Banda and Kirwee Prize Money
The Banda and Kirwee Prize Money was the subject of a long case in the British Admiralty Court during the 1860s. It concerned the distribution of booty captured by the Saugor and Nerbudda field force during the Central India Campaign of the Indian Mutiny. After nine years, the case was settled and the money finally distributed amongst the soldiers involved in its capture.
Capture of the booty
In 1858, the Saugor and Nerbudda field force (also called the Madras column) under Major-General George Cornish Whitlock were sent to Bundelkund to engage in the relief of various towns in the region. After defeating a force of 7000 outside Banda, they entered the town and therein took a large amount of loot from the palace. When the British troops marched on nearby Kirwee, its Prime Minister, Radho Govind, fled to the hills with a rebel force and Narrain Rao, the chief of the town, surrendered to Whitlock. Once again a large amont of money and jewels were found in the palace.
The court case
Although any booty theoretically was the property of the Crown, in practice the spoils of war were shared amongst those who had captured it. In this case, it had been proposed by various officers that the money captured by Whitlock's men be combined with that captured by forces under General's Rose and Roberts and distributed evenly, including shares for other officers who claimed to have co-operated in the related actions.
Rose's booty totalled £49,000 and Robert's, £18,200, whereas the amount captured by Whitlock was valued at a huge £700,000. Unsurprisingly, Whitlock and his men were not in favour of splitting the money and the Admiralty Court had to settle the matter. A case costing over £60,000 ensued. In March 1867, a judgement was reached and the claims of almost all the officers were disallowed (with the exception of that of Colonel Keatinge, who had commanded a part of the force that had seen no action at Banda or Kirwee and that of Lord Clyde, the Commander-in-Chief).
|a Lieutenant||£325/£375 (dep on service length)|
Two further payouts were made, raising the total of an individual's prize. A Private, for instance, received a final total of £75 (or 750rs if awarded in India).
These figures can be viewed in a modern context on the National Archive's currency converter.
Regiments comprising the Madras Column (or the Saugor and Nerbudda field force) who were eligible for the prize money:
British Army Regiments:
- 12th Lancers (left wing)
- 43rd Regiment of Foot
- 6 Coy/14th Brigade Royal Artillery (later G Battery/14th Brigade)
Native Regiments: TBC
- 6th Madras Light Cavalry
- 7th Madras Light Cavalry
- 3rd Madras (European) Infantry
- 1st Regiment of Madras Native Infantry
- 19th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry
- 50th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry
- 2 companies of Sappers
- Hyderabad Green Horse (2nd Cavalry Hyderabad Contingent?)
The British Library has various records pertaining to the matter, including:
- Prize and Batta Rolls: Banda and Kirwee 1858 IOR/L/MIL/5/299-305 (1860-1880)
- 299 is a nominal roll of HM troops detailing money paid
- 302 is a nominal roll of Madras troops
- Prize and Batta Rolls Miscellaneous: Banda and Kirwee IOR/L/MIL/5/330-350 (1862-1884) contains various papers, correspondance and judgements.
Many other interesting items can be found by searching Access to Archives.
- Prize money; or, the right of Major-General Whitlock, KCB, and his troops to the Banda and Kirwee booty - Whitlock (1862) makes clear his claim on the prize money. Includes an acocunt of events.
- Biography of GC Whitlock - Jeremy Archer's excellent page on the affair.
- Old Bailey online - the case of a soldier who attempted to assume another soldier's identity and claim a second share of the prize.