Imperial Service Order, GV, India General Service Medal 1895, 2 bars, Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98, Corpl A.B.G. Snesdell, Dorset Regiment, later Deputy to the Inspector-General of Police. A 2nd Generation soldier of the Dorset Regiment, whose father was decorated for his bravery on the Sarah Sands as it caught fire.
The pair in an old frame, with very old matching miniatures as worn, and an original newspaper cutting from the Madras Mail. Also included is his original framed certificate for the Imperial Service Order.
Albert Benjamin George Snesdell, was born on 29th March 1874 in Fleetwood, Lancashire, technically he had been born at the Portsmouth Docks whilst his father was serving as Colour-Sergeant of the 54th (Dorset) Regiment.
He first arrived in India for service in the Punjab Frontier and Tirah Campaign, being present at the taking of Dargai Heights, and being an unfortunate member of the 2 companies in the Waran Valley Disaster who were mostly murdered, with very few making it home to camp. He bought his way out of his rank of Corporal and immediately landed a role as Inspector in the Indian Police he quickly gathered renown in the Vizagapatam Fituri of 1900 when a number of brave policeman took on the Swami of Korravanivasala, who claimed to be the reincarnation of the five Pandava brothers, having gathered an army of 5,000 armed hill men he had murdered 2 police constables, the police force then had to send a contingent to arrest them, which was a difficult and bloody task.
2 Years later he was tasked with commanding the Koilpatti Special Police Force, turning it into the ‘smartest company in the Presidency’. Soon after he was sent to Tinnevelly District to command the largest reserve force in the Presidency.
By 1910 he was selected for the Managership of the entire C.I.D. Office receiving many more commendations. He was finally awarded the Imperial Service Order in 1924 for “Secret Political Work”, likely in partnership with the Indian Political Intelligence Office, which was based out of London but had the Indian C.I.D. do their field work in India.
Imperial Service Order announced in the London Gazette 2nd June 1923.
Investiture announced in the Madras Mail with a summary of his achievements up to the award, Saturday 8th March 1924:
“An investiture at Government House
H.E. the Governor held and informal investiture at Government House this morning, when he presented Mr A.B.G. Snesdell, Assistant to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Railways and C.I.D. with the medal of the Imperial Service Order…..
His Excellency greeted the recipients as they were presented and pinned on the medals. He made no speech and the function was purely an informal one.
The only recipient who is not well known to the majority of our readers is Mr A.B.G. Snesdell, who has a very fine record of service. He was originally in the Dorsetshire Regiment and came out to India thirty years ago. He saw active service in the 1897-98 in the Tirah Campaign and was awarded a medal and two clasps.
He was at the taking of the Dargai Heights, where his regiment showed conspicuous gallantry, and was one of the few survivors of two companies which were cut up in the Waran Valley disaster. Shortly afterwards he left the Army, and was appointed as Inspector of Police and posted to the Jeypore District.
His services were commended by the then Inspector-General of Police for good work during the Vizagapatam Fituri in 1900. In 1902 he was selected for the command of the Koilpatti Special Police Force and his company was considered to be the smarted in the Presidency. He also served in Tanjore and was then sent to Tinnevelly District to command the largest Reserve Force in the Presidency.
In 1910 he was selected for the Managership of the C.I.D. Office and his work has been commended by successive Inspectors-General.
He was promoted to gazetted rank in 1919, since when his good work has brought him the thanks of Government.”
During his retirement, he returned home to Dorset and was a regular as a lifetime member of the Dorset Regiment Old Comrades’ Association attending their meetings each year.
Western Gazette 2nd October 1936 recalls his career during the annual re-union:
“A contact with the early days of the Dorset Regiment was provided by the attendance of Mr A.B.G. Snesdell, I.S.O., Mr Snesdell was born as Pembroke Dock. While his father was in the 54th Dorset Regiment. His father was a Colour Sergeant on the ‘Sarah Sands,’ and was awarded 6d a day extra pay for an act of bravery while on board the ship when it caught fire in the Indian Sea.
Mr Snedell himself joined the regiment in 18983. He was promoted to Corporal before joining the Madras Police in 1900.
He started as an inspector, and was gazetted in 1919.
He was attached to the Indian C.I.D., and he was awarded the Imperial Service Order in 1924 for his services in connection with the secret political work. He also earned the thanks of the Government on four occasions. He is now retired, and has just become a life member of the Association.”
Snesdell later died on 17th October 1954, living at 662 Brighton Road, South Croydon, Surrey.