Personal info

  • Name: William John VOUSDEN
  • D.O.B: 20th Sep, 1845
  • D.O.A: 14th Dec, 1879
  • D.O.D: 12th Nov, 1902
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, 5th Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force, Indian Army
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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The Asmai Heights, Kabul, Afghanistan 14 December 1879

14 December 1879

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The Asmai Heights to the north-west of Kabul, Afghanistan, form part of that arc of high ground to the west of the city of which the Darwaza Heights form a continuation south of the Deh Mazang Gorge. Following the action at Takht-i-Shah, it became clear on 14 December 1879 that Mohammed Jan was now massing his forces on the Heights prior to attacking the British. Major General Roberts ordered Lieutenant Colonel Baker to attack them there and he succeeded temporarily in capturing the Heights before the pressure of Afghan numbers forced him to withdraw. In one small engagement Captain W J Vousden led a charge against a group of Kohistanis he encountered riding along the bank of the Kabul river. However the overall situation was clearly deteriorating and Roberts had no alternative but to withdraw all his forces to the protection offered by the Sherpur cantonment. On 23 December there was a sustained Afghan assault on the cantonment. Its failure allowed Roberts to reoccupy Kabul.


 For the exceptional gallantry displayed by him on the 14th December, 1879, on the Koh Asmai Heights, near Kabul, in charging, with a small party, into the centre of the line of the retreating Kohistani force, by whom they were greatly outnumbered, and who did their utmost to close round them. After rapidly charging through and through the enemy, backwards and forwards, several times, they swept off round the opposite side of the village and joined the rest of the Troop. 

The London Gazette of 18 October 1881, Numb. 25027, p. 5140

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