Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Life That Sounds Like a Movie

Or a least, a movie title, something along the lines of: The Bengal Lancers. Or the old 1950s TV series, "Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers."

But seriously, one of the things that I really enjoy about researching for and writing these posts is when I can find a lot of information about the person whose memory is being memorialized. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's a fascinating look back into history.

Today's armorial memorial is one of those.

This is the memorial to Major C.E.T. Oldfield, of the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry.

The inscription reads:

In memory of Christopher Edward Thomas Oldfield,
Companion of the Most Honorable
Order of the Bath,
Major of the Fifth Regiment
of Bengal Light Cavalry,
and Lieutenant Colonel of
the Army of India,
who after a service of
thirty years, distinguished by
his gallantry and conduct,
especially in the defence of
Jellalabad in 1842,
and in the battle of Maharajapore, in 1843,
died suddenly at Nakodah,
in the East Indies,
on the 16th of April 1850,
aged 45 years and 5 months.
This tablet is erected
by his brother Officers
of the 5th Regiment,
to mark their admiration
of his gallantry as a soldier,
and to record their regard for him
as an honorable man,
and a trusty generous friend.

And now for the history: informs us that:

"Christopher Edward Thomas Oldfield was born in Murshidabad, Bengal, on 17 Nov 1804. He was the son of Christopher Oldfield, BCS and Mary Johanna. He was educated in England and trained as a cadet from the age of 16. He arrived back in India on 25 May 1821 and was posted to the 5th Bengal Light Cavalry in July. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 13 May 1825 and was Interpreter and Quartermaster in the 5th BLC from 13 July 1825. He went on furlough from 1833 to 16 Dec 1835.

He served in the First Afghan War, in the operations against the Ghilzais in 1841 and at Kurutu on 5 Aug 1841. He commanded the rearguard on the march from Khurd Kabul to Tazin in October 1841, and at the actions at Tazin and Jagdalak. He commanded the detachment of 130 men during the siege of Jellalabad, and the action at Mamu Khel. He was given Brevet Major for his services in the war, and appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General on 1 April 1842. He was given command of the 8th Irregular Cavalry in April 1842 and the 4th Irregular Cavalry in Dec 1842.

In the Gwalior Campaign he fought at Maharajpore, commanding the 4th Irregular Cavalry. He went on furlough from 10 Feb 1845 until 1 Nov 1849 when he rejoined the 5th BLC. He was awarded the CB [Companion to the Order of the Bath] on 4 Oct 1842. He died at Nakodar, Punjab, on 16 April 1850. The memorial plaque to him is in York Minster."

But, of course, it's really the heraldry that warrants him a place on this blog.

The coat of arms is a variant of Oldfield, of Oldfield, county Chester, substituting here a gold field for their silver: Or on a bend gules three crosses paty fitchy argent. The crest appears to be a variant of Oldfield of Bradfield, county Chester, substituting here proper for argent: A demi-eagle displayed proper.

Beneath the shield, we see Major Oldfield's medal as a Companion of the Order of the Bath, with its three crowns within a circlet charged with the words Tria Junca In Uno (Three joined in one).

It's a very nice monument, erected to the memory of a man by his brother officers, whose white stone really makes the coat of arms and crest stand out.

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