|This photo was taken in 1870, two years before Major Donald Macintyre won his VC. He had been commoissioned in 1850 and was aged 40 when the 2nd and 4th Gurkhas were sent to rescue Mary Winchester from the Lushai tribesmen.. The Lushai and the Nagas were native tribes of Assam and resented the encroachment of the white tea planters. They raided the settlements and in one case abducted the 5 year old daughter of a Scottish couple called Winchester. |
The 2nd Gurkhas were commanded by Col Macpherson with Major Macintyre as second in command. They reached a village called Lal Gnoora on 3rd January 1872 where they found the place fortified by a 9 ft. bamboo stockade. The tribesmen made things more difficult by creating a smoke screen, but Macintyre and a Gurkha called Inderjit Thapa climbed over the spiked fence and cut their way through for the rest to follow.
Macintyre was awarded the VC, mentioned in despatches, promoted to Lt Colonel and received the thanks of the Governer-General. Inderjit Thapa received the Indian Order of Merit, third class.
Mary Winchester was rescued alive and well and quite happy. She was seven by this time and had adopted the ways of the tribe, even to the extent of smoking a pipe. The Lushai seemed to regard her as if she were royalty.
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