Annan, Glasgow and Hamilton
Kendal Coghill, 19th Hussars
|Kendal Josiah William Coghill was born on
June 21st, 1832, the...12th child of Vice-Admiral Josiah Cramer
He joined the Bengal Army in 1851 - his
seniority as an Ensign being recorded on February 26th 1851. He
was attached to the 2nd Bengal
European Fusiliers, a regiment he'll stay with for ten years.
He sailed to India on board the Essex. The "Essex (belonging
to Messrs. Wigram, of Blackwall), 850 Tons, Thomas William Pixley,
Commander", was advertised as having "excellent
accomodation for passengers" and "a surgeon on
She left Gravesend on February 25th 1851, calling at Portsmouth
She sailed hence on March 2nd, for Madras and Calcutta.
In 1855 kendal Coghill was stationed in
Burma. On October1st 1855, he was promoted to Lieutenant.
From his letters home, we learn that he
had captured a tiger cub, that he sent back with instructions for
its care. In 1856 he was stationed in Subathoo. He spent the
monsoon season in the hill-station of Simla, resting after having
been very ill.
On learning of the outbreak of the Mutiny,
in May 1857, Colonel Showers had Kendal Coghill (by now the
Adjutant of the regiment) put the 2nd Bengal European
Fusiliers at once on the road south from Subathoo. The War Service
of Kendal Coghill in the Mutiny is thus summarized in hart's List
"(...) Coghill served asAdjutant of the 2nd European
Bengal Fusiliers throughout the Indian campaign of 1857-58, and
was present at the battle of Budleekeserai, storming the Heights
in front of Delhi, throughout the siege of Delhi, including the
actions in front, storming of the breach Cashmere Bastion, and
final capture of the city. Served in General Showers' Force in the
taking of the Forts of Rewarrie, Jujjhur, Ranaude, Furrucknuggur,
and Bullumghur. Also present at the capture of the Heights of
Sonah (Medal with Clasp)".
A little light can be shed on some of
these actions (from "The history of the royal and Indian
Artillery in the Mutiny of 1857") :
Budleekeserai (June 8th 1857) :
The 2nd Bengal European Fusiliers was under the orders of
"As dawn broke,the enemy's camp-fires were
visible ; but when Showers deployed his brigade into line, Grant's
column was not yet in sight,and the rebels opened a heavy
cannonade on our advancing troops. Barnard's guns at once came
into action, Kaye in the centre, Money and Scott on his right and
left, but they were unable to silence the enemy's well-sheltered
artillery. Men began to fall ; Kaye's bullock-drivers ran away and
one of his waggons wasblown up. Barnard then ordered a bayonet
charge, and the 75th Foot, supported by the 1st Europeans, stormed
the sandbag battery. then Graves' Brigade, which had had to
march round a jheel, threatened the rebel right and Tomb's Troop
came into action on their left flank. The enemy then fled, leaving
their guns and their camp in our possession ; but the most
important work of the day was yet to be done.
SEIZURE OF THE RIDGE.- pressing on his pursuit, Barnard reached a
point four miles from Delhi where a road, branching to the left
from the Grand Trunk Road, led direct to the Delhi Cantonments ;
following this road himself with Graves' Brigade, a
squadron of the 9th Lancers, and 2/3 Ben.H.A., he sent Brigadier
Wilson with Showers' Brigade and the rest of the cavalry and
artillery along the Grand Trunk Road to the Subzi Mundi, while the
Sirmur Battalion kept up connection between the two columns. On
reaching the Najafghur Canal Barnard found the bridge only
partially destroyed, but when the guns crossed they came under the
accurate fire of three of the enemy's guns posted at the Flagstaff
Tower. Money, however, galloping forward quickly silenced them and
they were forthwith taken by the 60th Rifles and the 2nd
An somehow sobering incident took place
during that fight, and was recorded by Major-General James Thomas
Harris in "'China Jim', incidents and adventures in the
life of an Indian mutiny veteran" :
"Before we went into action I had been
extremely nervous as to what my behaviour would be in this my
first fight. Let me say, then, that I found it most delightful,
and I think I may add that, as long as one is advancing in line
against anything in the world, as long as one can advance,
fighting is a pleasure to the majority of soldiers.
I felt very much relieved at my total lack of "nerves",
and looked forward to more fighting. The man next to me in my
company, a private of the name of Alpin, got a round shot which
took off his leg. It did not upset me at all.
My pay-sergeant, Donovan, got another round shot which took off
his right arm high up at the shoulder, and the arm caught the
adjutant, Coghill, right in the face.
This incident, which, when remembered in cold blood, is
sufficiently horrible, seemed to me at the moment to be very
The place where we had been fighting was called Bad-li-ke-serai."
Coghill wrote home from Delhi on September
27th 1857, describing the attitude of Gurkhas and Sikhs to
fighting, the storming of the gate and the fighting once
inside,and telling he was ordered to hold the Kabul Gate. He
describes following days' fighting, and says they were guarding
the 'King of Hindoostan' as a prisoner.
Rewarrie and Jujjhur (Oct. 1857) :
"(...) Brigadier Showers. This officer with
amixed force, (...) first cleared the suburbs of Delhi of all
insurgents and then set out westwards to Dadri, where he captured
6 guns and punished some marauders. He then marched through the
territories of two rebels, the petty chiefs of Jajjhar and Rewari,
and returned to Delhi on November 10 with 14 captured guns and 5
lakhs of rupees."
In his letters home, he wrote he was to attack a "Rajah
Fooleram" at "Kewarry" - hoping for loot.
It seems that he was something of a
forbidding character, both in his functions as an Adjutant :
"While the 1st Fusiliers disregarded dress
regulations, becoming known, with perverse pride as the 'dirty
shirts', the 2nd maintained Shower's standards of regularity even
in the chaos of the ridge ... when an officer appeared wearing a
forage cap instead of a sun helmet, Coghill sent him to change,
reminding him that officers should set an example."
(from "White Mutiny" by Peter Stanley)
But certainly more so on his attitude towards the mutineers, and
he is infamously quoted as recording :
“We burnt every village and hanged all the
villagers who had treated our fugitives badly until every tree was
covered with scoundrels hanging from every
branch.” One huge
banyan tree was “decorated with 150 corpses”.
After the capture of Delhi, the 2nd
Bengal European Fusiliers was quartered in the Palace within the
Red Fort, at Delhi.
- towards the command of the 19th hussars.
On November 27th,
1862, "Lieutenant Kendal Josiah William Coghill, of the
late 2nd European Regiment", was appointed to the Bengal
Staff Corps, on its formation, "in accordance with the
provisions of the Royal Warrant, dated 16th january, 1861".
The appointment was dated 1st october 1855.
He will be gazetted Captain on May 18th, 1863 (dated 26th February).
On May 16th, 1865,
the London Gazette publishes :
"19th Hussars, Captain Kendal Josiah William
Coghill, from the Bengal Staff Corps, to be Captain, vice
Brevet-Major Hugh Henry Gough, who exchanges".
In April 1871 he
was on the Staff of Lieutenant-General the Hon. Sir J.Lindsay,
K.C.M.G., inspector-General of Reserve Forces for the Brighton
annual Volunteer Review.
Hart's List from
1875 indicate that Captain Coghill was by then appointed Adjutant
to the Lanarkshire Yeomanry.
He was interviewed
by the Yeomanry Committee
at the War Office on May 25th, 1875.
Captain Coghill will be granted a Brevet of Major on July 11th
On January 22d, 1879, his nephew, Lieutenant Nevill Josiah Aylmer
Coghill died at Islandhlwana. He was killed attempting to defend a
comrade who was caarying the Queen's Colour from the battlefield.
They would posthumously be awarded the Victoria Cross, but only in
The London Gazette
will publish on March 14th 1879 :
Lanarkshire (Queen's Own Royal Glasgow and Lower Ward of
Captain Robert Stevenson, half-pay, late 3rd Dragoon Guards, to be
Adjutant, in succession to Captain and Brevet Major K.J.W. Coghill,
19th Hussars, whose period of service as Adjutant has expired.
Dated 27th February, 1879."
On April 11th,
1879, the War Office issued a memorandum :
"19th Hussars.- Major
Charles Manners Sutton Fairbrother
to be Lieutenant-Colonel, vice Brevet Col. H.C.Craigie, retired on
half-pay ; Brevet-major Kendal Josiah William Coghill, from
supernumerary Captain, to be Major, vice C.M.S.Fairbrother (...) Major
Charles Manners Sutton Fairbrother
to be Lieutenant-Colonel, vice Brevet Col. H.C.Craigie, retired on
half-pay ; Brevet-major Kendal Josiah William Coghill, from
supernumerary Captain, to be Major, vice C.M.S.Fairbrother (...)"
The 19th Hussars were then in Ireland. There was much trouble in
November 1880, the local tenants having been infiuriated by the
attitude and policies of one Captain Charles Boycott, the estate
agent of Earle Erne in County Mayo - and having decided to
ostracize him and not to deal with him anymore. Upon Captain
Boycott's unability to have his lands farmed, some orangemen
volunteered to harvest his crops - and had to be escorted by a
large force of police and military.
Major Coghill was "in chief command of the forces prepared
immediately for the road" to escort the "Boycott
expedition" ; The Times will though report on November
12th, 1880 :
"Major Coghill, 19th Hussars, is unfortunately unable to
take the command to-day. His horse reared and fell back on him
during the march yesterday, and it is feared that he has broken
his leg. he is under the care of Surgeon-Major Reynolds, V.C., one
of the heroes of Rorke's Drift. (...)"
A few days later, on November 16th :
"Major Coghill is not yet able to move from his bed - it
is one of the small bones of his leg which is broken. But for such
casualties as these the whole expedition is likely yo pass over
without fighting or bloodshed".
One could note that Major Coghill's wound was somehow quite
opportune, as he was himself born in Ireland.
On December 1st 1880, Captain Boycott resigned his post and left
for England - with his name stuck for posterity.
On July 26th,
1881, Kendal Coghill will be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel,
"from half-pay, dated 1st july 1881, (...) under the
provisions of the Royal Warrant of 25th June, 1881".
In March 1882 he
was the recipient of prized relics from the past of the regiment (from
"The Nineteenth and their time"):
"While at Belfast the regiment became
possessed of some greatly prized relics of the old 19th Light
Dragoons, through the generosity of a lady whose husband had
served in the old regiment . As is well known, all cavalry
regiments except Hussars and Lancers, at the beginning of the
century, had a standard or guidon for each squadron. After their
return from India, and shortly after the conferring of the
Elephant and Assaye badges (1807) the I 9th Light Dragoons
received a new set of guidons. On the regiment being equipped as
Lancers (1817) the guidons could no longer be used, and, on the
disbanding of the regiment they became the property of the
Colonel, Sir John Vandeleur. At his death he bequeathed them to
his relative Major William Armstrong of Farney Castle, Thurles,
who had served in the 19th from 1809 to 1819. Major Armstrong's
widow now made known her wish to restore the guidons to the
regiment that bears the number and badges which the old regiment
so worthily earned. On the 28th March 1882, the Belfast squadron
paraded, under Lieutenant Colonel Coghill, and received the
guidons with a royal salute. The Princess of Wales' Own Yorkshire
Regiment (formerly the 19th Foot) lent the services of their band,
and the guidons were marched in all honour, through the town, to
barracks, where they were deposited in the Mess Room, after a
royal salute and an address to the squadron from Colonel Coghill."
The 19th Hussars
were soon to see action in Egypt.
The Times, when discussing the "Military preparations",
thus qualified the Regiment, on July 4th, 1882 :
"(...) The 19th Hussars are, thanks to the zeal and
ability of Major Barrow, a former Adjutant, about the best cavalry
corps in the service in the matter of reconnasissance and outpost
duty. But the regiment has been somewhat heavily handicapped in
the matter of senior officers, and it was passed over last year
when a cavalry contingent as sent out to Natal. (...)"
On the very same day, the London Gazette interestingly published :
"19th Hussars.- Lieut.-Col. K.J.W.Coghill has been
appointed to command the regiment : Major Arthur George Webster to
be Lieutenant-Colonel, vice C.M.S.Fairbrother,
retired. (...) C.M.S.Fairbrother,
Coghill would command
the 19th Hussar in the 1882 Egypt campaign.
Let's read again "The Nineteenth and their times - being
an account of the four cavalry regiments in the British Army that
have borne the number nineteen and of the campaigns in which they
served" (Col. John Biddulph, London, 1899) :
"The force sent from England and the Mediterranean stations
amounted to 25,450 men, of whom 2400 were cavalry : the whole
being commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Garnet Wolseley. There
being no fear of their being attacked at sea, they were sent
without convoy, as soon as the ships could be got ready. By the
11th August, the last transport had sailed from England for
Alexandria. The 19th Hussars were among the last to go. On the 10th
August, they embarked at Southampton, in the Assyrian Monarch and
the Montreal, with a total strength of 33 officers, 553
non-commissioned officers and privates, and 464 horses, under
command of Lieutenant Colonel K. J. W Coghill.
The 19th Hussars, in the Assyrian Monarch and the Montreal, did
not reach Alexandria in time to take part in (the early)
operations. They reached Ismailia on the 24th, and completed their
disembarkation by the evening of the 26th. The duty assigned to
them was to act as Divisional troops ; the Right Wing, consisting
of two squadrons under Lieutenant Colonel Coghill, formed part of
the 1st Division under Lieutenant General Willis; the remaining
two squadrons, under Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Webster, formed part
of the 2nd Division under Lieutenant General Sir E. Hamley. One
troop was detailed as escort to Sir Garnet Wolseley throughout the
campaign. The Right Wing joined the Head Quarters of the 1st
Division at Tel-el-Mahuta, on the evening of the 27th.
28th, a demonstration was made by the enemy against Graham's force
at Kassassin. The Right Wing of the 19th was ordered in support to
Mahsamah ; but, on its being ascertained that no serious attack
was intended they returned to Tel-el-Mahuta. Graham, having been
reinforced, and expecting the Heavy Cavalry Brigade to join him,
made a general advance after sunset. The orders for the heavy
cavalry had, however, miscarried, and did not reach Major General
Lowe for several hours. Making a wide sweep into the desert, Lowe
fell upon the left of the enemy in the dark, and charged,
rolling up their infantry ; the darkness made pursuit impossible.
The sound of the heavy firing, caused the Division at
Tel-el-Mahuta to turn out again, but after a brief advance they
returned to camp, with the exception of the 19th Hussars, who
pushed on to Kassassin, which they reached at daybreak. It was not
till noon, after visiting the scene of the previous night's
encounter, that they were able to off-saddle and rest.
following twelve days were spent in preparing for the advance on
Tel-el-Kebir, 13 miles from Kassassin, where Arabi's army had
constructed a formidable line of entrenched works. During these
days, the 19th Hussars and the Indian Native Cavalry were employed
in continual outpost and reconnoissance duties. On the 5th,
Lieutenant Holland was badly wounded.
By the 8th, all was ready
for massing the whole force at Kassassin preparatory to the
advance on Tel-el-Kebir. Early on the 9th, Arabi advanced in force
on Kassassin, attacking in two separate bodies simultaneously, one
in front from Tel-el-Kebir, and the other in flank from Es
Salihiyeh. Willis repelled the double attack with ease, and pushed
the enemy back to within cannon shot of Tel-el-Kebir, capturing
Soon after dark on the I2th, the whole force consisting
of 17,000 men, with 61 guns, moved out of camp to some high ground
in front of Kassassin, in preparation for an attack on Arabi
Pasha's entrenched lines. At 1.30 in the morning, the troops moved
silently forwards through the desert, their march directed by a
naval officer steering by the stars. The four infantry brigades,
in two lines, led the way, supported on the right by the heavy
cavalry brigade and horse artillery, and on the left by the naval
brigade. In rear of the naval brigade, followed the 19th Hussars
under Lieutenant Colonel Coghill. One troop of the regiment
remained at Mahsamah, and another at Tel el Mahuta, to guard those
points. At five in the morning the attack was delivered ; after
half an hour's severe fighting, the British infantry was in
complete possession of the lines. While the heavy cavalry pushed
on to Zagazig to cut off fugitives, the 19th, under Coghill,
passed through an opening in the entrenchments, and seized the Tel
el Kebir railway station and bridge, cutting off a great number of
fugitives. Thence the pursuit was continued for three hours, when
the 19th returned to the enemy's late camp. In the afternoon they
started again in the track of the heavy cavalry, leaving a troop
to protect burial parties, and reached Belbeis that evening. On
the following evening Cairo was taken possession of, and Arabi
surrendered himself. The only casualty in the regiment was
Lieutenant Barclay who was struck by a fragment of shell from one
of the first guns fired by the enemy at Tel-el-Kebir.
war was over. A medal, with clasp for Tel-el- Kebir, was given to
all who took part in the campaign. The medals were presented to
the regiment by Lady Dufferin, in Her Majesty's name, in the
following February. H.H. the Khedive also gave a star."
One incident of
note had caused some concern to Lieutenant-Colonel Coghill ;
The Times' correspondant indeed wrote on September 5th :
Colonel (of the 19th Hussars) said he had himself been fired at
from behind a few days ago by some men dressed like peasants".
Coghill will be mentioned in despatches by General Wolseley, will
receive the Egypt Medal , the 3rd Class of the Medjidie, the
Khedive Star, and will be made a C.B. on November 17th, 1882.
end of the road.
On July 24th 1883,
the London Gazette published :
"19th Hussars, Lieutenant-Colonel K.J.W. Coghill, C.B.,
retires on a pension, with the honorary rank of Colonel."
certainly meant he could get time to put his social skills to use
; he is mentioned, for instance, as :
- A member of the Provisionnal Committee of the "American
Club" in 1887 ;
- A subscriber to the fund for "The Wives and Families of
Soldiers and Sailors" in 1899 ;
- A donator to the "Union Jack Club" in 1906 ;
- An organizer of the annual "Banquet of the Survivors of
the Siege of Delhi" ;
- Attending the 1911 "19th Hussars Regimental Dinner"
at the Trocadero restaurant ;
- Attending the 1912 annual dinner of the Royal Munster Fusiliers
(heirs to the Bengal European Fusiliers) ;
- A contributor to the "Lord Wolseley Memorial Fund"
in 1914 ;
- A member of the Committee of the "Soldiers' Club
Association" in 1916 ;
He will die on
July 16th, 1919, aged 87, at Cosheen, Castletownshend.
was certainly taken during his time in Scotland as Adjutant to the
He wears the uniform of a Captain in the 19th Hussars, hence the
photo predates his Brevet of Major (July 11th 1877).
The photo offers a great view of the cuff braiding for captains.
In 1880 the marks of rank will be shifted from the collar to
We can see the 19th Hussars pouch belt, of Light Dragoons pattern
with a white central stripe, and the regimental busby, with a
He is displaying his Indian Mutiny Medal, with Clasp for Delhi.