Lieutenant Guy Huddleston Boisragon VC – 2nd December 1891 – Hunza Campaign, 1891.

Lieutenant Guy Huddleston Boisragon VC – 2nd December 1891 – Hunza Campaign, 1891.

Guy Boisragon was born in Kohat in Punjab in November 1864, the son of a Major-General who had founded what would become the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) in 1858. Boisragon followed in his father’s steps and was appointed as a Lieutenant to the 1st Battalion, 5th Goorkhas in April 1877. He saw much initial action against the Hunza and Nagar tribal groups, who had been occupying Kashmiri outposts and acting in defiance of the Ruler of Kashmir.

This instability and predicted resistance to the plan to build roads through Hunza and Nagar territory led to the mounting of the Hunza-Nagar military expedition in September 1891 to pacify the region. The expedition consisted of 200 Gurkhas of 1/5th Goorkhas and a section of mountain artillery. The expedition advanced through several treacherous mountain passes and lost their commanding officer to frostbite.

This ultimately led to the command of the expedition falling to Lieutenant Boisragon.

The force soon met up with reinforcements, putting their strength up to 1130 rifles. After final ultimatums to the Nagar and Hunza groups were ignored, the force marched on the fort of Nilt on the Hunza river.

The Nilt fort was positioned on a ledge and surrounded by steep precipices, as well as being defended by 14-foot high, 8-foot thick walls of stone, reinforced with timber, and possessing only one entrance. Undaunted, Lt. Boisragon led his Gurkhas to take the fort by assault after a detachment of Sappers had blown the fort’s single gate. Though under direct and often point-blank fire, Boisragon, his Gurkhas and a contingent of sappers managed to reach the gate and set a charge which blew the gate wide open. Under a shower of dust and debris the Gurkhas attempted to storm the fort, but were heavily outnumbered and so Lt. Boisragon returned to fetch reinforcements, dodging fire both leaving and returning. Fortunately, the gate had been held during his absence and Lt. Boisragon was able to lead his troops into the fort and end the battle. His citation reads:

“For his conspicuous bravery in the assault and capture of the Nilt Fort (Hunza) on 2nd December, 1891

This officer led the assault with dash and determination, and forced his way through difficult obstacles to the inner gate, when he returned for reinforcements, moving intrepidly to and fro under a heavy cross-fire, until he had collected sufficient men to relieve the hardly pressed storming party and drive the enemy from the fort”.

The campaign carried on and on December 20th another 5th Goorkhas officer (Lt. John Manners-Smith) would also be awarded the V.C. The region would be finally pacified by the end of the year. Lt. Boisragon would go on to see much more frontier action and would lead his battalion again to Egypt in November 1914 during the First World War, being shot through the knee as a Lieutenant-Colonel during the Gallipoli campaign. He was subsequently evacuated and declared unfit for service but was promoted to full colonel in 1916, working with the War Office in London until retiring in 1920. Guy Boisragon died in France in July 1931, aged 66.

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