Ambela Campaign

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Ambela Campaign
Part of North West Frontier Campaigns
Date: 18 October-23 December 1863
Location: Ambela Pass, Buner, NWF
Presidency: Bengal
Co-ordinates: 34.398975°N 72.490498°E
Result: Submission of tribes
British Yusufzai tribesmen
Brig Gen N Chamberlain
238 killed
670 wounded
3,000 killed & wounded
Ambela Pass 1909

Spelling variants

Ambela; Ambeyla; Ambayla; Umbeyla; Umbeylah; Umbayla: Ambella; Umballah


Following their defeat at the Battle of Sittana in 1858 the Hindustani Fanatics built up a new settlement at Malka and began raiding settlements in British territory. The Governor of the Punjab sent an expedition under Brigadier Neville Bowles Chamberlain. The fanatics persuaded the Bunerwal tribesmen that their land would be taken over. The Akhund of Swat also lent support. Due to this, British met strong opposition at the Ambela Pass and were held up for four weeks. After Chamberlain was wounded, he was replaced by Major General John Garvock who broke out of the pass and eventually obtained the submission of the Bunerwals. The British burned Malka but suffered nearly 1,000 casualties.


Entries in the Dictionary of Indian Biography 1906:
John Miller Adye (1819-1900)
Charles Henry Brownlow (1831-1916)
Neville Bowles Chamberlain (1820-1902)
John Garvock (18??-1878)
Thomas Elliott Hughes (1830-1886)
Charles Patton Keyes (1823-1896)
Reynell George Taylor (1822-1886)
Alfred Thomas Wilde (1819-1878)

Ambela Field Force

First Brigade
Col W.W.Turner CB, 97th Foot

Second Brigade
Lt Col A.T.Wilde CB, Corps of Guides

Divisional Troops

Reinforcements arrived December

External links

Historical books online

“Frontier Campaign in the Afghan Mountains” page 185, Recollections of a Military Life by General Sir John Adye , RA 1895
  • "The Umbeyla Campaign" by Captain Fosbery V.C., page 548 Journal of the Royal United Service Institution Volume 11 1868
  • Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India Vol I - Ambela Campaign
  • "The Umbeyla Campaign", page 45 The administration of India from 1859-1868: the first ten years of Administration under the Crown, Volume 2 by Iltudus Thomas Prichard 1869 Google Books
  • Forty-one Years in India from Subaltern to Commander-in-Chief by Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar 1900 Umbeyla Expedition
  • Reynell Taylor - a biography by E Gambier Parry 1888 The Umbeylah War
  • The 71st Regiment in the Campaign, page 133 Historical Record of the 71st Regiment Highland Light Infantry, from its formation in 1777, under the title of the 73rd, or McLeod's Highlanders, up to the year 1876 by Henry J T Hildyard (1876)
  • "The Umballah Campaign of 1863", page 315 A Soldier's Experience: Or, A Voice from the Ranks Showing the Cost of War in Blood and Treasure. A Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign, the Indian Mutiny, the Afghan Campaigns of 1863 by one of the Royal Fusiliers (Timothy Gowing) 1892
  • "The Umbeylah Campaign", page 47 Through Persia in disguise, with reminiscences of the Indian Mutiny by Colonel Charles E. Stewart edited from his diaries by Basil Stewart. 1911
  • "Ambeyla" page 169, Vol. II General Sir Alex Taylor G.C.B., R.E.: his Times, his Friends, and his Work by A. Cameron Taylor, his daughter, 1913
  • "The Ambayla Campaign" page 12 Memoirs, with a full account of the great malaria problem and its solution by Ronald Ross 1923 The account of the author’s father, Major Campbell Claye Grant Ross, who was in command of the Fezozepore Sikhs.
  • "Ambela", page 360 The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. I957, by Olaf Caroe 1958 The author was Governor of the N-W Frontier Province 1946-1947.