10 April 2007

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Havelock-Allan,
10th Regiment ( Lincolnshire Regiment )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath ( GCB )
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Persia"
    Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Relief of Lucknow" - "Lucknow"
  • New Zealand Medal ( 1860-66 )
  • Queen Victoria Jubilee Medal ( 1897 )

Lieutenant General Sir Henry Havelock-Allan saw active service in various parts of the Empire during the 19th Century, beginning with the campaign in Persia in 1856, and then proceeding to India to serve throughout the Indian Mutiny of 1857-59, taking part in various battles, especially the conflict at Cawnpore where he won his Victoria Cross.

After returning to England in 1861 Havelock-Allan was again on active service during the New Zealand War ( Oct 1863 to Jan 1865 ). He then served as ADC to the Governor General of Canada from 1867 to 1869. And in 1882 he was in Ismailia, where Sir Garnet Wolseley had his Headquarters, where he was unofficially present at the engagement at Tel-el-Kebir during the Egypt Campaign of 1882 - 1889. He also held several commands in England and Ireland and travelled abroad extensively, once as a war correspondent reporting on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

Towards the end of 1897 Sir Henry Havelock-Allan went to India to inquire into the justice or otherwise, of certain criticisms which had been made on the state of discipline in the 2nd Bn, Royal Irish Regiment. Whilst in India he was attached to Sir William Lockhart's punitive expedition to the Khyber Pass and was provided with an escort by that General who he promised to run no uncessary risks. But habit was too strong; he constanlty rode ahead of his escort, and on 30th December 1897, was reported as missing. His dead body was discovered later. He had been shot by the Afridis.

At some point during Sir Henry Havelock-Allan's lifetime his Victoria Cross went missing. Family legend is that it was lost or stolen during his career after leaving India. This is entirely believable as he never loaned his VC to any public or regimental institution, and he was also a very wealthy man, and never had any need or occasion to sell it.

On his death he left the original medals of his father ( Major General Sir Havelock ) to his eldest son, together with his own GCB and a medal group comprising a 'copy' Victoria Cross and three other medals, which were not originally his, but replacements with the names rubbed off the rim.

For the 1956 VC Centenary Exhibition the Havelock-Allan family were asked to loan the Victoria Cross group to the exhibition where the VC was confirmed as a 'copy'. The medals were also loaned to the National Army Museum for about twenty years where they were also confirmed as 'not original'.

The Havelock-Allan descendants would like to clear up the mystery of how and why their celebrated ancestor came to misplace his Victoria Cross and campaign medals, and why he didn't request official replacements.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 15 January 1858 ], Cawnpore, Indian Mutiny, 16 July 1857, Lieutenant Henry Marshman Havelock, 10th Regiment ( Lincolnshire Regiment ). ( Gazetted as Lieutenant Henry Marshman Havelock, Captain, 18th Regiment ( Royal Irish Regiment ).

In the combat at Cawnpore, Lieutenant Havelock was my Aide-de-camp. The 64th Regiment had been much under artillery fire, from which it had severely suffered. The whole of the infantry were lying down in line, when, perceiving that the enemy had brought out the last reserved gun, a 24-pounder, and were rallying round it, I called up the regiment to rise and advance.

Without any other word from me, Lieutenant Havelock placed himself on his horse. In front of the centre of the 64th, opposite the muzzle of the gun. Major Stirling, commanding the regiment, was in front, dismounted, but the Lieutenant continued to move steadily on in front of the regiment at a foot pace, on his horse.

The gun discharged shot until the troops were within a short distance, when they fired grape. In went the corps, led by the Lieutenant, who still steered steadily on the gunís muzzle until it was mastered by a rush of the 64th.

( Extract of a telegram from the late Major-General Sir Henry Havelock to the Commander-in-Chief in India, dated Cawnpore, August 18th, 1857 )

Henry Havelock was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on 8th June 1859.

Following his death at the hands of the Afridis on 30th December 1897 Sir Henry Havelock-Allan's body was taken to Rawalpindi by members of the Royal Irish Regiment and was buried in the city's Harley Street Cemetery. There is a headstone.


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Iain Stewart, 10 April 2007