The very rare Army of India Medal 1793-1826, short hyphen reverse, 1 Clasp: Poona, officially impressed naming, awarded to Private I. Brinkworth, 1st Battalion, 65th Regiment of Foot - the 2nd Yorkshire West Riding Regiment, formerly 56th West Essex Regiment of Foot, and ultimately 54th West Norfolk Regiment of Foot, who saw over 17 years service in India between May 1813 and September 1830. On the 56th Foot being ordered home in late 1816, he volunteered for transfer to the 65th Foot, and then went on to see service during the Third Anglo-Maratha War and in the operations against the Pindarries, being present at the Battle of Kirkee on 5th November and the Battle of Poona between 11th and 16th November 1817. He is one of 92 Europeans to receive the Army of India Medal 1793-1826 with clasp for Poona, 42 of which were awarded to men of the 65th Foot, though whilst issued with the clasp for Poona only, he is in fact been entitled to medal with single clasp ‘Kirkee and Poona’ awarded for his presence in both actions. Brinkworth later went on to see service in Arabia during the operations against the Oman Coast Pirates in the Persian Gulf during 1819 to 1820, and remained with the detachment of his regiment in Arabia in the aftermath of the successful operations. Having then volunteered for transfer to the 54th Foot in 1822, he was ultimately present during the First Anglo-Burmese War in the Ava Campaign of 1824 to 1825, though he does not appear to have claimed a second clasp to which he would have otherwise been entitled.
Army of India Medal 1793-1826, short hyphen reverse, 1 Clasp: Poona, officially impressed naming; (I. BRINKWORTH, 65TH. FOOT.)
Condition: Nearly Extremely Fine.
Provenance: Glendining’s May 1965.
Isaac Brinkworth was born in Stanley, Gloucestershire, and having worked as a labourer, then originally enlisted into the British Army on 9th May 1812 as a Private with the 56th West Essex Regiment of Foot. His regiment was then on service in India, and he was posted out there to join it on 10th May 1813 after a passage of some six months, and would spend the next 17 years and 128 on service in India. He joined the 2nd Battalion, 56th Foot at Camp Domun near Surat on 5th November 1813, and was allocated to No.3 Company under Captain John Hadfield, but in March 1814 was transferred to No.4 Company under Captain Charles Forbes, who in May 1814 was replaced by Captain Archibald Campbell, whilst still stationed at Surat. Brinkwork is known to have been in the camp hospital at the end of July 1814, and again at the end of September 1814, and then in October 1814 moved with the battalion to Bombay. By the end of December 1814 he was once again in hospital, and No.4 Company had been taken over by Captain Joseph Perry. In January 1815 his battalion left Bombay, but Brinkworth was not with his company and may have been on detached service as he does not rejoin No.4 Company until September 1815 when stationed at Seroor. Then in May 1816 his battalion marched to Jaulna, and by October 1816 was back at Seroor.
The 56th Foot was order back to England around this time, and Brinkworth was amongst the volunteers who transferred to the 1st Battalion, 65th Regiment of Foot - the 2nd Yorkshire West Riding Regiment, whom he joined as a Private on 2nd November 1816, and in December of that year he joined Captain George Wilson’s Company who were stationed at Seroor. He then transferred to Captain Alexander Campbell’s Company on 17th December 1816. At the end of 1816 and for the early months of 1817, the 65th Foot was employed in search of Trimbuckjee, a follower of the Peshwa who, having been imprisoned by the British for murder, had escaped and was now thought to be assembling troops in the Mahadeo Hills.
In February 1817 the battalion moved to Bhaigaum near Bombay, and on 10th May 1817 his battalion split with garrisons at Poonah and Pargaum. In October 1817, shortly before the start of the war against the Pindarries, known as the Third Anglo-Maratha War, the 65th Regiment was encamped at Surur, forty miles northeast of Poona, and was accordingly employed under Lord Moira’s plan of campaign in the 1st Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Milnes, a former C.O. of the 65th, in the 4th Poona Division, under Brigadier-General Lionel Smith, the whole being encompassed in the Army of the Deccan. Colonel Milnes brigade, along with the rest of the Poona Division, reinforced Colonel C. B. Burr on 13th November after the Battle of Kirkee fought on 5th November 1817.
On the 15th November 1817, the left wing of the division under Milnes fought its way across the Mutha Mule River and the next day linked up with the rest of Smith’s force, for the capture of Poona which was completed by the 17th November.
Brinkworth was possibly present at the Battle of Kirkee fought on 5th November 1817 and was then present at the Battle of Poona between 11th and 16th November 1817, and despite being shown was entitled to the clasp for both ‘Kirkee and Poona’, was subsequently one of 92 Europeans to receive the Army of India Medal 1793-1826 with clasp for Poona, 42 of which were awarded to men of the 65th Foot. If he had received the clasp ‘Kirkee and Poona’ then he would have joined the list of 17 men from the 65th Foot out of a total 82 Europeans to gain this rare clasp.
Thereafter the 65th took part in the pursuit of the Peshwa, marching in excess of two thousand miles during ‘this very trying, difficult and long protracted campaign’. After moving around the Bombay Presidency it was back at Seroor in June 1818. In February 1819 Brinkworth is listed as sick on the Regimental Muster, and it is unclear weather he was with his battalion when it formed part of the force under Major-General Sir W. Kier Grant at Anja for further service in Kutch. On 26th March Kier Grant’s expedition was attacked as it pitched camp before Bhuj. The enemy, however, was quickly driven back and the guns in the fort of Bhuja which protected the capital were silenced as a preliminary to the successful assault by escalade next day.
Brinkworth is again listed as sick in April 1819, and in June of that same year was with the battalion at Fort George Barracks in Bombay. He was again sick during August to September.
In November 1819 the battalion was embarked about ship for a voyage to take part in an expedition against the Oman Coast Pirates in the Persian Gulf. The sighting of a pirate fleet of sixty-four sail cruising off Kutch and reports of thirty-five Joasmi ships off the coast of Materan and Sind confirmed the fact that the expedition had been mounted none too soon. On 17 November, the expedition assembled at Qishm where an audience was sought with the Iman of Muscat who promised his co-operation in the forthcoming endeavour. On the 25th, Kier Grant in the Liverpool set out to reconnoitre Ras-el-Khima and a few days later called up the transports. At 4:00 am on 3 December the 1st Division made an unopposed landing two miles southeast of the town and next morning dislodged the enemy from a bank 900 yards from the outer fort. On the night of the 5th, a battery of four guns, with a mortar battery on its right, and a trench for the protection of the covering party, was established only three hundred yards from the fort’s southernmost tower.
Next day a bombardment was opened from the position. The Liverpool also opened on the town but found the distance too great to have much effect. At 8:00 pm, the Joasmi made a sally on the entrenchment, an account of which later appeared in the United Service Journal of 1829 (Part 1, p.713): ‘The firing had terminated for the day, the men had been relieved, silence reigned in the batteries, the night was very dark, and the picquets as usual were on the alert. About one, a dark object like a large black dog, was seen creeping along on all fours, several similar objects following. The advanced picquets were instantly cut down; all was hurry, shout and bustle. The trenches were filling with a large party of Arabs, engaged in close contest with our men, who were speared and stabbed in a twinkling. Already the Arabs had succeeded in dragging away a howitzer in triumph. The alarm spread like wild fire through the trenches. A party, under Major Warren [this officer was Maj Nathanial Warren], instantly advanced in double-quick time, attacked the assailants, drove them out of the trench and re-captured the howitzer. A desperate conflict ensued; the Arabs fought like furies, but they were soon bayoneted; nearly all of them, ninety in number, were found lying in the trenches. They had divested themselves of their upper garments to facilitate their onset, and if we mistake not, their bodies seemed anointed with oil.’
The bombardment was resumed on the 7th and by sunset the enemy’s position in the southernmost tower was reported untenable and the breaches were nearly practicable. By 8:00 a.m. next day, the breaches were completed and the troops moved forward. But to their surprise they entered the town without firing a shot; the Arabs had evacuated during the night. The Wahabi’s now realising the pointlessness of further resistance sent in their submission from all quarters. All, that is, except for Hussain-Ben-Ali, the Wahabi chief of a post called Rams, six miles to the northeast, who with four hundred adherents had taken refuge in the hill-fort of Dhayah situated at the head of a creek two miles from the coast. A detachment, consisting of the 65th Regiment, the flank companies of a Bombay Native Infantry regiment, and thirty artillerymen with two 12-pounders, two mortars and four field guns, was formed under Major N. Warren, with Lieutenant S. R. Warren acting as Adjutant, and having embarked at Ras-el-Khima, landed on the 18th, ‘with considerable difficulty and risk, owing to the heavy surf that beat on the shore’, within four miles of Dhayah.
Having made contact with the enemy that afternoon, two days were spent bringing up the guns and encircling the town in order to cut off any possible escape routes, and by the morning of the 21st, Major Warren was ready to make his assault. The Major afterwards reported: ‘Aware, however, that the families of the enemy were all still in the town, and humanity dictating that some effort should be made to save the innocent from the fate that awaited the guilty, an opportunity was afforded for that purpose by an offer to the garrison of security to their women and children, should they be sent out within the hour; but the infatuated chief, either from an idea that his fort on the hill was not to be reached by our shot, or with the vain hope to gain by procrastination, returning no answer to our communication, while he detained our messenger, we opened fire at half-past eight in the morning, and, such was the precision of the practice, that by half-past ten, perceiving the breach would soon be practicable, I was in the act of issuing the necessary orders for the assault, when a white flag was displayed; and the enemy, after some little delay in assembling from the different quarters of the place, marched out with their arms, with Hossein Ben Ally at their head, to the number of 398; and at half past one p.m. the British flags were hoisted on the Sheikh’s house. The women and children, to the number of 400, were at the same time collected together in a place of security, and, I am happy to say, without a single instance of either injury or insult to their persons or feelings having occurred...’
The detachment returned to Ras-el-Khima on 26th December, and, having visited and destroyed forts at several other places, the majority of the battalion sailed with the rest of expedition for Bombay, however Brinkworth was with the detachment who remained behind on service in Arabia.
Brinkworth is listed as absent without leave in March 1820, and having been sentenced by Court Martial, from 11th to 25th April 1820 he was placed in solitary confinement. By this stage his company was now commanded by Captain W.J. Moorhouse, and from 16th May 1820 Brinkworth is listed as on detached service at Kutch where he remained until rejoining on 1st January 1821 at which point his battalion is now listed as being at Zoor in Arabia. Brinkworth was back with his battalion at Colaba in Bombay in March 1821, and in June 1821 is shown as serving in the company commanded by Captain Isaac Hart. By September 1821 his battalion was back in Bombay itself, and Brinkworth is shown as once again sick. Then on 25th December 1821 he proceeded on attachment to Surat. By 18th March 1822 he is at Colaba, and is shown as a ‘prisoner’ on the Muster List.
In 1822, the 65th Regiment was ordered home after nearly twenty-two years on foreign service and the following year was granted ‘the figure of the Royal Tiger’ to be borne on its Colours and the Battle Honours INDIA and ARABIA.
Brinkworth for his part however remained on service in India, and having taken his discharge from the 65th Foot on 24th June 1822, by now aged 28, he volunteered for re-enlistment for ‘unlimited service’ at Bombay, India on 25th June 1822 and joined as a Private the 54th West Norfolk Regiment of Foot. In August 1822 he was posted to No.5 Company under Captain James Leslie, and serving at Poomanaleee. By November 1822 his company is commanded by Captain William James Rea, and the following month the commander changes again to Captain Matthew Young. By February 1823 the 5th Company is now commanded by a Captain Gonville Bromhead, and Brinkworth is once again shown as a ‘prisoner’. By May 1823 the 5th Company is now commanded by a Captain William Cox. In February 1824 Brinkworth is once again a ‘prisoner’ and in May 1824 the battalion moved from Bangalore to Fort George at Madras, where it arrived in June, at which time Brinkworth transferred to No.9 Company under Captain Alexander Burnett. The following month he is shown as being in the regimental hospital.
In November 1824 the battalion was posted to Chittagong having been ordered to Burma for service during the First Anglo-Burmese War, and it formed part of the army which advanced up the River Irrawaddy to the Kingdom of Ava before. Brinkworth is confirmed as having been present during these operations, the battalion having been located art Cox’s Bazaar in January 1825, and in February 1825 Brinkworth is listed as employed aboard ship, he being aboard the warship H.M.S Hibernia, and then later that month his battalion moved into the Arakan. With the operations over, his battalion left Burma from Chittagong on the Transport ‘Thetis’ and returned to Fort George at Madras, and Brinkworth is then shown as in hospital at St Thomas Mount.
His old company commander having died whilst on the route back from Burma, as of February 1826 his No.9 Company was then commanded by Captain Charles Hill, and then in May 1826 the battalion was moved to St. Thomas Mount. For his service in the First Anglo-Burmese War during the Ava Campaign he should be entitled to the Ava Clasp though he does not appear to have claimed a second clasp to which he would have otherwise been entitled. Only five men successfully claimed the medal with the two clasp combination of Poona and Ava.
In September 1826 Brinkworth is shown as aboard the Transport ‘Palinurus’ for passage to the south of India, and by the end of the year his battalion was stationed at Cannanore. Brinkworth was back in hospital in May 1827 and September 1827, and then in October 1827 his company was commanded by Captain William Abbott, Brinkworth being again in hospital, and he remains there till the end of the year, being hospitalised again in May 1828.
In January 1829 No.9 Company was re-numbered No.8 Company and command given to a Captain J.G. Beavan, and the following month Brinkworth was again in hospital, where he remains until the end of the year. During this period in June 1829 No.8 Company was re-numbered No.7 Company. By January 1830 Brinkworth is shown as en-route to Madras and is listed as an ‘invalid’ at Poonawallee awaiting passing to England, and on 8th April 1830 he left India on passage for England aboard the Transport ‘Clandine’, arriving home in October 1830 after 17 years 128 days service in India. Posted to the Invalid Depot at Fort Pitt, Chatham, he was discharged ‘worn out’ on 10th November 1830, and was appointed an out-pensioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Brinkworth latterly lived in Worcestershire where he died on 9th December 1858.