Colonel Edward Harris Greathed
(Later General Sir Edward Greathed, K.C.B.)
8th Foot
Edward Harris Greathed, the elder son of E. H. Greathed of Uddens,
near Wimborne, Dorset, was born at South Audley Street, London,
on 8 June 1812. He was educated at Westminster School and was
commissioned Ensign by purchase in the H.M’s 8th Regiment of Foot
on 22 June 1832. Promoted Lieutenant by purchase in May 1833,
he sailed with the regiment to the West Indies in November of that
year and served there until February 1836. Having bought his
Captaincy in April 1838, he served one year in Canada, and first
arrived in India in 1846, having recently acquired his Majority,
also by purchase. On the outbreak of the Mutiny he had held the
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel for nearly three years.

Greathed arrived on Delhi Ridge in command of the 8th Foot on 30
June, and was present at the repulse of the enemy sorties of 9, 14
and 18 July. He commanded the 3rd Infantry Brigade in the repulse
of the enemy attack of 23 July, and was selected by Archdale
Wilson to command the column sent to occupy the Khoodsia Bagh
and Ludlow Castle on 7 September, when the siege batteries were
moved forward to commence breaching the city walls at a range
of 180 yards. At the assault of the city on 14 September, the
8th Foot formed part of No. 2 Column under Brigadier William
Jones (qv) of the 61st Foot, and took part in the storming of
the breach near the Water Bastion.
Inside the city Greathed met Lieutenant Noel Money  of the
Bengal Europeans, who remembered: ‘Colonel Greathed of the
8th Queen’s was now in the battery and seeing that I had lost
my sword which had been stolen by a Sikh while I was laying
the gun, he took a sword that had belonged to an officer of
his regiment who had been killed just before, and gave it to
me, saying, “Here, Money, this is one of our swords. If you
use it as I saw you using your own a little while ago you will
not disgrace it.”’

Greathed served in the city for the next five days, and he
was selected by Archdale Wilson to command the 2,500-
strong moveable column which left Delhi on the 24th to pursue
mutineers fleeing into Oudh.

Having evacuated the column’s wounded to Meerut after the
action at Boolundshuhur, Greathed resumed his march on 3
October, hoping to effect a junction with Sir Henry Havelock’s
column and assist in the relief of the beleaguered garrison at
The carnival atmosphere was short lived. Quite unexpectedly a
band of rebels disguised as jugglers turned on their audience of
9th Lancers, while elsewhere on the parade-ground the quarter
guard of the same regiment was attacked by rebel Sowars
wearing uniform similar to the 2nd Punjab Cavalry.

Two troops of rebel cavalry thundered out of the high crops
which bordered the parade-ground and heavy guns opened fire
on the camp. ‘Although taken so completely by surprise, the
British troops reacted with a promptness and energy that one
observer described as ‘simply astonishing’. An officer galloped
off to the fort to fetch Greathed who had gone there for
breakfast; the infantry rushed to seize their arms; the cavalry
to saddle their horses.

The Bengal Artillery, though in quarters ‘never the most amiable
or the best disciplined’ of troops, demonstrated once more that
on service they were certainly inferior to none’. The round shot
were coming in pretty fast,’ Captain Barter wrote, ‘and it was
really beautiful to see the artillery prepare for service. Their
guns were all in park and the horses unharnessed and yet it was
perfectly marvellous the rapidity with which they got into action,
the enemy shot all the time rattling amongst the guns and limbers.’
‘Within minutes the British force was ready to repel the attack, many of the 75th in their shirt-sleeves, some of the 9th
Lancers still in their stockinged feet. The troops in the fort marched out to support them, wearing bright new uniforms’,
fifes playing, drums beating, bayonets gleaming in the sunlight, making the walls ‘re-echo with the tramp of footsteps as
they fell to the time of the music’. But their help was not needed. By the time they reached the parade-ground the rebels
had broken and fled, losing all their guns and ammunition, chased away through the crops of bajra whose tall shattered
stalks indicated the path of their flight’.

The column rested near Agra for four days before continuing towards Lucknow. Brigadier
Hope Grant at Delhi, meanwhile,
had received a note from the Secretary to the Government of the North Western Provinces at Agra informing him: ‘You
are to come on as sharp as you can; You are to come at once, by the mail if possible and take command.’

Greathed subsequently commanded the 3rd Infantry Brigade of the army under Sir
Colin Campbell from 10 November
to 9 January 1858, taking part in the relief of Sir James Outram’s force at Dilkusha, and the defeat of Tantia Tope at
Cawnpore on 6 December 1857.

Greathed was created a Companion of the Bath on 1 January 1858 and was promoted Colonel on the 19th.  Advanced to
Knight Commander of the Bath in 1865,  Sir Edward Greathed returned to England in 1859, and was placed on Half-Pay
until 1872, when he was appointed to the command of the Eastern District for five years. In 1880 he was made Colonel of
the H.M’s 108th (Madras) Regiment of Foot and promoted General.

Greathed died at his oddly named family home, Uddens, on 19 November 1881.
On the 8th, however, Greathed decided to go to Bryjgarh in order to move closer to Agra, from which place he had been
receiving a stream of urgent letters in ‘every language, living and dead ... beseeching, commanding him to hasten at the
utmost speed’ to protect the European families, who, fearing attack by a large force of rebels concentrating at Muttra,
had incarcerated themselves in the fort. Aware that the detour would prevent him from linking up with Havelock,
Greathed felt unable to ignore the pleas and he marched at midnight on the 8th, proceeded by his cavalry and horse
artillery. But after thirty-six hours word was received that the enemy no longer threatened Agra, and had withdrawn
over the Kalle Nuddee, a stream about ten miles away. Accordingly, the leading units halted and waited for the infantry
to catch up.

‘When Greathed arrived in Agra the panic had subsided. Most of the mutineers who had arrived at Muttra from Delhi
had dispersed to their homes. The others, whose reported approach upon Agra had been responsible for the flood of
letters handed to Greathed during his march up the Grand Trunk Road, were now said to have retired nine miles. The
column was ‘not really needed’, after all. Thus it was that the ladies, looking down upon it from the walls of the fort,
watched it pass with expressions of disgust at its dirtiness rather than gratitude for its prompt arrival. Greathed took
his men to the parade-ground south of the fort where some went immediately to sleep while others had their breakfast,
bargained with native vendors of drinks and sweetmeats, or talked to the soldiers of the garrison who had strolled down
from the fort. Most of the civilians in the fort wandered down to the parade-ground; so had thousands of inhabitants of
the city who had come out ‘to watch the camp being pitched, and to see what was going on’. ‘It seemed like a fair more t
han anything else’.