Bobbie was the name of a British regimental mascot dog, a mongrel from Reading, who accompanied his regiment to Afghanistan and became involved in the disaster of Maiwand. He survived and upon his return to England was presented to Queen Victoria.
Bobbie belonged to Lance-Sergeant Peter Kelly of the 66th Regiment of Foot (the Berkshire Regiment). He was initially stationed at Brock Barracks, and went overseas with the regiment in the late 1870s.
On 3 July 1880 a column of some 2,700 troops under Brigadier George Burrows set out from Kandahar to assist friendly tribesmen in putting down a rebellion by Ayub Khan. Bobbie accompanied the troops. For ten days Burrows searched for the rebel force. Meanwhile, the friendly tribesmen turned out not to be so friendly, leaving Burrows' force to face an ever-increasing rebel army in countryside where every man's hand was ready to turn against them.
Eventually the British force was surrounded and attacked by the much larger Afghan force. Along with a line of Indian regiments and cavalry, the 66th Foot made a determined stand while the guns were evacuated, Bobbie barking furiously at the attackers. The British were overrun, over half of the 66th regiment being wiped out, while the survivors had no option but to get back as best they could to Kandahar. In the confusion Bobbie got lost, but the following day, survivors making their way back to the fort spotted him trying to catch up, though he was wounded. He was re-united with his owner, who was also on the wounded list.
Upon arrival back in England Bobbie was presented to Queen Victoria along with several soldiers of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment who received their Distinguished Conduct Orders.
Unfortunately, a year later, Bobbie was accidentally run over and killed by a hansom cab in Gosport. He was stuffed and can be seen today at the regimental museum in Salisbury, decorated with an unknown soldier's Afghan War medal.
- Reading Evening Post: Memorial for dog hero of Maiwand
- Cooper, Jilly (2000). Animals in war. Corgi. ISBN 0-552-99091-4.
- Barthorp, Michael (1982). The North-West Frontier. Blandford Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-7137-1133-7.