THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO CAPTAIN HENRY PITCHER HAS BEEN HANDED OVER INTO THE CARE OF THE ISLAND OF JERSEY AT A CEREMONY HELD IN ST HELIER.
10 January 2009

A prestigious ceremony and reception was held at the Old Library in the States Building in the Royal Square of St Helier to witness the handover of the Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Henry Pitcher into the care of the Island of Jersey.

Around eighty guests were present to hear Frank Falle, the main fundraiser, speak about Henry Pitcher and his close connections to Jersey, give a brief synopsis of the background to the award, and the raising of the monies and its donation to "Help for Heroes" by the vendor Mrs Anne Allen-Stevens. The VC citation was read out by a Territorial Army Captain.

The Lt Governor of Jersey, Lieutenant-General Andrew Ridgeway, then handed the Victoria Cross medal set, resting on a crimson cushion, to the Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache, who gave a short speech on behalf of the grateful people of Jersey. The Victoria Cross and campaign medals will subsequently be displayed in the Jersey Museum.


THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO CAPTAIN HENRY PITCHER, 1ST PUNJAB NATIVE INFANTRY, HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY A JERSEY CHARITY.
30 August 2008

Medal entitlement of Captain Henry William Pitcher,
1st Punjab Native Infantry, Indian Army

  • Victoria Cross
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Lucknow"
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "North West Frontier" - "Umbeyla"

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Captain Henry Pitcher, 1st Punjab Native Infantry, have been purchased by the Jersey charity 'Raising the Standard' for a sum of £110,000. The vendor and great-great neice of Henry Pitcher VC has donated the £110.000 paid for the medals to the United Kingdom charity 'Help for Heroes' which provides practical help to today's wounded servicemen and women.

'Raising the Standard' had campaigned to bring the Pitcher Victoria Cross to Jersey and many donors, including the Royal British Legion, the Association of Jersey Charities, and a client of the Investec Trust, donated money. Mr Frank Falle, who co-ordinated the VC appeal fund, said the generosity of Henry Pitcher's descendant, who had forgone from benefiting from an estimated far higher value for the medals, meant that 'Help for Heroes' had gained a significant donation and Jersey had gained the Victoria Cross group.


( Note: Henry Pitcher was appointed to the 1st Punjab Native Infantry on the 15th March 1859. He was then seconded as Acting Adjutant to the 3rd P.N.I. in 1859 and to the 4th P.N.I. in 1860. Pitcher then returned to and was appointed Adjutant to the 1st Punjab Native Infantry on the 31st May 1861 and it was with this regiment that he earned his Victoria Cross at Umbyela in October 1863 ).


[ London Gazette, 16 July 1864 ], Umbeyla, North West India, 30 October 1863, Lieutenant Henry William Pitcher, 4th Punjab Native Infantry.

For the daring and gallant manner in which, in the course of the recent operations against the Frontier Tribes, on the 30th October 1863, he led a party of his Regiment to re-capture the Crag Picket, after its garrison had been driven in by the enemy; on which occasion sixty of them were killed in desperate hand to hand fighting.

From the nature of the approach to the top of the Crag amongst the large rocks, one or two men only could advance at a time; "and when I ascended one path" relates Major Keyes, commanding the 1st Punjab Infantry. "I directed Lieutenant Fosbery, of the late 4th European Regiment, to push up another, at the head of a few men. He led this party with the greatest coolness and intrepidity, and was the first man to gain the top of the Crag, on his side of the attack. Lieutenant Pitcher, equally cool and daring, led a party of men up to the last rock, until he was knocked down and stunned by a large stone thrown from above, within a few yards of him".

Lieutenant Pitcher also displayed great gallantry in leading on a party of his Regiment to endeavour to recover the Crag Picket, when it again fell into the enemy’s hands, on the 13th of November, as related in the following extract from Major Keyes’ report of the 16th of that month "The duty of leading the first charge devolved upon Lieutenant Pitcher, and I beg to bring to the special notice of the Brigadier-General Commanding, the admirable manner in which he performed this important duty. He was by many yards the foremost of his party, and the gallant bearing of this excellent young Officer was the admiration of all spectators.

It is impossible to say too much, or to overrate his services on this occasion. Lieutenant Pitcher was severely wounded, and was obliged to be carried back".


Henry Pitcher died at Dehra Ghazi Khan, India, aged only 34, and was buried in the town's cemetery. Later owing to flooding, he was re-interred in Dehra Ismail Khan Cemetery, Kohat.

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Iain Stewart, 14 January 2009