Sutlej Medal, 1845, reverse Moodkee, 2 bars, Ferozeshuhur, Sobraon, Sergeant Edward Payne, 3rd King’s Own Light Dragoons. Who saw much storied service through the 1840s in India as Sergeant of the 3rd KOLD.
Officially impressed: “Serjt Edward Payne 3rd Lt DRAGns”
Unusually good condition for this issue, due to his early death, without much opportunity to wear his medals.
A classic Sutlej Medal for 3 Battles, present when they became the “Moodkee Wallahs”.
A Sergeant in the Sutlej War, He is noted on the Army of the Punjab Casualty Roll, confirming his further “Punjab” medal and the 2 bars Chilianwala and Goojerat, noting that he died when he was “Drowned on 2nd January 1851”.
The Battle of Ferozeshuhur:
“On the right the Sikhs held their own, and fire from their guns continued to pour death and havoc into the British ranks. To deal finally with them, the reserve under Sir Harry Smith was ordered up; the 3rd Dragoons were at the same time launched upon a battery which kept up its deadly shower.
The manner in which they carried out this order is thus described by an eye-witness:
‘They charged, and carried the battery they were opposed to, – the leaders filling up the trench with their own numbers, and those who followed crossing on a living bridge of their own comrades… But this was not all. Having put the Artillerymen to death and silenced the battery, this gallant band then faced the whole Khalsa Army within the entrenchment, swept through their camp with loud huzzas over tents, ropes, pegs, guns, fire and magazines, cutting down all who opposed their passage; and having traversed the enemy’s position from side to side, emerged among their friends with numbers thinned, indeed, but covered with imperishable glory.’ – Colonel G.B. Malleson, recalls the battles in “The Decisive battle of India from 1746 to 1849”
Sergeant Edward Payne, saw an incredible amount of Cavalry service in only a short amount of time, This medal being the Sutlej Medal, which bears the reverse battle honour of Moodkee.
At “Mudki” on 18th December 1845, the 3rd King’s Own Light Dragoons would perform with extreme bravery, the action earning them the nickname of the “Mudki Wallahs”, the defeated Sikhs naming them Shaitan-Ke-Bachche, translated as “The Devil’s Children.”
After the battle in the despatch of Sir Hugh Gough he described their actions as “With praiseworthy gallantry, the 3rd Light Dragoons, and the 2nd Cavalry brigade of cavalry… turned the left of the Sikh Army, and sweeping along the whole rear of it’s infantry and guns, silenced for a time the latter, and put there numerous cavalry to fight.”
The result of Moodkee for the 3rd KOLD was 61 killed and 35 wounded, with only 3 days of rest before they put into action again, during the Battle of Ferozeshuhur, where they would again be noted for their gallantry, having repeatedly charged the Enemy’s Guns. The next day they would against repulse a second Sikh Army from the same positions, resulting in the loss of another 55 killed and 100 wounded.
The final battle of the war was the famous Battle of Sobraon, which has earned the moniker of the “Waterloo of India”.
The 3rd KOLD would instead suffer minor casualties but the tremendous slaughter of the enemy ejected them from India.
Sergeant Payne then fought in the next war, the Second Anglo Sikh or Punjab War of 1848-9, he was not demoted to Private according to the medal rolls but fought at both Chillianwala and Goojerat where the 3rd Dragoons once again made some determined charges upon the enemy.
A snippet from the 3rd KOLD at Chillianwala from Malleson’s Book:
There was time yet even to win the day. The cavalry on the left, led by Thackwell, and the horse artillery on that flank were still intact. They had performed the great service of keeping in check the entire right division of the enemy. Unett, with a squadron of the 3rd Dragoons and three squadrons of the 3rd Light Cavalry, had made a most brilliant and successful charge, piercing the compact masses of the enemy; and the danger in that quarter being far less pressing than on the uncovered right, Brind had been despatched with his guns, and White with his brigade of cavalry, to the right flank. Thus strengthened, the cavalry there had re-formed. This took place just before the British cheer I have referred to announced the final repulse of the enemy’s infantry.
“We feel convinced,” writes Durand, in the article from which I have so largely quoted, “that, had Lord Gough ridden up at that moment to H.M.’s 14th Dragoons, spoken a few words to the corps, and bid them retrieve the lost guns and strike for the bright fame of their Peninsular honour, they would have swept on like a whirlwind, and dashed upon the retiring confused masses of the enemy, as heedless of numbers as Unett’s squadron of the 3rd had done on Atar Singh’s compact, unshaken troops. It would have saved many a bitter pang, many a reproach, and silenced for ever the mention of the unhappy and unaccountable retreat which gave our guns and gunners to the enemy. It would, too, have prevented the withdrawal
of the infantry from the ground so hardly won; and all the guns taken from the Sikhs, and all the wounded, of whom we had many, would have been saved.”
But it was not to be. The words were not spoken. The thought to speak them never probably entered the head of the infantry commander, who believed he had been saved by his infantry. Heedless of the other branches which, well managed, might have more than retrieved all the faults of the day, he rode forward to his exhausted but victorious infantry, who were close in front of him. The guns and re-formed cavalry were left in the position in which they had re-formed, as though they had been useless!