Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

James Henry Archer

James Henry Archer :

James Henry Archer : Punjab Medal with clasps 'Goojerat', 'Chilianwala'

Punjab Medal with clasps 'Goojerat', 'Chilianwala'

We don't know anything about James' early life.

James' military career began on the 13th December 1840 when either James, or more likely his family, purchased a commission as an Ensign in the 39th Regiment of Foot. This Regiment was stationed in India.

He held this rank until the 22nd December 1843 when he purchased the next highest rank of Lieutenant. The 39th Regiment moved from Agra to Dinapore, now Danapur in Bihar State in late 1844.

On the 10th November 1846 James transferred to the 29th Regiment of Foot. We don't know why he chose to transfer, but the 39th Regiment were scheduled to leave India at around that date, so perhaps James had taken to active service and wished to stay in India.

The 96th Regiment of Foot arrived in Bengal at some point before September 1848, and James is listed as one of their officers. Almost immediately though, James was on the move again. He was attached to the 24th Regiment's Staff for its service in the Punjab during the Second Anglo-Sikh War of 1848-1849.

James saw service at the Battle of Chillianwala on the 13th January 1849. This battle was a setback for the British, but a disaster for the 24th Regiment. More than half the Regiment became casualties, mainly from Sikh artillery. James was one of them.

Although we don't know the details of James' wounds, they were described as 'slight' in the 'Nominal Roll of European Officers Killed, Wounded or Missing' written on the 17th January 1849 and published in the London Gazette on the 3rd March. James was present at the Battle of Gujrat on the 21st February, which was a major British victory that led to the capture of the Punjab and the end of the war.

James had returned to the 96th Regiment by June 1851 and he was to stay with them in the rank of Lieutenant until the 9th October 1855 when he was placed on half pay.

The 96th Regiment was stationed in Ghazepore and Lahore in Bengal during this period. In 1856 the 96th returned to the UK and was stationed in the Curragh Camp in County Kildare, Ireland. James was not with them.

The rest of James' life and career is a mystery.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
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OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council