British Military & Criminal History:

1900 to 1999.

HOME

CAMPAIGN

Home - UK Medals - Campaign - 2nd Afghan War

Introduction

This page is concerned with the medals issued to personnel who took part in what became known as the 2nd Afghanistan War of 1878-1880.

Afghanistan War 1878-1880

Following the 1st Afghanistan War, the country was in great turmoil due to inter-family conflicts between various sons of the Emir. Shere Ali Khan, the Emir's third son and successor, aroused the distrust of the British Forces in India by adopting a pro-Russian foreign policy in 1878. After ignoring several British ultimatums, in November 1878, British forces invaded Afghanistan.

Yakub Khan, son of Shere Ali succeeded to the throne in March 1879, but was forced to abdicate after Kandahar was taken. In 1880 the more pro-British Abd-ar-Rahman Khan, grandson of Dost Muhammad, was placed on the throne.

The Afghanistan medal was introduced on 19 March 1881 for the Afghanistan campaigns of 22 November 1878 to 26 May 1879 and 3 September 1879 to 20 September 1880. The medal was cast in silver for British troops and bronze for native soldiers; both medals being 36 millimetres in diameter. The ribbon was green with crimson stripes on both edges.

A total of six clasps were issued, although the most on one medal can be four.

Clasp Date Period Remarks
Ali Musjid 21 November 1878 Unusual to be paired with Ahmed Khel clasp.
Peiwar Kotal 2 December 1878 -
Charasia 6 October 1879 -
Kabul 10 - 23 December 1879 Awarded to those engaged in operations around Kabul. Includes columns under Brig-Gen C.J.S. Gough who joined Roberts on 24 December.
Ahmed Khel 19 April 1880 Unusual to be paired with Ali Musjid clasp.
Kandahar 1 September 1880 Awarded to those under Roberts engaged in the action on 1 September. Also to those who took part in a reconnaissance of Kabul the previous day.

A total of 16 Victoria Cross medal were awarded during the 2nd Afghanistan war, including 2 for the battle at Maiwand.

Kabul to Kandahar Star

The Kabel to Kandahar Star was a bronze medal in the shape of a five-pointed star.

In the centre is the royal monogram VRI around which is a band with the text "Kabul to Kandahar 1880". The reverse side is plain except for the recipient's details: indented capital letters for British soldiers and engraved capitals for natives. There are some unnamed examples. The height of the medal is 62 millimetres (excluding the suspension ring) and 48 millimetres wide.

The medal was awarded to all those who took part in General Roberts' march of approximately 310 miles from Kabul to Kandahar between 9 and 31 August 1880. The forces under Roberts command consisted of 1 Infantry Division, a cavalry and an Artillery Brigade.

Blog | UK Medals | Remembrance | War Crimes | Spying | Courts Martial | Criminal Cases | Index | Contact