15 April 2009

It was whilst visiting Lymington, a small New Forest port on the Solent, that Jersey resident Edward Malet de Carteret decided to travel to nearby South Baddesley to ascertain the condition of the grave of Major General Reginald Sartorius VC CMG, 6th Bengal Cavalry. Accompanying Mr Malet de Carteret was an old colleague from Jersey's Victoria College, the same establishment that the two Sartorius brothers, Reginald and Euston, attended.

Although the Reginald Sartorius headstone in St Mary's Churchyard, South Baddesley, was in good condition, it was in need of a good clean-up. Therefore, with funds from the Old Victoria College Boys Association and from the school itself, Mr Malet de Carteret chipped in the remaining sum to have the headstone refurbished.

Sartorius's grave:
before and after

In 1873 a large scale invasion of the coastal area of the Gold Coast ( now Ghana ) by the Ashanti tribesmen was repelled by a much smaller British force, but it was deemed necessary to mount a full expedition, led by Sir Garnet Wolseley, to properly subdue the Ashantis.

The force set out in January 1874 to advance on Kumasi, the Ashanti capital, and on the 31st January, at the battle of Amoafu, the British suffered 250 casualties inflicted by an enemy who, though hopelessly outgunned, had the advantage of numbers, made much better use of the terrain, and fought with considerable bravery. Despite this reversal Kumasi was captured shortly afterwards and burnt to the ground. By February the war was over and the Gold Coast was annexed as a Colony.

Reginald Sartorius was with a detached column, under Captain Glover, Royal Navy, which was following the River Volta on the right flank of the main advance. Sartorius was later sent out ahead of this column to join up with Wolseley at Kumasi and travelled through the entire 'war zone' with 25 men with only forty rounds of ammunition each.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 27 October 1874 ], Abogoo, Ashantee War, 17 January 1874, Captain Reginald Sartorius, 6th Bengal Cavalry, attached West African ( Gold Coast ) Housas.

For having during the attack on Abogoo, on the 17th January last, removed from under a heavy fire Serjeant-Major Braimah Doctor, a Housa Non-Commissioned Officer, who was mortally wounded, and placed him under cover.

Reginald Sartorius was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at a Windsor Park Review on 30th March 1875.

Major General Reginald Sartorius spent a distinguished career in India, taking part in the Indian Mutiny ( 1857-59 ) 72nd Bengal Native Infantry, and the expedition to Bhutan in 1864-65 5th Bengal Cavalry. After being promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 12th September 1878, he saw action in Afghanistan ( 1878-80 ).

Reginald Sartorius died on the 8th August 1907 in Cowes, Isle of Wight, and was buried alongside his parents in St Mary's Churchyard, South Baddesley.

Medal entitlement of Major General Reginald William Sartorius - 6th Bengal Cavalry

  • Victoria Cross
  • Companion, Order of St Michael & St George ( CMG )
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Bhootan"
  • Ashantee Medal ( 1873-74 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Coomassie"
  • Afghanistan Medal ( 1878-80 )


Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 15 April 2009