In 1895, a small Indian Army garrison, commanded by Surgeon-Major Sir George Scott Robertson and Captain Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, was besieged by a joint Chitrali and Pathan army – under the leadership of Sher Afzul and Umra Khan – at the fort of Chitral. Despite the odds heavily stacked against them, Robertson’s beleaguered little garrison held out for forty-eight days until a relief expedition was able to fight its way through to the rescue. The siege and subsequent relief is a story of valour – including an award of the Victoria Cross – and sheer determination in the face of a stubborn adversary and sometimes extreme weather conditions, all played out on the often mountainous terrain of the north-western border of British India.
Robertson described events in Chitral as a ‘minor siege’. However, the siege and subsequent relief should be viewed as an important episode in Britain’s ‘Great Game’ with Russia, which would have serious consequences for the British several years later. Indeed, the retention of Chitral by the Indian Government would be a contributing factor to the mass uprisings along the North West Frontier of India during late 1897. In reality, it was anything but a minor siege.
Publication Date: June/July 2017
Perhaps one of the most dramatic events of the late Victorian period was the death of General Charles ‘Chinese’ Gordon at the hands of the Mahdi’s fanatical warriors as they finally broke their way into the Sudanese city of Khartoum. The story is well known, recounted in numerous books and celebrated in the film ‘Khartoum’ starring Charlton Heston. However, what is perhaps less well known is the subsequent-and far more successful-campaign fought by the British against the Mahdi’s successor, the Khalifa, by General Kitchener, the Sirdar of the Egyptian Army, over a decade later. ‘The Sirdar and the Khalifa’ examines Kitchener’s belated campaign to re-conquer the Sudan and avenge the death of General Gordon: a war that began in 1896 and ended less than two years later with the epic Battle of Omdurman. The true story of the Omdurman campaign is a classic tale of British soldiers battling a fanatical Dervish enemy in the harsh terrain of the desert. It is also the campaign that made Kitchener a household name, one that would last to this very day.
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Hardback (272 pages)
Published By: Fonthill Media
With the release of my latest book, Pathan Rising: Jihad on the North West Frontier of India 1897-1898, I was recently interviewed to allow my readers to learn a little more about me and my work.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England although I spent most of my time growing up in Walsall in the West Midlands. However, in recent years I moved back to Staffordshire and now live in the beautiful city of Lichfield.
Could you tell us a bit about any history of military service in your family? In what ways was the military part of your life from an early age?
My father served in the Royal Air Force during the 1960s in the now famous 617 Squadron, better known as the ‘Dambusters’. Although he wasn’t a pilot he did work on the aircraft and even got to fly in an Avro Vulcan, the bomber that the squadron was equipped with at the time. My grandfather on my mother’s side of the family was in the British Army during the Second World War and served in the Royal Artillery. He was posted to an anti-aircraft battery at ‘Hell-Fire Corner’ in Dover during the Battle of Britain. My grandmother was in the RAF at the same time, working as a telephonist.
Read the rest of my interview at Viral Hot News!
Pathan Rising: Jihad on the North West Frontier of India 1897-1898 tells the story of the large‐scale tribal unrest that erupted along the North West Frontier of India in the late 1890s; a short but sharp period of violence that was initiated by the Pathan tribesmen against the British.
Although the exact causes of the unrest remain unclear, it was likely the result of tribal resentment towards the establishment of the Durand Line and British ‘forward policy’, during the last echoes of the ‘Great Game’, that led the proud tribesmen to take up arms on an unprecedented scale. This resentment was brought to boiling point by a number of fanatical religious leaders, such as the Mad Fakir and the Hadda Mullah, who visited the various Pathan tribes calling for jihad.
By the time the risings ended, eleven Victoria Crosses would be awarded to British troops, which hint at the ferocity and level of bitterness of the fighting. Indeed, although not eligible for the Victoria Cross in 1897, many Indian soldiers would also receive high‐level decorations in recognition of their bravery.
It would be one of the greatest challenges to British authority in Asia during the Victorian era.
You can purchase this title direct from the publisher at: http://fonthillmedia.com/9781781555408