15 October 2010

After much effort and lobbying the Ryde Cemetery Restoration Project has been successful in obtaining funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Isle of Wight Council to completely refurbish the Town Cemetery in Ryde, which is situated in the middle of the town. The two grants enabled the Project to repair the chapel and turn it into a Learning Centre, install new lighting and whilst carrying out other remedial work, to refurbish the grave and headstone of General Sir Samuel Browne VC, GCB, KCSI. The headstone had deterioted badly and the large granite cross had fallen off its base. A further decision was taken to clean the headstone over the grave of Chief Officer William Rickard VC, Royal Navy, at the same time.

Browne's grave:
before and after

Indian Mutiny, Oudh & Rohilkhand - August to October 1858. The action in which Samuel Browne earned his Victoria Cross took place in Rohilkhand, north of Bareilly, near the town of Philibhit during the operations to clear the last pockets of resistance in the area. Major Browne, who subsequently invented the Sam Browne Belt, and was known as 'Shambrun Sahib' by Indian soldiers, would undoubtedly have been killed had not a small party of his sowars, under the Wordie Major, followed up and extricated him.

[ London Gazette, 1 March 1861 ], Seerporah, Indian Mutiny, 31 August 1858, Captain ( Brevet Major ) Samuel James Browne, 2nd Punjab Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force.

For having at Seerporah, in an engagement with the Rebel Forces under Khan Allie Khan, on the 31st of August 1858, whilst advancing upon the Enemy’s position, at day break, pushed on with one orderly Sowar upon a nine-pounder gun that was commanding one of the approaches to the enemy’s position, and attacked the gunners, thereby preventing them from re-loading, and firing upon the Infantry, who were advancing to the attack.

In doing this, a personal conflict ensued, in which Captain, now Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel James Browne, Commandant of the 2nd Punjab cavalry, received a severe sword-cut wound on the left knee, and shortly afterwards another sword-cut wound, which severed the left arm at the shoulder, not, however, before Lieutenant-Colonel Browne had succeeded in cutting down one of his assailants. The gun was prevented from being re-loaded, and was eventually captured by the Infantry, and the gunners slain.

Samuel Browne was invested with his Victoria Cross by Major General Sir S Cotton at Peshawar, India in December 1862.

General Sir Samuel Browne died at his home in Ryde, Isle of Wight, on the 14th March 1901.

Medal entitlement of General Sir Samuel James Browne - 2nd Punjab Cavalry

  • Victoria Cross
  • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath ( GCB )
  • Knight Commander, Order of the Star of India ( KCSI )
  • Punjab Medal ( 1848-49 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Chilianwala" - "Goojerat"
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "North West Frontier"
  • India Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Lucknow"
  • Afghanistan Medal ( 1878-80 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Ali Musjid"


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Iain Stewart, 15 October 2010