Object of the Month: April 2022

The Punjab Medal

Published: 30 March 2022

Chosen by: Gurinder Mann, Project Officer

Collection: Military History

Object Name:

Punjab Campaign Medal

Awarded to Gunner J. McDonnell, 1st Trp. 2nd Bde. H. Art, 1848-1849

Bequest of Major William Jesse Freer, 1933.


The Sikh Empire was at war with the British East India Company during the 19th century. This medal was conferred on British officers after the Battle of Chillianwallah which took place on 13th January 1849. This was part of the second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849) in the Punjab, India.

This particular battle was important as the Sikhs were on the verge of victory but after heavy rainfalls the British took the advantage. In the final battle of Gujarat, the Sikh forces were defeated and the Punjab was annexed.

Later Sikh soldiers would form part of the ‘British’ Indian Army and formed the backbone of many campaigns leading to their deployment in the First and Second World Wars.



The Object of the Month can be seen in person throughout April at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery.