Letters reveal cruel tricks and brave acts of soldier

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AN Edinburgh soldier’s brave but bawdy behaviour at the Indian Mutiny has been revealed in letters set to be sold at auction.

Sergeant James Steven’s letters home give a startling contrast between the heat of battle and his questionable behaviour when off duty.

In one drunken night away from the front line, Sgt Steven played a cruel prank on a local “ugly” woman whom he tricked into thinking he wanted to marry in order to have his way with her.

A series of 20 letters written by Sgt Steven are now to be sold at Bonhams in London. He was killed after volunteering to man a Howitzer gun in the face of a marauding Indian enemy in the Battle of Delhi in 1857.

Luke Batterham, of Bonhams, said: “These letters give us an insight to the day-to-day life in the army and some of the adventures that befell this soldier.”