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Views of the Bazar Valley Field Force, 1908
Peshawar: Mela Ram photographer,, [1908] . Landscape quarto. Album leaves loose, housed in a blue cloth drop-back box, title - "Photographs" - from the original album mounted on upper panel. 93 gelatine silver print photos, images approx. 140 × 85 mm, mounted on 24 leaves, of these 55 single photos and 6 panoramas, three 2-section, two 3-section and one 4-section, are part of the publication and numbered in the negative with letterpress captions beneath, organized in sections charting the progress of the expedition from Khaibar via Chora, Walai, China, & Halwai, the final section, "Miscellaneous" includes the jirga, or tribal gathering, at which the peace was settled. Additionally there are 27 related gelatine silver prints of privately taken photographs, mounted on the versos of the leaves, mostly approx. 105 × 75 mm, with ink captions identifying groups and individuals of the 59th Rifles and including the names of Lieutenant Anderson and Colonel Carruthers, most relating to the Bazar Expedition, but some from the subsequent Mohmand Expedition, plus 5 photos from Davos, pasted in at rear, including the names Hohenlohe, Thompson, Campbell and Creagh. Inked map, verso of title page showing the route of the expedition. Overall very good. From the time of the end of the Tirah campaign in 1897–8 the Zakka Khel Afridis had "remained the persistent enemies of tranquility and progress. Numerous raids in British territory were proved to have their origin in the Bazar Valley" (Nevill, Campaigns on the North West Frontier p. 331). The autumn of 1907 brought a renewal of activity, raids being carried out "with such daring that even Peshawar city itself became the scene of wholesale robbery under arms. A military expedition was then sanctioned at the beginning of February 1908, 'limited strictly to punishment of Zakka Khel, and not occupation or annexation of tribal territory' " (ibid.) An expedition was raised under the command of Major-General Sir James Willcocks. "I had at my disposal two Brigades of Infantry, with a third on the line of communications, and in reserve four Squadrons of Cavalry, one Battalion Pioneers, with an extra Battalion of Infantry as Divisional troops, two Batteries of mountain guns, and two Companies of Sappers and Miners" (Willcocks, The Romance of Soldiering and Sport). The expedition was swiftly and efficiently successful. "From the first I made up my mind to move so quickly that the Afridis would be taken unawares … The Afridis were quite dumbfounded by our rapid movement, and in twenty-four hours we had practically decided their fate. Owing to the fact that no other Afridi clan joined [them] ... and the Mohmand Lashkars arrived too late, they stood no chance against the highly trained Division under my command. They never got a look in, and within a fortnight, what Punch did us the great honour of calling 'Willcocks' weekend War' was over and we were back in Peshawar." Willcocks was sent a telegram by the king himself congratulating him on the skill with which the operations had been carried forward and on "the bravery and good conduct of the troops, which I consider has been beyond all praise." A superb visual record of campaigning on the North-West Frontier. We have been unable to trace any record of another copy.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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