Sir Robert Sale GCB


Known as Fighting Bob Sale for his eagerness to be in the thick of the action and also known as the Defender of Jellalabad. Robert Henry Sale was the second son of an Indian army colonel. He served under Sir Arthur Wellesley at the siege of Seringapatam. He was a major in the First Burmese War where he famously fought in single combat against the Burmese leader, and killed him. In his late fifties he led a storming party at the siege of Ghanzi (or Ghunzee) and cleaved the skull of at least one of the defenders. In the FIrst Afghan War he commanded the fort at Jellalabad, built up it's defences and repelled a large army of Afghan tribesmen during a long siege. But he beat them off in the final sortie and the tribesmen retreated. In the First Sikh War he was the QMG for Sir Hugh Gough's army but he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Mudki and died a few days later.

He is seen here in the uniform of the 13th Light Infantry, the regiment he is most associated with. They were the only British regiment at Jellalabad, along with other Indian units, and he was their Colonel from 15th Dec 1843. The coatee is scarlet with blue facings since they were a Royal regiment from 1842 in honour of their actions at Jellalabad.

1782 born
1795 Ensign in 36th Foot
1798 India. Lieutenant in 12th Foot
1799 Seringapatam
1806 Captain
1808-9 Campaign against Rajah of Travancore. Killianore
1810 Mauritius
1813 Major
1824 First Burmese War. Rangoon
1826 Severely wounded at Malown
1838 First Afghan War. Commanded 1st Bengal Brigade
1839 Storming of Ghazni
1839 Major-General
1841-2 Siege of Jellalabad
1843 Colonel of 13th (1st Somertsetshire) Prince Albert's Regiment of Light Infantry
1845 QMG in First Sikh War
1845 18th Dec. Mortally wounded at battle of Mudki
1845 21st Dec. Died of wounds


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by Stephen Luscombe