INDIA GENERAL SERVICE 1895-1908, 3 CLASPS, PUNJAB FRONTIER 1897-98, SAMANA 1897, TIRAH 1897-98 ‘LIEUT. W. RODNEY BROWN. 1ST BN. 3D. GURKHA RIFLES’
Walter Medlicott Rodney-Brown was born on 29 July 1868, the son of Major-General George Rodney Brown, Royal Artillery (late Bengal Artillery). Educated at Cheltenham College, 1880-87, he was commissioned Ensign into the 4th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), 1887, being promoted Lieutenant, 1888. Made a 2nd Lieutenant in the Hampshire Regiment, 1889, he was advanced Lieutenant, 1891 and transferred to the Indian Staff Corps, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Rifles, 1891. Transferred to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Rifles, 1894, he was made Adjutant in 1897. He served with the 1st Battalion on the N.W. Frontier of India, 1897-98 and took part in the operations on the Samana and in the Kurram Valley during August-September 1897 and the relief of Gulistan. He then served at Tirah, 1897-8 and took part in the actions of Chagru Kotal, and capture of the Sampagha and Arhanga Passes. At the reconnaissance of the Saran Sar. During the operations at and around Dwatoi, and action of 24 November 1897, also in the Bara Valley, 7-14 December 1897. Advanced Captain, 1900, he transferred to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Rifles in 1903 and was made Major, 1907. He changed his name to Rodney-Brown, 1907 and retired on 23 December 1912.
Recalled for service with 8th (Service) Battalion The Welch Regiment, he served on the Western Front from September 1915. He left on it being re-roled as a Pioneer Battalion, December 1915. The Major died on 13 August 1954. Survived by his wife, Mrs A.E. Rodney-Brown.
The 1st Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Rifles (1/3GR) deployed on 12 August 1897 to join the Kurram Kohat Flying Column, centred on Hangu, with the task of keeping the posts on the Samana Range, that overlooked Hangu, fully provisioned. Having undertaken a resupply to the respective posts on the Range, the Column, to include 1/3GR, on its return to Hangu, came under continuous attack throughout the night from rebel tribesmen until it safely reached Hangu. At the same time, attacks were mounted against the posts on the Samana Ridge. As a result, the Column was ordered back up the Samana Ridge to relieve the posts and forcing the warring tribesmen to disperse. The troops involved in this short campaign, to include 1/3GR, were awarded the India Medal 1895-02 clasp SAMANA 1897.
Punjab Frontier 1897-98 & Tirah 1897-98
A lull now occurred as plans were formulated for an advance into the Tirah in mid-October 1897. 1/3GR now formed part of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division, with orders to enter Tirah via the Sampagha and Arhanga Passes. As part of the plan, the summit of the Dargai Heights had to be secured, which initially was achieved by a company of 1/3GR. Shortly afterwards, however, orders were given for a withdrawal, as it was felt undesirable to attempt to hold the position against a possible counter attack. Two days later, a second assault was mounted to retake the Dargai Heights, which eventually was achieved, but with many losses. 1/3GR was not involved in this assault but it did take part in the frontal attack to take the Arhanga Pass. Over the succeeding months the Battalion was to be engaged in a number of stiff actions and skirmishes as well as destruction of village towers, foraging expeditions, reconnaissances and piqueting until all the warring tribes submitted. It was during one such action that the Adjutant 1/3GR, Lieutenant GM West, was killed and his appointment was filled by Lieutenant WMR Brown. In addition to the award of campaign medal for the Punjab Frontier 1897- 98 & Tirah 1897-98, the Regiment was also awarded the Battle Honours 'TIRAH' and 'PUNJAB FRONTIER'.