The Great Game for political supremacy and influence was played out across the plains of Central between British India and Imperial Russia for almost the entire duration of the nineteenth century. The Younghusband Mission to Tibet was the `end game` of the “Great Game.”
Officially termed the "Sikkim Tibet Field Force," the British presence in Tibet in 1904 has been variously known as the “Younghusband Mission,” the “British Mission to Tibet,” and the “Second British Invasion of Tibet” The “Mission” strictly refers to the diplomatic corps surrounding Younghusband, which was composed of personnel from the 32nd Sikh Pioneers and 300 followers. However Lord Kitchener issued orders for them to be supported by a Royal Artillery Mountain Battery with two ten-pounder screw guns, a half company of the 2nd Sappers and Miners, eight companies of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers, six companies of the 8th Gurkhas, and two Maxim guns from 1st Battalion, the Norfolk Regiment. The vast resources of the Coolie Corps were drawn upon, over 10,000 in all, along with 3,000 ponies, 5,000 yaks and buffaloes, 5,000 bullocks, 7,000 mules and six camels.
The Mission left Darjeeling on 19 June 1903 and reached Lhasa on 4 August 1904. This is an eye-witness account of the 1904 Younghusband expedition to Tibet. Captain WJ Ottley raised and served with the 1st Mounted Infantry, specially formed for the expedition, from personnel within the expedition.
Author: Brevet-Major W.J. Ottley (23rd Sikh Pioneers)
Features: HB, PP