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Punjab Campaign Medal, awarded to Maj. Lawrence Fyler 1849

Punjab 1849 Medal, 1849

Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria

Punjab 1849 Medal, 1849

Reverse, a general on horseback receiving the Sikhs' surrender before a hill topped with a palm tree

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Punjab Campaign Medal, 1849

The city of Multan in the Punjab province of India was taken over by the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh in the early 19th century. It thus became part of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab that was brought under British East India Company control in the First Anglo-Sikh War. It was also the site of considerable Sikh unrest after this defeat, which culminated in April 1848 with the murder of the British Resident in the city.
The ruler of the Punjab at this time was the eleven-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh, around whom a rebellion rapidly coalesced. The British waited until November to respond but then advanced with considerable success in battle wherever they met the Sikhs. This was insufficient to unseat the general resistance of the kingdom to British incursions, however, and only the recapture of Multan in January 1849 allowed enough of a force to be concentrated to overwhelmingly defeat Sikh resistance at the Battle of Gujarat the following month. This was followed by the formal annexation of the Punjab to British India.
This medal was awarded to Major Lawrence Fyler of the 3rd Light Dragoons, whose medal group has come entire into the Watson Collection and shows a career spent in India and the East fighting for the Crown from the 1830s to the 1850s.
This medal is attached to two others and the catalogue of the Watson Collection considers it as part of Group 8 (this comprising two assemblages and two loose medals). For provenance of the group see those entries.