Bibighar Masscare Victims

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Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby Sheffsteve » 03 Apr 2014 13:20

I can't seem to find a list of the women and children killed at the Cawnpore massacre. Does anyone have one or know where I can find one please?
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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby usartillery » 07 Jul 2014 16:51

I am working on compiling as complete a list as I can, however, much of the information is not recorded.

The best source I have found to date is "List of Inscriptions on Christian Tombs and Tablets . . . etc." by E. A. H. Blunt.

Blunt recorded all of the inscriptions (including names) from tombstones and memorials erected for mutiny victims. Unfortunately many of the women, and particularly the children, were left unnamed.

The book may be downloaded free from:

Then just search through the monuments pertaining to Cawnpore.

A quicker solution might be to buy a copy of a reprint of Jonah Shepherd's "A Personal Narrative of the Outbreak and Massacre at Cawnpore During the Sepoy Revolt of 1857" where his casualty list appears on pp. 150-152 of the 1886 edition. To date I have not done a cross comparison to see if he is as thorough as Blunt.

Victims are also listed in Colburn's United Service Gazette 1858 Part II pages 263-294 and 439-461, also available in PDF downloads.

Lastly, a list of victims appears in J. Lee's rare volume "The Indian Mutiny" on pages 21-25.

Cheers . . .
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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby Peter » 08 Jul 2014 09:15

While certainly not rivalling usartillery’s offerings, coincidentally I came across this today:


"The postcards at right and below date from over a century ago and show the Memorial Well at Cawnpore (today the Indian city of Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh). The bodies of 73 women and 124 youngsters, among them British army wives and children (55 had fathers serving in the 32nd (The Cornwall) Regiment of Foot), were dumped in this well following their murder – although some were still alive when they were thrown in – at the hands of Indian mutineers on 16 July 1857. The memorial was created around the well the following year. It was destroyed in 1947, however, whereupon elements of the structure were relocated to the nearby All Souls Memorial Church.

"Click here (/ ... id=2423720) for the list of those killed that is given on the Find A Grave website, and here (/ for further information about Cawnpore courtesy of the Families in British India Society (FIBIS)".

(The Army Children Archive [TACA], TACA Themes, History Matters /, PICTURES: THE MEMORIAL WELL, CAWNPORE, INDIA)

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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby bill wright » 08 Jul 2014 14:28

As stated by a previous correspondent, the best and most reliable source for information is A PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF THE OUTBREAK AND MASSACRE AT CAWNPORE DURING THE SEPOY REVOLT OF 1857 by J.W.Shepherd. The author, an Anglo-Indian who survived the siege and made it his life`s work to document what occurred, saw his book go through three editions - 1879, 1886 and 1894, each one revised He carefully lists all the dead along with those who survived the Cawnpore Massacres. My 1886 edition was published by the Methodist Publishing House, Lucknow. The book by "Dobbin" Lee, who ran for many years the Railway Hotel at Cawnpore and claimed to be an old soldier of H.M. 53rd Foot, is not so extensive and possibly inaccurate (as are his recollections). I would advise you read Shepherd alongside the best narrative book on the Mutiny (or possibly any Victorian campaign - and that's saying a lot) OUR BONES ARE SCATTERED The Cawnpore Massacres And The Indian Mutiny Of 1857 by Andrew Ward (1996).. This massive 703 pp long book with detailed notes is the last word on Cawnpore. It is important (and, I should add, deeply moving) reading because the author points out constantly how careful one has to be in making assumptions; for example, he points out that J.W.Sherer, one of the first officials to visit the Bibighar and its Well, concluded that it was too small for 196 victims to be chopped up and contained therin. Ward fleshes out Shepherd in a very human way.
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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby Maureene » 08 Jul 2014 15:00

The 1879 edition of A PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF THE OUTBREAK AND MASSACRE AT CAWNPORE DURING THE SEPOY REVOLT OF 1857 by J.W.Shepherd is available online on the Digital Library of India website, where it is catalogued as ''Outbreak And Massacre Ed. 2''. This is a rather slow website, and if you aren't familiar with it, there is some information about it on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Online books The books use a TIFF format, so you may need to download a TIFF reader. ... y_of_India

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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby Mark Probett » 18 Jul 2015 01:12

Yes, Jonah Shepherds book, 'Cawnpore Massacre', has the list of names of all who perished in June and July 1857. I have a first edition and 2 next print copies. Andrew Wards book 'Our Bones are Scattered' is essential reading to understand the whole story, an extremely well researched work that is invaluable. But then too there are works by Mowbray Thomson 'The Cawnpore Man', who survived right through the tribulations of June and July and another excellent book by G O Trevelyan 'Cawnpore' that includes eye witness testimony from some 60 native witnesses who saw much of what happened.

So, firstly there were about 300 or more who perished at Wheelers Entrenchment from 6th June to 25th and buried for the most part under cover of night in the sepulchural Well by the Army Barracks, just south of Wheelers and just beside the Cambridge Road. A very large Memorial still exists here with a huge iron cross positioned over that Well; but is very neglected, overgrown with about 10 feet of elephant grass and off limits to any British access. Don't even ask...I have tried so hard at every level, but have been rebuffed at every step. That memorial is about 8,000 square feet in area and built by directive of Lord and Lady Canning; as too was the Bibighar Memorial, which had to be relocated in 1949 because of Indian Nationalism and the likelihood of further vandalism or destruction.

The Sati Chaura Ghart Massacre on 27th June took another 500 lives approx and add to that number perhaps another 70 men of those who were bought back from the single boat that escaped Sati Chaura and killed at Savada Kothi or nearby a few days later; with their bones reburied by the main doors of All Souls Memorial Church in a small common grave. And then also there are those who were killed at Bibighar; some 210 in number, which incidently included a number of women and children from Fattegher. Husbands and older male youths from Fattegher were murdered by the Assembly rooms. Also from Fattegher were Colonel Smith, Goldie, Thornhill and 2 Greenways who were held in a separate compartment of Bibighar, are recorded too on the list and were killed earlier in the late afternoon of 15th July 1857, just before the Bibighar Massacre and murder too of the Bengali Doctor and Nurse / Ayah who offered what assistance they could to the women and children. It is thanks to the Bengali doctor that we know so many of those names in Jonah Shepherds book. He is a hero for sure, as is the humble Ayah.

I have travelled to Kanpur twice in the last 3 years from New Zealand in search of the Bibighar Well and my own family history during June and July of 1857. Between the Probett and Walsh families, we lost 23 murdered, including a husband and wife killed with the tiny garrison at Jhansie. Interestingly, much of what was there in 1857 is still there, including the small temple at Sati Chaura Ghart where Tantia Tope and Jawala Pershard ordered the massacre of the garrison. Too, the Bibighar Well is easily located in Nana Rao Park, where the bones of our women and children still remain, but without honour or marker. The Well that served to draw water for the garrison at Wheelers Entrenchment during June is in remarkable condition and sits in the empty entrenchment of some 4 acres and is close by All Souls Church, and just a stones throw away from this is the common grave of Lydia Hillersdon, Mrs De Russet and one or two others.

And perhaps it may not seem a big deal, but the Soldier's Church of St Johns, is just some 300 meters north of the Entrenchment and simply a wonderful place to visit, as this was where many of the garrison and newly arrived ensigns worshiped regularly. Reverend Xavier is the minister at St Johns, as is Rev Frank Carroll the minister of All Souls Memorial Church. I have tons of recent photo's if anyone is interested and if anyone wants to, can contact me at More than happy to respond and offer whatever I can to assist. Cheers - Mark Probett
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Re: Bibighar Masscare Victims

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Aug 2017 21:07

I thought that contributors to this thread might find the following, scholarly examination of the various testimonies of a well known Cawnpore siege survivor, 19-year old Amelia Horn, of interest: ... 202012.pdf
I found it a thought provoking read.
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
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