Tomb of Sir Henry Havelock

En route to Kanpur, besides the remains of the Alambagh Fort lie the remains of Sir Henry Havelock. Until recently this dilapidated grave was left uncared for until Mark Havelock Allen (descendent of Havelock’s) read about the condition of the grave in a local newspaper in England. His immediate reaction was to approach the Indian government and Archeological Survey of India to look into the matter. He personally flew out to Lucknow to inspect the site and, today, Havelock’s grave stands in a small green garden, surrounded by a fence and a caretaker has been appointed to look after its upkeep. A few yards to the right of the grave lie the ruins of the Alambagh Fort. Neglected and in an utter state of disrepair. On one hand we have an English Martyr being cared for by his people and on the other, a legacy of India’s first struggle for independence fading into history.

He was born at Bishops Wearmouth, County Durham, England in 1795 and joined the British army in 1815. He came to India in 1823 and never turned back. After serving in Burma, Afghanistan, the Maratha Campaign and the Sutlej he was saved from a shipwreck in the Ceylon and later nominated to lead the garrison that was to attempt the first relief of the Residency at Lucknow.

Sir Henry Havelock, along with James Outram led the first relief column into the Residency on the 25th of September, 1857. After a long and sustained attack on the sepoys they were trapped under a renewed siege. They held out till November 19, when Sir Colin Campbell arrived with reinforcements and rescued the remaining residents of the Residency. They moved out to the Dilkusha on the 22nd, by which time Henry Havelock had developed symptoms of dysentery. He died on the 24th. His soldiers refused to leave his body behind and carried it with them to the Alambagh fort where they were to put up until reinforcements arrived to enable them for another attack on Lucknow. Havelock was buried just outside the fort walls with full military honours. A monument was erected by his wife and family on the spot. At Trafalgar Square in London stands his statue that was erected by a government grateful for his services. Today, in the din and bustle of city traffic people walk past in their hurried and busy lives, oblivious to his contribution to his country.

The following is the epitaph on his grave:

Here rest the mortal remains of SIR HENRY HAVELOCK, BART

Major General in the British Army, and Knight Commander of the Bath,
Who died at Dilkhoosha, Lucknow of Dysentery produced by the hardships
of a campaign in which he achieved immortal fame on the 24th November 1857.
He was born on the 5th April, 1795, at Bishops Wearmouth, County Durham, England.
Entered the Army in 1815, came to India in 1823.
And served there with little interruption till his death.
He bore an honorable part in the Wars of Burmah, Afghanistan,
the Mahratta Campaign of 1843, and the Sutlej of 1845-46.
Retained by adverse circumstances during many years in a subordinate
position, it was the aim of his life to prove that the profession
of a Christian is consistent with the fullest discharge of the duties of a soldier.
He commanded a division in the Persian Expedition of 1857.
In the terible convulsion of that year
his genius and character were at length fully developed and known to the world.
Saved from shipwreck on the Ceylon coast by that providence which deigned him
for yet greater things, he was nominated to the command of the column
destined to releive the brave garrison of Lucknow. This object after almost
superhuman exertions, he, by the blessing of God accomplished.
But he was not spared to receive on earth the rewards so dearly earned.
The divine master whom he served, saw fit to remove him from the sphere
of his labours, in the moment of his greatest triumphs.
He departed to his rest in humble but confident expectation of far greater rewards
and honors than those which a grateful country was anxious to bestow.
In him the skill of a commander, the courage and devotion of a soldier, the learning of
a scholar the grace of a highly bred gentleman, and all the social and domestic virtues
of a husband, father, and friend were blended together, and strengthened, harmonized, and adored by the spirit of a true Christian.
The result of the influence of the Holy Spirit on his heart and of a humble reliance on the merits of a crucified Saviour.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord
the Righteous Judge, shall give me in that day: and not to me only, but to all those
that love his appearing.”
TIM 4 Chap 7 and 8 v??

“His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest.”
“His name a great example stands to show”
“How strangely high endeavours may be blest,”
“Where piety and valour jointly go.”

This monument is erected by his sorrowing widow and family.


This article is written by Prateek Hira and was originally published in Tornos / E-update. This one is the reproduction of the same