AFGHANISTAN 1878-80, NO CLASP ‘SURGN. MAJ: A. F. PRESTON. A. M. DEPT.’, JUBILEE 1897, SILVER ISSUE.
M.I.D. London Gazette 19 November 1880 as being wounded.
Alexander Francis Preston was born at Killinkere in County Cavan, Ireland on 23 May 1842. His father, Decimus, was Rector of Killinkere, while his mother was the daughter of General Armstrong of the Royal Artillery. His grandfather was William Preston, Judge of Appeal, playwright, and early advocate of Catholic Emancipation.
Preston studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin from 1861, and trained at the city's prestigious St. Stevens Hospital. At twenty one he became a Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland. He embarked for Bengal on 20 May 1863, becoming an Assistant Surgeon in the Army Medical Department on 30 September. Preston also passed a course in Military Law. He was assigned to the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot on 13 February 1866, and then to the Royal Artillery on 20 July 1867.
On 14 September 1867 Preston married Elizabeth, of the prominent Armenian Agabeg family, at St. Stephen's Church, Dum Dum, Calcutta. He advanced to the rank of Surgeon on 1 March 1873, but returned home on furlough on 22 April 1874. Promoted to Surgeon-Major on 28 April 1876, Preston embarked for Bombay on 12 January 1878, and thence to Afghanistan and was posted as Regimental Surgeon of the 66th, there as replacement for Surgeon Major Birnie who had been invalided on 11 March 1879.
The Battle of Maiwand was one of the largest battles of the 2nd Afghan War (1878-1880). A British- Indian force under General Burrows had been sent to intercept Ayub Khan, who had launched a bid for the Afghan throne, as he advanced from Herat towards Kandahar. On 27 July 1880 Burrows' force, consisting approximately 2,500 British and Indian men, was overwhelmed by an Afghan army ten times its size. Burrow’s sustained casualties of 969 killed and 177 wounded, or near half his force. Preston’s Regiment, the 66th Foot, the only British Regiment present, suffered 286 killed and 32 wounded, over half the number of those engaged. Of this number, 10 officers of the 66th Foot were killed at Maiwand, and only 2 were wounded, including Doctor Preston…………….
Condition VF, the first with minor correction to second part of rank, or better. Sold together with a very large and impressive folder of research that includes London Gazette entries, service records, genealogical searches, and a copy of the recipient's Will.