Important Acquisition – A “Lovel” percussion musket

With the generous assistance of the The ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the Mercian Regiment Museum we have recently acquired a group of three medals awarded to Major. Frederick Kneebone  of the 29th Foot. These comprise medals awarded for his service in India and consist of the Sutlej medal 1845-6 for Sobraon (ensign), the Punjab medal 1848-9 with clasps Chilianwala and Goojerat, ( Lieutenant) and finally the Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-9,  No clasp (Captain)

Groups of three consecutive Indian Campaign Medals issued to members of the 29th Foot are very scarce, and Frederick Kneebone’s is unique as he is the only 29th Foot officer so awarded: just thirty 29th Foot Other Ranks qualified for and received the group.

Frederick Kneebone’s father was Quartermaster Thomas Kneebone 29th Foot.  They both fought at the Battle of Sobraon (10 February 1846); the father’s portrait and Sutlej Medal for Sobraon are on display in the Museum. Thomas died 20 months later in Calcutta and qualified for no other medals. It is extremely rare, if not unknown, to have a father and son both being awarded the same medal for service of the same battlefield.  Therefore Frederick’s medal group is of especial interest to the Museum.

Major Kneebone’s medals

Frederick Kneebone had joined 29th Foot in India in time to take part in the Battle of Sobraon, and then was present for both Punjab Medal battle clasps (CHILIANWALA AND GOOJERAT) available to 29th Foot. Indian Mutiny Medals issued to the 29th Foot are always without clasp and are scarce; only 11 officers qualified and the only other extant officer medal known is in the Museum. Kneebone retired from the army as a Major in 1870 and lived in Bedfordshire; for many years he was Secretary of the Bedford General Infirmary.  In addition the Museum holds all four commissions of Frederick Kneebone plus a portrait photograph.