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Added 14.9.11

Private John William NICHOLSON — 1026, 17th Lancers

Birth & early life

Born c.1829.


Enlisted at Dublin on the 11th of March 1849.

Age: 20.

Height: 5' 8".

Trade: None shown.


Embarked for India from Cork aboard the S.S. "Great Britain" on the 8th of October 1857.

The musters for July-September 1858 show him as being "On Detachment at Sholapoore" during the whole of the period.

Served in action against the rebels at Zeerapore on the 29th of December 1858 and at Baroda on the 1st of January 1859.

Discharge & pension

Discharged "time expired," from Secunderbad, India, on the 21st of March 1861.

Served 12 years 10 days.

Conduct," good".

In possession of two Good Conduct badges.

(There is no indication if he remained in India or returned to England.)


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, Sebastopol, and the Turkish medal.

Mutiny medal without clasp.

Further detailed medal information archived.


Death & burial

From an unknown, undated newspaper report:

"Death of a Balaclava hero... The death has been reported from Darjeeling, India, of a Balaclava hero, Sergeant who, it is said, acted as spokesman for the survivors who were made prisoners by the Russians and brought before a Russian General. "You men must have been primed with rum before you made such a mad charge," said the General, addressing." By --- Sir, we had not a drop; if we had we would have gone through the whole Russian Army," was his reply." I believe you, my brave fellow, I do." replied the General..."

[EJB: He is not shown amongst any lists of prisoners of war, and although he may have ridden in the Charge, it could also be a case of wishful thinking, being so far away in India from any possible contradiction.]

The India Office records show him as having died at Jalaka, near Darjeeling, on the 9th of June 1893 from "Chronic gastritis" aged about 65 years. He was buried on the following day by the Revd. William H. Bray, Chaplain. He was described as being a "Retired Trooper of the 17th Lancers."

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