Personal info

  • Name: John WATSON
  • D.O.B: 6th Sep, 1829
  • D.O.A: 14th Nov, 1857
  • D.O.D: 23rd Jan, 1919
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, 1st Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force, Honourable East India Company Forces
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Near La Martinière, Lucknow, India 14 November 1857

14 November 1857

More details about:
The Indian Mutiny 1857-59 

On 14 November 1857, instead of crossing the Char Bagh Bridge, south of Lucknow, Campbell and his force turned east, taking the Dilkusha and La Martinière (a school established by Major General Claude Martin), south of the canal into the Gumti which was the rebels’ main line of defence. As the rebels retreated from La Martinière, Lieutenant J Watson charged their cavalry. Seeing him beset, Lieutenant D M Probyn VC came to his assistance. The rebels were from the 15th Irregular Cavalry, which had mutinied at Sultanpur on 9 June 1857.


 “Lieut. Watson, on the 14th November, with his own squadron, and that under Captain, then Lieutenant, Probyn, came upon a body of the rebel cavalry. The Ressaldar in command of them, – a fine specimen of the Hindustani Mussulman, – backed up by some half dozen equally brave men, rode out to the front. Lieutenant Watson singled out this fine looking fellow, and attacked him. The Ressaldar presented his pistol at Lieutenant Watson’s breast, at a yard’s distance, and fired; but, most providentially, without effect; the ball must, by accident, have previously fallen out. Lieutenant Watson ran the man through with his sword, and dismounted him; but the native officer, nothing daunted, drew his tulwar, and with his Sowars renewed his attack upon Lieutenant Watson, who bravely defended himself until his own men joined in the melée, and utterly routed the party. In this rencontre, Lieutenant Watson received a blow on the head from a tulwar, another on the left arm, which severed his chain gauntlet glove, a tulwar cut on his right arm, which fortunately only divided the sleeve of the jacket, but disabled the arm for some time; a bullet also passed through his coat, and he received a blow on his leg, which lamed him for some days afterwards.” (Despatch from Major-General James Hope Grant, K.C.B., dated 10th January, 1858.) 

The London Gazette of 18 June 1858, Numb. 22154, pp. 2960-1

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