8 October 2014

The grave of Colonel Charles Grant VC, 12th Regiment ( 2nd Burma Bn ), Madras Infantry, has recently been refurbished by the Sidmouth Branch of the Royal British Legion under the leadership of the Branch Chairman Dave O'Connor.

The grave had fallen into serious disrepair over the years but has now been restored to its original condition with the addition of a new memorial stone showing an image of Charles Grant and an image of a Victoria Cross. Charles Grant died at his home in Sidmouth on the 23rd November 1932 and was buried in the town's cemetery. ( The two images below show Charles Grant's grave before and after restoration ).

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In 1891, in response to internal politics, Lieutenant Grant's small detachment had marched into Manipur in an attempt to rescue the Chief Commissioner of Assam, Mr Quinton; the Local Resident Mr Grimwood; Lieutenant Colonel Skene; and two other officers, who had all entered the Manipuri fort for talks with the 'Senapti', the Chief Military Advisor to the Manipur Raja. Unknown to Lieutenant Grant all five had already been murdered by the time he had set out.

Seven miles inside Manipur his column came under fire, so they captured a defensive position at Thobal. The first attack came early on the 31st March and continued until the 9th April, the Manpuris having by then built up their attacking force to 2000 men plus field guns.

Grant held out against all the assaults of a numerically vastly superior force, including launching attacks outside the compound. After the battle he was involved in further fighting along the road. His horse was shot from under him and later he was hit by a bullet that went through the base of his neck and out the other side. Charles Grant and his small detachment finally reached safety in Tamu on the 9th April 1891.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 26 May 1891 ], Thobal, Manipur, Burma, 27 March to 9 April 1891, Lieutenant Charles James William Grant, 12th Regiment ( 2nd Burma Bn ), Madras Infantry.

For the conspicuous bravery and devotion to his country displayed by him in having, upon hearing on the 27th March 1891, of the disaster at Manipur, at once volunteered to attempt the relief of the British Captives, with 80 Native Soldiers, and having advanced with the greatest intrepidity, captured Thobal, near Manipur, and held it against a large force of the enemy.

Lieutenant Grant inspired his men with equal heroism, by an ever-present example of personal daring and resource.

Charles Grant was invested with his Victoria Cross by the Governor of Madras, Lord Wenlock, at Octacamund, India, on the 6th July 1891.

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Charles Grant's VC group was sold at a Spink auction in April 2011 for £230,000

Medal entitlement of Colonel Charles Grant,
12th Regiment ( 2nd Burma Battalion ), Madras Infantry

  • Victoria Cross
  • Indian General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Burma 1885-7" - "N.E. Frontier 1891"
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )


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Iain Stewart, 14 October 2014