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Land of the PROUD Tarkanri and Utman Khel Tribes.
Bajaur is one of the Seven Agencies of FATA, Pakistan; smallest area-wise but largest population-wise. Its terrain is a diverse mix of hills, valleys, torrents, mountain passes and fertile plains. It borders Mohmand Agency, Dir, Malakand Agency and Afghanistan's Kunar province. Khar is the chief town where Civil Colony, FC HQ, AHQ Hospital, Colleges etc are located. Nawagai, Pashat, Inayat Qilla & Qazafi are other major towns.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"MAMUND Uprising" against British Raj (1897~1898)

The MAMUND Uprising against British Raj (1897~1898)
Source:"The Risings on the North-West Frontier" (Compiled from the Special War Correspondence of the "Pioneer")
CHAPTER IV. (Page 80 ~ 90) 
General Wodenouse's Brigade, accompanied by Sir Bindon Blood, reached Nawagai on Monday, September 13th, the camp having been sniped at the previous night at a place called Lhamshak. No jirgahs had come in, and evidently the natives were hostile, as small parties armed with Martinis had fired the previous day on two squadrons of the 11th Bengal Lancers reconnoitring the Mohmand Valley. But the Khan of Nawagai was friendly, and while the troops remained in his territory, collected grain and supplies for them. No large body of the enemy being in sight, instructions were issued to the Survey Officers with the force to examine the Mittai Valley closely, with a view to the settlement of its boundaries.
This was an important step to take, as the Amir of Kabul, when he claimed the valley the year before, had sent troops to occupy it. The country could now be surveyed without interruption (as it seemed), up to the Durand Boi'der, after which the brigade could swing round and march due south via Lokerai upon Yakhdand, in order to unite with General Jeffreys' Brigade entering the Mohmand country by the route east of Nawagai which leads direct upon Yakhdand. But neither General Wodehouse nor General Jeffreys was able to adhere strictly to these plans, owing to the difficult position of the one and the resolute opposition encountered by the other. While in the neighbourhood of Inayat Kill on the 14th September a determined attack was made at night on General Jeffreys' camp and the firing lasted for nearly six hours, two British Officers being killed, and one dangerously wounded, while nine men in the rank-and-file were hit, and about 80 horses and transport animals lost. The tribesmen attacking were Mamunds and Salarzai, who inhabit the valleys of south Bajour west of Munda. It has just been mentioned that a day or two previously a cavalry reconnaissance in the Mohmand Valley was fired upon by tribesmen, but Sir Bindon Blood did not stop to punish them as there was no large gathering to be found. These tribesmen were Mamunds, and seeing one brigade thus pass on harmlessly to Nawagai they seem to have thought they could hai-ass the troops which still remained south of the rauge of hills separating Bajour from the Mohmand
country. General Jeffreys had intended crossing this range the following day, September 15th, and had sent the Buffs and Sappers to hold the crest for the night. His camp, with the transport animals, was in the best position available, and it was guarded by shelter trenches, which the 35th Sikhs and the 38th Dogras lined when the enemy opened fire. The
tribesmen must have got the range accurately, judging by the results of their tire, but they made no attempt to rush the entrenchments. Firing began at 8-15 p.m. on the face of the camp occupied by the Guides Infantry. At 10 o'clock there was a lull, but at 10-30 heavy firing recommenced on the face occupied by the 38th Dogras and the 35th Sikhs, and Brigadier-General Jeffreys proceeded thither to direct the fire. The attack was continued until 2-15 a.m., when the enemy retired carrying their dead with them. The disproportionate loss among the British Officers was due to the fact that they walked about without cover, conducting the defence, while the men were protected by shelter trenches. The enemy were extremely well armed, and creeping along various nullahs, gained positions whence a most galling fire was delivered. The troops were directed to avail themselves of cover, but the necessity of sending messages involved exposure, principally of Officers, resulting in the losses already mentioned. All lights were extinguished, yet such tents as stood were pierced by bullets. The enemy were everywhere repulsed. Our casualties in detail were :—British OSicers—killed : Captain "W. E. Tomkins and Lieutenant A. W. Bailey, 38th Dogras; dangerously wounded : Lieutenant H. A. Harrington,* 26tli Punjab Infantry, attached to the 38th Dogras. Natives — killed: one havildar, No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery,
one sepoy, 38th Dogras, and two followers ; wounded, 5. Seventy-six horses and mules were hit. Captain Tomkins and Lieutenant Bailey were buried the next morning with military honours. Lieutenant Harrington's condition was hopeless from the first, the bullet having
penetrated the brain.
That same morning, as soon as light allowed, a squadron of the 11th Bengal Lancers, under Captain E. H. Cole, went out and overtook the Mamunds at the foot of the hill, killing 21, with the loss of one horse killed and one wounded.
The enemy, however, didnot appear as disheartened, and though they were quiet the next night, they had boldly declared their intention of returning after resting. Clearly they had not been punished sufficiently. General Jeffreys accordingly recalled the Buffs and Sappers
from the crest of the Eambat Pass, and proceeded to visit the valleys whence the enemy had come. The idea of joining General Wodehouse's Brigade at Yakhdand was given up in favour of punitive operations in the Maraund (or Watelai) Valley. How far these operations would delay the movement of the brigade into the Mohmand country was not yet plain ; but in any case Sir Bindon Blood with General Wodehouse could carry out the plan of joining hands with General
Elles. The incident showed the wisdom of having sent large forces forward from the Swat Valley. If there had been only one brigade on the northern Mohmand borders, the plan of the Mohmand Campaign would have fallen through. Now, however, General Jeffreys could comfortably devote his attention to the two sections of the Bajouris which had thus unexpectedly assumed a hostile attitude, and in the event of this task occupying a considerable time he could return to the Swat Valley via Sado, as the troops already in the Mohmand country would be sufficient to deal with any possible Mohmand combination.
Sir Bindon Blood, on hearing what had happened, ordered another squadron of the 11th Lancers at Nawagai to join General Jeffreys, seeing that the cavalry already in the Watelai Valley had been used against the Mamunds to such good purpose.
The Mamunds and Salarzai were plainly in a sullen temper, but whether they would be able to gather in any great strength seemed doubtful, as the Bajour clans as a whole had not made common cause with them. In order, however, to be prepared for possible complications, the Ist Brigade under Brigadier-General Meiklejohn, which since its return from subjugating the Swat Valley had been awaiting develojjraents, was moved from Sarai to the Paujkora River, a depot being established at Sado on the river bank.
On Thursday, September 16th, General Jeffreys' Brigade fought the important and in some respects memorable action of the Mamund Valley, which began at 7-30 in the morning, continued throughout the day, and did not finally cease till after midnight. In this severe engagement nine Officers, includinp- the Brigadier himself, and 140 men were either killed or wounded. This was the gi-eatest loss that had occurred in frontier warfare in a single dav since the Ambela Campaign. The facts are these : After the night attack on General Jeffreys' camp on the 14th September the brigade moved from Inayat Kili to the head of the
Watelai Valley, to punish the Mamunds by burning several of their villages near at hand. To expedite the work of destruction General Jeffreys divided his attacking force into three columns, each of which was to operate independently of the other two. The right column under
Lieutenant-Colonel F. G. Vivian consisted of the 38th Dogras, a section of Sappers and two guns. The centre column under Colonel P. H. Golduey consisted of one squadron 11th Bengal Lancers, four guns, the 35th Sikhs and the Buffs. The left column under Major F. Campbell
included the Guides and was instructed to operate in the ueighboui'hood of the camp. At 7-30 the cavalry with the centre column came in contact with the enemy, and firing began. The tribesmen retired slowly, taking advantage of cover, and shooting accurately. Five companies of the 35th Sikhs belonging to the same column now arrived and cleared the enemy from the hillside, reaching a village, which they partially burned, the tribesmen ascending the hills. At 12 o'clock only a few snipers were visible, and the retirement of the column was ordered. As soon as this had begun, large numbers of the enemy ajopeared showing great courage, and being armed generally with Martinis they pressed the retreat severely. The ground favoured the tribesmen, who succeeded in out-flanking the 35th Sikhs. Their swordsmen and snipers frequently came to within 40 yards, and the Officers had to use their revolvers freely. There was also stone-throwing. The rear company was encumbered with the wounded. Here Lieutenant Hughes was killed and Lieutenant Cassels wounded. The enemy showed the greatest daring, and firing was maintained at under 100 yards for 15 minutes. As soon as the
ground admitted, the charge was sounded, and the men responded well. Fixing bayonets they drove the tribesmen back up the hills. Some of the Buffs forming part of the same column under Lieutenant J. Hasler came up, and the enemy in retiring across the open suffered considerable loss from their fire. All this fighting was confined to Colonel Goldney's column. Colonel Vivian had found the villages allotted to him too strongly held to be attacked by so small a force and had returned to camp. Major Campbell's column had also avoided an action for the same reason, and after destroying some small hamlets had retired.
As soon as the enemy's resistance to Colonel Goldney's column was found to be vigorous, orders had been sent to the two other columns to concentrate, and reiuforcemeuts were ordered from the camp. Brigadier-General Jeffreys, who now arrived from the camp, ordered the Buffs again to occupy the village, to complete its destruction,and recover the bodies of the killed. Covered by the fire of the 8th Bengal Mountain Battery, the Buffs and the 35th Sikhs re-occupied the hill again, the tribesmen retiring and inflicting slight loss by sniping. At 2-30 the village was completely destroyed, and the force began marching back to camp again. The enemy once more attacked the columns, and the Buffs and Guides covered the retirement with great steadiness, but still the enemy, displaying a standard, advanced recklessly, and though suffering severe loss from carefully-aimed volleys, followed the troops to the camp, frequently firing at close range. Night had now come on, and the darkness was intensified by rain, but vivid lightning enabled the enemy to continue firing at the marching columns. The steadiness and endurance of the troops were admirable, and the camp was reached by the main body of the troops in perfect order at 8 o'clock.
Meanwhile, in addition to the main attack, the hills to the right of the enemy's position had been crowned by one strong company of the 35th Sikhs under Captain Ryder. This company was at 5 o'clock attacked by large numbers of Mamunds, and desperate fighting ensued. It was
here that Captain Ryder and Lieutenant Gunning were wounded. To extricate these troops two companies of the Guides were detached from the main body, and in spite of severe fighting, darkness and rain, they were relieved and reached the camp safely. Their losses were, however, severe.
In the darkness and the pelting rain, which made it impossible at times for one company to hear or see anything of its nearest neighbour, four guns of No. 8 Mountain Battery and a half company of Sappers who had been covering the Guides's retreat found themselves separated from the main body, together with a few men of the Buffs. Brigadier-General Jeffreys, himself belated, and literally in the dark as to the exact whereabouts of the remainder of his brigade, joined these stragglers and assumed command. On reaching the village of Thana he decided to give up the idea of reaching camp that night, and halted the foz'ce, and they took up an entrenched position. The enemy, however, occuj^ied half the
village, and severe fighting at close quarters ensued. The guns fired case-shot through the walls, and eventually the enenjy were expelled with the bayonet. Here Lieutenants Wynter and Watson were severely wounded, and the Brigadier himself had his head cut open by a fragment of rock. Captain Birch, R.A,, had his left side cut by a bullet, and other Officers had bullets through their helmets. As soon as moonlight allowed, the cavalry, the 38th Dogras, and four companies of the 35th Sikhs proceeded from the camp and relieved the place. Our casualties for the day were:— British Officers—killed: Lieutenant V. Hughes, 35th Sikhs, and Lieutenant A. T. Crawford, Royal Artillery. Wounded : Lieutenant G. E. Cassels and Lieutenant O. G. Gunning, 35th Sikhs ; Captain W. I. Ryder, Ist Gurkhas (attached to the 35th Sikhs) ; Lieutenant F. A. Wynter, Royal Artillery ; Lieutenant T. C Watson, Royal
Engineers. Slightly wounded : Brigadier-General Jeffreys and Captain A. H. C. Birch, Royal Artillery. British soldiers — killed, 2; dangerously wounded, 1 ; severely toouiided, 3 ; slightly ivounded, 5 ; (all of the Buffs). Native soldiers—No. 8 Mountain Battery
— killed, 6 ; woounded, 22. Guides— killed, 2 ; wounded, 1 Subadar, 2 Havildars, and 7 men. 35th Sikhs—killed, 22 ; ivounded, 44. llth Beugal Lancers—ivounded, 2. Sappers and Miners — killed, 4 ; wounded, 1 5.
Another account of this action, which gave rise to much criticism, was published some time later. The following extract from it is worth adding :
" The idea of the punitive operations in the early morning was it let loose nearly the whole brigade in the valley, to punish every village of importance in a single day, and then march back again to Inayat Kili. The brigade was already due in the Mohmand countxy to co-operate with "General Elles's Division : its Coiumander and the troojjs composing it had the further prospect of Tirah before them ; and there was every inducement therefore to ' polish off ' quickly the Mamunds who had been bold enough to fire into the camp below the Rambat Pass. To each Commandant was allotted a village, or group of villages, and he was directed to deal with it independently. Thus the Buffs, the 35th Sikhs, the 38th Dogras and the Guides Infantry, each six companies strong, moved off to accomplish their respective tasks : a detachment of the llth Bengal Lancers, the Mountain guns and the Sappers being held ready for emergencies in case of any particularly strong oj^position. The 38th Dogras on the right found the village of Damodolah far too strong to attack without artilleiy, and Colonel Vivian very sensibly returned to camp, instead of knocking the heads of his men against mud walls. On the left the Guides were successful in sweeping through some small hamlets, but had they pushed on to Agrah and Gat, they would probably have had to withdraw, as the 38th Dogras had dune. Further up the valley the Buffs had disposed of one village also. It was in the centre that matters went wion<,'. The 35th Sikhs pushed on well into the hills at the far end of the valley, and as the further mistake was made of splitting the six companies into three parties, the Mamunds saw their chance and got to close quarters. Three companies
which had begun to burn the village of Shahi Tangi were forced back, and they had to abandon the body of Lieutenant Hughes, who had been killed. Word was sent back for the Buffs and Guides to come up with all speed, and the 11th Bengal Lancers made a charge which, though
it could not be driven home owing to broken ground, prevented the Sikhs from being surrounded. When the reinforcements arrived the Mamunds were driven back, and Lieutenant Hughes's body was recovered. Then came a long halt of some three hours, which enabled the enemy to collect in full strength ; and when the retirement was eventually ordered, the tribesmen pursued their usual tactics with considerable success. Two companies of Sikhs, holding a hill over 2,000 feet high, were left to fifi-ht their way down alone : an order, it is said, was sent to them to retire, but it never reached Captain Ryder. There was some desperate fighting, and the Guides Infantry had to double back to save the Sikhs who were attacked by overwhelming numbers. It was here that the heavy losses occurred. The retirement down the Watelai Valley was weary work for the troops, for a thunderstorm came on, and as the enemy closed in, it became pitch dark. The guns, with a half company of Sappers and
15 men of the Buffs, got separated from their escort of four companies of the Sikhs, and in the thick darkness General Jeffreys found himself belated with this small party. The valley is intersected with ravines, and marching at night was no easy matter, as the Guides, who formed the rear-guard, discovered. The General eventually decided to take up a position under the walls of a village, and here for four or five hours the handful of British soldiers, gunners, and Sappers had to defend themselves against the enemy at very close quarters indeed. There were no means of sending off to camp for assistance, and it was not until the moon rose that the party were extricated, about an hour after midnight.
The details of the fight under the village walls go to show that Officers and men behaved with the finest courage. Lieutenant Wynter fought his guns after he was wounded, until through faintness from loss of blood he could no longer give orders. Then a sepoy took him in his arms, and sat for hours shielding him with his own body against the enemy's fire.
It was an heroic action, and the sepoy was severely wounded, while thus protecting his Officer. Another man coolly beat out with his coat the bundles of burning straw which the Mamnnds threw from the housetops to light up the ground and enable them to aim. The work was
perilous in the extreme, but the sepoy went about it calmly, and repeatedly extinguished the flaming straw. A Sapper was sent out into the open to watch a door in the walls from which it was feared the enemy might rush : his figure was outlined clearly with every flash of
lightning and he was repeatedly shot at, but he stuck to his post, calling out from time to time to show that all was well. Again, Major Worlledge, with the relief party from the camp, finding that he could not reach the spot whence the noise of firing came, sent out a sowar to open communication with General Jeffi-eys. This man passed safely through the tribesmen who were on the move across the valley, reached the village, only to get a volley from his own friends, delivered his message and carried back another to Major Worlledge. Other instances of devotion and gallantry could be given, but enough has been said to show that, as at Maizar, the Malakand, Chakdara, and the Samana* our troops acquitted themselves in splendid fashion."
General Jeffreys in his official despatch afterwards reported several conspicuous acts of gallantly during the fighting on the 16th September, and amongst them, as most remarkable, the behaviour of the Guides under Major Campbell, Captain Hodson and Lieutenant Codrington
when they relieved the company of the 35th Sikhs which had got isolated, at which time Havildar Ali Gul of the Guides particularly distinguished himself. Captain Ryder and Lieutenant Gunning with the relieved company of the 35th Sikhs and Captain Cole with one squadron of the 11th Bengal Lancers did valuable service. Other Officers specially mentioned were Lieutenant-Colonel Bradshaw, 35th Sikhs, and Captain F. Duncan, 23rd Pioneers (distinguished himself when Lieutenant Hughes was killed), Captain Birch, E.A., and the men of No. 8 Bengal Mountain Battery, Lieutenant Watson, R.E. (wounded three times), Lieutenant J. M. C. Colvin of the Sappers, and Major Hamilton, D.A.A.-G.
In subsequently reporting the Mamund Valley action to Army Head-Quarters, Major-General Sir Bindon Blood, to whom General Jeffreys had reported events, entered into a full and detailed examination of all the facts. As this day's fighting has been much discussed and in some quarters severely criticised, we give in an appendix virtually the whole of Sir Bindon Blood's despatches, these being the only official data available from which an opinion as to the tactics of the day can fairly be formed.
All was quiet in the camp at Inayat Kili on the night of the I7th September. At six the following morning, the available strength of the 2nd Brigade moved to attack the fortified village of Damodolah. The tribesmen appeared in considerable numbers, and firing began at 8-45. The 35th Sikhs crowned the spurs to the right of the village, and the 38th Dogras and the Battery occupied positions on the left, the Guides Infantry in the centre, and the Buffs in reserve. The village was carried and completely destroyed. The retirement was brilliantly executed by the Guides, and the enemy had no chance of rushing. The Buifs covered the homeward march of the brigade, inflicting loss on the tribesmen, who pursued. Much grain was captured. The casualties were :— 35th Sikhs — killed, 1; wounded, 2. 38th Dogras — killed, 1 ; wounded, 2. Guides—rcouJJtierf, 1. Tiring ceased at 2-30.
Sunday, the 19th of September, was free from fighting, but some further jjunitive work was carried out, owing to the fact that the Mamunds, who had by this time sent in their jirgahs, nevertheless refused to comply with the terms imposed by General Jeff'reys, This clan, which numbers only about 1,500 fighting men, was showing much determination, and though' now suing for mercy, still refused to surrender its own rifles and those captured in the attack on September 16th. It was desirable, therefore, to demolish the fortifications of the villages in the centre of the Mamund Valley, and on the morning in question the force moved out against the village of Zagadirai, four or five miles from Inayat Kili, and destroyed
it. No opposition was encountered, and later in the day jirgahs began to come in again. These jirgahs were informed by General Jeffreys that no proposals would be entertained unless their arms were surrendered.
One day's grace was given to allow of this being made known. Much indignation was excited in the force by the news that the tribesmen had disinterred the bodies of the Mahomedan native soldiers killed in the recent fighting and had insulted their remains.
The following day (September 20th) Sir Bindon Blood, who had been kept well informed of events by means of the heliograph, was able to report from Nawagai to Army Head-Quarters that he had not found it necessary to reinforce General Jeffreys' Brigade, which had proved itself quite equal to dealing with the Mamunds, "in fact (he telegraphed), since Thursday night wheen the tribesmen inflicted such heavy losses upon the brigade, the operations in the Mamund Valley seem to have been completely successful."
Successful they had undoubtedly been, but hostilities were far from being over. At the very time when Sir Bindon Blood at Nawagai was telegraphing that the end of the fighting in the Watelai Valley was now in view. General Jeffreys' Brigade was obliged to march out to attack the fortified village of Zagai (once owned by Umra Khan). Sharp fighting ensued, chiefly with the Buflfs on the right, and severe loss was inflictedupon the tribesmen. The village was taken and the retirement cleverly executed. Firing began at 8-50 a.m. and ceased at 12-30. A reconnaissance by a squadron of the 11th Bengal Lancers had revealed the fact that the village was strongly held. The Buffs were on the right, the 38th Dogras in the centre, the Guides Infantry on the left, and the 35th Sikhs in reserve. Firing began on the left at 8-50, and the guns came into action near the centre about 9-15. The Buffs, who had further
to go, were engaged about 9-20. The enemy as usual retired, sniping ; the village was occupied, and all the fortifications were destroyed. At 11 A.M. the retirement began, and immediately afterwards the tribesmen gathered on the flanks. On the left, the Guides
Infantry were threatened by about 600 tribesmen displaying standards. These were dispersed by long range fire. On the right, the Buffs retired with admirable discipline, in spite of very sharp fire. Excellent practice was made with the Lee-Metfords ; Lieutenant F. S. Reeves's section killed five men at one valley. The Dum-Dum bullet was most effective. Lieutenant R. E. Power was slightly wounded in the right arm, but after the wound was dressed he returned to his company. Lieutenant Keen was shot through the left arm and in the body. After the Buffs were clear of difficult ground, the line of the regiment lay across the open fields, and the enemy from cover fired with effect, several men being wounded. Firing ceased when the troops got clear, as the enemy did not dare to follow into the open. On the extreme left, considerable numbers of the enemy appeared. Captain E. H. Cole's squadron trotted forward, causing the tribesmen, ever in terror of cavalry, to bunch
together. The Battery immediately exploded two shells with great effect, and this ended the action. The brunt of the fighting fell to the Buffs. The casualties were : two Officers wounded (Second-Lieutenant G. N. S, Keene, Unattached List, and Lieutenant E. E. Power of the Buffs) ; British soldiers—ounded : Buffs, 9 ; Native troops—38th Dogras, 2. Total casualties, 13. On the night of the 21st September, firing into camp took place, and several animals and one native orderly were wounded, and on the 22nd the important village of Dag was captured—together with great stores of grain—with the loss of one killed and two wounded.
In the 2nd Brigade alone the losses of a single week amounted to 14 British OfKcers and 153 men, besides nearly 150 transport animals, cavalry horses, and Officers' ponies. But General Jeliieys had now demonstrated the ability of his troops, when not divided into a number
of weak parties, to sweep the valley from end to end.


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