Tibet Expedition

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Tibet Expedition
Dec 1903 – Sept 1904
Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns
Location: Tibet
British Field Force Tibetan Armed Forces
Result: Anglo-Tibetan Agreement of 1904
Medals: Tibet Medal
Category: Tibet Expedition
Battlemappic.gif See our interactive map of
Tibet Expedition 1903-04
locations and routes on Google Maps


The expedition to Tibet in 1903-04, also known as the Anglo-Tibet War. At the beginning of the 20th century Britain and Russia were competing for influence in Central Asia. To counter the perceived threat, the British sent an expedition under Francis Younghusband to negotiate with the Tibetans. The first excursion with Claude White, the Political Officer for Sikkim, to Khamba Jong was rebuffed and a field force was dispatched through the Jelep Pass. The Tibetans were defeated at two major battles and the expedition reached Lhasa in August 1904. The Dalai Lama had fled but Younghusband forced a one-sided treaty on the regent which gave Britain trading rights in Tibet. This was later repudiated by the Tibetans.

Field Force

First Excursion

Mission Escort

  • Six Coys 8th Gurkhas
  • Eight Coys 23rd Pioneers
  • Half Coy 2nd Sappers
  • Maxim gun detachment of Norfolk Regiment
  • Two 7-pounder guns of 8th Gurkhas
  • Two guns No 7 Mountain Battery
  • Field Hospital
  • Engineer Field Park
  • Ammunition Column
  • Telegraph, postal and survey detachments



First Excursion

19 June 1903 Mission left Darjeeling
21 June Reached Gangtok
26 June Arrived at Tangu
4 July Claude White (Sikkim Political Officer] left Tangu
5 July Mr White reached Diagong
7 July Mr White reached Khamba Dzong
18 July Younghusband reached Khamba Dzong
11 October Younghusband left Khamba Dzong for Simla

Mission to Lhasa

5 December 1903 Mission left Darjeeling
12 December Crossed the border at [Jelep Jelep La 4267m
14 December Arrived at Yadong
20 December Reached Pagri
7 January 1904 Crossed the Tang La 4,521 m
8 January Made camp at Tuna
31 March Battle at Guru
9 April Action at Tsamdang Gorge
11 April Reached Gyantse
5 May Tibetan attack at Gyantse
7 May Battle of Karo La
26 May Battle of Palla
6 June Action at Kangma
6 July Gyantse Dzong stormed
14 July Mission left Gyantse for Lhasa
19 July Reached Nagartse
24 July Crossed the Kampa La 4,794 m
31 July Crossed the Bramaputra at Chaksam Ferry
4 August Reached Lhasa

External links

Recommended Reading

  • India and Tibet, A History of the Relations which have Subsisted between the Two Countries from the Time of Warren Hastings to 1910; with a Particular Account of the Mission to Lhasa of 1904. by Sir Francis Younghusband KCIE. Published by John Murray 1910. Reprinted by LLP 2002. ISBN 81-7536-278-2 Archive.org
  • Sikhim And Bhutan, Twenty-one Years On The North-east Frontier 1887-1908. by J Claude White. Published by Asian Educational Services, Delhi 2000. Reprinted by LLP 2008. ISBN 81-7536-164-6 & ISBN 9788175361645, 978-8175361645 Archive.org 1909 edition.