45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911
45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911
45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911
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  • Load image into Gallery viewer, 45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, 45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911

45th (Rattray's) Sikhs - A.C. Lovett, 1911

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Overall: 48cm (14.3in) x 36cm (9.4in)

Watercolour on paper laid down on card.  A Colour Havildar of the Rattray’s Sikhs. Signed lower right. Sheet: 36.5cm (14.3in) x 24cm (9.4in). Contained in period glazed frame.

Raised in January 1856 by Captain Thomas Rattray as a police battalion consisting of 500 cavalry and 1000 infantry, it is said that Rattray went through villages of West Bengal challenging men to wrestle with him. The Sikhs couldn't resist the offer but the condition was that they had to join up. 

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Over the course of the next half century they proved themselves unflinchingly loyal. The regiment was serving in Bihar in May 1857, when the Dinapore Brigade mutinied. Rattray's were the only troops loyal to the British, apart from the 10th Foot (later the Lincolnshire Regiment), between Calcutta and Benares. Fifty men of Rattray’s defended eleven Europeans trapped in a house at Arrah against an he enemy numbering some 2,000 sepoys and rebels who tried ceaselessly to persuade the Sikhs to defect, at first with offers of a share in the plunder and then with threats of torture if captured. They remained loyal and brave throughout. They were taken into the Bengal Line as the 45th in 1864, and further enhanced their reputation in the Second Afghan War (1879-1880) and in Malakand in 1897.

Brigadier-General Alfred Crowdy Lovett, CB (1862-1919) is best known for his illustrations in Major-General George McMunn’s Armies of India (1911). He was commissioned into the Gloucesteshire Regiment in 1883 and soldiered with the 2nd battalion in India before serving as an adjutant of the Militia and an instructor at Sandhurst. Following the outbreak of the First World War, he accompanied the original British Expeditionary Force to France and commanded a battalion of the Glosters in the retreat from Mons. He was mentioned in despatches for his services in October 1914 and created a Companion of the Bath. After being invalided home from France, he was appointed to the command of the East Lancashire Reserve Brigade, and in April 1917 took over the command of the Yorkshire Coast Defences.