(July 9th to 15th)

Format: Triple

…There was a far-off clapping of hands from the Gurkhas, and a roar from the Highlanders in the distance, but never a shot was fired by British or Afghan. The two little red dots moved forward in the open parallel to the enemy’s front.

But of all the world’s great heroes
There’s none that can compare,
With a tow-row-row-row-row-row,
To the British Grenadier !


This is from ‘The Drums of the Fore and Aft’, in ‘Wee Willie Winkie’.

In a campaign on the North West Frontier, an inexperienced English regiment has retreated in disarray in the face of a charge of fanatical Afghans. Two drummer boys, Jakin and Lew, have been left out in the open, and rather than retreating, they rally their comrades by marching and counter-marching across no man’s land, beating their drums. They are killed in the advance that follows, but the battle turns against the enemy from then on.

…’Who art thou, seller of dog’s flesh … to talk of terms and treaties ? Get hence to the hills – go, and wait there starving, till it shall please the Government to call thy people out for punishment – children and fools that ye be ! Count your dead and be still. Rest assured that the Government will send you a man.’

‘Ay,’ returned Khoda Dad Khan, ‘for we also be men’…


This is from ‘The Head of the District’ in ‘Life’s Handicap’.

The Government has appointed a Bengali as District Commissioner in a wild area of the frontier. The local Pathan tribesmen, who despise Bengalis, seize the chance of attacking some border villages, spurred on by a fanatical mullah. The Commissioner’s British assistant, Tallantire, moves swiftly to counter the threat, and the tribesmen are beaten back in disarray. When their new leader, who respects the British, comes to sue for peace, he gets short shrift from Tallantire.

…At the end, the panic excess of his fear drove him into madness beyond all human courage, His eyes staring at nothing, his mouth open and frothing, and breathing as one in a cold bath, he went forward demented…the charge checked at a high mud wall. It was Mulcahy who scrambled up tooth and nail and hurled down among the bayonets the amazed Afghan who barred his way..It was Mulcahy, keeping to the straight line of the rabid dog, who led a collection or ardent souls at a newly unmasked battery, and flung himself on the muzzle of a gun…


This is from ‘The Mutiny of the Mavericks’ in ‘Life’s Handicap’.

A Fenian agent, Mulcahy, has been trying to stir up mutiny in an Irish regiment on the North West Frontier. The men have been stringing him along to get as much beer money out of him as possible. When the regiment is ordered on active service, he tries to report sick, but is sent to the front, and the men make sure that he is at the forefront of the battle. He dies a hero.