Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 1857

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Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 1857

Postby Les Waring » 15 Jan 2012 03:43

Les Waring here.

For a number of years, I've been trying to create a data-base of all those who were 'Original Defenders' during the Siege of the Lucknow Residency between 1July and 24 September 1857. I'm always very anxious to receive information about those who are still missing from my list or about whom I have incomplete information. Below I'll give a list of the main parameters of my seach and the information I lack.

My original hope was to include ALL those involved, but I quickly became aware that identifying the approx. 1300 Indians who were there would be an impossibility, so I'm keeping a separate list of as many as I can find of these.

What I'm after therefore are details of the approx. 1700 'Europeans' (including at least two Americans)and 'Eurasians'

Male/Female. Adult/Child, Military Personel/Civilians. All ranks and statuses

Individual details

Surname (with variations). Given name/es. Title/Rank. Unit (for military and EIC personnel) or Occupation. Dates of birth/death . Cause of illness, wounds or death if during the Siege. Relationships to others in the Siege. Other details e.g. passengers on steamship 'Ava', sunk off Ceylon in March 1858.

I have done quite a lot of research on muster,casualty and medal rolls, lists of EIC personnel at NAM, Brig. Inglis' despatch, memoirs and diaries etc., but several major gaps remain

1. Many given names of women/children, including a whole block of wives/children of rankers of the 32nd Foot.
2. Given names/occupations of many male civilians.
3. Confirmation of about 10 of the company of the 84th Foot who were Original Defenders from 1 July. Different lists- Asplin, muster rolls etc. give different results.
4. Confirmation of the 'other ranks' of the Troop of Bengal Artillery (4/1)who were present throughout.

Any help/suggestions gratefully received.

Les W.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Jim Murray » 15 Jan 2012 15:35

Les, I have a list on my site. I am not sure how complete it is but you may find something in there of use.

From "A Personal Narrative of the Siege of Lucknow From its commencement to its relief by Sir Colin Campbell"
By L.E. Rutz Rees,One of the Surviving DefendersPublished by Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, &Roberts 1858

http://www.britishmedals.us/resources/lucknow1.htm

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 16 Jan 2012 00:19

Jim, Les W.here.
Rees was my original inspiration for this project, a number of years ago. However, there are a number of errors in and doubts about what was, after all, a very preliminary early list of survivors. Also it's a very Victorian 'Officers and Gentlemen plus their attendant (and unnamed) ‘females and children list’. I wanted to include 'men' and 'women' (as well as 'ladies') :shock: and give some detail about them. The children are the most difficult, most are not given the dignity of a name in any list and it's only by trawling through many sources that I've managed to give some a face.
As an example, looking at the first three entries on the Rees list
Abbott Mrs., and child (child dead)
Aitkin, Lieut. and Quartermaster,13th Native Infantry, and wife
Alexander Clare, 1st Lieut. Artillery (killed).
My data base (sorry I couldn’t transcribe the spread sheet)has the following categories-

Surname First Second Title/ Dates Unit Wounded Dead Other Details N Name Name Rank (B&D)

I know very little about No 1 Mrs ABBOTT (Non Combatant)except that she may have been widow of Sgt. Abbott, killed in the mutiny at Sitapur, though there is conflicting info.

Ditto No. 2, her child, who I have good, though not conclusive, reason to believe was male. No idea of his dates of birth or death, though the latter was during the Siege.

No. 3 on my list is Clr. Sgt. Alexander ATKINSON 32nd Foot (No.2577) who was wounded (date uncertain) and d.o. w. on 22 July. No other details. No Birth date.

No 4 Pte. Robert ADAMSON 32nd Foot (No. 3192) who was wounded on an undetermined date and d.o.w. on 14 November. No other details or Birth date.

Number 5 Lieut. Robert Hope Moncrieff AITKEN. Lieut./Adjt. 13th Bengal Native Infantry. 1828-1887. Not wounded or seriously ill. Other details- V.C., later Col. and C.B. Spouse of Number 6.

Number 6 Mrs Mary Elizabeth AITKEN (neé ANDERSON). Non combatant. Dates ? -1918. Other Details -Attended GCM (Golden Celebration of the Mutiny at the Albert Hall 1907). Spouse of 5. (Their daughter is not included as she was born after the Siege.)

Number 7 Lieut. D. Clare ALEXANDER. BHA (Bengal Horse Artillery). Wounded 16 Sep(?), d.o.w. 28 Sep. Related (cousin?) to Number 8 …..

This is the level of detail I’m trying to obtain. Some, probably e.g. Pte. ADAMSON, are lost to history, but I’d be delighted if a family history buff sent me details like – ‘everyone knows Mrs ABBOTT was called Minnie and that her little boy, Ebenezer Theophilus, was 6 years 2 months old when he died of the croup on 15 August.’ etc.

I ‘know’ that Mr W. E. Fitzgerald’s (and his wife ‘Mrs Fitzgerald’, of course)2-year-old daughter (name unknown) was the last surviving ‘Original Defender’, dying in 1952, but I need to confirm that and find out what she was called.

I usually demand two unrelated sources, or one very authoritative one, before I accept a piece of info. as conclusively proved. E.g. Cpl. William Allen (if I remember rightly) 84th Foot, died of wounds on 21 August 1857, but he was happily resurrected in time to tuck into the goodies at the Golden Celebration Banquet in December 1907. Nice one, Bill!
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 29 Jan 2012 22:16

Hello Les,

I have read your posts with great interest, but although I am aware of your project regarding details of the original defenders of Lucknow including family details, names of wives and children etc., for your book. I am not sure obviously what information you already have on various individuals, if you already have this info you can delete it, if you haven’t then you are very welcome.

Lieutenant Arthur Soppitt formerly of the 10th Bombay Native Infantry was in 1856 appointed Adjutant of the 4th Oude Irregular Infantry. Became acting Second in Command, 7th April 1857. Oude Irregular Force mutinied and Soppitt became a member of the original garrison at the Lucknow Residency.

Lieutenant Arthur Soppitt was accompanied by his wife Erina Soppitt aged 18yrears and her two year old son Harry, during the Defence of the Residency. On the 30th June 1857 at the Residency, Harry died of Cholera and on the 3rd July 1857 it was Erina’s 19th birthday, she was also pregnant with her second child.

Arthur and Erina endured the physical and mental suffering of the defence, as did all the defenders. Arthur was instrumental in the defence of the Sikh Square. On one particularly traumatic occasion the mutineers managed to dig a mineshaft underneath the main fortification of the Sikh Square where Arthur and two other officers were on duty. The mutineers set off a large amount of explosives in the mineshaft and brought the fortified building down on top of those defending the position. Captain Orr, Lieutenant Mecham and Lieutenant Soppitt were blown into the air together with their small garrison and survived. Ten drummers of the garrison were buried in the rubble of the building and sadly died.

After the final Relief of the Lucknow Residency the women and children were finally evacuated and the long march out of the defensive position began. It was during these first few hours of the evacuation that Erina gave birth to her second child, a daughter who was named Ada Soppitt. The doctor who administered to Erina during the birth was Dr William Brydon famous for his survival during the Ist Afghan War.

Arthur Soppitt continued his military service until his early death at Calcutta on 21st April 1863.

Erina later re-married a Major A. Shaw, she died at Southsea, England on 21st December 1933 at the age of 95.

About a year ago I managed to find a photograph of Erina aged about 95yrs taken about 1930-33, in the photograph are two other survivors of the Defence, but at the time they were only children. In the photograph they appear to be about 70years of age. The female to the left of Erina is Mrs Alpina Thomson daughter of Lieutenant E.P.Lewin Bengal Artillery (killed during the defence) and the male on the right of Erina in the photograph is Mr Arthur Dashwood son of Lieutenant Dashwood 48th Bengal Native Infantry (wounded and died of Cholera during the defence).

I hope this information maybe of some use, let me know.

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 30 Jan 2012 01:09

Billy. Les W. here.
Thanks very much for your contribution. I’m trying to think how I can put my data base, it’s so far about 1600 of the 1700 ‘target population’, online.

Yours is just the kind of info. I'm after, though I don’t expect thousands of people to send the degree of detail that you have given me. What I basically have about military men, officers and o.r., except confirmation of about 7 of the 84th Foot (which I'm still working on) is names, ranks, numbers, units. I am still in doubt on some HEIC officers' first names and years of birth & death (except when they died during the Siege as I have the casualty lists - of course details don't always agree between lists. )

The last time I was in UK (early 2009) I was able to consult the card index on HEIC military personnel at the NAM, which gave me some info. on dates, wives and children. Unfortunately I don’t get to UK very often and don’t know when I will be able to again, and there is a lot to research to do, so I depend on Internet.

I am lacking almost all dates of b&d (apart from Lucknow) for all ranks apart from a few of the more famous ones (V.C.s etc.) from the 32nd and 84th. The only definite survivor of the 84th men (apart possibly from Ensign/Lieut. McGrath) to attend the Golden Celebration in London (1907) was Cpl./Sgt. Patrick Cahill, there may be descendants of his who could provide more details.

As to non-combatants and civilian volunteers, I have big but inconsistent gaps on first names, maiden names of wives, names of children etc. as well as most b&d. dates, so the details on Mrs Soppitt are welcome. I believe I have a short memoir or letter by her about the Siege. Do you have a family connection with the Soppitts, if you don’t mind me asking?

Just as examples, I’d like to know whether the Catholic priest ‘Father Bernard’ was ‘Bernard’ by name or surname and his order. There was another, very ancient, priest ‘Father Theodocious(?) but I know nothing about him except that he died during the evacuation of the Residency. And, of course, the ‘European’ servants – ‘Chivers’ (Ms. Miss Mrs?), the Gubbins’ maid, and Ramsey the Polehampton’s ‘African’ servant from Boston (US or Lincs.?) The Victorians, with their social hierarchies and proprieties can be very frustrating!

Oh, and I did make a mistake (never trust your memory when you’re over 50! :oops: ) about the ‘resurrected’ member of the 84th, not William Allen but Col.Sgt./Sgt. Maj. Henry Jenkins who died of cholera on 25 July 1857 but was up and about at the Albert Hall on 23 December 1907. Cholera isn’t always fatal, of course, and you’re only dead when you’re ‘totally dead’, as a late friend of mine used to say
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 09 Feb 2012 22:41

Not many takers for my info. request so far, but thanks to ‘Billy Fish’ for a valuable contribution. By the way ‘Billy’, I have Mrs Soppitt’s first name as Elizabeth, is that a) wrong b) a second name or c) is ‘Erina’a diminutive or ‘pet’ name?

I’m particularly interested in remarriages of surviving ‘ladies’ (and even ‘women’ :shock: ) as well as married names of female children from the Original Defenders (OD) , as I’d eventually like to identify those who were present at the ‘Golden Celebration’ at the Albert Hall (23 December 1907) to which the only invited civilians, except a few VIPs, were surviving ODs ( male and female).The females named on the programme often have names which are not those of ODs, presumably for the above reasons (I’m talking about 8-10 names.) Also on-line press descriptions of that event, if anyone can suggest links.

It’s obvious that quite a lot of members of this forum are medal collectors and have done/received research info. about the awardees of the medals in their collections. I’m aware that Mutiny Medals with a ‘Defence of Lucknow’ (IMM/DL) clasp bring a hefty price and that the Museums of the ex-32nd and 84th Foot (Foots/Feet?) have a fair number, but there may be a few members with one or two in their collections. I’m only interested in ODs, so IMM/DLs to members of the Havelock-Outram relief force aren’t what I’m after. I’ve picked up some info. from http://www.dnw.co.uk/medals/auctions/ and any other similar site would be interesting to know about. If anyone can help.

In terms of officers, NCOs and other ranks of the 32nd and 84th, I have basic name/number info about them and wound/death info. if that occurred at Lucknow. What I’d like, as a start, is birth and death (post-Mutiny) dates, future career. I have very little except for a few ‘famous’ ones.

About the OD V.C.s, who are my prime interest, I lack some of the following info. -

Wm Dowling (32nd) - On his service record is his profession given as ‘sailor’ or ‘tailor’? Has a photo of him appeared? (I know about the supposed one of his son.)

Jacob Thomas (Bengal Artillery) – A photo? Definitive burial place (Darjeeling?), date and details of V.C. presentation? Whereabouts of IMM/DL ?

Robert ‘Jock’ Aitken ( 13th Bengal NI) – precise inscription on his tombstone at Eastern Cemetery, St. Andrews, whereabouts of IMM/DL and CB?

Wm. Cubbitt (13th Bengal NI) – a decent photo? Whereabouts of V.C. and IMM/DL ?

T.H. Kavanagh (Civilian/HEIC employee). Whereabouts of V.C. and IMM/DC? there are so many conflicting versions.

Sam Lawrence (32nd) Where’s his grave?, but that’s my job.

Henry G. Browne (32nd) later career in 100th Foot (Royal Canadians) Where were they stationed/any action? – the Surgeon Campaign? He received his V.C. at Gibraltar. When did he change his name to Gore-Browne?

Enough for this time, let’s see of anyone takes the bait.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 12 Feb 2012 21:12

Hello Les,

With regard to Erina Soppitt or possibly Elizabeth, for some time, infact since 1996 I had been trying to confirm her first name. Within all the documentary evidence I had, there was a copy of her journal/diary at the end of which she signs herself E.S.

However in 1997 an article appeared in the 'DURBAR' the journal of the 'Indian Army Historical Society' entitled ‘ Last Survivors of the Indian Mutiny’ by John Tamplin. In his article John lists nine individuals who were the final survivors of the Mutiny, the first name on the list was (Mrs Erina SHAW who at the time of the Defence of Lucknow was the wife of Lieutenant A. Soppitt 4th Oude Infantry).

Whether as you indicate this was a name she was known by, or a pet name, I cannot be certain.

Reference her husband Lieutenant Arthur Soppitt, have you ever come across a photograph or image of him during your research?

Reference the grave of Robert Aitken V.C. although there is a photograph of his celtic cross tombstone I was unable to read the inscription, I will check out a few other avenues and see if I can find out what it says.

With regard to William George Cubitt V.C. apart from the Desanges painting there is a photograph of him in later life in the Register of the Victoria Cross. There is also a full length photograph of Cubitt, photograper unknown, in the possession of the India Office Library now part of The British Library in London.

With regard to Samuel Lawrence V.C. there is a photograph of him in the uniform of the 11th Hussars and also a painting of him in the same uniform, he is wearing his full medal group in each image. Lawarence was a close friend of Captain Clifford Henry Mecham another original Defender, they both lived in Jersey, United Kingdom, prior to going India. Infact during the Defence of the Residency, Mecham who was a very accomplished artist sketched many of the buildings at Lucknow and in one particular drawing he includes Samuel Lawrence sat in the entrance to his tent.

During the anniversary of the Indian Mutiny in 2007, the 'Societe Jersiaise' incoporated a 16 page article about residents from Jersey who fought in the Indian Mutiny which obviously included Mecham and Lawrence.

If you would like me to send you copies of any of the documents mentioned please let me know.

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 12 Feb 2012 21:39

Hello Les,

Just an extra piece of information which you may already have.

Reference Jacob Thomas V.C. after being dicharged on medical grounds from the Bengal Artillery on 30th October 1866, it is believed he went to work as a fitter in Hoogly, Calcutta and died there on 24th April 1896. Some sources indicate that he may have had a career with the Bengal Police in Darjeeling and died there in March 1911, however there is no evidence to confirm this in either police or civil files. With a medical discharge he may have been unfit for the police.

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 13 Feb 2012 01:16

Hello Billy, and thanks for the info. I’ll try to answer point by point.

1. Mrs E. Soppitt. – Is the diary/journal you mention the one which appears as an appendix to Fitchett – The Tale of the Great Mutiny (5th edition - it’s not in any of the earlier ones)? I saw a copy on-line but can’t trace it at the moment. I think the modern reprint also has it. I’d like a copy as I have almost all the published memoirs/diaries and some other accounts letters etc. by ODs.
I don’t know if she was present at the Golden Celebration (1907) as my materials are in a mess at the moment and I can’t find all my notes on that event. I don’t remember seeing a photo of Lieut. Arthur Soppitt, but I'll keep a look-out.

2. Is the article from ‘Durbar’ on-line or do you have a copy? I’d really appreciate seeing it, or at least the list.

3. I’ve got a copy of a photo of Aitken’s gravestone, but also can’t make out any of the wording. In terms of graves of OD V.C.s, I’ve only visited the thoseof McLeod Innes (Cambridge)and Cubbitt (Frimley), the later on the day of the ‘big snow’ in January 2009, almost froze to death. I have photos of Aitken (St. Andrews), Oxenham (Exeter), Browne (IOW) and Kavanagh’s (Gibraltar)graves and the plaque to Dowling (Liverpool). The missing men are, Thomas (India), who’s post Royal Artillery life is obscure. I have a copy of a letter from a family member which mentions a photo of him, but no trace of that. And Sam Lawrence, that’s a long on-going story, suffice it to say that that I’ve had no luck here after many years searching.

4. Cubbitt- I have a copy of the Desange painting, but not of the two photos. If/when I get back to UK, I’ll have to look him up at the India Office library.

5. Sam Lawrence. My short biography of him is now about 12K words.

I’ve got copies of the portrait in the uniform of the 11th Hussars (must be c.1864), provided by its owner, Mr M. Richards of Singapore, and of two ‘cartes de visite’ in the uniform of the 8th Hussars. In one, his uniform looks rather rumpled, so he must have sat for the ‘improved’ second (around 1862-63), when the 8th were posted to India (it’s by a Calcutta studio). There’s also the tiny sketch of him sitting in the entrance to a tent at the Redan Battery during the Siege, in Mecham’s book of sketches, with a comment by Mr George Couper another OD. As to Mecham and Lawrence being friends, at least he doesn’t mention Sam in a letter home, sent just after the siege.

I’ve not seen that any of our fellow forum members are especially interested in the 1/25th Foot (KOSB), but hope that there might be some photo of him serving with that regiment in Gibraltar in between leaving the 32nd and joining the cavalry. There certainly are of the POW’s Royal Canadians (100th Ft.) who replaced the 1/25ththere, including one of his ‘partner’ in Uruguay (Fowell Buxton JOHNSTON), who transferred from the 25th to the 100th and, presumably Browne V.C. (later Gore-Browne). Unfortunately the price asked by a Canadian archive for a copy was way beyond my means.

The connection between Sam (never Samuel) and Jersey is rather tenuous. I know that he went there on returning from India in 1858, as his mother was living there, and presumably attended his sister’s wedding to Col. Richards, though he is not mentioned in the ‘Times’ notice. However, prior to going to India in 1848, I doubt whether he was there. The last date that I have for the family before Sam appears on the roll of the 32nd‘s depot coy. , at Chatham in 1847, is for his father at Cork 1837, Sam having been born there in1831.

A problem is that Samuel Hill Lawrence Snr., Sam’s dad, had been in the Channel Islands in a ‘previous existence’ and apparently been married and had a son by this previous marriage, so there seems to be some mixing up of the two. I’ve found very little on SHL Snr. apart from the basic details of his service, also with the 32nd. For his mother, I’ve traced her descent back over 1000 years (as far as you can trust such data) through Scotland to ancient kings of Norway and Russia (both ‘saints’ because they forced large numbers of people to convert to Christianity.)

I have a copy of the relevant edition of the ‘ Societe Jersaise’, which they kindly sent me as I contributed some info. for the article you mention, though some of it got ‘lost in translation.’

Thanks a lot for your help. Les W.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 13 Feb 2012 23:17

Hello Les,

Sent you a PM with information.

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 14 Feb 2012 00:30

Billy

Got the PM, thanks a lot.

Do you have a copy of Mecham's letter? I have a transcript of you don't.
To anyone who has a copy of his albumn of sketches :mrgreen:

Best Les W.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 15 Feb 2012 00:12

Hello Les,

PM SENT

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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Billy Fish » 20 Feb 2012 23:57

Hello Les,

Having read through various details on the net regarding Jacob Thomas V.C. I just wondered if you had picked up this snipppet of information during your research relating to the actual cemetary he was buried in. The only information I had previously was just Darjeeling.

This is the information names the cemetary :-

THOMAS, Jacob. (reg No. 1209).
Bombardier. Bengal Artillery.
London Gazetted on the 24th December, 1858.
VC Medal's Custodian is the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich.
Born in 1833 at Llanwinio, Carmarthen, Wales.
Died on 3rd March 1911 at Darjeeling, India.
Buried in an unmarked grave at Bandel Churchyard, Hooghly, Darjeeling, India.
Digest of Citation reads:
At Lucknow, India, on the 27th September, 1857, when the party, to which Bombardier Thomas was attached, was returning to the Residency, after a sortie, the Bombardier, under extremely considerable difficulty, brought in, on his back, a wounded soldier of the Madras Fusiliers, thus saving him from falling into the hands of the rebels.

You possibly have details of the cemetary judging by your high level of research, but just in case.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 21 Feb 2012 11:27

Billy

Thanks for the communication. I had all the info. re Jacob Thomas except his Reg.#, for which x2 thanks. Does your source for that give others for 4/1 Bengal Art.? Thomas's is the shortest of my 'files' on the Lucknow OD V.C.s, less than 900 words, which compared to the 12K biography of Sam Lawrence isn't much.

I had the detail on the Darjeeling Cmty. Searches there had drawn a blank and, apparently, it isn't/wasn't in good condition. Apparently there was another Jacob Thomas who died around the same time, in Calcutta/Kalkata I believe.This one was described as a 'fitter', which is what the V.C. had given as his occupation on enlistment, so ...???

What I'm really interested in about Thomas is i) the photo which a family member mentioned as once existing (see my post on the 'Museums & Exhibitions' thread) ii) the date/place of his V.C. presentation ceremony (if any) presumably in India.

Best

Les W.
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Re: Original Defenders of Lucknow Residency 1 Jul-24 Sep 185

Postby Les Waring » 05 Mar 2012 03:35

I’ve just come across the following ‘pamphlet’ (link below) offered for sale but way above my price level. It’s a casualty list for the 32nd Foot which covers the Siege of Lucknow. I’ve heard of it but never come across a copy. Although I’ve got the details of the men involved, I ‘know’ that the regiment’s women and children casualties are on this list and they form a large proportion of the 30-odd names missing from my ‘Lucknow Roll Call’ (currently c.1690 from a provisional 1720).

I’ve never had any luck in finding this document in the obvious places, such as NAM, DCLI museum, National Archives or British Library and am asking people to keep a look out for it in some place with public access. I know that many of the casualties on this list were published in the London Gazette, bit I’ve never come across the women and children.

Finding the ref. below enabled me to follow links and add the full name, dates and place of death of Paymaster John Giddings of the 32nd, who drew up and verified the list, but not the details of his wife who was also at the Residency, a typical story.

(Note that I’m not after the names of those killed at Cawnpore (Kanpur), only those who were at Lucknow during the Siege - 30 June-22 September 1857). As always, any help gratefully received.
Les W.

http://www.richardfordmanuscripts.co.uk ... /paymaster
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