NAVAL CADET WITH HMS SHANNON’S BRIGADE IN INDIA: The Journal of Edward Spencer Watson

The author of this Journal joined the Royal Navy as a cadet aboard HMS Shannon on 11 September 1856 at the age of 13; he was 4 feet 5 inches tall. He resigned his commission i April 1863 and transferred to the Army, becoming a Cornet in the 10th Hussars. He resigned, as a Lieutenant, in the Spring of 1873 and died in 1889 just 46 years old. This is the story of his journey from Calcutta to Lucknow via Allahabad and Cawnpore with a naval brigade during the Indian Mutiny. The brigade was formed from officers and men of HMS Shannon and the journey was carried out on river boats, by rail and on foot – to which the naval personnel were not accustomed. It is a remarkable journal describing the conditions and the fighting against the mutineers. The expedition began in August 1857 and ended for young Edward Watson in March the following year when was taken ill and returned to Calcutta. At the end of the book there are a few letters which he wrote during the march.

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