The relatively important India General Service Medal 1854-1895, 1 Clasp: Northwest Frontier, awarded to Captain later Major General L.S. Cotton, 22nd Cheshire Regiment of Foot, later 97th Earl of Ulster’s Regiment of Foot, and 63rd West Suffolk Regiment of Foot, who served as Aide de Camp to his father, General Sir Sydney Cotton, K.C.B., who was commanding the Sittana Field Force and operating in Panjtar and Lower Sittana on the North West Frontier in the period from 22nd April to 5th May 1858, when engaged against Hindustani fanatics. For his services under his father, Cotton was Mentioned in Despatches. He latterly commanded the Royal Hibernian Military Academy and was promoted to Major General in July 1888.
India General Service Medal 1854-1895, 1 Clasp: Northwest Frontier; (CAPTN. & A.D.C. L.S. COTTON. 22ND. REGT.)
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Lynch Stapleton Cotton was born on 21st December 1828 in India, the second son of General Sir Sydney Cotton, and his wife Marianne, daughter of Captain Hackett, 22nd Light Dragoons. His father was to become one of the distinguished General’s of the Victorian era, noted for his services on the North West Frontier. It is however possible that as the General’s son he accompanied him to Australia where he served between 1835 to 1842, during which period his father was the commandant of the Moreton Bay penal colony, what it now the city of Brisbane, between 1837 and 1839. His father returned to India in 1842.
Having then opted to follow in his father’s footsteps, Cotton was commissioned as an Ensign into the 22nd Cheshire Regiment of Foot on 8th September 1846, he was promoted to Lieutenant on 27th May 1848, and was then appointed Aide de Camp to his father from December 1857. At this stage his father had just finished his service during the Indian Mutiny, and had been appointed Commandant of the Peshawar Division, responsible for the North West Frontier.
Promoted to Captain on 16th March 1858, he then saw service under his father during the operations on the North West Frontier in the period from 22nd April to 5th May 1858 when part of the Sittana Field Force, operating in Panjtar and Lower Sittana.
The objective of his father’s command was to carry out a punitive expedition against Hindustani fanatics who had been instrumental in the mutiny of a native regiment stationed near Peshawar. Crossing through the Daran pass, as Aide de Camp, Captain Cotton was present at the destruction, without opposition, of the hostile strongholds of Chinglai on 26th April, and the destruction of the Mangal Thana on 29th April 1858.
After destroying the fortifications at Mangal Thana, the expedition turned its attention to the main fanatic base at Sittana. Despite resistance from the Fanactics, the upper and lower Sittana villages were captured by the British forces, in co-operation with Major Becher’s column from the left bank of the Indus. An enveloping attack was made on the morning of the 4th May by a portion of Sir Sydney’s force and Beecher’s men; the enemy were caught in a cross fire, and after a short hand to hand struggle, every Hindustani in the position was either killed or taken prisoner. Of this decisive engagement it is stated that the fighting of the ‘Hindustanis’ was strongly marked with fanaticism; ‘they came boldly and doggedly on, going through all the preliminary attitudes of the Indian prize ring, but in perfect silence, without a shout or a word of any kind. All were dressed in their best for the occasion, mostly in white, but some of the leaders wore velvet cloaks.’ After burning the villages to the ground, Cotton's expedition returned to British India. The success of the expedition resulted in a treaty between the various tribes and the British leading to the expulsion of the Hindustani Fanatics as well as an agreement by the various tribes to resist attempts by the Fanatics to return.
For his services under his father with the Sittana Field Force, Lynch was Mentioned in Despatches, whilst his father was Knighted on his return to England. Captain Cotton was afterwards exchanged into the 97th Earl of Ulster’s Regiment of Foot, and then into the 63rd West Suffolk Regiment of Foot, and was promoted to Major on 9th March 1867, and to Lieutenant Colonel on 30th April 1873, being promoted to full Colonel five years later. Cotton had married Jane Gordon, daughter of James Inglis of Aberdeenshire in 1855, and latterly served as Assistant Adjutant, Quartermaster General, and Commandant of the Royal Hibernian Military Academy. He was promoted to Major General on 8th July 1888, and died on 7th March 1899. Confirmed as his only medal entitlement.