Afghanistan 1919: Royal Navy launches on the Kabul River

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Afghanistan 1919: Royal Navy launches on the Kabul River

Post by grm79 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:17 am

While reading “The Story of the India General Service Medal 1908-35” by Richard G. M. Stiles (pub Terence Wise 1992) there is a reference to Royal Navy launches on the Kabul River during the campaign for which the IGS with clasp Afghanistan NWF 1919 was awarded; the entitlement period for the clasp was 6th May – 8th August 1919.

The reference is - “… and sniping across the Kabul River became a daily ordeal. At one point two Royal Navy launches were brought up stream and the soldiers successfully conducted hot pursuit patrols against the hostile tribesmen”.

Does anybody know the names/numbers of the launches used, where they might have come from, the size of their crews, where they would have been based, who would have crewed them (all RN personnel or a mixture of local and RN)? Also, where to find more information?

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Re: Afghanistan 1919: Royal Navy launches on the Kabul River

Post by hammy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:51 pm

These would be ship's boats , not the sort of MLs or HDMLs from WW2 , like a big open lifeboat , but slimmer .

At that time the RN still practiced active participation in land fighting , it's strength being in riverine operations and in Artillery support , and actual troops in the form of Royal marines , so the royal navy's big warships were equipped with a range of boats capable of putting a big landing party ashore , with associated guns and gear , efficiently .

The bigger ships boats , such as launches , could carry a mounted machine gun , or perhaps a pom pom or a 47mm 3pounder gun , up in the bows , highly useful for depressing colonial enemies in those pre-kalashnikov days .

Record keeping was fairly universal by then too , so operation papers etc should be extant still .
The British Ministry of Defense maintains a Historical branch -- try emailing a query there and see if they can tell you where to start looking .
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