Aug 24, 2007
John Nicholson The lion of the Punjab
Victorians have always fascinated me, especially the Victorian Generals. Most people have an image of them as a set of stuffed shirts, pretentious and hypocritical. They have faded into history and as our imperial history is no longer taught and a milksop revisionist version put into place to placate. The PC brigade. If I mentioned Napier, Campbell, Havlock, Gough, Hope Grant and Sir Harry Smith, would anyone know who I was taking about, I very much doubt it. The life story of everyone of these reads like an unbelievable fairytale. These were the successful ones, the ones that retired with a Baronetcy and a pension, most though lay buried and forgotten in far corner of an empire that most Brits have been taught to despise and feel embarrassed about. John Nicholson is one of the later types he lies buried in Delhi where he died at the age of 34 leading an assault on the city during the Indian mutiny or the first war of Indian independence as the politically correct like to refer to it. He is for me perhaps the most interesting of all the Victorian Generals and one wonders how far he would have risen and what feat he would have performed if he had lived.
I will just give you a flavor of this exceptional man. He certainly had charisma, a sect called the Nicolsonites worshiped him as a God, they were allowed into his presence to adore him but if they fell down to worship him he had them taken out and flogged. I don't think that that would have happened with George Patton. As Magistrate in the area he controlled his sense of justice could be called somewhat robust. Not many judges nowadays would place the head of the criminal he had last executed on his desk in the court house when judging the next case. I am certain that concentrated peoples minds. His manners were impeccable, it is not many Generals who would go into the Officers mess to apologizes for the lateness of their meal because he had had to execute the cooks because he had caught them poisoning the food. The most interesting thing about the man is that he keep Waziristan quiet and did it virtually on his own. This is more than Pakistan can do now. If you would like to read more about this unusual man you can download the E-book called
the lion of the Punjab
here is the link