Archive: Jun 2017

  1. Saragarhi talk at Southall Cadets

    Leave a Comment

    We had a fantastic time visiting Southall and speaking about the battle of Saragarhi to 193 Cadets (Army Cadets) and 1846 Squadron (Air Cadets).

    The group of young people were between the ages of 12 – 18, and they were given insight into the battle and got to handle the Martini Henry mk IV rifle.

    If you’d like to book a talk such as this, contact us directly.















  2. After Annexation: Frontier Defence to the last stand at Saragarhi

    Leave a Comment

    On Sunday 4th June, we were invited to the fantastic Anglo-Sikhs Wars exhibiton in Leicester to make a presentation about what happened after the fall of the second Sikh Empire.

    “After Annexation: Frontier Defence to the last stand at Saragarhi” was presented by writer and filmmaker J. Singh-Sohal (pictured) and delved into how the Sikhs went from being the fiercest of British foes to the staunchest of allies.

    It took in not only the development of the Sikhs in the various units that were raised to serve on the North West Frontier, but the current context of Islamist terrorism which we see – which has some similarity to what led to the tribal uprisings of 1897.

    The talk covered the battle of Saragarhi in depth, through photographs and eye witness accounts of the heroism on the Samana.

    The audience also had a chance to handle the rifle used by the Sikhs – the Martini Henry Mk IV.

    Thanks to the organisers Sikh Museum for putting together such a fantastic exhibition and series of talks.

    A video of the talk will be shared in due course.

  3. Sunrise for the 21 at Saragarhi

    Leave a Comment

    The defenders of Saragarhi saw the sun rise over Fort Lockhart on the day of battle!
    By Richard Fowell, expert heliographer

    While doing some calculations to determine the heliograph settings to signal from Saragarhi to Fort Lockhart, I spotted something that would make a memorable scene in any film about the battle of Saragarhi. Viewed from Saragarhi, the sun rose over the walls of Fort Lockhart that day!

    I stumbled over this using the tools below, but as a quick sanity check, here’s a “quick look” at the sunrise on that day from Saragarhi using Peakfinder (screenshot also attached).

    PeakFinder’s  sunrise time of 7:02 apparently assumes Daylight Savings Time (not invented in 1897) and timezone 5 –  my computations below use solar time at Saragarhi. Note that the direction of sunrise does not depend on the choice of time reference.

    The profile that Peakfinder shows has the high point of the hill a bit left of sunrise, but the height profiles in the digital elevation models are a bit uncertain – satellite photos are a much more accurate guide to horizontal positions.

    The more detailed look is the second attachment, using the solar calculator at the US Government website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

    You can duplicate my results (screenshot attached) with the following inputs to:

    Latitude 33.554167  Longitude 70.8875 [1] (Saragarhi)
    Time Zone: 4.726 [ Solar time: the latitude divided by 15 deg]
    Day Month Year: 12 Sept 1897 ( Battle of Saragarhi)
    Time: 05:46:14 [2]

    This is my calculated local solar time when the center of the sun would appear at the parapet of Fort Lockhart viewed from Saragarhi[2]. You will note  that at this point, the sun direction is through the cluster of modern-day buildings at the top of the hill where Fort Lockhart stood.

    There are, of course, various uncertainties in the exact location of Saragarhi and Fort Lockhart at the date of the battle, but based on the best information I have at the moment, the sunrise viewed from Saragarhi rose over the walls of Fort Lockhart that day.


    Richard A. Fowell

    [1] The position I used for Saragarhi is the high point of the ridge, as we have discussed,
    which jibes with the official report and the photo taken from Saragarhi of Ft. Lockhart.

    [2]  The time is chosen to get a sun elevation angle of 0.66 deg, which is what I calculate to be the apparent height of the Ft. Lockhart parapet
    The 0.66 deg elevation is based on 0.58 deg elevation of the ground at Ft Lockhart viewed from Saragarhi
    plus 0.08 deg for the 14 ft high walls Fort Lockhart is credited with (at range of 1.82 miles)
    I got the ground elevation angle viewed from Saragarhi from
    (actually, rechecking this, the elevation of the base of the far walls is 0.57 deg, and range to there is 1.85 miles, but close enough, I won’t recalculate).

    [3] The legalese involved in using data from the NOAA site, crediting it, etc., is covered here: