Battle of Gundamak

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Battle of Gundamak
Part of 1st Afghan War 1839-42
Date: 13 January 1842
Location: Gandamak, Afghanistan
Presidency: Bengal
Co-ordinates: 34.3000°N 70.0333°E
Result: British defeat
British & Indians Ghilzai tribesmen
Major Griffiths Mohammad Akbar Khan

This was an event during the 1st Afghan War
For context see main article Retreat from Kabul to Gundamak

The Last Stand

This was the eighth and last day of the Retreat from Kabul to Gundamak. The remainder of the army and camp followers made a last overnight dash from Jugdulluk during which their commander Brigadier Anquetil was killed. Approaching Gundamak they were surrounded by a superior force and took up a defensive position on high ground off the road. Major Griffiths with Mr Blewitt interpreting attempted to parley but this failed and they were led away captive. Marksmen began picking off the survivors until there was a final attack which finished the affair. Only Lieutenant Thomas Alexander Souter[1], Lance-Sergeant Alexander Fair & six privates of the 44th and three artillerymen survived and were taken into captivity.

Prior to this twelve officers had ridden on ahead after the barriers at Jugdulluk. Six were killed as they gradually dropped behind. Capts Bellew, Collier and Hopkins with Lieut. Bird and Drs Harpur and Brydon reached Futehabad where they were decoyed by an offer of food. Bellew and Bird were cut down and the others were pursued to within four miles of Jalalabad. Collyer, Hopkins and Harpur were slain but Dr Brydon reached safety, the only one of the whole army to do so.

HM 44th Regiment consisted of 684 officers and other ranks before the retreat; 36 sick or wounded were left at Kabul of whom 14 died in captivity; 9 were taken prisoner during the march; 8 survived the last stand. The total that perished between Kabul and Gundamak was 632 all ranks.

The Remains of the Army

At the last stand on the hill at Gundamak there remained:

  • 20 officers
  • 50 men of 44th Regiment
  • 4 or 5 sepoys
  • 6 Horse Artillerymen
  • 300 camp followers

Named casualties

  • Capt. Thomas COLLINS, 44th Foot
  • Lieut. Edward Sandford CUMBERLAND, 44th Foot
  • Lieut. John HOBHOUSE, 13th Foot
  • Lieut. Arthur HOGG, 44th Foot
  • Asst Surgeon William PRIMROSE, 44th Foot
  • Lieut. Samuel SWINTON, 44th Foot
  • Brevet-Major Henry BELLEW, 56th N.I.
  • Lieut. Frederick BURKINYOUNG, 5th N.I.
  • Capt. Frederick COLLYER, 5th Light Cavalry
  • Capt. William GRANT, 27th N.I.
  • Lieut. Charles GREENE, Bengal Artillery
  • Capt. Charles William HAIG, 5th N.I.
  • Capt. Percy HAMILTON, 5th Light Cavalry
  • Lieut. Frederick HAWTRY, 37th N.I.
  • Capt. Edward HAY, 35th N.I.
  • Capt. Perin HOPKINS, 27th N.I.
  • Lieut. Charles HORSBURGH, 5th N.I.
  • Lieut. William MORRIESON, 54th N.I.
  • Capt. Nicholas Power PALMER, 54th N.I.
  • Capt. James Nathaniel RIND, 37th N.I.
  • Lieut. Charles STEWART, Bengal Horse Artillery
  • Lieu. Henry WEAVER, 54th N.I.

Spelling Variants

Modern name: Gandomak
Variants: Gandamak/Gundamak/Gundamuck/Gundumuk

External Links

Historical books on-line


  1. Often referred to as Captain Souter. The Historical record of the Forty-fourth, or the East Essex regiment of foot states he was a Lieutenant at the time and only promoted in the following October. Souter was released with the other hostages on 21 September and later transferred to the 22nd Regiment. He is recorded as dead in 1864