EAST AND WEST AFRICA 1887-1900, CLASP, 1897-98 ‘CAPT. H.D. BRAMWELL. 15/HUSSARS.’
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Duncombe Bramwell was born in 1869 and was educated at Eton between September 1883 and August 1888. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, the Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment (Militia) on 10 March 1888, he was promoted Lieutenant 2 February 1889. Bramwell joined the regular Army as a Second Lieutenant,15th Hussars as a on 29 April 1891. He was promoted Lieutenant, 11 October 1892 and Captain, 10 September 1896, being one of 6 Officer selected from 300 applicants to serve on Special Service in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, 1897. Setting off for the West coast of Africa in March 1897, Bramwell and the other five Officers were destined to take command of a force of Hausa soldiers and track down a powerful Mohammedan chief named Samory, who was threatening invasion of the Gold Coast frontier. From the Rhyl Record and Advertiser, 13 March 1897.
“ANOTHER BRITISH EXPEDITION. Messrs. Elder, Dempster, and Co.'s steamship Batanga lias sailed from Liverpool for the West Coast of Africa. Amongst her passengers were six special-service officers, who were on their way to Accra, on the Gold Coast. Their names are Captain H. D. Bramwell, of the 15th Hussars; Lieutenant G. Greig, 2nd West Indian Regiment; Captain C. W. Gwatkin, 1st Manchester Regiment; Captain D. Mackworth, 2nd Royal West Surrey; Captain C. V. R. Wright, 2nd South Wales Borderers, and Captain A. Montgomery Campbell, 2nd Royal West Kent. It is understood that they are going out for the special purpose of looking to the protection of the frontier of the Gold Coast. For some time past there have been reports of the Gold Coast, Hinterland being in a somewhat un- settled state through fear of invasions from the great Mohammedan Chief Samory. The Officers are all men of splendid physique, and were selected out of over three hundred volunteers. The only man of the party who had previously been to West Africa is Lieutenant Greig, of the West Indian Regiment. A senior officer is Captain A. Montgomery Campbell. The officers will land at Accra, where they will be seen by Sir Francis j Scott, the Commander of the Gold Coast troops, and there they will be placed in command of a force of Hausa soldiers. The expedition will then start for the interior, their ultimate destination being the confines of the British Colony near which Samory and his men are said to be hovering. It is stated that the name of the town to which the British force will in the first instance march to Bomba.”
The following is from the South Australian Register, 11 May 1897:
“A POWERFUL MOHAMMEDAN CHIEF; Samory, the turbulent Mohammedan chief of the Western Soudan is evidently, again on the warpath in the hinterland of the Gold Coast- Colony, where his operations are causing dismay among peaceable traders. A statement, thinly veiled by a qualified semi-officinal denial, has -been made to the effect that the British Government contemplates the dispatch of an expedition to the great slave-raider and six special-service officers have arrived at Accra, .where, a force of Hausas has been also assembled in readiness for duty. The object of their mission has not been disclosed, but now that the settlement has heard that a peaceful trading caravan met with, atrocious treatment from Samory the character of the expedition will probably be speedily declared. Indeed our recent telegrams have told us that the British authorities in the neighboring colony of Lagos have dispatched a hastily gathered force to the scene of the attack to rescue any members of the ill fated caravan who may have survived. In view of the activity of French and German agents throughout the vast region within the bend of the Upper Niger there are many reasons why Great Britain should if possible conquer Samory by moral persuasion instead of by the alternative of a costly and sanguinary war. The case is one for skilful negotiation to show the importance of preserving good relations with this redoubtable warrior it will be necessary to indicate the position of affairs in his country. From the Ivory Coast, Togoland and Dahomey, expeditions are continually being sent into the interior with the avowed purpose of grabbing as much of the hinterland as possible for the respective governments by which they are accredited; whilst as many of the usual farcical treaties as they can induce the native rulers to sign are secured by the wily agents who attend to this portion of the undertaking. The French not content with organizing parties from the coast, have sent others up the Niger from Timbuctoo with instructions to move south from the river and thus effect a junction with those advancing northward. The great aim is of course to secure the whole of the enormous country from the Niger, right down to the coastline. Where the already acquired possessions of other nations have intervened to preclude the complete realization of this scheme the French, have worked round those areas and prevented their expansion inland…..”
Captain Bramwell was appointed Adjutant, Hampshire Yeomanry (Portsmouth Yeomanry Brigade) on 19 November 1898, before resigning his post on 6 October 1902, having been promoted Major on 17 August that year. Served with the 15th Hussars on 1.
During the Great War, he served with the 15th Hussars on the Western Front from 1914. Whilst commanding the Regiment, he was severely wounded on 10 May 1915 at Ypres and was invalided. Returning to command his Regiment in September 1915 and promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, 10 October 1915, he stayed with his Regiment in France until finally being invalided again due to the wounds he received at Ypres; Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 20.5.1918). Lieutenant-Colonel Bramwell retired from the Army on 10 October 1919 and died on 9 September 1921.
Condition EF. A very scarce medal to one of just six Officers to receive the medal for this campaign. Ex Spink 2014.