India General Service, bar Burma 1885-7, Mate H. Pomeroy, Irawaddy Flotilla Companys, Steamer Thooreah. who was aboard the ship as Second in Command when it escorted King Thibaw and Queen Sinbyushinpaya out of Mandalay and for his service received as a present personally from the Queen a 3000 Rupee Ruby Ring.
A most unusual unusual naval Burma medal to the Mate aboard the Steamer Thooreah during the Burma Expedition of 1885-7.
At the time the company had thirty five steamers, sixty three flats plus a number of despatch launches. They were tasked with taking the Expeditionary Force from Rangoon up river. Some of them were tasked for war service and refitted for various tasks, the Thooreah was one of the largest ships and its three decks and two flats could accommodate around 2,000 men.
The British Army had swiftly marched into the Royal Capital of Mandalay, with little opposition. Within twenty four hours, the troops hard marched to the doors of the Mandalay Palace, to demand the unconditional surrender of Thibaw and his kingdom.
The following morning, King Thibaw was forced to hand over his property to the commanding officer Sladen, then forced on a bullock cart, along with his family, and proceeded to a steamer on the Irawaddy River, in the presence of a huge crown of subjects.
According to some accounts, Thibaw begged for his life to be saved before being exiled;
“Here a guard of British soldiers was drawn up: they presented arms on the appearance of the Royal prisoners. As their bayonets flashed in the sunlight, the king fell on his knees in abject terror. “They will kill me,” he cried wildly. “Save my life.” His queen was braver. She strode on erect – her little child clinging to her dress – fierce and dauntless to the last. So the king and queen of Burma were exiled.”
Terence Blackburn in his book, Executions by the Half-Dozen: The Pacification of Burma, describes how his journey on the Thooreah:
“Then my aunt had secretly brought with her, in order to prevent robbers and dacoits stealing them, besides rings and chains, a few previous stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, for giving presents at places of arrival. The Steward U Paw Saw also handed over to them table and cooking utensils, such as gold cups etc. With the exception of these, they had brought no other valuable properties. Out of these they gave away as presents:
1 Ruby Ring valued at 5,000 Rupees to the Captain of the P.S. Thooreah
1 Ruby Ring valued at 3,000 Rupees to the Mate
1 Ruby Ring valued at 2,000 Rupees to the Two Engineers
1 Ruby Ring valued at 1,000 Rupees to the table attendant.
1 Diamond Ring weighing 77 Ratis to the Chief Commissioners of Rangoon
1 Diamond Chain each to the daughters of the Chief Commissioner”