The grave and surrounding area of Edmond Costello's burial plot in St Mark's Churchyard, Hadlow Down, Sussex, had, over the years, become extremely overgrown and very neglected. This was rectified in 2007 by the efforts of the editor of the Victoria Cross Society, Brian Best, by cutting back folliage, shrubs and brambles, and mowing the grass in the churchyard. Refurbishment of Costello's burial plot was then carried out by cleaning the stonework and by the placing of gravel inside the kerbed area of the grave to protect it from weeds and other predations.

Costello's grave:
before and after

The uprising on the North West Frontier in 1897 / 98 was the largest outbreak of tribal violence ever and was only put down with considerable difficulty and the involvement of very large numbers of British troops. The causes of the outbreak were varied and difficult to specify but a major factor was the frontier demarcation initiated by the Durrand Mission to Kabul in 1893, the object of which was misunderstood by the tribesmen, possibleby misguided by the Afghans. The subsequent discontent, together with an increase in fanaticism, stirred up by the mullahs, finally led to a massive uprising in July 1897.

On the 26th July 1897 the garrison fort and camps at Malakand were attacked. The garrison comprised 1 Sqdn, 11th Bengal Lancers; No.8 Bengal Mountain Battery; No.5 Company, Bengal Sappers & Miners; 24th & 31st Punjab Regiments; and the 45th ( Rattray's Sikhs ) of Bengal Infantry. It was during the initial attack that Edmond Costello was to earn his Victoria Cross, subsequently incurring two serious wounds on the 27th & 30th July.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 9 November 1897 ], Malakand Campaign, NW Frontier, India, 26 July 1897, Lieutenant Edmond William Costello, 22nd Punjab Infantry ( att'd 24th Punjab Infantry ), Indian Army.

On the night of the 26th July 1897, at the Malakand, Lieutenant Costello went out from the hospital enclosure, and, with the assistance of two sepoys, brought in a wounded Lance-Havildar who was lying 60 yards away in the open on the football ground. This ground was at the time overrun with swordsmen and swept by a heavy fire both from the enemy and our own men who were holding the sapper lines.

Edmond Costello was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on the 2nd December 1897.

[ London Gazette, 25 August 1917 ], Created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ), Major ( Brevet Lieutenant Colonel ) Edmond William Costello, Indian Army

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the undermentioned Rewards for Distinguished Service in the field in Mesopotamia, dated 3 June 1917

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Brigadier General Edmond Costello,
22nd Punjab Infantry, Indian Army

  • Victoria Cross
  • Companion, Order of St Michael & St George ( CMG )
  • Commander, Royal Victorian Order ( CVO )
  • Distinguished Service Order ( DSO )
  • India Medal ( 1895-1902 )
    • 2 clasps:
    • "Punjab Frontier 1897-98" - "Malakand 1897"
  • Indian General Service Medal ( 1902-35 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "NW Frontier 1908"
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Croix de Guerre ( France )


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Iain Stewart, 28 August 2007