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Henry Havelock

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Title: Henry Havelock  
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Subject: Regent's Park College, Oxford, Siege of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh/Anniversaries/September, Havelock, Dartford Grammar School
Collection: 1795 Births, 1857 Deaths, 39Th Regiment of Foot Officers, British Army Generals, British Military Personnel of the Anglo-Persian War, British Military Personnel of the First Anglo-Afghan War, British Military Personnel of the First Anglo-Burmese War, British Military Personnel of the First Anglo-Sikh War, British Military Personnel of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Deaths from Dysentery, English Baptists, Infectious Disease Deaths in India, King's Shropshire Light Infantry Officers, Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath, People Educated at Dartford Grammar School, People from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, Regent's Park College, Oxford, Rifle Brigade Officers, Somerset Light Infantry Officers
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Henry Havelock

Sir Henry Havelock
Henry Havelock
1865 portrait
Born (1795-04-05)5 April 1795
Bishopwearmouth, County Durham
Died 24 November 1857(1857-11-24) (aged 62)
Siege of Lucknow, India
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank Major General
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Major General Sir Henry Havelock KCB (5 April 1795 – 24 November 1857) was a British general who is particularly associated with India and his recapture of Cawnpore from rebels during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.


  • Early life 1
  • India 2
    • First Afghan War 2.1
    • Indian Rebellion of 1857 2.2
  • Legacy 3
    • Statue in Trafalgar Square 3.1
    • Statue in Mowbray Park 3.2
    • Tomb in Lucknow 3.3
    • Other 3.4
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

Early life

Henry Havelock was born at William Hale, Julius Hare, and William Norris (Recorder of Penang), the last two being his special friends. Shortly after leaving Charterhouse his father lost his fortune by unsuccessful speculation, sold Ingress Hall, and removed to Clifton.

In accordance with the desire of his mother he entered the Middle Temple in 1813, and became a pupil of Joseph Chitty; his fellow-student was Thomas Talfourd. Henry's legal studies having been interrupted by a misunderstanding with his father, Havelock was thrown upon his own resources, and obliged to abandon the law as a profession. By the good offices of his brother William, who had distinguished himself in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo, he obtained on 30 July 1815, at the age of 20, a post as second lieutenant in the 95th Regiment of Foot, Rifle Brigade, and was posted to the company of Captain Harry Smith, who encouraged him to study military history and the art of war. He was promoted lieutenant on 24 October 1821. During the following eight years of service in Britain he read extensively all the standard works and acquired a good acquaintance with the theory of war.


Seeing no prospect of active service, he resolved to go to India, and at the end of 1822 transferred into the 13th Regiment (Light Infantry), then commanded by Major Robert Sale, and embarked on the General Kyd in January 1823 for India. Before embarkation he studied the Persian and Hindustani languages with success under John Borthwick Gilchrist. During the voyage a brother officer, Lieutenant James Gardner, awakened in Havelock religious convictions which had slumbered since his mother's death, but henceforth became the guiding principle of his life.

Havelock served with distinction in the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826), after which he returned to England and married Hannah Shepherd Marshman, the daughter of eminent Christian missionaries Dr. and Mrs. Joshua Marshman. At about the same time he became a Baptist, being baptized by Mr. John Mack at Serampore. He introduced some of his new family's missionary ideas to the army and began the distribution of bibles to all soldiers. He also introduced all-rank bible study classes and established the first non-church services for military personnel.

First Afghan War

Engraving of General Havelock from 1886 book True Stories of the Reign of Queen Victoria by Cornelius Brown.

By the time Havelock took part in the William George Keith Elphinstone.

In 1840, being attached to Sir Robert Henry Sale's force, he took part in the celebrated passage of the defiles of the Ghilzais and in the fighting from Tezeen to Jalalabad. Here, after many months siege, his column in a sortie en masse defeated Akbar Khan on 7 April 1842. He was now made Deputy Lieutenant-General of the infantry division in Kabul, and in September he assisted at Jagdalak, at Tezeen, and at the release the British prisoners at Kabul, besides taking a prominent part at Istalif. He next went through the Gwalior Campaign as Persian interpreter to Sir Hugh Gough, and distinguished himself at Maharajpur in 1843, and also in the Sikh Wars at the battles of Mudki, Ferozeshah and Sobraon in 1845.

He used his spare time to produce analytical reports about the skirmishes and battles in which he was involved. These writings were returned to Britain and were reported on in the press of the day. For his military services he was made Deputy Adjutant-General at Bombay. He transferred from the 13th Regiment of Foot to the 39th, then as second major into the 53rd at the beginning of 1849, and soon afterwards left for England, where he spent two years and became involved in the running of the Stepney Baptist Academy, soon to move to Regent's Park. He returned to India in 1852 with further promotion and in 1854 he was appointed Quartermaster-General, promoted to full colonel, and lastly appointed Adjutant-General to the British Army in India in 1857.

Indian Rebellion of 1857

In that year, he was selected by Sir James Outram to command a division in the Anglo-Persian War, during which he was present at the action of Muhamra against the forces of Nasser al-Din Shah under command of Khanlar Mirza. Peace with Persia freed his troops just as the Indian Rebellion broke out; and he was chosen to command a column to quell disturbances in Allahabad, to support Sir Henry Lawrence at Lucknow and Wheeler at Cawnpore, and to pursue and utterly destroy all mutineers and insurgents. Throughout August Havelock led his soldiers northwards across Oudh (present day Uttar Pradesh), defeating all rebel forces in his path, despite being greatly outnumbered. His years of study of the theories of war and his experiences in earlier campaigns were put to good use. At this time Lady Canning wrote of him in her diary: "General Havelock is not in fashion, but all the same we believe that he will do well." But in spite of this lukewarm commendation Havelock proved himself the man for the occasion and won a reputation as a great military leader.

Three times he advanced for the relief of the Lucknow, but twice held back rather than risk fighting with troops wasted by battle and disease. Reinforcements arrived at last under Outram, and he was able to capture Lucknow on 25 September 1857. However, a second rebel force arrived and besieged the town again. This time Havelock and his troops were caught inside the blockade.

There he died on 24 November 1857 of dysentery, a few days after the siege was lifted. The illness was likely brought on by the anxieties and fatigue connected with his victorious march and with the subsequent blockade of the British troops. He lived long enough to receive news that he was to be created a Baronet for the first three battles of the campaign; but he never knew of the major-generalship which was conferred shortly afterwards. With his baronetcy was a pension of £1,000 a year voted by Parliament. He was also appointed Colonel of the 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot ("The Buffs") in December, as the news of his death still had not reached England. The baronetcy was afterwards bestowed upon his eldest son, Henry in the following January; while to his widow, by Royal Warrant of Precedence, were given the rights to which she would have been entitled had her husband survived and been created a baronet. Parliament awarded pensions of £1,000 a year to both widow and son.


Statue in Trafalgar Square

The statue of General Havelock in Trafalgar Square, London.
The statue of General Havelock in Mowbray Park, Sunderland.

There is a statue of Havelock (by . In 2003, there was major controversy when the then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone suggested that the Trafalgar Square statue, together with that of General Charles James Napier, be replaced with "more relevant" figures.[4]

Statue in Mowbray Park

William Behnes also designed the statue of Havelock at the top of Building Hill in Mowbray Park Sunderland. Two cannon (replicas of cannons presented to Sunderland after the Crimean War in 1857) stand beside the statue, facing north commanding the view over the park. The statue, however, looks west towards Havelock's birthplace. The statue reads: Born 5, April 1795 at Ford Hall Bishopwearmouth Died 24 November 1857 at Dil-Koosa Lucknow.[5]

Tomb in Lucknow

General Henry Havelock tomb

The monument at his grave was erected by his sons, widow and family.The quotes mentioned in his tomb are: " His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest; His name a great example stands, to show How strangely high endeavours may be blessed, When piety and valour jointly go." [6]



  1. ^ Brock, William (1858). "A biographical sketch of sir Henry Havelock. Copyright ed". 
  2. ^ "Wilmington churchyard M.I.'s". Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Parish, W. D. List of Carthusians, 1800–1879. (2009, 14 January). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 07:57, 14 January 2009, from List of Carthusians, letter H.
  4. ^ Paul Kelso. "Mayor attacks generals in battle of Trafalgar Square". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Sunderland, TWSU22, Sculpture, Monument to Major General Sir Henry Havelock
  6. ^ "The Lucknow album : containing a series of fifty photographic views of Lucknow and its environs together with a large sized plan of the city". Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Pub information: Search results". Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  8. ^ National Library Board, Singapore. "Havelock Road". Retrieved 30 November 2014. 

Military offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Wodehouse
Colonel of the 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot
(appointed posthumously)

Succeeded by
Berkeley Drummond
  • Brock, William (1858) [1858]. A Biographical Sketch of Sir Henry Havelock, K. C. B. Tauchnitz. Retrieved 12 July 2007. 
  • Pollock, John (1996) [1963]. Way to Glory: the biography of General Henry Havelock.  
  • Marshman, John Clark (1860). Memoirs of Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, K.C.B. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts. 

Further reading


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