THE MILITARY SALE Historically Important World Medals and Militaria Go Under the Hammer in London 6th November 2013 sees Baldwin’s and Dreweatts hold the second of their bi-annual Military Sales, comprising 320 lots of Medals, Militaria and Military ephemera. The sale will be held at Dreweatts Lo
Sir Claude Wade in the First Afghan War of 1839-1842. He was present at the siege of Jellallabad and the defeat of Akbar Khan, and then at the re-occupation of Cabul, being rewarded with a Staff appointment with the military audit department. He later served in the Anglo-Sikh War of 1848-9 and was made Brevet-Major, and was for a time Deputy-Adjutant General.
At the time of the Indian Mutiny Lieutenant-Colonel Burn was attached as Field Officer to Brigadier-General John Nicholson’s Brigade, and was present at the siege and subsequent fall of Delhi, for which he was mentioned in despatches (15.12.1857) as having ‘earned the approbation of the Government’. He was appointed the city’s Military Governor, which marked his last and most important role, whereupon he was given the ‘Sword of Delhi’ which was taken from one of the sons of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, (which remained in the family as an heirloom before its generous repatriation in 1957). As mentioned above, he also interrogated the famous poet Mirza Azadullah Khan Ghalib, and creditably sent him home safely. Having been brought before Colonel Burn, and appearing in a Turkish-style headdress, Burn, being somewhat bemused, asked him in simple Urdu “Are you a Muslim?” to which Ghalib replied simply “Half.” Rather confused, Colonel Burn asked “What does that mean?” and in response Ghalib replied “I drink wine, but I don’t eat pork.”
Despite his position, he was unable to stem the widespread violence and wholesale looting of the city and its once formidable riches. Colonel Burn made and estimate at this time on the 24th of October 1857 that the loss of property from plunder and destruction by British soldiers was something in the region of 20 million rupees, of which only 1.5 million rupees would be officially recognised by Prize Agents, despite the whole city being considered a prize. Burn himself made official complaint to General N Penny, commander of the Delhi Field Force, that “. . .several parties under European Commissioned officers have, during the last few days, been searching for plunder within the city. . . .Even the Sabbath brings no rest to either plunderer or plundered.”
Following the assimilation of the East India Company’s Army with British Imperial Forces, Major-General Burn retired, and appears to have spent some time in banking, prior to a return home. During the course of his life he married one Lucy Young Hickey, and had three sons and a daughter. He died at his residence at 3 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London, on the 1st of January, 1882, at the age of 74, and was later buried in his family grave at Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh, Scotland.
His eldest son, Major Henry Pelham Burn (1853-1935) was born in Calcutta, Bengal, in 1853, and having studied at Cambridge he received his first commission in the British Army on the 10th of June 1874, joining the 1st Bn Rifle Brigade. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 10th of October 1874, and as Inspector of