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Two soldiers attempt to save three colleagues swept away

Year 1924

Read by John Grandy – Chairman, Royal Humane Society

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Hughes, Francis E.C., Capt., 4th P.W.O. Gurkha Rifles.

Lalbahadur Mal, Rifleman. Posthumous Award

The battalion transport was crossing the Beas river at Mirthal in the Punjab. The river, owing to heavy floods in Northern India, being much swollen, had left its usual channel and was running in several sections with a strong and dangerous current. When crossing the last arm or section a number of camels were forced off the ford by the strength of the stream, and three men, who lost their hold on the camel ropes, were rapidly swept down stream into deep water, and were eventually drowned.

Captain Hughes who had crossed the river on horseback at the head of the camels, was standing on the bank, and he at once called on Rifleman Lalbahadur to help him try and rescue these men. Both then ran down the stream to a point below, where one man was struggling, and jumping in, endeavoured to reach him, but he was swept past them and carried away, they themselves being also swept downstream. After a hard struggle, lasting about five minutes, Captain Hughes managed to reach the further bank in an exhausted condition, Rifleman Lalbahadur being carried away and drowned.

Captain Hughes well knew the dangerous and treacherous nature of the Punjab rivers when in a state of flood.

The Silver Medal was voted to Captain Francis E.C. Hughes and a Posthumous Silver Medal to the relatives of Rifleman Lalbahadur Mal.

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