The scene was set when one Infantry and one Cavalry Brigade, some
2700 troops, left Kandahar on their way to support a force of 6000
British equipped and allegedly friendly tribesmen in putting down
a rebellion by Ayub Khan, the Governor of Herat, He and his followers
intended to replace the new Amir of Afghanistan, a British protege,
at Kabul. In the event most of the 'friendly tribesmen' mutinied
and went to join Ayub, leaving Brigadier George Burrows' force
to face the approaching rebel army alone, in countryside where
every man's hand had suddenly turned against them.
Gunner W.M. Williams of E/B Battery described the gun position
where "many of the draught horses were kicking and plunging
in the last agonies of death. The enemy, led by their chiefs who
carried large silken banners of various colours, charged down on
the guns, yelling and shouting as they came on."
After firing a couple of rounds of case shot, Captain Slade gave
the order to limber up. On the left Maclaine's two guns were overun
and a vicious fight ensued around them with handspikes, sponge-rods
and Khyber knives. Sergeant Patrick Mullane won his Victoria Cross
when he managed to save one team and, having run back under fire
to pick up a wounded driver and place him on the limber, smashed
his galloping horses through the ranks of Ghazis.
On the right, Lieutenant E.G. Osborne's two guns got out with
difficulty, but he was shot dead helping his gunners to hook on.
Slade deployed the four remaining guns of the Battery about 400
yards back to try and cover the retreat, but the situation was
beyond saving. Battery Sergeant Major J.Paton, with sword, is seen
in the right foreground.
Two Victoria Crosses and eight Distinguished Conduct medals were
awarded as well as Maiwand added to the colours of the Royal Horse
The memory of the heroic action of that day on which over 1000
soldiers of the empire were killed, brought into the English language
the expression " My God - Maiwand ! "
This original photogravure captures all the intensity of the 1893
painting by Maj. Godfrey Douglas Giles (1857 - 1923). The work
was first printed by Raymond Groom & Co. London, 28 Feb. 1894
and later by Louis Wolff.
Photogravure, Titled below matt. Published: Louis Wolff, London
Matted, Period frame.