Saturday, June 23, 2012

Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force

The Corps of Guides was raised in Peshawar by Lieutenant Harry Lumsden in December 1846, comprising one troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry, about 300 men in total.

Harry Lumsden 

The Corps of Guides was part of the Frontier Force brigade and it engaged in regular action along the North-West Frontier becoming an elite unit. The Guides was the first unit in the Indian or British Armies to dress in khaki. 
The designations of the Corps of Guides was:
  • The Corps of Guides (1846)
  • The Corps of Guides, Punjab Irregular Force (1857)
  • Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (1865)
  • Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (1876)
  • Queen's Own Corps of Guides (1901)

On the 3rd September 1879, without warning, Afghan soldiers attacked the British Commissioner's Residency in Kabul and were joined by the civilian population. 4 British personnel and 69 Indian troops faced thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians. The Indian troops were 21 Guides Cavalry and 48 Guides Infantry under Lieutenant Walter Richard Pollock Hamilton. The British Envoy, Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari, KCB, C.S.I. was killed in the attack.

The Guides fought desperately, charging out of the Residency to bayonet the crews of artillery brought against them. During one of these attacks Lieutenant Hamilton was killed. The Residency was set on fire and the buidlings started to collapse. 

The remaining Guides were commanded by Jemadar Jewand Singh (Guides Cavalry). The Guides rejected Afghan offers to surrender and after 12 hours of fighting the few remaining men fixed bayonets and charged to their deaths. Over 600 Afghan were killed in the action. Lieutenant Hamilton was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

British officers of the Guides. Lieutenant Walter Hamilton VC stands on the right. 

My unit of Foot Guides uses Foundry figures. They have been painted based largely upon a print by Richard Simkin.

Corps of Guides (Infantry & Cavalry) - Richard Simkin

Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force

Guides infantry in their distinctive poshteens