Military Wiki
Sir Dighton MacNaughton Probyn
General Sir Dighton MacNaughton Probyn with Queen Mary
Born (1833-01-21)January 21, 1833
Died June 20, 1924(1924-06-20) (aged 91)
Place of birth Marylebone, London
Place of death Sandringham House, Norfolk
Buried at Kensal Green Cemetery
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Bengal Army
British Indian Army
Years of service 1849–19??
Rank General
Battles/wars Indian Mutiny
Second Anglo-Chinese War
Umbeyla Campaign
Awards Victoria Cross
Order of the Bath
Order of the Star of India
Royal Victorian Order
Imperial Service Order
Order of Philip (Hessen)
Order of the Red Eagle (1st Class) (Prussia)
Order of the Redeemer (2nd Class) (Greece)
Royal Order of Kalakua (1st Class) (Hawaii)
Order of the Tower and Sword (Portugal)
Order of St Anne (1st Class) (Russia)
Order of Osmanieh (2nd Class) (Turkey)
Other work Keeper of the Privy Purse

General Sir Dighton MacNaughton Probyn VC, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, ISO (21 January 1833 – 20 June 1924) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


'Dighton Probyn, 2nd Punjab Cavalry, in Indian dress', 1857 (c).

Probyn was 24 years old, and a captain in the 2nd Punjab Cavalry, Bengal Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deeds took place for which he was awarded the VC:

"Has been distinguished for gallantry and daring throughout this campaign. At the battle of Agra, when his squadron charged the rebel infantry, he was some time separated from his men, and surrounded by five or six sepoys. He defended himself from the various cuts made at him, and before his own men had joined him had cut down two of his assailants. At another time, in single combat with a sepoy, he was wounded in the wrist, by the bayonet, and his horse also was slightly wounded; but, though the sepoy fought desperately, he cut him down. The same day he singled out a standard bearer, and, in the presence of a number of the enemy, killed him and captured the standard. These are only a few of the gallant deeds of this brave young officer."

Despatch from Major-General James Hope Grant, K.C.B., dated 10th January, 1858.[1]

Further information

Later Sir Dighton achieved the rank of general. He was a councillor of the Oxford Military College in Cowley, Oxfordshire from 1876-1896.

He was in later life an ornament of the Victorian age, being Keeper of the Privy Purse, a court sinecure position as well as Secretary to the Prince of Wales and Comptroller of the Household. This was an important position as the Prince and Princess were both profligate in spending and Sir Dighton had a hard job to keep them solvent. Testimony to his success was the fact that, when the Prince acceded at last in 1901, he was in credit at the bank. Probyn continued in this role throughout the King's rule and right up to his death.

Probyn was totally devoted to the Princess, then Queen-Empress, building gardens for her at Windsor Castle and Sandringham House. The Queen returned the devotion, carrying round a knife with her to cut open his collar when he occasionally had seizures. Sir Dighton had an impressive appearance in old age with a very long white beard reaching down to his navel which concealed his VC on ceremonial occasions.[2]


The 5th King Edward's Own Probyn's Horse popularly called Probyn's Horse, a regiment of the British Indian Army, was named after him; it is now part of the Pakistan Army and officially designated as 5 Horse. Probynabad, a town in Punjab province of Pakistan with large farmlands owned by the regiment is also named after him.

The medal

The VC earned by General Sir Dighton MacNaughton Probyn, according to the London Times, was bought at auction 24 September 2005 for £160,000. Details of the purchaser were not given.


  1. "No. 22154". 18 June 1858. 
  2. Kings, Queens & Courtiers, Kenneth Rose, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1985 ISBN 0-297-78733-0

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).