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Sobraon Sergeant

The Best Sergeant was picked by the Senior Warrant Officers and holds the title for a year - A tradition that is carried on by PWRR.

Each year on the 10th February the Regimental Colour of the 1st Battalion was marched through the ranks of the Battalion to the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, where it was held for the day together with the other two colours.

The Ensign, into whose charge the colour was given at the door of the officers mess by the Commanding Officer, was a Sergeant and this unique Ceremony recalled the bravery of Sgt Bernard McCabe of the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot, (later the 1st Battalion the East Surrey Regiment), during the battle of Sobraon in 1846). This Battle was the final struggle in a long and bloody campaign to subdue the Sikhs.

During the engagement, a feint attack was launched by the 2nd Division under command of Sir Harry Smith, which involved both the 31st and 50th Regiments.

Both this feint and the main attack failed at the first attempt and it seemed that the battle would be lost. Both the Ensigns of the 31st had been killed as had many other Officers.

Seeing his chance McCabe picked up the Regimental Colour and rushing forward under heavy fire, he planted it on the highest point of the Sikh ramparts.

Seeing this, the 31st rallied and charged forward carrying the rest of the Division with them. The Battle was far from over and there ensued a fearful fight before the Sikhs were put to flight. McCabe was commissioned in the field after the battle, and met a gallant death during the Indian Mutiny.

The Ceremony commemorated a man who was, in Colonel Toby Sewells’, words, "More than twice a hero.”



1965 Sgt Speakman  Munster
1966 Sgt Anderson - Munster
1967 Sgt Lee - Munster
1968 Sgt Butler - Lingfield
1969 Sgt Lockwood - Lingfield
1970 Sgt (DM) MD Maloney- Lingfield
1971 Sgt A Knight - Berlin
1972 Sgt A Hill - Berlin
1973 Sgt J Taylor - Bulford
1974 Sgt A Burford - Bulford
1975 Sgt PR Maye - Bulford
1976 Sgt AH Stapleton - Werl
1977 Sgt D O`Shea - Werl
1978 Sgt JH Pyper - Werl


1979 Sgt M Potts Werl
1980 Sgt DJ Lovell - Werl
1981 Unallocated - Belize
1982 Sgt MJ Holland - Canterbury
1983 Sgt RF Weaver Omagh
1984 Sgt PK Tidey - Omagh
1985 Sgt RF Goodman - Omagh
1986 Sgt AR Scully - Gibraltar
1987 Sgt G Meade - Gibraltar
1988 Sgt DL Fisher - Tidworth
1989 Sgt AC Irvine - California
1990 Sgt TDW Sullivan - Tidworth
1991 Sgt W Loosley - Minden
1992 Sgt MD Patrick - Minden