Evelyn Hey Cobb

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Evelyn Hey Cobb
Born(1899-09-15)15 September 1899
Simla, India
Died25 February 1972(1972-02-25) (aged 72)
Allegiance United Kingdom / British Empire
Service/branchBritish Raj British Indian Army
Years of service1919–1947
AwardsOrder of the British Empire

Lieutenant-Colonel Evelyn Hey Cobb, OBE (15 September 1899 – 25 February 1972) was an officer in the British Indian Army and served as Political Administrator in various capacities in North-West India.[1][2] He started the tradition of holding a polo tournament at Shandur.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Evelyn Hey Cobb was born on 15 September 1899 at Simla, India. His father, William Hey Cobb, was a member of the Indian Civil Service, a Barrister from the Inner Temple who served as City Magistrate in Lucknow India. Cobb received education from Winchester College and the Cadet College, Quetta.[6][7] Cobb was a well read man who enjoyed lengthy discourse and had a love for field sports, the countryside and the mountain. He was immensely fond of hunting, fishing and polo.[8]


On 15 April 1919, he was commissioned into the Indian Army, joining its 25th Cavalry.[9] He was subsequently attached to the Kurram Militia, 19 June 1921 to 24 October 1922, attached to the South Waziristan, Scouts 27 October 1922 to 4 July 1923, then after leave from 1 January 1924 to 18 November 1924.[10] Transfers to Foreign and Political Department of the North-West Frontier Province 20 November 1924 as Personal Assistant to the Chief Commissioner, Peshawar. He served in Chitral from 1927 to 1929 as Assistant Political Agent.[11]

Cobb initiated the tradition of holding a polo tournament between Chitral and Gilgit on Shandur.[12] The practice continues till this day and draws thousands of spectators each year. Cobb also introduced the practice of playing polo in the moonlight at Shandur.[13]

In the King's Birthday Honours (London Gazette 3 June 1935, page 3612), he was appointed an Officer of the civil division of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1937, Cobb, then a major, assumed the role of Political Agent North-West Frontier States Agency (Dir, Swat, and Chitral).[14][15] In 1940 he became the Political Agent of North Waziristan.[16][17] From 8 July 1942 to 5 September 1945 Cobb was the Political Agent of the Gilgit Agency.[18][19][20] During his tenure in Gilgit he planted trout into the Yasin River.[21][22] He was mad keen on polo and during his frequent visits to Hunza was instrumental in establishing a number of polo grounds in the locality.[23]

He was promoted Lieut-Col 15 April 1945[24]


Cobb died on 25 February 1972.[25]


  1. ^ Caroe, Olaf (1972-06-01). "Obituary: Appreciation". Asian Affairs. 3 (2): 201–202. doi:10.1080/03068377208729626. ISSN 0306-8374.
  2. ^ "Pedigree of the Cobbs".
  3. ^ Mills, James H. (2005-05-15). Subaltern Sports: Politics and Sport in South Asia. Anthem Press. p. 75. ISBN 9780857287274.
  4. ^ Pakistan and Gulf Economist. Economist Publications. 2008. p. 66.
  5. ^ Mir, Shabbir (10 July 2010). "Shandur Polo Festival: Gilgit defeat Chitral after five years". The Express Tribune.
  6. ^ Winchester College 1867-1920 A register, p501
  7. ^ London Gazette 15 August 1919
  8. ^ Brown, William (2014-11-30). Gilgit Rebelion: The Major Who Mutinied Over Partition of India. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473841123.
  9. ^ Indian Army List, July 1919
  10. ^ History of Service of officers holding gazetted appointments under the Foreign and Political Department. Corrected to 1st July 1935
  11. ^ History of Service of officers holding gazetted appointments under the Foreign and Political Department. Corrected to 1st July 1935
  12. ^ "After a year's gap: Shandur Polo Festival begins June 20th". The Express Tribune. 6 June 2014.
  13. ^ "G-B in a fix over participation in Shandur polo tournament". The Express Tribune. 19 June 2012.
  14. ^ Askari, Nasreen; Crill, Rosemary; Museum, Victoria and Albert (1997). Colours of the Indus: costume and textiles of Pakistan. M. Holberton in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum. p. 134.
  15. ^ Museum, Victoria and Albert (1936). Review of the Principal Acquisitions During the Year. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 71.
  16. ^ Rashid, Abdur (1977-01-01). Civil Service on the Frontier. University Book Agency [distributor?]. pp. 33–37.
  17. ^ The Indian Year Book. Bennett, Coleman & Company. 1940. p. 145.
  18. ^ Crane, Robert I. (1956). Area Handbook on Jammu and Kashmir State. University of Chicago for the Human Relations Area Files. p. 79.
  19. ^ India Office, Great Britain (1945). India Office and Burma Office List Advertiser. p. 9.
  20. ^ Farrington, Susan; Leach, Hugh (2003-08-29). Strolling About on the Roof of the World: The First Hundred Years of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 9781134426690.
  21. ^ Pakistan Quarterly. 1969. pp. 16–17.
  22. ^ Qamar, A. Sayeed Khan (1973). The Lure of the Karakorams. Ferozsons. p. 22.
  23. ^ Mehra, Parshotam (1992). An "agreed" frontier: Ladakh and India's northernmost borders, 1846-1947. Oxford University Press. p. 158.
  24. ^ London Gazette, 22 June 1945, p. 3283
  25. ^ "Pedigree of the Cobbs".