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23 February 2020

Defeat of a British Force in Chitral

Further news from Chitral, a native state on the North-Western frontier of India, and a short distance south of the Pamirs, states that the Chitralis attacked a detachment of Sikh Infantry, when Lieutenant Rosa and a number of men were killed. The attacking party were followers of Umra Khan.

The British force was completely surrounded, and its retreat cut off by a thousand of the enemy. Lieutenant Ross and his small force made a gallant attempt to force a passage through, during which the brave leader, forty-six Sikhs, and eight camp followers were killed but the remnant of the detachment escaped.

When attacked by the Chitralis Lieutenant Ross's detachment was advancing from Gilgit.The remnant that returned to Mastuj. The little force was hemmed in by the enemy in a narrow defile, and many were tilled by rocks hurled upon them from the ' heights.

British reinforcements are leaving Gilgit. Umra Khan and Shere Afzul are actively organising their forces at Dir, a division of Bajaur. It is reported that the Swat tribesmen are willing to assist the British. The Ameer of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan, is also said to be anxious to attack Umra Khan.

A British expedition will be despatched from Peshawur, under command of General Low, to retrieve the disaster to Lieut. Ross's party on 1st Apiil. The route to be taken by the expedition will be that via Swat and Dir (a division of Bnjjur), the distance to Chitral being 200 miles as compared with a distance of 600 miles via Gilgit.

No direct news of Dr. Robertson, the British Agent, and his party, who are believed to be at Chitral, has been received later than 1st March. It is believed that the party has sufficient provisions to last till the end of April.

Maitland Weekly Mercury, published on Saturday 30, March 1895. Courtesy of National Library of Australia