LUCAS, THOMAS - WAR SERVICE IN INDIA AND AFGHANISTAN
Pilot Bay, Tauranga
|Badge of The 31st Foot Regiment - 1845
|31st Foot Regiment
Other Ranks uniform
THE EARLY YEARS
SERVICE IN THE INDIAN ARMY
31st REGIMENT OF FOOT
Thomas Lucas, son of Thomas Lucas and Mary Davis, was born 1809 in Kilshanny, County Clare, Ireland. On 29th December, 1826 he joined the Rifle Brigade at Ennis,
Co Clare, Ireland. On 25th June, 1827, he was transferred to the 31st Foot Regiment. The 31st saw service in the First Afghan War 1838-42 and the First Sikh War 1845-6.
About 1844, he married Ellen Normyle at Glengapore, Bombay, India. Ellen was the daughter of Patrick Normyle, b 1799 in Drumcliff, County Clare, Ireland, who married
Mary Wilkinson on 09 Feb 1826, at Fort William, Bengal, India. Patrick Normyle was also in the 31st Regiment in India
The 31st Regiment's overseas service was as follows:
1825 To India
* 1842 26th July Battle of Mazeena.
* 1842 13th September Battle of Lezeen.
* 1842 14th September Battle, and occupation, of Kabul (Cabool).
* 1845 18th December Battle of Moodkhee.
* 1845 21st - 22nd December Battle of Ferozeshah
* 1846 21st January Action at Badowal.
* 1846 28th January Battle of Aliwal.
* 1846 10th February Battle of Sobraon.
1846 22nd February Capture of Lahore.
1846 March Embarked for England
1848 Manchester then Dublin.
* = Actions at which Thomas Lucas was present
[Thomas wounded 21st December, 1845 at Ferozeshah]
1842 – Candahar, Ghunzee & Kabul Medal
Thomas's War Record states that he " received a medal for his services in Afghanistan. The Candahar, Ghunzee & Kabul Medal was
awarded to participants in actions at those place. It is likely that the medal shown was that awarded to Thomas
As with most early Victorian medals this award bears the young head of Queen Victoria and the legend 'VICTORIA REGINA' on its obverse.
The reverse of this medal can differ depending on which action(s) for which it was awarded. There are four variants including:
'CANDAHAR' with the date '1842' within a laurel wreath underneath a royal crown;identical but with 'CABUL' inscribed within the wreath; a
pair of intertwined laurel wreaths with 'GHUZNEE' and 'CABUL' inside and the date 1842 in the exergue below; same as 1 and 2 above but
with ' CANDAHAR', 'GHUZNEE' and 'CABUL' within the wreath. There is also the Variation CABVL, which is exceedingly rare.
| First Afghan War 1838-42
The 31st spent 22 years in India during which time it fought in the FIrst Afghan War and First Sikh War. After the disastrous retreat form Kabul in January 1842 an
avenging army was sent in under the command of General Pollock. They were at Mazeena, the Tezeen Valley and Jugdulluck before capturing Kabul. It was not a victory
that the British Army could be proud of, as wanton destruction was encouraged. Villages were looted and burned and the main bazaar at Kabul was destroyed. The 31st
gained the battle honour CABOOL 1842 for this campaign.
. First Sikh War 1845-6
The 31st were initially in reserve in Sir Harry Smith's Division at Ferozeshah, with the 50th and some sepoy battalions. But they and the 50th were in the thick of the fight on
the first day (21st Dec 1845). On the second day Smith's Division faced an approaching fresh Sikh force. The 3rd Light Dragoons charged the enemy but were abandoned
by their accompanying Native Cavalry who were fired on by the 31st as they rode off.
. First Sikh War 1845-6
The first battle of the war was at Mudki (or Moodkee) on 18th Dec 1845. The regiment, in the first Infantry Division, was brigaded with two sepoy battalions, all led by
Colonel Samuel Bolton of the 31st. They moved ahead and forced their way into the Sikh lines, unsupported by the sepoy battalions. They overcame fierce resistance,
captured a large battery and drove off the enemy infantry. Colonel Bolton was mortally wounded. He had survived the Peninsula War, although wounded at Albuhera, and
commanded the regiment since 1835.
. Battle Colours
The Battle colours of the 31st Foot regiment were presented at Meerut on 7th March 1827. On the return home to England of these Colours,
the Illustrated London. News of the 12th December 1846 described them as “torn to shreds from the storm of grapeshot through which they
were victoriously borne, and stained with the blood of the Ensigns who were killed carrying them”.
|Battle Colours of the 31st