A Ava clasp Army of India medal awarded to Lieutenant (later Lieut. Colonel) Walter Rutherford, who accompanied John Crawfurd’s mission to Siam and Cochin-China 1821-23.
Walter Rutherford was born in Jedburgh in July 1801, the son of Captain John Rutherford, 42nd Highlanders, afterwards a Major in the Dumfries Militia, and his second wife Agnes, daughter of J. Chatto of Mainhouse. Educated at Edinburgh University, Walter was appointed a Cadet in the H.E.I.C’s Army in 1819 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, 14th Bengal Native Infantry.
In 1821, the Governor-General of India, Lord Hastings, who was interested in learning more about Siamese policy with regard to the northern Malay states, and Cochin-China's policy with regard to French efforts to establish a presence in Asia, sent a special mission to the courts of both regions. He chose as the leader of the mission John Crawfurd, the noted Scottish Colonial Administrator who had already served in H.E.I.C. missions to the East Indies, most notably alongside Stamford Raffles in Java.
Crawfurd, travelling with notes from Horace Hayman Wilson on Buddhism, was accompanied by Captain Dangerfield, a skilful astronomer, surveyor and geologist, and the noted naturalist George Finlayson, who acted as the mission’s medical officer. For security, they were accompanied by a force of 30 Sepoys under Walter Rutherford. Rutherford was advanced to Lieutenant in July 1823.
Transferring to the 28th Native Infantry in May 1824, he saw action in the Arakan in the First Burma War and was appointed Adjutant of his unit in July 1825 (Medal & clasp). Having then gained advancement to Captain in October 1831, he returned to the U.K. on extended furlough.
Back in India by the mid-1830s, Rutherford assumed command of the 28th Native Infantry in the rank of Major in December 1841, but became Officiating Assistant Secretary to the Government Military Department in Bengal in early 1842 and Second Assistant Military Secretary on the Military Board in June 1843.
Next appointed Assistant to the Civil Architect at the Presidency, he served as Executive Officer in Charge of circular and eastern canals from February 1845 to January 1852. Advanced to Lieutenant-Colonel in the latter year, and having enjoyed further furlough back home, Rutherford returned to India in in late 1854, when he was appointed to the command of the 11th Native Infantry. He died at Allahabad in May 1856 and was interred in Kydgani Cemetery.
The medal is in good condition with ribbon. Has one minor edge knock to the reverse at 6 o'clock.
Comes with information of Crawfurd's mission.