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76 Bty History

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            76 (Maudes)Bty

In 1857, in the absence of the Battery Commander, Second Captain Francis Cornwallis Maude was in command of 3 Coy, 8 Bn Royal Artillery in Ceylon. Unofficially the Coy was called "Maudes Battery".

In June 1857 Maudes Bty was shipped to India to join General Havelocks column assigned to quash the Indian Mutiny. After 8 weeks of forced march the column came to the outskirts of Lucknow, a city held by rebels. As the column approached Alam Bagh they were engaged by rebel artillery. Maude quickly brought a section of his 9 pounders into action despite being under heavy and accurate fire. Maude was hit in the hand and many soldiers were killed, but fire was kept up and the dead gunners were replaced by infantryman. Finally an infantry assault routed the rebels and the column moved on.

A little further on at Chared Bridge, a rebel Heavy Bty opened up. Again Maude brought the Bty into action, this time, only 150 yards away from the enemy. For ten minutes there was an accurate artillery duel. Again Maude was wounded but continued to direct the fire. Eventually the enemy was silenced and the city and the residency of Lucknow was relieved.

After the relief, Maude reported the gallantry of his men to Sir James Outram, who had taken command of the force. Sir James witnessed the action and was determined that the Bty should be recognised for its bravery. He decreed that an elected member of the Bty be awarded the "Victoria Cross". Two ballots were held and on both counts Maude was unanimously nominated by his men.

Maude always regarded the Victoria Cross as being bestowed on the Bty and not merely himself. The honour title was not officially recognised until 1951. The Bty celebrates Maudes Day on the 25 September every year in honour of the action at Chared Bridge after which the Victoria Cross was awarded to Maude and the Bty.

Today the Battery is 4 platoon strong, being made up of Desbrisay's, Lucknow, Wood's and Cookson's Troop. Manned by Royal Artillery staff drawn from a wide trade and specialist background it teaches recruits from the Royal Artillery, the Royal Logistic Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers