Royal Engineers service in the Mutiny

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Royal Engineers service in the Mutiny

Postby yperman » 13 Aug 2015 13:34

Good afternoon,

I wonder if members could help me please? An ancestor of mine, Charles Libby, was awarded the Mutiny medal with the Central India clasp. So far all I've found out about him is that he was born 1826 in Cornwall, enlisted as a drummer boy in 1840,served in India (and other Empire postings later) and retired as a Sgt.Major in the Royal Engineers in 1876. Family tradition has it he spent all of his service in the RE.

I shall be very grateful if members can either tell me something about the part the Royal Engineers played in the Central India campaign or kindly point me at a link, site or book which might help me.

Many thanks,

Yperman
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Re: Royal Engineers service in the Mutiny

Postby Maureene » 13 Aug 2015 14:04

The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page 'Central India Campaign', which has links to online books and articles, which will give you background information. If he was with the Royal Engineers, he may have been attached to the Sappers and Miners.
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Central_India_Campaign

As your ancestor retired from the Army,there should be service or pension records on the pay site findmypast, images of the original records at the National Archives, Kew.

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Royal Engineers service in the Mutiny

Postby yperman » 13 Aug 2015 16:53

Thank you very much for the leads Maureene.

Yperman
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Re: Royal Engineers service in the Mutiny

Postby yperman » 21 Dec 2016 10:25

Sometime ago I posted a request for information regarding the Royal Engineers' part in the Mutiny. Thanks to Maureen and others' leads I have managed to piece together quite a lot about my forebear and the part played by the RE.

I thought part of my findings may be of general interest to forum members. A battalion of Royal Engineers were en route to what became the 2nd Opium War when they were diverted, at the outbreak of the Mutiny, from Singapore to India. Each RE company on arrival was attached to one of the relief forces.

My ancestor's company (the 2nd) were attached to the Central India Relief force and took part in six battles and several sieges, most notably at Jhansi where the RE were used as an assault force - half of them attempting to use ladders and half blowing in the gates - this latter assault succeeded. A sapper won the VC here for maintaining a sap under very heavy fire. It was here too the Ranee of Jhansi died when she led a cavalry charge.

The campaign ended for this force with the taking of the Heights of Punwarree. Here £700,000 sterling (in Victorian money) worth of specie was dug up. After a long ( 10 year ) court case this was awarded under the Admiralty Prize rules to the General, officers , NCOs and men of the Central India force. ( The other forces had sought unsuccessfully a share).

By the way the Royal Engineers were not attached to the Indian sappers and miner units.

I hope this of interest - I was surprised (as a Great war buff) to find how (relatively) little is written about the Central Indian campaign.
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