Afghanistan Medal, with bars for Peiwar Kotal, Charasia and Kabul, awarded to Lance Cpl W. Fitzgerald, 1881Image["Third Afghan War Medal, 1881"]
Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria with veilImage["Third Afghan War Medal, 1881"]
Reverse, pack elephant with following troops and mules crossing to the left
Afghanistan Medal (Second Anglo-Afghan War)
British forces were committed to Afghanistan for the third time in 1878 after a treaty between the Amir Shere Ali and Britain made in 1873 had been discarded by the Amir in favour of a new one with Russia, and diplomatic missions from Britain refused. After two major actions peace (and a subsidy for the Amir) was agreed in May 1878. The battle of Peiwar Kotal, for which Lance Corporal W. Fitzgerald was awarded one of the bars to this medal, was one of the two actions which led to Shere Ali fleeing Kabul before the British.
initial British success, a British resident was installed in Kabul in 1879, the Amir being sworn (and paid a considerable subsidy) to behave friendlily towards him. This proved no protection against the Resident's murder along with other British residents in September 1879, whereupon war was rejoined. Forces were immediately sent to Kabul, and on the way defeated an Afghan force at Charasia, at which Lance Corporal Fitzgerald was also present as his bar for the action testifies. The third bar to his medal indicates that he was also involved in the fierce fighting involved in the following recapture of Kabul.
Lance Corporal Fitzgerald earned this medal in service with the 72nd Highlanders. Lester Watson purchased it at some point before 1928.