72nd Highlanders at Mhow, early 1860s


Colonel William Payne,C.B. with officers of the 72nf Highlanders. 

A small clear photograph of carte de visite size, 5.5 x 9.5cm, irregularly cut and pasted to an old thin card album leaf, small area at top of photograph missing but not affecting the image. It is surrounded by eight oval portraits of gentlemen in civilian clothing. Fourteen of the figures are officers in various orders of dress of the 72nd Highlanders. It was thought by the family from whom it came to have been taken in Mhow, a large military cantonment India – one man in civilian dress wears a solar topi and one officer is in tropical dress. Various forms of headdress are displayed including the bonnet, glengarry, forage cap and shako. The latest medal that can be identified is an Indian Mutiny, and others are for Sutlej and the Crimean War. Some pencil notes on the card refer to uniform and service details. Some of the individuals and their medals are identified in pencil on the card by a collector/dealer in Scotland from whose estate we acquired this item.

72nd (Duke of Albany’s own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot [later the 2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders[ is shown in Hart’s Army List 1861 is shown as being stationed at Mhow. The central figure in the photograph is Lieut. Colonel William Payn, CB. En. 1842, Lt 1844, Capt 1851, Maj 1857, Lt. Col. 1858. His service record is given as: Lt. Colonel Payn served with the 53rd Regt. in the Sutlej campaign of 1845-6, including the affair of Buddiwal and actions of Aliwal and Sobraon (Medal and Clasp), Punjaub camapaign of 1849. including the battle of Goojerat (Medal and Clasp), campaign of 1851-52 against the Hill Tribes on the Peshawar frontier. Served in the Crimea in command of a Regiment of the Turkish Contingent, and was present with that force from June 1855, until its disbandment in May 1856 (received the Brevet of Major and the 4th Clss of the Medjidie). Served in the Indian campaign of 1857-58, including the action of the 26th, 27th and 28th Nov. at Cawnpore under General Windham, battle of Cawnpore on 6th Dec. and pursuit of the Gwalior Contingent to Serai Ghat, action of Khodagunge and entry into Futtehgurh, affair of Shumshabad, storm and capture of Meangunge in command of the left attack, siege and capture of Lucknow and affair of Koorsie; commanded the 53rd throughout the hot weather campaign and passage of the Goomtee and occupation of Sultanpore, present with the Regt. at the passage of the Gogra at Fyzabad on 25th Nov.. action of Toolsepore, and minor affairs (mentioned five times in despatches, Brevet of Colonel, CB., Medal and Clasp.) . He certainly seems to have earned that chest of medals and the chair.

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