British Raj - Personal Staff of the Viceroy of India Presentation Salver, 1921-22
British Raj - Personal Staff of the Viceroy of India Presentation Salver, 1921-22
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British Raj - Personal Staff of the Viceroy of India Presentation Salver, 1921-22

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Diameter: 25.5cm

Provenance: S.R. Hignell, Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India 1920-24

Silver. Presentation salver centrally engraved 'P.S.V. 1921-22' surrounded by engraved facsimile signatures of civil and military officers who served on the Personal Staff of the Viceroy, Lord Reading. Maker’s mark of ‘C&K’ to the reverse and stamped ‘silver’.

The present salver was present to ‘Bob’ Hignell (1860-1935), private secretary to the former Attorney-General and Liberal politician Rufus Isaacs (1860-1935), who as Lord Reading, served as Viceroy of India between 1921-1925.

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Signatures clockwise include:

Charles Stuart, Military Secretary to the Viceroy, 1921-27, aka Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Kennedy-Craufurd-Stuart, CVO, CBE, DSO, (1879-1942), late 1st Punjab Cavalry, 1903-08; Burma Military Police 1908-14; 127th Baluchis, 1913; commanded the Hood Battalion, Royal Naval Division, at Gallipoli, DSO, mid, severely wounded; Sudan special service against Chief Ashwol in Bahr-el-Ghazel Province, 1916-17. Private Secretary to British Ambassador (Rufus Issacs, afterwards Lord Reading) to the United States, 1918-19; Private Secretary to Lord Grey of Falloden, 1919-20. Member of the Royal Company of Archers. Killed in an Focke-Wulf 190 attack on Folkestone while commanding the the 8th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, Home Guard, in 1942.

Ralph Burton, Senior ADC to the Viceroy, Captain, Coldstream Guards;

Writing from the Viceroy’s Camp in Gwalior in 1923, he noted. ‘Isn’t it splendid H.E. getting 2 tigers & he got one stone dead with one shot which is his real first’.

C. Noel-Hill, ADC to the Viceroy, later 9th and last Baron Berwick of Attingham (1897-1953); late Lieutenant, Shropshire Light Infantry.

Frank Messervy, Hodson’s Horse, ADC to the Viceroy, later General Sir Frank Messervy, KCSI, KBE, CB, DSO & Bar (1893-1974). He served with great distinction in East Africa, North Africa, and Burma during the Second World War, becoming one of Britain's finest corps and divisional commanders. He was GOC 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats), and evaded capture when his Div HQ was overrun by the Afrika Korps in 1942; GOC, 7th Indian Division, 1943-44; GOC IV Corps 1945; C-in-C Malaya Command, 1945; C-in-C Pakistan Army, 1947-1948.

H.G. Gregory Smith, (1899-), ADC to the Viceroy, later District Officer, East Africa, 1926-1940; Major, 1940-42; and Resident Commissioner, Solomon Islands Protectorate, 1950-53. In April 1923, writing from Viceroy’s Camp, Gwalior, he observed, ‘The Viceroy is in great form: Shoots practically all day’.

R.T. Lawrence MC, ADC to the Viceroy, Captain, Hodson’s Horse.

T. Carey Evans, Surgeon to the Viceroy, aka Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Thomas Carey-Evans (1884-1947); appointed to Indian Medical Service, 1907; served Gallipoli & Mesopotamia with the Indian Army; Military Cross, 1916; married in 1917, Olwen, daughter of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, (1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyford). Knighted 1924; Medical Superintendent at the Hammersmith Hospital, 1932-45. Reported to his wife at Viceregal Lodge, Simla, in 1923, an exciting accident involving an elephant which went mad when the Viceroy was out on a tiger shoot.

The recipient of the present salver was lifelong bachelor Sidney Robert ‘Bob' Hignell, CSI, CIE, ICS (1873-1939). Educated at Malvern and Worcester College, Oxford, he was keen sportsman, and turned out for the Gentlemen of India cricket XI in 1903-04. He was Deputy Commissioner and Financial Secretary in Bihar and Orissa, 1910; Deputy Home Secretary, Government of India, 1916; and was appointed Companion of the Indian Empire in 1917. He was Private Secretary to the Viceroy of India, under Lord Chelmsford and then Lord Reading, 1920-1924. Appointed Companion of the Star of India in 1922, he retired to ‘The Chalet’, Thornbury, Gloucestershire in 1924. 

Source: Lord Reading, 1923, Sir Francis Oppenheimer (1870-1961) Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts.)