Medals of the Month - December 2019 and January 2020
Left to right:
Distinguished Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Medal 1878-80 with clasp 'KABUL', Queen's Sudan Medal 1896-98, Khedive's Sudan Medal 1897 with clasp 'KHARTOUM'.
1852: Born at Tenterden, Kent, England. Father was a tailor. Educated at home.
1871: Enlisted as a private soldier in the British Army, in the 9th (The Queen's Royal) Lancers.
Posted to the Punjab, India.
1878-1880: Took part in operations in Afghanistan (North-West Frontier) where he was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).
1880: Returned to England as a qualified riding instructor.
1881: January, appointed cornet in the 9th Lancers. March, commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 21st Hussars. July, promoted to Lieutenant after a period as a musketry instructor
1884: Appointed Adjutant, 21st Hussars.
1894: Promoted to Major.
1896: Posted to Egypt and participates in the Nile Expedition to the Sudan.
1898: Participates in the charge of the 21st Hussars at the Battle of Omdurman. Mentioned in Despatches for the second time, awarded the Queen's Sudan Medal and the Khedive's Sudan Medal. Promoted brevet Lieutenant Colonel.
1900: Accepts position of Commandant of the Queensland Defence Force with the local rank of Colonel. Finn's principal role was to prepare Queensland for service for the Boer War.
1902: Accepts position of Commandant of New South Wales in the Australian Military Forces and promoted to the local rank of Brigadier General.
1904: Given temporary command of Australian Military Forces and made General Officer Commanding (GOC), New South Wales. December appointed Inspector-General, Australian Military Forces. Finn begins drafting a Commonwealth Defence Scheme.
1905: Promoted to the local rank of Major General.
1906: Finn retires on the excuse of bad health after continued conflict with the Australian Defence Minister, Senator Thomas Playford over many of Finn's recommendations. These included that a field artillery school should be established, the Service Corps expanded, the creation of a munitions factory and that as Australian staff officers lacked the necessary experience, the military forces would be better served with the appointment of an Imperial Officer with staff. Later that year, Finn returns to Britain and is promoted to Colonel and placed on the Retired List.
1907: Finn made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
1912: Promoted honorary Brigadier General. Returns to Sydney as Secretary to the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust.
191324: Private Secretary to the Governor of NSW, then Secretary to the acting Governor of NSW.
1924: Passed away on 24th June, aged 69 in Sydney. Henry Finn was given a military funeral and is buried at South Head Cemetery. Funeral procession from Darlinghurst to cemetery takes 2.5 hours.
Members of the public are most welcome to visit the Australian Army Museum of New South Wales to see these medals and many other interesting objects. Please click here for visiting arrangements.
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