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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Parish Records




War Memorials

(Continued from the previous page)


The 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division were given the task of recovering the heights of Dargai on the following day but this was to be a very different action to the original assault now that 12000 Afridis were ensconced on the ridge. 


Led by the Gurkhas and  Dorsets, the men set off from the camp as dawn broke. They travelled on a narrow track on the exposed face of the cliffs but as they neared their goal, they were all but annihilated by devastatingly accurate firing from well-hidden snipers.


"In 1897, we had one of the most unpleasant surprises in the large-scale Tirah operations when we found the tribesmen for the first time with breech-loaders, so that all our elaborate mountain tactics had to be revised in accordance with the increased ranges at which our troops came under fire."

"One Hundred Years of Warfare"

by Cyril Falls


The Gordans begin their assault on the Dargai Cliffs

The Gordons begin their assault on the Dargai cliffs.

(Note the piper playing in the foreground)


The 2nd Battalion of the Derbyshires from the 1st Division were attached for the occasion and sent up next. Their casualties were immediate and devastating and their commanding officer sent word to the Divisional Commanders that advance was hopeless. His opinion was not accepted and every available gun was brought into action to support the 1st Battalion of the Gordons and the 3rd Sikhs as they attempted to storm the summit.


Compared to the first attempt to storm the Dargai Heights, the casualties numbers  were enormous and no fewer than 5 VCs were won among the countless acts of heroism which took place that day.


The Gordons returning with their wounded after the battle at Dargai
After their battle at Dargai - the Gordons returning with their wounded


The next target for the Devonshire Regiment took them up an exposed and precipitous track to make camp just beyond Karappa. It was a bleak and dusty place and snipers were well-entrenched all around. By 27 October, the two divisions had assembled and Karappa was teeming with British and Native troops, mules, drivers and hundreds of followers. At last the Tirah Expeditionary Force was complete and ready to start its campaign.


The camp at Karappa
The Camp at Karappa


The 1st Division left Karappa on 28 October with the Devons charged with protecting the right flank of the column as it advanced over the Pass into the Mastura Valley. The 1st Brigade, including the Devons were to remain in Mastura to take control of the valley and hold the Sampagha Pass.


The final assault on the Sampagha Pass
Taking the Sampagha Pass



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