The Tirah Expedition – 1897 – 1898
In 1897 the whole of the North West Frontier region of British India rose in revolt.
2nd Battalion the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was part of a column in the east, the Peshawar Column, which was sent to restore British control in the Khyber Pass region between Afghanistan and India (now Pakistan).
This is the first time the Regiment wore khaki in action.
The local tribes, the Afridis, had closed the pass to all traffic, attacked the garrisons of Indian Army troops and destroyed forts in the area.
The Peshawar Column burnt their villages, blew up village watchtowers and captured the tribes’ winter forage.
During the campaign Lance-Corporal McClelland was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery (the highest award below the Victoria Cross).
Arithmetic on the Frontier
A scrimmage in a Border station
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail*
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troopships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The “captives of our bow and spear”
Are cheap, alas! as we are dear.
from a poem by Rudyard Kipling
*(A jezail was a long,very accurate, muzzle loading musket – see photograph of tribesmen)
A four page booklet about the Inniskillings campaign (350 words and seven photographs) can be purchased in our Books section in the online shop.