Personal info

  • Name: George Vincent FOSBERY
  • D.O.B: 2nd Jan, 1833
  • D.O.A: 30th Oct, 1863
  • D.O.D: 8th May, 1907
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, 4th Bengal (European Regiment) attached to 104th Regiment (Bengal Fusiliers)
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Crag Picket, Ambala Pass, India 30 October and 13 November 1863

13 November 1863

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The North West Frontier had been troubled since the 1820s by a Muslim group known to the British as the ‘Hindustani Fanatics’. Originally active against the Sikhs, they began to attack the British after the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. Expeditions had been mounted against them in 1853 and 1858. The latter had driven them from their base at Sittana but they simply moved to Malka and continued with their raids. In 1863 another attempt was made to stamp them out. Brigadier General Sir Neville Chamberlain marched north with 5,000 men, intending to make the Chamla Valley his base of operations. To reach it he decided to advance through the Ambala Pass some 35 miles north-east of Nowshera held by the Bunerwals, a powerful Pathan tribe. Though the campaign was not aimed at them the Bunerwals took up arms, receiving strong moral support from a Muslim cleric, the Akhund of Swat. On 22 October 1863 a patrol led by Lieutenant Colonel Probyn VC was fired on and Chamberlain’s advance stalled. He fortified his position and for the next month fighting raged round his camp, with both sides trying to establish control over strategically important outposts such as the Crag. Chamberlain himself was severely wounded at the Crag on 20 November and command of the column passed to General John Garvock. After reinforce - ments arrived he broke out of the pass on 15 December. The Bunerwals submitted and agreed to destroy Malka themselves.


 For the daring and gallant manner in which, on the 30th of October, 1863, acting as a Volunteer at the time, he led a party of his Regiment to re-capture the Crag Picquet, after its Garrison had been driven in by the Enemy, on which occasion sixty of them were killed in desperate hand to hand fighting. From the nature of the approach to the top of the Crag amongst the large rocks, one or two men only could advance at one time; and “whilst I ascended one path,” relates Lieutenant- Colonel Keyes, C.B., commanding the lst Punjab Infantry, “I directed Lieutenant Fosbery, of the late 4th European Regiment, to push up another at the head of a few men. He led this party with the greatest coolness and intrepidity, and was the first man to gain the top of the Crag on his side of the attack.” Subsequently, Lieutenant-Colonel Keyes being wounded, Lieutenant Fosbery assembled a party with which he pursued the routed enemy in the direction of the Lalloo ridge, inflicting on them further loss and confirming possession of the post. 

The London Gazette of 7 July 1865, Numb. 22988, p. 3425

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