Captain George Williams, 29th Bengal Native Infantry.
An oval portrait, 9 x 6¾ ins, painted on card in a later gilt frame showing the officer three quarter length, seated wearing dress infantry uniform with his IGS and Indian Mutiny medals. We have not removed this portrait from its frame but would do so if it is to be sent oversees [the framing is relatively modern], This a companion portrait to the other one on the website showing Major Williams in his khaki drab uniform as commandant of the Khaki Risala, a volunteer unit raised from European civil and other officers who were refugees at Mirath [Meerut]. Mention of the unit’s creation in June 1857 is given in Kaye and Malleson’s History of the Indian Mutiny Vol VI. It was officially the Meerut Volunteer Horse but was commonly known as the Khakee Ressalah. The corps was speedily organised, Major Williams, Superintendent of police, was nominated commanding officer, Captain Charles D’Oyley as second in command and Lieutenant Tyrwhitt as adjutant. Volunteers flocked in, and so actively were the drilling, mounting, and arming proceeded with that within three days one troop, composed of Englishmen, Eurasians, and a few Sikhs, was fit for duty. The uniform chosen was a suit of dust-coloured cloth called khaki, and this cloth gave the name Khaki Risala to the corps. The book continues with details of the unit’s activities with a force put together by R H Wallace Dunlop, the local Collector, who later wrote a book, The Khakee Ressalah. In the book [Ladendorf 25] he is referred to as Major W. Dunlop, a Collector, is rather insistent on the division between civil and military powers. He says at one point [p97] ‘We there heard that Wullee Doda Khan has posted 400 Sowars and 600 infantry, besides a crowd of rebel villagers, at Galowtee, where he had fortified the police-station by breastworks. Major W—-, the commandant of the entire Volunteers, was, as senior officer, in command of the entire party, and determined on attacking the rebels the next day at daybreak. As the place was out of my own district, and the civil officer belonging to it was with us , I went as trooper merely in the Ressalah’ jul7/1 SOLD 20th July 2021
The medals on the portrait have the look of having been added to it later, a practice not uncommon where portraits were ‘brought up to date’ after promotions or awards. We normally remove remove the frame before posting because of the danger of the glass breaking in the post.
N.B. We have another portrait of this officer in his Khaki Ressalah uniform to be seen elsewhere in this category.
George Walter Williams: Born 10th May 1810 died 16 April 1890
Retired 31 Dec 1861 with rank of Colonel
Married: 23d July 1846 E A
George Walter Williams [1810-1890] Entered the Bengal Army 1826 in the 40th N.I. as Ensign.
1840 promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to 29th N.I.
1845 promoted to Captain
1851 Cantonment Magistrate at Peshawar
1854 promoted to Major and Joint Magistrate Agra
1855 Extra Assistant in the Suppression of Thuggee
During the Mutiny he was Superintendent of the Police Battalion in the N.W.P. and in 1859 in command of the military police of N.W.P. For these services he received the thanks of the Government of India and was awarded a C.B. In 1861 he was a Lieutenant Colonel and he retired at the end of that year in the rank of Colonel.
A pencil note on the back of the portrait reads:
ENTERED BENGAL ARMY 1826 AND RETIRED AS COLONEL 1861
LESS 12 YEARS AT THE COURT OF NEPAUL
AS ASSISTANT MILITARY ATTACHE
SOMETIME ASSISTANT TO GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT IN THE SUPPRESSION OF THUGEE
AND DACOITEE, MILITARY MAGISTRATE AT AGRA AND AT PESHAWAR
GEN SUPT OF MILITARY MAGISTRATE, COMMDR MILITARY POLICE N.W.P.
AND MIL.SECTY OF GOVT OF N.W.PROVINCES.
SERVED MUTINY 1857 IN COMMAND BY GENL ORDER OF GOVT. AND THANKED BY AWARD OF C.B. 1860.
The Nepal service remains to be confirmed. There is a good deal of scope for further research into this sitter.