India Medal 1895 – 1902, 1 Clasp – Punjab Frontier 1897-98 to Pte. W. Sparks of the 1st Bttln. Royal West Kents Regiment
Condition – E.F.
Pte. Sparks took part in the Relief of Chakdara in July 1897, with the 1st Battalion of his Regiment the Royal West Kents. The West Kents served in Brigadier-General Meiklejohn’s First Brigade, which accompanied Major-General Sir Bindon Blood’s Division. Following the Relief of Chakdara, the West Kents marched into the Swat Valley, where the Regiment saw further serious fighting. The Regiment’s major engagement was at Landaki on the 17th August, 1897, where they were opposed by 5000 tribesmen including fanatical ghazi warriors. The West Kents cleared the enemy held strongpoints at the point of the bayonet, but not before losing 4 killed and 29 wounded.
Following this battle the tribesmen dispersed and the campaign became one of assaulting isolated villages and strongpoints in the Swat and Mohmund territories. During this expedition on the North West Frontier, the Royal West Kents were to suffer more casualties than any of the other 5 British Regiments involved in the Swat, Mohmund and Kurram Valley expeditions.
The India medal to the Royal West Kents is very scarce on the market. It is sold with a copy of an illustration from Cassell’s Battles of the Nineteenth Century showing “The Royal West Kent Regiment clearing a Mohmund village.”