Pierced with bullet holes and stained with blood from a brutal exchange that should have seen its wearer fatally wounded, the National Army Museum’s latest acquisition is a rare survivor from a bloody conflict.
It is a unique 156-year-old military tunic that belonged to Lieutenant Campbell Clark, who was caught up in one of the many bloody episodes of the Indian Mutiny between 1857 and 1859.
Seeing Lt Clark’s battered redcoat reminded us of the service provided by men of the 29th Regiment of Foot during this period. Detachments from the 29th were sent to assist the British troops, having already had experience of garrison duty in India during the Sikh Wars of 1845 to 1849.
In one of the medal cases in the Worcestershire Soldier exhibition, you will find the medals of Pte John Fudge, who enlisted on 27th September 1844, at the age of 19. He served in the Punjab, during the Sikh Wars, and then in the Indian Mutiny. In all he spent 14 years in India.
He was discharged on 17th October 1865 having completed 21 years service. His Long Service and Good Conduct medals, which you can see in the case, came with a £5 gratuity, surely a welcome gift to augment his soldier’s pension.