Regimental Association of the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

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Page 3- 3rd Europeans

History of the 109th Regiment of Foot, 2nd Battalion the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment.

3rd Bombay European Regiment

With the capture of Jhansi previously looking imminent, Sir Hugh Rose now concluded that the relieving 20,000 strong force commanded by Tantia Topi combined with the 11,000 still in the city and fort would outnumber his own force by some ten to one. Rose had little option but to now defend his position on two fronts. A force of one thousand five-hundred troops was assembled including 226 men of the 3rd Bombay European Regiment who now faced the relieving force. A single line of the 3rd Bombay European Regiment together with the 24th Bombay Native Infantry faced the advancing Tantia Topi who at dawn attacked. Rose however had planned well and each flank of the line had in place field artillery that now moved into position to provide cross-fire into the advancing force. With Tantia Topi caught off-balance, Rose ordered the 14th Light Dragoons to charge on both flanks and rode himself leading the left flank cavalry attack. As Tantia Topi's forces reeled under the cavalry, the 24th Bombay Native Infantry advanced to complete the rout. The 3rd Bombay European Regiment now themselves in the battle fought on and by the evening, although with vastly superior numbers the force of Tantia Topi was beaten and dispersed with fatal casualties exceeding one thousand men. Total British losses were fifteen killed in action, of which two were from the 3rd Bombay European Regiment and sixty-six wounded including three from the 3rd Bombay European Regiment.

With the relieving force dispensed with, the original task in hand, the capture of the fort, resumed. On the 3rd April the 3rd Bombay European Regiment moved into position to attack the city wall either side of the Orcha Gate. Two attacking formations of one hundred men each, one led by Lt. Col. Liddell and the other by a Captain Robison were given the objective of scaling the walls using ladders, but a serious miscalculation had occurred in that the ladders were too short for the portion of the wall attacked by the 3rd Bombay European Regiment. The regiment came under heavy fire, who despite some minor success in scaling the walls with many acts of gallantry, and despite being reinforced by another 100 men of the 3rd Bombay European Regiment, were eventually forced to retire. That is until a parallel attack on the left flank of the fort by the 86th Regiment succeeded in breaching the wall and a party from the 3rd Bombay European Regiment led by Captain Robison followed the 86th through the breach. Lt. Col. Liddell again took his men to the wall from which they had previously retired but this time his force was successful and the walls were scaled. Pushing on for the Palace the 3rd Bombay European Regiment were engaged in difficult street fighting until the Palace was reached and jointly captured by the 3rd Bombay European Regiment and 86th, though both regiments suffered casualties when their foes ignited a powder room causing an explosion.

Although the palace was taken the battle was not yet over and for the 3rd Bombay European Regiment there was still more to do. a detachment was sent to overcome Afghan troopers who were the bodyguard of the Rani and although the Afghans inflicted significant casualties on the Regiment, including the loss of a Captain Sandwith, they were eventually all disposed of and the standard of the Rani was captured. The fighting in the city continued for a further day culminating in Lieutenant Baigrie of the 3rd Bombay European Regiment announcing that he had entered an abandoned fort, and so the fall of Jhansi was claimed. Described as a significant tactical victory, the toll on the Regiment was 12 killed in action and 42 wounded.

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