Ghuznee Medal, awarded to Brigdr George Warren 1842
Obverse, a fortress
Reverse, the recipient's name above a mural crown, with laurel branches around
Ghuznee Medal, 1842 (First Afghan War)
The First Afghan War was brought about, against a background of British desire to control this troublesome area on the Indian North-West Frontier, by the campaign of the exiled Shah Shujah al-Mulk, to oust his brother Mahmud from the Afghan throne (something which he had done in 1803 in order to succeed in the first place).
After an unsuccessful attempt in 1833 backed by the ruler of the Punjab, Shujah managed to add British support for a campaign of 1839 and was thereby restored, although he was assassinated almost as soon as the British left the country, provoking a return to conflict for which other medals were awarded.
The most difficult part of the campaign was the capture of the fortress in the mountain pass of Ghazni, and for participation in this battle Shah Shujah had a medal struck at Calcutta. He was dead before it could be issued, but Queen Victoria and the East India Company allowed it to be awarded through the usual channels anyway.
This medal is unnamed, but from its provenance it is clear that it was awarded to Brigadier George Warren of the European Regiment; the medal's award to him has been verified. Brigadier Warren's medal group has come as one into the Watson Collection and the Catalogue considers them as Group 9, but as the pieces are not physically attached they are treated separately here. Lester Watson purchased them as a group from the London dealers Baldwin in 1931.