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Datebook: January 13 – William Brydon Becomes Sole Survivor of First Anglo-Afghan War 160 Years Ago

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The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst setbacks inflicted on British power in the region after the consolidation of British Raj by the East India Company. It is considered one of Britain’s worst disasters in Asia before Japan’s invasion of Malaya and capture of Singapore during World War II. The final stand took place at Gandamak on the morning of January 13, 1842 in the snow. 20 officers and 45 British soldiers, found themselves surrounded on a hillock. The Afghans attempted to persuade the soldiers that they intended them no harm. Then the sniping began, followed by a series of rushes. Captain Souter wrapped the regimental colors around his body and was dragged into captivity with two or three soldiers. The remainder were shot or cut down. Only 6 mounted officers escaped. Of these, 5 were murdered along the road. In the afternoon, the British troops in Jalalabad, watching for their comrades of the Kabul garrison, saw a single figure ride up to the town walls. It was Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon. Part of his skull had been sheared off by an Afghan sword and he survived only because he had stuffed a copy of Blackwood’s Magazine into his hat to fight the intense cold weather. The magazine took most of the blow, saving the doctor’s life. He was the only member of the army of 4,500 men to reach safety at the British garrison.

It’s Friday, January 13

Monday the Paducah Chapter of the NAACP’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration starts at 10:15 a.m. with a march from the Robert Cherry Civic Center proceeding east along Park Avenue to the MLK Monument for a wreath laying. The annual luncheon follows at the Civic Center.

Henry Countians commemorate Monday’s holiday with a prayer breakfast at Quinn Chapel AME Church at 218 Church Street in Paris followed by a march from there to the Henry County Court House for more speaking. At 6 p.m.Rev. Thomas Taylor, Union Grove Baptist Church keynotes at the closing ceremony for the day at Allen Temple CME Church on Warren Street.

Murray’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m. Monday at the Woodman of the World, 330 CC Lowry Drive. MSU students participate in a day of service from noon to 5. At 10 a.m. Pastor Rinzee Stansberry of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Ridgeway, South Carolina remembers Dr. King in the Curris Center Ballroom.

See details at Thanks!


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