ARMY OF INDIA 1799-1826, 2 CLASPS, NEPAUL, BHURTPOOR ‘MAJOR WM. L. WATSON, ADJT. GENL.’ SHORT HYPHEN REVERSE, OFFICIALLY IMPRESSED NAMING
C.B. London Gazette 2 January 1827.
He was discharged in consequence of ‘gunshot wounds of shoulder’ at the capture of Guadeloupe on 3rd Feb 1810, presumably during the attack on the fortified French hilltop position. He had served in Captain Wright’s Company
William Larkin Watson was born in Calcutta, India in 1784, the son of Captain Samuel Watson, Bengal Army and Mary, his second wife. Having served as a Cadet in England, he was appointed an Ensign on 9 November 1800 and returned to India on 9 December 1800. Initially posted to the 2/8th N.I. in April 1801, he was transferred to the 11th N.I. and thence to the 22nd N.I. in 1804, having been advanced to Lieutenant in September 1803.
During the Second Mahratta War 1804-5, Watson served with the 22nd N.I. who formed part of General Lord Lake’s force. As part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, the 22 N.I. itself took part in the second phase of the Hindustan campaign from October 1804, taking part in the battle and taking of Deig, November and December 1804 before arriving at the great fortress of Bhurtpoor (Bharatpur) on 2 January 1805. This formidable fortress town, surrounded by 80 – 120 feet walls, which itself was surrounded by an 8 mile long, wide water filled ditch. The whole surrounded by jungle and swamps, made the taking of this place a formidable task and one that had to that date not been accomplished. Lake brought with him little under 9,000 cavalry, infantry but was relatively light on artillery. Facing him was a garrison of between 20,000 and 50,000 armed and motivated troops.
On 9 January 1805, a breech was made in the walls and the first attempt to storm the fortress was made. The 22nd N.I. (no doubt including Watson), formed part of this force, the flank companies forming part on the main attack; the rest of the Regiment, the left attack. The attack was a disaster, with most attackers not getting over the moat and those that did were mown down. One account tells how:
‘It was physically impossible for us to establish ourselves upon the breach, so as to deal with the mass of spearmen. Our poor fellows were mown down like standing corn, without the slightest hope of success..’
The loss to the attackers was great; 456 Officers and men killed and wounded. This number including 1 Officer and 43 men of the 22nd N.I……………..
Condition GVF, minor edge wear or better. With a most attractive patina. Sold with copy research, including gazettes for Bhurtpoor 1805, original medal roll, Bengal Army list service, Will and other genealogical research. Ex DNW July 2011 (£5800 inc premium).
A quite superb medal to a long serving Officer and rare to an officer who served at both sieges of Bhurtpoor. Just 24 Army of India Medals with these clasps.