Medal Awarded to Pte Thomas Falla
Medal awarded to Pte Thomas Falla of the 12th Foot after the capture of the fort at Seringapatam in southern India in 1799. The British lion is shown overcoming Tippoo Sahib, the ‘Tiger of Mysore’. After Falla’s death in action a wrought-iron shot weighing 26 lbs was removed from his thigh.
In1799 the 12th Regiment was part of a force directed against Tippoo Sahib, Sultan of Mysore, who, in alliance with the French, was determined to drive the British out of India. On May 4 Tippoo’s fortress at Seringapatam was stormed and captured and Tippoo himself killed.
Colonel Richard Bayly of the 12th Regiment in his diary relates that:
“At the siege of Seringapatam one of the officers received so extraordinary a wound that I cannot refrain from relating particulars. As he was entering the mullah a shot from Seringapatam struck him in front of the right hip, lodging between the bones of his thigh. His bearers complained of the great weight bearing on one side, on examining the wound the surgeon could not suppress a hopeless cast of countenance. On which the wounded officer [Lt Falla] requested that he might have a bottle of port wine to keep up his spirits and die like ‘one brave soldier’ (he was a Guernseyman, not well versed in the English language). Soon after this he died.
The body was opened, and to the astonishment of all in the camp a wrought iron shot of 26lbs weight was extracted from between the bones of the thigh, which had been completely covered over by a swelling of the part affected . . . This almost incredible fact was generally known and the shot weighed and exposed to the public scrutiny of the officers of the army.”
As Bayly said, Thomas Falla was from Guernsey, the son of Daniel Falla and Susanne Le Pelley of the Maisons au Comte in St Sampson’s parish. He had been commissioned into the 12th Regiment in August 1796; he was 18 and a half when he was killed.
The medal shows on the obverse the British lion fighting a Bengal tiger with on the reverse the assault on Seringapatam.