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Indian Army Officer's sword, Captain Francis Aylmer Maxwell VC, 18th Bengal Lancers, 1896

Straight bladed sword with a spear point and 'honeysuckle' guard, made by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London.

Francis Aylmer Maxwell (1871-1917) was commissioned in the Royal Sussex Regiment in November 1891 and promoted to lieutenant in November 1893. The following year Maxwell transferred to the 24th (Punjab) Regiment of Bengal Infantry and served in Waziristan before taking part in the Chitral Expedition (1895) with the Queen's Own Corps of Guides and being Mentioned in Despatches for retrieving the body of a fallen comrade under heavy fire.

Maxwell later joined the 18th Regiment of Bengal Lancers and served in the Tirah Expedition (1897-1898) under General Sir William Lockhart, to whom he was aide-de-camp. He was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his services.

Appointed aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-General Lord Kitchener, Maxwell was promoted to brevet major in August 1902. When Kitchener became commander-in-chief in India in 1902 Maxwell was again appointed his aide-de-camp. Military appointments in India and Australia followed. From December 1910 until June 1916 he was Military Secretary to Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India. Maxwell was created a Companion of the Order of the Star of India in 1911.

Appointed brevet lieutenant-colonel in November 1915, the following June, Maxwell was given command of 12th (Service) Battalion The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), which had been raised at Mill Hill in September 1914. His tactical acumen and inspired leadership of the battalion helped secure Trônes Wood on 14 July 1916.

Following his exploits on the Somme, Maxwell was awarded a bar to his DSO for 'conspicuous bravery and leadership'. He was later promoted to brigadier-general commanding 27th Brigade of 9th (Scottish) Division, but was shot dead by a sniper during the Battle of Menin Road Ridge on 21 September 1917. Maxwell had been out reconnoitring a section of ground that was to be attacked.

Maxwell was later buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery. Maxwell was also commemorated by a plaque at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, and on the Sandhurst Chapel Memorial, Camberley.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1959-01-19-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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