Honorable Corps of Gentleman-at-Arms
Late 4th Bengal Native Infantry and 3rd Sikh Irregular Cavalry
A rare carte de visite photo of Frederick Robertson Aikman in the
unique uniform of an officer of the 3rd Sikh Irregular Cavalry
wearing the medals for the Sutlej campaign of 1845, Punjab
campaign of 1848-49, the Indian Mutiny of 1867-58 with two clasp
and the Victoria Cross.  The photographer is shown on the reverse as
The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company of Regent Street,
London.  The photo is identified on the reverse with what appears to
be an original signature with the notation “3rd Sikh Cavalry”.

Frederick Robertson Aikman was born in Ross, Broomelton,
Lanarkshire on 6 February 1828.  He entered the service of the
Honorable East India Company when he was commissioned as an
Ensign in the 4th Bengal Native Infantry on 18 January 1845.  He
was present with his Regiment throughout the Sutlej campaign in
1845 and at the battle of Sobaron (medal).  He was promoted
Lieutenant on 7 July 1848.  He next saw action with his Regiment in
the Punjab campaign of 1848 and 1849 with General Wheeler’s Field
Force (medal).  He served with the 4th BNI in the Indian Mutiny in
the siege and capture of Delhi, the action of Bolundshur and the
siege of Lucknow (medal and two clasps) and was appointed to do
duty with the 3rd Sikh Irregular Cavalry.  

The Times, in his obituary states: “While commanding the 3rd Sikh
Cavalry on the advanced picket, with 100 of his men, having obtained
information just as the force marched on the morning of March 1,
1858, of the proximity, three miles off the high road, of a body of
500 rebel infantry, and 200 horse, and two guns, under Moosahib
Ali Chuckbdar, he attacked and utterly routed them, cutting up more
than 100 of men, capturing the two guns and driving the survivors
into and over the River Goomtee.  This feat was performed under
every disadvantage of broken ground and partly under flanking fire
from an adjoining fort.  On this occasion he received a severe saber
wound in the face in a personal encounter with several of the
enemy.”  For this action, Lieutenant Aikman was recommended for,
and awarded, the Victoria Cross (London Gazette 3 September
1858).  He was also promoted Captain on 26 April 1858.  His
Victoria Cross was personally presented to him by the Queen at
Buckingham Palace on June 8th of 1859.  However, after 18 years
service in the Indian Army, Captain Aikman was forced to retire on
half-pay as a result of his wound.

The Queen appointed Captain Aikman a member of The Honorable
Corps of Gentleman-at-Arms, the Queen’s official bodyguard, on 16
May 1865.  In addition, he was appointed Honorary Major, Honorary
Lieutenant Colonel and ultimately Honorary Colonel, in the 4th
Battalion Middlesex Regiment (Royal Middlesex Militia).

Colonel Frederick Robertson Aikman, VC, died suddenly on 5
October 1888 during the County Ball at Hamilton, Lanarkshire.  He
is buried in
Kensal Green Cemetery in London.  His Victoria Cross is
still in private hands and is not on public display.