Thursday, August 06, 2009






In sixteen hundred
British merchants came.
Soldiers followed for
adventure and fame.
The traders now set up
four colonies
To implement the trade
Charter policies.
When Britons took
native girls for their brides
All the girls parents
would cast them aside.
The outcast lady's issue
would now be
An Anglo-Indian in History.
In the past our Heroes were
Sir Gidney and James Kyd.
Now,they are Norman Hutchinson
and Peter Sarsted.
The next generation
steps in with their sole mission,
To fulfill,the Anglo-Indian Vision.







Every race on the planet takes pride in its Heroes and its
Legends. From Genghis Khan, Aurangzeb, Shivaji to Oliver Cromwell,
human civilization has brought forth its heroes, during times of
fear and oppression, for people to follow, aspire to and emulate. The
Anglo-Indian community also has its share of courageous soldiers
and adventurers who fought in several wars down the ages.
In 1916 at least 8,000 Anglo-Indians had joined various British
units, a large number were enlisted in the Dorset Regiment. The
Cavalry and the Royal Artillery attracted the Anglo-Indians more
than the Infantry. However, their records of identity and gallantry were lost to the community.

On the 15th March 1916, the authorities sanctioned the raising
of an Anglo-Indian force as an integral part of the British army.
The Anglo-Indian legend, James Skinner who was also referred
to as Sikander Sahib, was born in 1775. His mother was a Rajput
and his father a Scotsman. He and his "yellow boys", were freelance
soldiers and fought for a number of Rajahs. During battle they would
wear yellow shawls , hence the origin of their nickname. Skinners
irregular cavalry,called "Skinners' Horse", turned out to be one
of the finest regiments of the British and later the Indian Army.
He was decorated with the "Knight of the Order of the Bath". James
Skinner died at the age of 64 in 1841.In 1978 the Indian Government
issued a postage stamp to celebrate 175 years of the Skinners' Horse Regiment.

During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, essential services like the
Post and Telegraphs, the Railways and Customs were manned by Anglo-Indians.
The Gardner's Horse, founded by Colonel William Linnaeus Gardner
is one of India's proud regiments today. William Gardner was gazetted
as an Ensign in the 18th Foot on the 7th March, 1793. He was the
eldest son of Major Valentine Gardner who was the elder brother
of Alan, First Lord Gardner . William was a skilled rider and swordsman.
He was held in very high esteem by both Indians and Europeans. In
1804 it appears that Gardner was in the service of the Raja of Jaipur. He
later joined the British and started the Cavalry Corps, known as
the "Gardner's Horse". He is described as a gentleman and a soldier. Gardner
died at his estate at Khasgunj, at the age of 65, on the 20th July
1835. His wife died of a broken heart six months later. His wife
was a princess and he had two sons and a daughter from her.

Colonel Henry Forster , was the son of Henry Pitts Forster
of the East India Company's Civil Service who came out to India
in1783.Henry Pitts Forster was later made the Master of the Calcutta
Mint.Henry Forster was born in 1793, and being of mixed descent
he was disqualified from obtaining service in the Company.Finally
he joined the Mahratta Army, and in 1816 he was appointed Adjutant
of the second regiment of Skinner's Horse. During the outbreak of
the Mutiny, Forster was detailed to reduce the mutinous 34th N.I.
and Ramghur Infantry in Singhboom,Manbhoom and Chaisbasa. Having
accomplished this Forster was ordered to perform a similar task
at Sumbulpore.On his arrival , he was appointed Commissioner. Colonel
Forster died at his residence in Calcutta, at Ballygunge, after
a prolonged attack of fever, in 1862. Colonel Forster first married
Miss Kellner who was murdered at Delhi, during the Mutiny. His second wife was an Indian lady.

Major Hyder Young Hearsey, was the son of a Jat lady by
Captain Henry Hearsey. By coincidence he was given the name of Hyder,
who was one of England's greatest enemies, Hyder Ali of Mysore.It
is believed that his second name was "Jung", which means war, and
it was later anglicised to Young. Hyder Hearsey was educated at
Woolich. Due to the enforcement of the ban against the admission
of Anglo-Indians into the Company's Army, he would have been denied
Commission, but for the influence of his cousin Colonel Andrew Hearsey,
Commandant of the Allahabad Fort. His first appointment was as aide-de-camp
to the Nawab Wazir at Benares: he soon effected an exchange into
the Mahratta service under Madhoji Scindia.In 1804 , Hyder Hearsey joined Lord Lake.
In the short War of 1971, several Anglo-Indian Airmen won Gallantry
Awards.Air Marshal Maurice Barker,AVSM,Air Vice-Marshal J.F.Lazaro
PVSM, J.J.Bouche AVSM and A.L.Michael AVSM, Air Commodores Peter
Motiland Wilson PVSM Mahavir Chakra, M.D.Wollan PVSM, Vernon Loyd
PVSM, Group Captain Cecil Parker VM won the Mahavir Chakra for outstanding
Gallantry and Vir Chakras were won by Group Captain Betry Weir,
AVSM, Wing Commanders D.M.Conquest AVSM, Allen Alley and Squadron
Leader D.Lazaro were awarded VMs and mentions in Despatches.
Lt.General Pat Dunn was awarded the Padma Bhushan, for his
exceptional valour in the defence of his country, he took an active
role in the Indo-Pakistan War in 1965.

Flight Lt.Bernard Owen Egan-Walker, was only 24 years old,
when he was shot down in a bombing raid over Germany on the night of December 6th,1944.

Air Marshall Denzil Keelor was commissioned in the I.A.F.
on November 6th 1954.His career covered 36 years in the I.A.F. He
has taken part in operations against Pakistan, in 1965 and 1971
and performed with distinctions. Denzil Keelor was awarded the Kirti
Chakra and the Vir Chakra by the President of India for Gallantry. Air
Marshal Denzil Keelor was born on the 7th December 1933. He is currently
working as Advisor(Aviation) and is in charge of Certification and
Inspection of Aircrew and Operational Surveillance, at the Directorate of Civil Aviation(DGCA).

The Battle of Kut, was another occasion when the courage of
the Anglo-Indian soldiers was brought to the fore-front.The battle
stated in 1915 and lasted for one year.An Anglo-Indian battalion
fought against the Turks in the River Tigris, near Kut, from 25th
December 1915.The Turks over ran the position and only a third of
the original force survived. Kut would have been captured on Christmas
Day had the Anglo-Indian Battalion not stood their ground, according to General Townshend.

Helen Rodriguez an Anglo-Indian girl from Bangalore won the
George Medal Award for her courage and outstanding devotion to duty
in the face of Japanese bombers at Taunggyi ,Civil Hospital.Helen
was Matron, stretcer-bearer and performed many operations.She was
captured by the Chinese and then by the Japanese who thought she
was a spy.Helen was bayoneted by a drunken Japanese soldier, but
she survived all her ordeals at the P.O.W. camps.

85% of the women of the Women's Auxiliary Corps.of India
were Anglo-Indians.Apart from Nursing they also served in the Army
and Navy Stores across the country.

Flight Lt.Warneford(1892-1950) of Bangalore was the first
man to shoot down the first Zeppelin in France.He won the Victoria Cross and the Croix de Guerre.

After the second World War sixteen Victoria Crosses were
bestowed on Anglo-Indians and ninety-seven Military Crosses were
awarded for acts of heroism during the War.

Anglo-Indian History is not short of War Heroes and heroic
deeds,with moments of defeat, valour and victory. Someone, somewhere
should create A Virtual Anglo-Indian Cemetery in Cyberspace and
on the Monument of the fallen Anglo-Indian soldier the following
words of Thomas Arnold could be inscribed as an epitaph:
"Two things we ought to learn from History: one, that we
are not in ourselves superior to our fathers; another, that we are
shamefully and monstrously inferior to them, if we do not advance beyond them."

-T. Arnold





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