Browne is one of the most prominent figures in the history of the Indian Army, who today is chiefly remembered for having introduced a form of leather belt, the ‘Sam Browne’. He began his career with the Bengal Army in 1840 and took part in numerous campaigns before being awarded the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny for gallantry at Seeporah in 1858. Accompanied by one orderly sowar (Indian cavalry trooper), he engaged in hand-to-hand combat to secure a strategically-placed 9 pdr gun, during which action his left arm was severed at the shoulder by a sword. It is generally believed that he developed the belt that bears his name after this injury, as it made it easier to carry and use a sword and pistol.
For 19 years Sam Browne commanded the Punjab Cavalry and the Corps of Guides. There is a monument to him in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Where to see this painting?
National Army Museum
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