INCLUDED IN THE SHEESH MAHAL MUSEUM'S EXTENSIVE MEDAL COLLECTION ARE FIVE VICTORIA CROSSES.
10 February 2011

The Sheesh Mahal Medal Collection is located in the Sheesh Mahal Museum in the city of Patiali in the Punjab. Over the years the museum has gained a reputation for denying access to the substantive medal collection housed in the building. However, rare images have recently been obtained by this website showing external pictures of the museum and more importantly a picture of the medal collection and the method of displaying its contents. A further image shows the case containing the Victoria Cross awarded to Private John Dunlay of the 93rd Regiment. Also in this case are three Albert Medals one of which is an Albert Medal ( Gold ( 1st Class ) Land ) which shows how diverse the medal collection is. ( select each image to enlarge ).













The Sheesh Mahal Medal Collection was put together by Sir Bhupindar Singh, Maharaja of Patiala ( 1891 - 1938 ) in the 1920s, with the assistance of the auctioneer Spink of London.

His son, Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who died in 1974, subsequently bequeathed the medal collection to the people of the Punjab on India gaining independence in 1947. The medal collection now resides in the Sheesh Mahal Museum at Patiala. Although notionally open to the public, gaining entrance to the museum can be difficult. Although efforts have been made to contact the Sheesh Mahal Museum, replies have not been forthcoming

A few years ago the government of Punjab made noises about transferring the Sheesh Mahal Collection to the State capital Chandigarh, where the medal collection would be seen by many more visitors. However, it is believed that Amarindar Singh, the son of Yadavindra Singh, pointed out that the bequest in 1947 stipulated the collection remain in Patiala and threatened that any attempt to move it to Chandigarh would negate the bequest, and the collection would revert to to his private ownership.


The Sheesh Mahal Medal Collection comprises several thousand items, including gallantry awards and campaign medals. Included in the collection are five Victoria Crosses and one New Zealand Cross. ( although the museum is thought to hold a further New Zealand Cross ). The identity of these VC groups are:




Private Thomas Beach, 92nd Regiment ( Gordon Highlanders ), att'd 55th Regiment ( Border Regiment ). The VC group comprises: ( middle left in the photograph )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 3 clasps:
    • 'Alma' - 'Inkermann' - 'Sebastopol'
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )




Leading Seaman William Odgers, Royal Navy ( HMS 'Niger' ). The VC group comprises: ( bottom centre in the photograph )

  • Victoria Cross
  • New Zealand Medal ( 1860-66 )




Captain of the Forecastle John Taylor, Royal Navy ( Naval Brigade ). The VC group comprises: ( bottom of the photograph )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Conspicuous Gallantry Medal ( CGM )
  • China War Medal ( 1840-42 )
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • 'Pegu'
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • 'Inkermann' - 'Sebastopol'
  • Knight, Legion of Honour ( France )
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )




Captain George Fiott Day, Royal Navy. The VC group comprises: ( centre of the photograph )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Companion, Order of the Bath ( CB )
  • Naval General Service Medal ( 1793-1840 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • 'Syria'
  • India General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • 'Pegu'
  • South Africa Medal ( 1834-53 )
  • Baltic Medal ( 1854-55 )
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • 'Azoff' - 'Sebastopol'
  • Second China War Medal ( 1857-60 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • 'Taku Forts 1860'
  • Knight, Legion of Honour ( France )
  • Order of the Medjidieh ( Turkey )
  • St Jean d'Acre Medal ( 1840 ) ( Turkey )
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )




Private John Dunlay, 93rd Regiment ( Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders ). Victoria Cross only. Location of campaign medal unknown. ( The musket ball is the one removed from Dunlay's knee )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • 'Relief of Lucknow' - 'Lucknow'




Assistant Surgeon Samuel Walker, Armed Constabulary & New Zealand Militia. The group comprises: ( centre in the photograph )

  • New Zealand Cross
  • New Zealand Medal ( 1860-66 )

News

Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 10 February 2011