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Brigadier- General John Nicholson

Tom et al,
found this in internet today, was surprised to read he was not born or educated in Lisburn as I always assumed he was. A remarkable man as were his brothers

Nicholson, John, Brigadier-General, son of an Irish physician, Dr. Alexander Nicholson, was born in Dublin, 11th December 1821. He lost his father when eight years old, whereupon his mother removed to Lisburn, and most of his education was received at Dungannon School. In 1837 he obtained an appointment as ensign in the Indian army, and joined the 41st Native Infantry at Benares. He took part in the Affghan war, in 1842, saw some severe fighting, and endured a miserable captivity of some months. On the 6th November in the same year his brother Alexander was killed in action in India. In 1846 he was appointed one of two military instructors to Gholab Singh's army in Cashmere, and next year assistant to Sir Henry Lawrence, Resident at Lahore. There his great executive abilities became apparent, and he was entrusted by his chief with several important missions. In the spring of 1848 the Sikh war broke out, and he specially distinguished himself at Attock and the Margulla Pass. His services at Chillianwallah and Guzerat were fully acknowledged in Lord Gough's dispatches. In 1849, when the Punjaub became a British province, Captain Nicholson, then but twenty-eight, was appointed a Deputy-Commissioner under the Lahore Board, of which Sir Henry Lawrence was President. In 1850 he left for home on furlough-on his way engaging in an unsuccessful plot to liberate Kossuth from captivity in a Turkish fortress. On his return to India next year, he was reappointed to his old post in the Punjaub, and did good service as an administrator and governor for several years. The breaking out of the mutiny in May 1857 found him Colonel Nicholson, at Peshawur. He acted with the greatest promptitude, removed a large treasure to a place of safety, dismissed some native regiments under circumstances that required consummate tact and decision, and at Murdan, on 25th May, helped to put to rout a force of the mutineers. On this occasion he was fully twenty hours in the saddle, traversed not less than seventy miles, and cut down many fugitives with his own hand. On 22nd June he took command of a movable column for the relief of Delhi, annihilated a large force of the enemy at Trimmoo, and effected a junction with the small band of British at Delhi on 14th August. Ten days afterwards he fought the battle of Nujufgurh, in which between 3,000 and 4,000 of the mutineers were slain. Already he had been created Brigadier-General. On 14th September, while heading an attack on a Sepoy position, he was mortally wounded; and died on the 23rd (1857), aged 35. Sir John Lawrence, writing a few weeks later to his brother, Lieutenant Charles Nicholson, who lost a foot in the same engagement, said: "His loss is a national misfortune;" and he remarked in a despatch: "He was an officer equal to any emergency... His services since the mutiny broke out have not been surpassed by those of any other officer in this part of India." Brigadier- General Nicholson, like his friend and fellow-countryman Sir Henry Lawrence, who fell shortly before him, was of a deeply religious cast of mind. He was never married. A pension of £500 a year was granted by the East India Company to his mother; and it was officially announced that had he survived he would have been created a Knight Commander of the Bath.

Re: Brigadier- General John Nicholson

thanks very much for that information it,s very interesting. it,s funny how the memory is a tricky at times.
i seem to remember a blue plaque on the wall of the old convent in castle street saying he was born there but obviously not, if he was born in dublin and educated in dungannon and an ensign at 18?? thereafter a very remarkable career in india you tend to wonder how strong his lisburn links were ?

but a worthwhile person for all that


Re: Brigadier- General John Nicholson

One famous story recounted by Charles Allen in, "Soldier Sahibs" is of a night during the Indian Mutiny when Brigadier General John Nicholson strode into the British mess tent at Jullunder, coughed to attract the attention of the officers, then said, "I am sorry, gentlemen, to have kept you waiting for your dinner, but I have been hanging your cooks." He had been told that the regimental chefs had poisoned the soup with aconite. When they refused to taste it for him, he force fed it to a monkey - and when it expired on the spot, he proceeded to hang the cooks from a nearby tree.

He became the Victorian "Hero of Delhi" inspiring books, ballads and generations of young boys to join the army.

Re: Brigadier- General John Nicholson

Tom et al
I remember that plaque as well, I think it was someone who was Secretars of State or some other high post in America acheived. Another disappointment for me was to read that no American president was BORN in Ireland. A lot had Irish ancestery. When in Miami in January I
Maybe General Nicholson should have begun," Gentlemen, I hope you are not angry!"

Re: Brigadier- General John Nicholson

something happened to my last contribution

When in Miami last January I bought a book which listed all American Presidents as well as their ancestery and it is so.

Re: Re: Brigadier- General John Nicholson

Hi Donald,there is a school at the corner of Barrack St./Church St.on Christ Church property that is named after General Nicholson.Ken.