Side drum carried by the 1st Madras European Fusiliers at the Relief of Lucknow, 25 September 1857
During the Indian Mutiny (1857-1859) the fusiliers were part of Sir Henry Havelock's Lucknow relief column. They had already fought at Benares, Allahabad and Cawnpore, before advancing into Oudh. During their bloody march across the land they engaged in savage reprisals against those suspected of being rebels. The regiment was given the nickname 'Neill's Blue-caps' in honour of their old commander, Brigadier-General James Neil who was killed attempting to reach the Residency, and in reference to their blue headwear.
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National Army Museum, Study Collection