The authorities at Lucknow, on the morning of the 5th, received intelligence that Captain Dawson, commanding the Police at Sundeela, had now been surrounded by, as it was stated, about 12,000 of the enemy. Fearing that Major Maynard's column would be insufficient against this superiority, Brigadier Chute on that arranged with Brigadier Barker, C.B., to follow Maynard at once with two more guns, 200 of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, twenty-five of Hodson's Horse, also 200 more of the 88th and 100 of the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade. The reinforcement started at nine that night.

Maynard for his part moved forward from Ruheemabad at dawn on October 6th and soon discovered hostile mounted pickets in front. He threw forward his cavalry in skirmishing order and followed with the infantry and guns in line, showing as strong and extensive a front as possible. Approaching the town of Sundeela, he found the enemy's infantry and artillery in position among topes and gardens on the western and northern sides and was met by heavy fire, while his left flank was threatened by cavalry. The mounted Police charged twice with success, but the rebel cavalry re-formed in "extensive masses." Maynard then pushed forward the guns, supporting them on either side by the detachment of the 88th in extended order. The Rangers' fire proved effective, the new Enfield rifle doing considerable execution, and in the result the enemy were driven back in disorder. The Native Police Infantry, it should be said, behaved very well. Owing, however, to the obstacles of thick topes and bad ground, neither the cavalry nor artillery could follow up the advantage, and in the outcome, as the troops had been fighting from 6 a.m. until noon immediately after a march of 8 miles, Maynard felt it prudent not to push his success farther, seeing that the town had been relieved and the Sikh police in it set free. While halting, Maynard during the afternoon received a despatch informing him of Brigadier Barker's approach with his reinforcing force (already detailed). On their joining it was arranged to make a further attack, all together, on the 7th. The first part of the work, the relief of Sundeela, had been accomplished at a cost of three killed and seventeen wounded. None of the casualties however were in the 88th.

Barker arrived on October 7th and assumed charge. Finding that the main body of the rebels had taken post at Jummoo, * [Footnote: Brigadier Barker calls the place "Jamo" in his despatch, and Major Maynard, in a letter dated October 16th, spells it Jummoo or Jummor, which is the same thing more phonetically. Colonel Malleson, who ought to be the best authority on Indian names, calls it in his History (Vol. III) "Pannu" (which would be sounded Punnoo).] about 4 miles away, he advanced against them the following morning with the total force, except a small body left to protect the town of Sundeela and camp. Major Maynard accompanied this advance, together with 250 of The Connaught Rangers. The enemy was found in a well-chosen position, against which the British advanced steadily through the jungle, the right wing well forward. The Rifles were in skirmishing order to the right of the artillery, and the 88th to the left, leaving one company in support of the guns. "At one time," wrote the Brigadier in his report, "the rebels made a show of turning our left flank, but the advance of the 88th prevented it, and they then dispersed through the jungle in full retreat." Two cavalry detachments were sent round the flanks to intercept the enemy's retirement, both of which succeeded in falling upon them and killing large numbers. Several guns also were taken, and the victory was decisive and complete.

The losses (eighty-two killed and wounded in all) were much heavier than those on the 6th. Among them were three men of the 88th, all severely wounded. Another member of the regiment fell, a humble one, whose death, as related by Major Maynard in a letter throwing much light on the character of the fighting, will not be thought unworthy of record here. The Major wrote: "We were in close pursuit of the enemy, and I was leading my men over a deep sort of marsh (poor fellows, they were up to their middles in it), when several Sepoys sprang up from among the thick jungle on the other side. As soon as I could get clear of the water, I rode after them, followed by my men, when one fellow faced me, armed with a tulwar and a brass shield, and showed fight. I made a slap at him with my sword and wounded him on the right breast. On this he sprang in front of my horse and caught the poor brute an awful cut on the side of his neck near the head. This made the horse plunge and rear violently and, while he was doing so, the fellow aimed a cut at me which I guarded: it merely grazed my boot on the right instep, but cut deep into my horse's flank. The fellow now squatted down about five yards from me and, covering himself with his shield, aimed his musket at my head. I drew my revolver and pulled the trigger twice, but it missed fire. My friend fired his musket: I heard the ball whiz past me and I was untouched. I was in the act of dismounting from my poor horse to go in at the fellow on foot, when my men came up and bayoneted him. The first man who was at him, he wounded in the hand. My horse soon after staggered and fell. The bridle headstall was cut clean in two. Poor fellow, I felt fit to cry when I saw him laid dead: he was a very handsome little Arab, and had carried me so well for the ten months I had him. After the engagement some of the officers went to look at him as he lay dead with the sepoy close to him. The latter, they say, was a regular old Pucka Sepoy, and must have stood near six foot four."

From Sundeela, Brigadier Barker moved against the strong fort of Birwah, held by a chieftain named Gholab Singh. This was attacked on October 21st. The British force employed comprised 170 of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, 300 of the Oudh Police (Sikhs), 300 of the 88th, as many of the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade, with 550 of the Oudh Police and fourteen guns. The rebels were first forced out of the entrenched village, which they abandoned without serious resistance. Beyond that the troops came upon the edge of a dense thorny jungle, which nearly surrounded the fort of Birwah, concealing it so well that the chief difficulty was to ascertain the nature and real position of the defence. Two of our heavier guns, however, brought to the edge of the jungle, soon cleared away the intervening trees and exposed the south-west bastion, which it was thereupon decided to breach. It was known that the western face had only a single line of defence, the other accessible parts of the works having double lines. The enemy still held some outer entrenchments, but these were turned by the Rifles and Police capturing their western flank. Then, it only remained to force an entry into the inner fort. The 88th passed to the right and occupied the outworks on the east opposite the main gate, but not without appreciable loss, while the guns continued to batter the Southwest angle. The Brigadier then arranged that the breach should be stormed by some of the Rifles and Police infantry. The 88th were to attack the main gate, which was to be blown in, and another party of the Police was to work round to the north to prevent the rebels escaping in that direction. The signal for the general attack was to be the cheering of the storming party at the breach.

Major Maynard, at the outset, could not see the entrance he was to attack. It was only by leaving his men under cover and creeping out to examine the defences, first alone and afterwards with an Engineer officer, that he succeeded in locating it. The attacks were then carried out as arranged. Major Mauleverer, who had been detached to the west with two companies in the earlier stages, rejoined at that point. Major Maynard and all the five companies of the 88th took part in the assault. They rushed forward across a deep ditch and rampart, passing through an obstruction on top of thick thorny bushes. On however turning to the right, towards the gate, they were assailed by grape-shot and a heavy matchlock fire, which the men kept down by shooting at the embrasures. The powder for blowing in the gate was meanwhile brought forward under the superintendence of Lieutenant Carnegie of the Bengal Engineers. The gate was then successfully shattered, Carnegie unfortunately being severely burnt by the explosion. The Rangers thereupon charged forward into the place, capturing a gun and killing several of the rebels. A number of the enemy who still fired from one of the bastions were next speedily dislodged, and after that the inner gate was carried without difficulty. It had been taken in reverse by the party from the breach, who had ascended without loss, although the breach was difficult to negotiate. There still remained a sort of citadel, or large house, loopholed and strongly barricaded. It was held by Gholab Singh himself and his personal followers. They realized that they were in a desperate position, for retreat to the north was cut off by the force detailed for that purpose, and defended the building with great tenacity. The house took fire, and one side of it was blown down, exposing the courtyard, yet the surviving rebel's continued to shoot at everybody who approached.

The Brigadier withdrew towards Sundeela about nine in the evening, leaving Major Maynard to hold and clear the fort with about 200 of the 88th and some Sikhs. The remaining buildings were now set fire to, the rebels being shot down as they ran out to try and escape over the ramparts. In the end Gholab Singh himself and the surviving few of his faithful retainers ran the gauntlet in safety. They scrambled down into the ditch and got away into the jungle; the chief himself was said to have been wounded. The strength of the insurgent force in the morning had been about seven hundred.

This was certainly one of the hardest fights of the last phases of the Mutiny. It lasted more than thirteen hours and the British loss was heavy. Among the Europeans nine were killed and seventy-four wounded, besides the losses in the native troops. The Connaught Rangers were the heaviest sufferers, having six killed outright and forty-one wounded, one of whom died within a few hours. The wounded included one officer (Lieutenant Moore, again slightly wounded), and four sergeants. Brigadier Barker in his despatch said this: "Major Maynard made all his arrangements in a most perfect manner and greatly contributed to our success: this officer speaks in the highest terms of Major Mauleverer of the same regiment, who distinguished himself by the cool and fearless manner in which he behaved." The names of Colour-Sergeant Fahey, Sergeant Yates, two corporals, six privates, and one drummer of the 88th were also mentioned for bravery.

Major Maynard marched his men back to Sundeela on the evening of October 22nd. He arrived there between eight and nine, "having been at it for forty-two hours with no rest and little to eat." An order was received next day for the wing of the 88th to return to the Old Cantonments at Lucknow, which were reached on the evening of Sunday the 24th. On November 1st the Queen's Proclamation was issued, taking over the Government of India from the East India Company. A wing of the regiment was again sent out on December 13th under Major Maynard to disarm parties of natives in the districts round Lucknow, from which service it did not return to Head-quarters until February.

Although organized attempts at armed resistance had ceased in Oudh, after the decisive defeat at Jummoo, and the storming of Birwah Fort, there were yet numbers of fugitive rebel sepoys in hiding in various lurking places or sheltering in villages. Refugees for the most part from broken-up details of former Bengal Army battalions who had managed to get away from Lucknow and elsewhere, they had gone off with their arms and ammunition and were ready for any mischief within their power. Thus a series of clearing-up operations, which involved the searching of villages for hidden weapons, had to be undertaken as the finale in the pacification of that part of the country. Only in the jungle districts of Central India and in Rajputana, where Tantia Topee and Man Singh and bands of their followers were being hunted down by punitive columns, were active hostilities still being carried on. Clearing up, or "mopping up," was practically all that there remained to be done in other parts of India. That work in Oudh had, to all intents, come to an end when in February, 1858, the half-battalion of the Rangers under Major Maynard concluded their part and returned to rejoin Head-quarters at Lucknow.

So closed the active service of The Connaught Rangers in the Indian Mutiny. With the end of the year 1858 the restoration of peace and order all over India hail been nearly completed. The total loss of the 88th in the field during the operations, according to the returns of each engagement, amounted to one officer and sixteen other ranks killed, and six officers and 138 other ranks wounded, viz.:

Location Date Officers Killed Officers Wounded Other Ranks Killed Other Ranks Wounded
Cawnpore Nov. 26-27th 1857 1 5 9 91
Near Kalpee Feb. 4th 1858 - - - 1
Selimpore Sept. 23rd 1858 - 1* 1 2
Jummoo Oct. 8th 1858 - - - 3
Birwah Oct. 21st 1858 - 1* 6 41

* The same officer.

Major-General H.G. Broke succeeded to the Colonelcy vice Lieut.-General Macpherson on December 24th 1858.

1859-1865

1859-1861

The 88th marched from Cawnpore on January 22nd 1859 and arrived at Delhi on February 15th. The march started at 3 a.m. every day. One officer remained with each company. The others were allowed to move from camp to camp at their own hours and in their own manner; thus some obtained good shooting in places near the line of route. At Delhi the regiment had to remain under canvas for awhile, there being no barracks for Europeans. Delhi had not hitherto been considered healthy for Europeans and had always been garrisoned by native troops. Most of the men were then put into the large school buildings, with three companies in the Palace and the officers scattered about in bungalows.

The flank companies of battalions were abolished by an order issued in 1858, when all companies were ordered to be sized and clothed alike. Thus the Grenadier and the Light Company of The Connaught Rangers disappeared; Captain Baynes of the Grenadier and Brevet-Major Mauleverer of the Light Company were the last flank-company commanders. An order of 1862 completed the change by directing that companies should be lettered instead of being numbered, and should stand on parade according to the seniority of their captains.

Three companies were detached to Allyghur for a time, the regiment remaining at Delhi for two years. Both officers and men seem to have suffered from "Delhi boils," with the result that early in 1861 the Inspector-General of Hospitals recommended the regiment's removal to a healthier station. It was thereupon ordered to Moradabad and Shahjehanpore, exchanging stations with the 82nd. The Left Wing, comprising of B, G, H, I and K Companies,* [Footnote: It is so stated in the original Digest of Services, but the letters must have been given to the companies retrospectively in writing it up, for the Monthly Returns show that the companies continued to be numbered, not lettered, down to the end of 1862.] under Lieut.-Colonel E.H. Maxwell, marched for the former station on March 19th, Head-quarters and the Right Wing, composed of the remaining five companies, under command of Colonel G.V. Maxwell, left Delhi for Shahjehanpore on April 2nd. It was inspected on the 28th, a few days after its arrival, and again in October, by Brigadier-General E.A. Holdich CB, commanding the Rohilcund Field Force, or Rohilcund District, as the command was subsequently designated.

A Horse Guards Circular of May 3rd 1861 fixed the establishment of battalions serving in the East Indies at ten service companies, with a strength of 958 of all ranks, and two depot companies comprising 120 of all ranks; a total of 1,078.

1862-1863

The Left Wing changed quarters in March 1862 and moved from Moradabad to Futtegurh. A wing of the 54th Foot relieved them at the former station, and at the latter they replaced a detachment of the 42nd Highlanders. General Holdich inspected the regiment for the third time at Shahjehanpore on April 9th.

The effective strength of the service companies on January 1st 1863 was 38 officers, 45 sergeants, and 974 rank and file (including drummers); 1,057 of all ranks. Major-General the Hon. A.A. Dalzell was appointed Colonel of the regiment on February 8th, in succession to Lieut.-General John Cox, who had held the Colonelcy since October 13th 1860, vice Major-General H.G. Broke.

Sir Hugh Rose, Commanding-in-Chief in India, visited Shahjehanpore in February and inspected the 88th on the 21st. The Adjutant-General writing subsequently by his direction expressed the Commander-in-Chief's satisfaction in these terms:

"On the whole His Excellency was extremely pleased with his inspection, and the great improvement which has been made in every respect - drill, discipline, and conduct - and which justifies his considering the regiment one of the first class of those in India."

The ordinary inspection by Brigadier-General Holdich took place on March 27th.

Head-quarters and the Right Wing, under Colonel G.V. Maxwell, left Shahjehanpore on November 2nd and arrived at Cawnpore on the 14th. The Left Wing, under Brevet-Major W.T. Betts, marching from Futtegurh on December 3rd rejoined Head-quarters on the 13th, after a separation of two years and nine months. A detachment of three companies (A, D and F), under Captain H. Baynes, was sent to Meerut on November 30th to occupy the barracks there temporarily, pending the arrival of a regiment then en route. The detachment rejoined Head-quarters on January 20th following.

1864

The effective strength of the service companies on January 1st 1864 was 41 officers, 43 sergeants, and 896 drummers and rank and file; a total of 980 of all ranks.

Brigadier-General Percy Hill, C.B., commanding the Cawnpore Brigade, inspected the regiment on January 25th. The following is an extract from his subsequent report:

"On the whole the Brigadier-General has reason to be well satisfied with the result of the inspection, and will not fail to make a favourable report of it."

The Adjutant-General remarked on the report:

"His Excellency is well pleased with it, testifying as it does generally to the good drill and discipline of the regiment."

The Adjutant-General at the same time requested that a regimental order should be issued conveying Sir Hugh Rose's thanks and approbation. On the same report going to England, the Duke of Cambridge, Commanding-in-Chief, observed upon it that "it is more or less creditable and satisfactory."

Colonel G.V. Maxwell, C.B., was appointed a Brigadier-General on the Indian Establishment on January 23rd, and handed over the command of the 88th to Colonel E.H. Maxwell. The regiment was inspected at Cawnpore by Major-General Macduff, C.B., commanding the Oudh Division, on March 8th. On August 10th, Major-General Dalzell was transferred to the 48th Foot, and Major-General M.C. Johnstone appointed Colonel of the 88th.

Cawnpore, in common with many other stations in India, suffered from cholera this year. The troops continued healthy for some time, but after the epidemic had appeared in the native town on August 18th a man of the regiment was attacked and died. The company to which he belonged, then quartered in a detached building 2 miles from the main barracks, was at once sent into camp at Bhuntra, 6 miles away, and no more cases occurred in that company. A week later however a man died of cholera at the main barracks, and thereupon Head-quarters and five companies were moved immediately to the camp at Bhuntra. The rest of the battalion moved at the same time to another camping ground, 5 miles distant, on the Allahabad road. The heat on the day of the march was intense and one man succumbed to sunstroke. Cases of cholera continuing to occur, Head-quarters moved camp to Muggerwara on September 3rd. During the whole period of the epidemic, which ceased at the end of September, eight men and nine women and children fell victims in the regiment. The Head-quarter wing returned to Cawnpore on October 26th and was joined there on the 28th and 29th by the Left Wing. Only one or two of the fatal cases had occurred in the Left Wing.

Major-General Becher, C.B., commanding the Oudh Division, inspected the regiment at Cawnpore on November 24th.

From September 1st 1864 Messrs. Sir C. McGrigor Bart and Co. became Regimental Agents in succession to Messrs. Cox & Co., on the nomination of the new Colonel, Major-General M. C. Johnstone.

1865

The effective strength of the service companies on January 1st 1865 was 34 officers, 45 sergeants, and 881 other ranks; a total of 960.

Sir Hugh Rose inspected the Rangers for the second time on January 11th and expressed himself well satisfied with their appearance and drill. He was particularly pleased, he said, with Captain H. Waring, "not only for his intelligence on parade, but also for the care he had bestowed on his company (K), which was evinced by the superior state of their kits and gardens." Captain Waring was immediately afterwards appointed a Brigade-Major on the Indian establishment.

Three companies, E, I and K, under Captain Lambert, were detached to Lucknow on February 20th rejoining Head-quarters on the 26th of next month. On March 21st A and G Companies, under Brevet-Major Radcliffe, and on May 12th a third company (D), were detached to Futtegurh, to be stationed there.

The regiment was inspected by Major-General Williams, C.B., commanding the Oudh Division, on March 29th, and by Brigadier-General Hill, C.B., commanding the Cawnpore Brigade, on October 19th. General Hill stated that:

"With the exception of a few trifling inaccuracies, the Regiment drilled well and satisfactorily, the appearance of the men was good, clean, and soldier-like, and the interior economy seems equally satisfactory. The Brigadier-General will have much pleasure in reporting favourably upon his inspection of the Regiment."

The Duke of Cambridge observed upon the report that he was "gratified by the generally favourable report of Brigadier-General Hill upon the 88th Regiment."

Four companies (B, C, F and K) under Brevet-Major T. Gore proceeded to Agra for temporary duty at the end of October, owing to the absence of British infantry from that station consequent on the annual relief arrangements. On the arrival of the 41st Foot from England C Company returned to Cawnpore, while the three other companies marched on December 21st to Futtegurh to relieve the three there. A, C, D and G rejoined Headquarters at Cawnpore on January 11th and 17th following, Brevet-Major Radcliffe remaining in command at Futtegurh.

1866-1870

1866

The effective strength of the battalion in India on January 1st 1866 was 36 officers, 47 sergeants and 901 of other ranks, making 984 in all. The 88th had not yet been brought down to the establishment of May 1861, but in May 1866 the establishment of battalions in India was further reduced to 899 of all ranks.

The Cawnpore Brigade was now transferred to the Allahabad Division and the next inspection of the regiment was made on March 15th by the officer commanding that division, Major-General Troup, C.B. The 88th was also inspected later (on October 19th) by Brigadier-General W.C. Forest, commanding the Cawnpore Brigade.

On March 20th a fourth company (H) was sent to join the detachment at Futtegurh. In the annual relief programme of 1866, The Connaught Rangers were destined for Rawal Pindi on the North-West Frontier, some 700 miles from Cawnpore. They were to move by way of Agra, so as to take part in an assembly of troops on the occasion of a Durbar by the Viceroy (Sir John Lawrence) in honour of an installation of the Order of the Star of India. The regiment left Cawnpore by rail on November 3rd and reached Agra next morning. They encamped on the edge of the General Parade Ground and were brigaded with the 19th Punjaub Infantry and 41st Bengal Infantry. The force assembled was under the personal command of Lieut. General Sir W.R. Mansfield, K.C.B., who had now become Commander-in-Chief in India. The four companies from Futtegurh joined Head-quarters at Agra on November 6th. Colonel E.H. Maxwell had command of a brigade on the occasion. The Durbar was a fine sight, but the gathering was broken up rather sooner than had been intended owing to the appearance of cholera in the camp. The 88th went on to Delhi by rail in two wings, on November 30th and December 1st. The various details - women and children from Cawnpore, a depot from Futtegurh, a draft from home, etc. - were also collected at Delhi, where the regiment encamped in the old cantonments until transport could be supplied for the march to Rawal Pindi. After considerable difficulty in procuring carriage the regiment left Delhi on December 16th.

1867

The effective strength on January 1st 1867 was 38 officers, 47 sergeants and 853 rank and file (including drummers); making 938 of all ranks.

The long march to Rawal Pindi was made in stages of 10 or 12 miles mostly, the battalion usually starting about 3 a.m. and pitching camp during the morning. The camp-colour men and married people marched each evening in advance of the main body, "the former to lay out the lines of the camp, the latter to be out of the way of the regiment." On approaching Umballa the 88th was met by the band of the 94th (their destined 2nd Battalion in 1881), who played them in. Rawal Pindi was finally reached on February 25th. The regiment was inspected there on March 28th by General Haly, C.B., commanding the Peshawar Division.

From May to October 1867, Head-quarters and five companies (A, G, H, I and K) were stationed between Murree and Abbottabad, under Major Mauleverer, for the construction of a hill road. This was a voluntary duty, non-commissioned officers and men being given the option of going to the hills and working for a certain number of hours a day at specified rates of extra pay or of remaining with the regiment. Three hundred and ninety-three non-commissioned officers and men volunteered out of the whole regiment, and were thus employed for about five months. Their health was extremely good during the time. Ordinary workmen received six annas per diem for six hours' work, and miners one rupee per diem for ten hours.

The 88th left Rawalpindi again on November 1st and arrived on the 11th at Peshawar, where they took the place of the 42nd Highlanders. They were inspected again by Major-General Haly on December 14th. It was subsequently notified from the Horse Guards that H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief considered the half-yearly confidential report of the regiment generally "very creditable and satisfactory."

1868

The effective strength of the service companies on January 1st was 38 officers, 45 sergeants and 791 drummers and rank and file, making a total of 874.

General Mansfield, the Commander-in-Chief in India, inspected the regiment at Peshawar in April and expressed himself as satisfied with it in every respect. The usual half-yearly inspection was made soon afterwards by Brigadier-General H.F. Dunsford, C.B., commanding the Peshawar Brigade. On his report, the Adjutant-General wrote from the Horse Guards to Sir W. Mansfield:

"It has afforded His Royal Highness much gratification to perceive by a perusal of this document, as well as from the assurance contained in your own observations accompanying it, that the state of this corps is very satisfactory."

The 88th was again inspected on October 16th, this time by Major-General Haly, who announced his decision to this effect: "He is much pleased with the regiment and will have the satisfaction of making a favourable report."

On November 8th a detachment of two companies (C and E), under command of Captain Whitla, marched to Attock Fort on the Indus, relieving a similar detachment of the 36th. Head-quarters and the remaining companies moved from Peshawar to Nowshera, their next station, on December 74th.

1869

The effective strength of the service companies on January 1st 1869, was 40 officers, 42 sergeants, and 749 rank and file (including drummers); a total of 831.

Colonel G.V. Maxwell, C.B., who had been employed on the Staff of the Army in India since January 23rd 1864, resumed command of the 88th on February 3rd, on completion of his five years' tenure of the Staff appointment. He left for England however on fifteen months' leave almost immediately and the command again devolved on Colonel E.H. Maxwell.

At Attock Fort C and E Companies were relieved by H and K Companies early in February and rejoined Head-quarters on the 5th.

On March 3rd 1869, Shere Ali, Ameer of Afghanistan, entered British territory on a State visit to the Viceroy. He was received with due ceremony at Peshawar on the 4th, thence proceeding after a few days to meet the Viceroy, the Earl of Mayo, at Umballa. The 88th marched to Peshawar on March 1st to take part at the reception of the Ameer, returning to Nowshera on the 9th.

There was during that season, it may be mentioned incidentally, a good deal of fever at Nowshera, and a great part of the regiment suffered from it, but the epidemic was not serious.

Brigadier-General D.M. Stewart, C.B., commanding the Peshawar District (a new command, formed out of the former Peshawar Division), inspected the regiment at Nowshera on March 19th. He expressed himself much pleased. The 88th was again inspected on November 5th, by Brigadier-General Sir Sam Browne CB VC who stated that he "desired to record that he was perfectly satisfied with the state of the regiment under command of Colonel E.H. Maxwell, and that he would have much pleasure in submitting a favourable report for the information of H.E. the Commander-in-Chief."

1870

The effective strength on January 1st 1870, was 36 officers, 43 sergeants and 700 of other ranks; a total of 779.

The Connaught Rangers left Nowshera on January 31st to proceed by route-march to Colaba, Bombay, appointed for their last station in India. They picked up the two companies which had been on detachment at Attock Fort on February 1st. The destination of the regiment was however suddenly changed by a telegram, received on March 5th, which directed it to proceed to Agra in relief of the 77th, unexpectedly ordered home. Diverging from the Grand Trunk Road at Meean Meer and proceeding by way of Ferozepore the regiment reached Loodiana (370 miles from Nowshera) on March 10th. Thence the regiment travelled by rail to Agra, arriving in two detachments on the 12th and 13th. They were inspected by Major-General Troup on the 26th and his report was considered by the Home Authorities "most creditable and satisfactory."

Brevet-Colonel G.V. Maxwell, C.B., was placed on half-pay from April 1st 1870, thus ceasing to be borne on the rolls of the regiment. He was at the same time, being in command of a brigade, appointed a temporary Brigadier-General. At Agra, the Brigadier-General in local command having been sent home on sick leave, Colonel E.H. Maxwell took his place, as from May 4th. He continued to hold the command until he left Agra with the 88th in the November following. Colonel E.H. Maxwell for two months of this time also held command of the Meerut Division, during the absence of Major-General Travers on leave. In the interim the acting regimental command devolved on Brevet-Lieut.-Colonel Mauleverer.

A General Order of the previous March, promulgated in India on June 3rd, reduced the number of service companies in battalions serving abroad from ten to eight; without however reducing the actual strength. Medical officers became at the same time departmental officers and ceased to form part of the regimental establishment. This reduction of captains, subalterns and medical officers brought down the establishment of officers from forty to thirty, that of the other ranks was slightly increased. Commanding officers were allowed to exercise their discretion as to the companies to be broken up in carrying out the order. In The Connaught Rangers D and G were selected and ceased to exist from July 1st. The officers, noncommissioned officers and men were distributed amongst the remaining companies, which were re-lettered from C to H. At the end of the year however, when the two depot companies L and M had to be amalgamated on the return of the battalion to England, these depot companies were named D and G and the remainder resumed their former designating letters.

The Connaught Rangers began their homeward journey on November 5th. At 4 p.m. that afternoon the Left Wing (E, F, G and H Companies) under Brevet-Colonel Mauleverer quitted Agra by special train, Colonel Maxwell with Head-quarters and the other four companies following the next afternoon. The journey of 992 miles to Deolali in the Bombay Presidency took five days, the trains halting at Allahabad, Jubbulpore, Sohagpore, and Kundwah on successive days; waiting in a siding during the hottest hours while the men got their meals cooked. At some of the sidings there were tents standing for the accommodation of regiments making the journey. The 88th finally assembled at Deolali on the 11th. A guard of four officers and 150 men with the baggage was sent forward to Bombay on November 15th and next day the rest of the regiment entrained for Bombay. Arriving at two in the afternoon and going on board the troopship Jumna, the passage home began on the following morning.

The Connaught Rangers had been thirteen years in India, which had become the last resting-place of nine of their officers and 407 of their noncommissioned officers and men. A tablet in the Memorial Church at Cawnpore, of white marble with a deep border of black marble, records the names of the former.*

[Footnote: The inscription, which is cut beneath an engraving of the regimental colours, badge and motto, runs:

"IN MEMORY of the Undermentioned officers of the CONNAUGHT RANGERS.

Capt. H.H. Day, killed in action at Pandoo Nuddee, 26 Novr, 1857, aged 20 years.

Ensign F.M. Mitchell, died at Cawnpore, 7 Decr, 1857, of wounds received in action at Pandoo Nuddee, 26 Novr, aged 36 yrs.

Ensign W. King, died at Cawnpore, 20 June, 1858, aged 24 yrs.

Ensign J.R. Perrin, died at Lucknow, 11 Octr, 1858, aged 23 yrs.

Lieut. R. Miller, died at Derha Ghat, 5 Novr, 1860, aged 23 yrs.

Quarter Master M. Evans, died at Cawnpore, 20 June, 1864, aged 32 yrs.

Lieut. F.M.M. Mapleton, died at Cawnpore, 17 Augt, 1865, aged 21 years.

Capt. G.S. Watson, died at Galle, 12 Septr, 1865, aged 33 years.

Capt. L.S. Scott, died at Jullunder, 1 April, 1870, aged 31 years."]


The following table shows the principal changes which had taken place in the constitution of the regiment during its service in India (taken from the detailed statistical return rendered on its departure).

Non-commissioned Officers and Men
Cause Increase Increase
Landed with the Regiment Nov. and Dec. 1857 953 -
Joined in India 1,177 1,177
Killed, or died of wounds or disease - -
Invalided for wounds - -
Invalided for disease - -
Discharged time-expired and transfers to other Regiments - -
Purchased discharge - -
Embarked with the Regiment for England Nov. 16th 1870 - -
Totals 2,130 2,130

Of the fifty-two officers and 953 of other ranks who landed in India with the regiment only two of the former and eighty-two of the latter embarked with it after its continuous service in India. The two officers were the Commanding Officer and the Adjutant. A considerable proportion of those who had "joined in India" originally consisted of volunteers from other regiments returning home. Similarly, when the 88th was under orders for England, volunteering was opened to other regiments in India and 127 non-commissioned officers and men transferred their services and were scattered among twelve other battalions. Twenty-two women and forty-seven children accompanied these volunteers.

The strength embarked was 30 officers, 36 sergeants, 25 corporals, 18 drummers and 480 privates; besides 8 officers' wives, 15 officers' children, 44 soldiers' wives and 74 soldiers' children. The regiment had come out to India in four different vessels. It returned, as a minority only of the passengers, in a single ship. "I think there were 1,700 souls on board," writes Colonel Maxwell, "but everything was in such beautiful order that there was no confusion. My regiment got on capitally, and Captain Richards, of the Jumna, reported very favourably of the men's conduct when in his ship." The Jumna reached Suez, with fair weather, on December 3rd 1870. That, it may be recorded, was the last trooping season in which regiments were conveyed across the Isthmus from Suez to Alexandria by railway. The train with the 88th left Suez in the evening of the 4th and arrived at Alexandria next morning to re-embark in the troopship Crocodile. The Solent was reached on December 21st. The regiment disembarked in a snowstorm on the Gosport side of Portsmouth harbour next day and marched to Forts Grange and Rowner. Head-quarters and three companies proceeded to the former (where the depot was already quartered); the remaining five companies to Fort Rowner.

1857-1871 [Depot]

With regard to the depot maintained at home during the absence of the regiment in India. The two-company detachment left at Portsmouth for that service when the 88th sailed in July, 1857, proceeded the next month to Colchester, where it remained till 1865. At that period the various regimental depots were grouped into "Depot Battalions" with a separate numbering. The 88th Depot belonged first to the 9th Depot Battalion, and then to the 10th, without however change of station. It left Colchester on February 2nd 1865, and embarked on board the Ibis for Ireland, reaching Cork on the 5th. On the following day it arrived at Fermoy, where it was posted to the 19th Depot Battalion, which again was very soon afterwards re-numbered the 13th. On January 18th 1866 that battalion moved from Fermoy to the Curragh Camp, where the 88th Depot remained until June 29th. On July 3rd it went to Parkhurst (Isle of Wight) and was posted to the 5th Depot Battalion. On March 22nd 1870 an Order was issued abolishing the Depot Battalion system as from the ensuing April 1st. It directed that in lieu, depots of battalions serving abroad should be severally attached to battalions serving at home. The 88th Depot accordingly, on the reduction of the 5th Depot Battalion, moved on March 31st from Parkhurst to Bristol, where it joined the 50th Foot. It was moved to Fort Grange (Gosport) on October 11th following to await the arrival of the regiment from India, being meanwhile temporarily attached to the 2nd Queen's.

The officers who successively commanded the Depot of The Connaught Rangers during this time were

Brevet-Major T. Gore From July 1857.

Brevet-Major G. Browne From June 1861.

Major E.C.D. Radcliffe From July 1863.

Brevet-Major J.G. Crosse From August 1864.

Captain E. Hopton From June 1865.

Captain C. Robertson From July 1866.

Captain W.C. Pearson From January 1867.

Major Gore From July 1867.

Captain W. Lambert From August 1870.

During most of the time the establishment of the depot was 6 officers, 10 sergeants, 4 drummers, and 100 rank and file. A General Order of May 1867 (No. 41) increased this establishment by 20 privates, but an order of 1869 reduced it considerably, probably in view of the approaching return of the regiment. The actual strength had varied a good deal and the orders varying the standard of height for recruits and opening and closing recruiting for the regiment in various districts are legion.


1881

In January 1881 the regiment was again in India [2]

1920

See details of the Connaught Rangers Mutiny in India.

1922

"Leaving Rawal Pindi on April 4th, 'They took passage to England, with Shorncliffe as their destination for the disbandment, in the same transport with another compatriot corps, destined to share their fate, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish'." [3] They sailed on the "Syria". [4]

External Links

Historical books online

C 1793 the author purchased his Surgeoncy in the 88th Regiment

References

  1. Connaught Rangers Naval & Military Press
  2. Army List, sv P J O'Sullivan
  3. Great War Forum post in the topic "1st Connaught Rangers 1922" by archangel9 5 May 2019 (in a members's only section) quoting Jourdain & Fraser, The Connaught Rangers, Vol 1.
  4. Same Great War Forum topic, post by Derek Black 17 April 2019, quoting "Freeman's Journal - Friday 28 April 1922", [a Dublin newspaper available online on BNA/findmypast].