Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Waziri banner in Boston?!?!?!

A couple of weeks ago while Googling for images of 19th Century Afghan bridges (well, everyone has their own idea of fun!) I stumbled across a somewhat amazing discovery: an October 2001 article from Boston Univesity's "Bridge" newspaper, about a Waziri tribal banner that was used in at least one battle with British forces in 1894, recovered by the British and donated to the school's Library years later by the son of an Anglo-Indian civil servant who was part of a mission to delineate the border with Afghanistan when the battle took place.

Here's a photo from the article, showing an archivist standing the banner rather inarttfully gathered inhis hands:

...and here's a link to the article:


For most of my life I've been interested in the Anglo-Afghan wars and the history of the North-West Frontier.  One of the thigns I've learned is that detailed description, photos, and illustrations of the flags used by the native forces in these campaigns are few and far between.

If I still lived in NYC I would get in touch with the BU Library myself and -- so long as the flag is still there, which there's no reaon to doubt it is -- do my best to arrange a visit and get some good color photos of the entire flag FULLY UNFURLED... but I live in Los Angeles, so unfortunately that simply not possible.

The small crosses visible in the photo don't look like any Pashtun symbols I know, but I'm no expert and I know I'd love to see the WHOLE FLAG, which happens to be described as being TRIANGULAR -- the shape Pashtun tribal flags are almost always described as being.

I have sent an email to the school in hopes of hearing back but haven't heard anything yet.  This may be due to it being the midst of the Holiday Season... or not.  If and when I do hear back I will certainly share any new info, but... in the meantime, my question for everyone out there in the Colonial Wargaming blogosphere is....

If the flag is still there, is one of us willing and able to visit Boston University, take some pics and post them somewhere online for the rest of us to see?

There must be ONE WARGAMER interested in the history of the North-West Frontier living within reach of Boston University... musn't there???

On a distantly-related note, I'm happy to report my son was just accepted to his "Early Decision" college choice -- Cornell University in upstate New York, which though it's a great school, is obviously not located in Boston.  So my questions mreains: is there someone out there who can take it upon themselves to further investigate this Tribal banner for the rest of us...???

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