Battle of Gundamuck, 1842

Contributed by Essex Regiment Museum

Original painting by WB Wollen

This is on display in the Essex Regiment Museum in ChelmsfordAn original painting by William Burns Wollen ROI. It was bought by the Officers of the 44th in 1911. During a forced retreat from Kabul towards Peshawar in 1842, the last 45 men of the 44th Foot (Essex Regiment) were surrounded in daylight near Gundamuck. In this last stand, the Regimental Colour was torn off its pike by Lieutenant Souter and wrapped round his waist to protect it. The Afghans spared his life in the belief that the yellow silk was the waistcoat of a rich and important man suitable for ransom. The geography and snow-lined mountains are familiar today by British soldiers fighting in the Afghan mountains. The last stand of the 44th is still recalled in Afghan oral tradition as the destruction of an English Regiment and this image is well known in the country.

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