The defeat of the Sikhs at the Battle of Sobraon on the 10th February 1846 marked the end of the 1st Sikh War. The British assaulted the enemy positions, but received heavy casualties and at one point it was thought that the battle was lost. Both officers carrying the Colours of the 31st were killed, and at that moment when defeat seemed inevitable, Sergeant Bernard McCabe of the 31st picked up the Regimental Colour, dashed forward under heavy fire and planted it on the highest point of the Sikh entrenchment.
This model was made by Sergeant James Pearce in remembrance of the Battle of Sobraon, on of the major battles of the First Sikh War which started in 1845. "The Sutlej Campaign", as it was often referred to, was broken down into five battles: Ferozapur, Ferozashah, Mudki, Alliwal and Sobraon.
During this period all of the forebear regiments carried out tours of duty overseas in India, the West Indies, Palestine and elsewhere. Most of the regiments were represented in the rebellion in Ireland in the early 1920s, whilst the Queen’s, The Buffs, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and The Hampshires were separating Jew and Arab in Palestine in the late 1930s. However, the Army was cut in size, promotion was extremely slow and resources were scarce. There was also an acute lack of investment in modern equipment, which was not to bode well for the beginning of the Second World War.
This bible was carried by Lieutenant JB Coates who was commissioned into The Queen's Royal Regiment in November 1914 and joined the 2nd Battalion in January 1915 with whom he served in France and Italy. He was wounded twice and was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 and it was while he was serving in the trenches in Flanders that he was shot by a sniper and the bullet travelled through the bible before wounding him but probably saved his life.
Private Blaber was a soldier in the 1st Battalion the Hampshire Regiment and was wounded at the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. Very few accounts of this battle exist for the Hampshire Regiment as a total of 26 officers and 559 soldiers were either killed, wounded or missing and so there was no one to describe what had actually happened. The letter that Private Blaber wrote to his wife was therefore one of the few true accounts, written at the time that we have that describes the horrors of that momentous day.
The following is a transcript of his letter:
The German Mauser bolt action carbine was made by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken; it was used by the Boers during the South African War and is inscribed with the owners name CG Botha. Also engraved on the stock of the rifle are the words WYK 1 Bethal. A WYK is equivalent to a Local Government Ward in England. Bethal raised a small detachment of irregular soldiers for the Boer War which was divided into two sections – one from WYK 1 and the other from WYK 2.
Silver statuette of a boxer titled ' Army/BAOR Champion 1978/79/80'.Mounted on a plinth with 3 x silver plates & engraved with title and names of contributing 1 Queen's Officers Mess Members x 42
Although smoking is no longer a universal pursuit in the Officers’ Mess this piece remains an important one. This is largely due to the impressive Buffs (or Tudor) dragon that surmounts the spacious two lidded cigarette box. It was bequeathed to the Regiment from the estate of the Late Sir Courtney Vyvian and forms one of the more intricate, as well as Regimentally anchored, interest pieces within the 2nd Battalion Mess.
The inscription reads, “Presented to the Colonel Sir Courtney Vyvian CBN CMG by his brother Officers in the Buffs 1929.”