Remembering Doctor Brydon

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

-- Rudyard Kipling, "The Young British Soldier"

Dr. William Brydon, shown here, was the sole survivor of a 16,500 man British invasion of Afghanistan in 1842. Dr. Brydon and two others were harassed by the Afghans to the gates of Jalalabad; the other two were killed, with Brydon deliberately left alive to tell the tale. A detailed account is available in Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress by Jan Morris. Morris interviewed an old man (this was before the Russian invasion) who still carried a British rifle taken from the dead. Morris asked what would happen if an invader came again. "The same," the old man said.