Assaye (battle honour)

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Elephant emblem awarded to the Madras Sappers for Assaye

The Assaye battle honour was awarded by the Governor General of British India to all East India Company battalions and British Army regiments that took part of the Battle of Assaye. The battle occurred on 23 September 1803, near the village of Assaye in western India where a small force under the command of Major General Arthur Wellesley defeated a 50,000 strong army of the Maratha Confederacy. The British and native troops (which consisted of Madras Line only) were awarded the battle honour Assaye with the device of Elephant vide General Order of Governor General dated 30 October 1803. The British regiments and Madras battalions involved were also presented with an honorary colour to mark their achievement. The Madras Battalions celebrated the victory for over a century till their disbandment in the 1920s.

Of the sepoy battalions which faced the Maratha line, the only surviving battalion is the 1st Battalion, the Punjab Regiment of the Pakistan Army, the erstwhile 1st/1st Madras Infantry.[1]

In the Indian Army only the Madras Sappers have this unique battle honour now but it counts as repugnant.[2]

The Royal Highland Fusiliers which were formed on 20th Januar 1959 by an amalgamation of The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry, are the descendant of the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot who first became The Highland Light Infantry in 1881, are the only British infantry regiment to still carry the battle honour.[3]

The Light Dragoons, as the descendant of the 19th Light Dragoons, the only British cavalry regiment present, are the only British cavalry regiment to carry the battle honour. They became 19th PWO Hussars and used the Assaye Elephant as their cap badge.


The regiments and battalions which were awarded the battle honour were:[2][4]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b Singh, Sarbans (1993) Battle Honours of the Indian Army 1757 - 1971. pg 107.
  3. ^ "SCOTS History". Ministry of Defence. 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  4. ^ Leslie, N.B. (1970). Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies, 1695-1914. Leo Cooper Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-004-5.