Colonel Mathias was the hero of Dargai who led the Gordon Highlanders in their famous assault of the Heights in Afghanistan on 18th and 20th October 1897. He entered the 75th as an ensign in April 1869. He was appointed District Adjutant in Natal from 1871-75. In 1884 he was with the battalion on the Nile. He was Commanding officer of the 1st Battalion from Feb 1895 and was in charge for the Chitral Relief expedition. In the Tirah the Gordons enhanced their reputation immeasurably at Dargai, inspired by their colonel, Henry Mathias.
When Mathias reached the summit and the tribesmen had fled he stopped to catch his breath. "Stiff climb, eh Mackie?" he said to a sergeant, "Not quite as young as I was you know." "Never mind sir," said the sergeant "ye're ga'un vera strong for an auld man." Yeatman-Biggs the Commander of the force recommended Mathias for the VC but the War Office had made a rule that Commanding Officers and General Officers should not be recipients of this award.
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