SUTLEJ 1846, SOBRAON REVERSE ‘CAPT. J. W. V. STEPHEN 41ST REGT. N. I.’
James William Virtue Stephens was born in Chealsea ion 26 October 1804. Entering the H.E.I.C. as a Cadet in 1822, he arrived in India on 22 August 1823, having been commissioned Ensign on 11 July. Initially posted to the 21st Native Infantry, Bengal Arm, he transferred to the 41st Native Infantry in May 1824 and was promoted Lieutenant on 15 December that year. Serving as Adjutant of the Saharanpur Provisional Battalion from 29 July 1825, he took part in the siege and capture of Bhurtpore; December 1825-January 1826.
Returning to the 41st Native Infantry, on 15 September 1834, Stephens was appointed Acting Instructor and Quartermaster of the 19th Native Infantry, returning to the 41st in the same position on 28 August 1835. This position became permanent on 11 January 1836 and he remained so employed until 23 July 1840, having been advanced to Captain on 28 February.
As Captain and company commander, Stephens took part in the First Sikh War and was present with his Regiment at the battle of Sobraon where he was wounded.
At Sobraon, the 41st Native Infantry formed part 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division, commanded by Brigadier Talor of the 29th Foot, consisting of the 29th Foot, 41st and 68th Native Infantry. During the battle, the 41st were very heavily engaged, loosing 8 European Officers and 3 Native Officers, 121 NCO’s and men killed or wounded.
In 1846 he raised at Kangra and was appointed Commandant of the 2nd Hill Regiment, part of the famed Frontier Brigade, which would later become the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, commanding the Regiment until his untimely death at Kangra on 28 December 1847.
Had he lived longer, Stephens would have been entitled to the Army of India, clasp Bhurtpore.
Condition GVF. A most attractive looking medal.