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Friday, July 13, 2012

September Auction: 21st Empress of India's Lancers Officer's Czapka & Sudan Medals

21st Empress of India's Lancers Officer's Czapka
Sudan Medals Awarded to a 21st Lancer
When the British government took control of its army units from the East India Company the 3rd Bengal European Light Cavalry was renamed the 21st Regiment of Hussars in 1862 and would become a Lancers regiment in 1897.  A year after becoming a Lancers regiment, the unit would charge at the Battle of Omdurman during the Mahdist War in Sudan.  Three members of the 21st Lancers received Victoria Crosses and the battle would earn the regiment the title of Empress of India’s. The title is connected to Queen Victoria who was the Empress of India.  The battle was a victory for the British as well as a turning
point in a war that ended with British domination over Sudan, which would not end until 1956.  The battle is also noted for a young Winston Churchill charging with the cavalry.  Churchill’s account of the charge is recounted in his book The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan published in 1899.  Seen here is a 21st Empress of India’s Lancers Officer’s czapka with the helmet plate having the Khartoum battle honor and Empress of India’s title. The design of the helmet plate honors the regiment for the actions taken during the Battle of Omdurman. With the helmet is an additional plate which is of a later design. In our September auction is also two Sudan medals awarded to a 21st Lancer.  These documented medals were awarded to Private W. Kettle who charged at Omdurman.    

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