95th (Derbyshire)

A blog post on the history of an impressive piece of silver currently on display in the gallery in Nottingham Castle.

The first item in focus is that of the 95th Centrepiece. It was commissioned in 1901 by the officers of the 2nd Battalion The Sherwood Foresters. It created to mark the end of nineteen years foreign service. Since 1823, the Regiment saw more active service than any other regiment in its first 85 years.

On the top of the centrepiece is an angel figure “Victory” . She has a laurel wreath, sounding trumpet and branch of palm in her right hand. Then as you can see under this is a decorated cup with the head of Minerva on each handle. The Regimental Mascot then takes pride of place on the front on one pane. The history of the Regimental Mascot is from the Derbyshire side of the regiment.

The base depicts scenes from the major campaigns that the 95th (and then The 2nd Battalion) fought in. These campaigns are:

The Crimean War 1854-56,

The Indian Revolution 1857,

Egypt 1882,

Sikkim 1888

The North West Frontier of India 1897-98.

There are four statuettes around the base. They show an officer, a sergeant of the Grenadier Company, a private soldier and an officer of 1900. Each represents a different period and campaign in the life of the Regiment.

The remaining two figures on the horses represent two officers. On the left is Major Hume at the Battle of Alma. The figure shows Major Hume at the very moment his horse (Charlie) was shot from under him. The other figures are Lieutenant MacDonald and Private Murphy.   Lieutenant MacDonald, assisted by Private Murphy, was wounded at the Battle of Inkerman.

At the battle Private Murphy assisted the wounded Adjutant from his horse. With the Russians closing in, Private Murphy tidied up the wounds and attempted to get him to safety.  Several times both men were forced to fight off the enemy. Captain Macdonald refused to be moved and sat on the ground with his back to a bush. Private Murphy, in spite of the officer’s protests attempted to pick him up to carry him off. He said “How can I show my face in the Regiment again if I leave you”? Captain Macdonald ordered Murphy to leave him and go to the rear. Having expended his last cartridge, Murphy then went back. Captain MacDonald despite receiving more wounds survived the battle.  Private Murphy was reward and was one of seventeen soldiers from the regiment to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the Crimean war. We have his medals in the museum collection and that of Captain MacDonalds.