65th Bengal Native Infantry
Wynyard Battye, born 9 January 1835, was the son of George Wynyard Battye,
Bengal Civil Service, and was one of the legendary ten brothers who embraced the
military life, and of whom famously four fell in action. Quentin, the second eldest,
was second-in-command of the Guides on their epic 580-mile march from Mardan
to Delhi in 1857 and was killed on the Ridge on the afternoon of their arrival.
Shot through the abdomen, he died uttering the words, “Dulce et decorum est pro
patria mori.” (It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country)
Wigram, the third youngest son was killed charging at the head of the Guides
Cavalry at Fattehabad in 1879. Legh, the second youngest, was killed on the Black
Mountain Expedition in 1888, and Frederick, the youngest, was killed in the Chitral
Expedition in 1895.
Wynyard Battye was appointed Ensign in the 65th Bengal Native Infantry on 4
April 1854, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 23 November 1856. He served
against the rebels in the Azimghur District during the Mutiny, and received the
thanks of Government whilst serving with the Goorkah Force, for aiding Mr.
Venables in the capture and death of a noted rebel at Azimghur.
One interesting incident of Wynyard’s
experiences during the Mutiny is recounted in
The Fighting Ten, by Evelyn Desiree Battye:
“As requested by the Maaharajah Jung Bahadur,
Wynyard’s regiment, after taking of the Begum
Koti, has joined forces with the other Nepalese.
They fought along the heavily fortified area of
the canal, the enemy’s First Line of Defense,
from Bank’s House on the corner of the City to
the Char Bagh Bridge and into the congested
Every foot entailed tough fighting, at one point
the Gurkhas having to evacuate a position they
had taken during the night when shot and shell
poured in on the, and the village in which they
were sheltering was burnt.
On the 19th, under tremendous musketry fire,
Jung Bahadur’s army advanced to seize the Char
Bagh Bridge, and began their dangerous way
from house to house in the densely populated
With a small party of Gurkhas, Wynyard was searching for snipers behind the advance posts when an excited officer (one
Lieutenant Bogle) dashed up to say he had heard there were some English ladies in hiding not a mile away. Though a
labyrinth of lanes Wynyard followed to the house of Wazir Ali, an officer of the Old Court, and there indeed were two
white females dressed in saris. On seeing the young Lieutenants’ fresh British faces, the ladies dissolved into tears, and it
was some moments before they could compose themselves sufficiently to utter in their native tongue. Lieutenants Bogle and
Battye gallantly ordered a palanquin and saw that they were escorted into Jung Bahadur’s luxurious camp where amidst
oriental opulence, the English women were given every comfort. (Id at pages 134-135.)
It was not until later that Wynyard discovered they were a Mrs. Orr and a Miss Madeleine Jackson, the only survivors of
refugees from Sitapur, some way north of Lucknow. They had wondered through the jungle in a pitiful state of privation
until, the previous October, they were confined in a dark room in the Kaiser Bagh, the men in the party taken out and shot.
One of them, Sir Mountstuart Jackson, was Madeleine’s brother. Mrs. Orr’s child had been smuggled through to Sir James
Outram’s camp at Alum Bagh after the first relief, the mother and Madeleine left in confinement until their guards took
fright in the recent battle. Wazir Ali had then led them to his house where they were given clean raiment and were treated
Upon the reformation of his old Regiment, the 65th Bengal Native Infantry, Wynyard volunteered to rejoin them and fresh
from the fighting in the Mutiny, immediately left India to serve with them in the Second China War in 1858. Following the
death of his wife Ella, who had accompanied him to China, Wynyard was invalidated home on sick leave in November of
1858, most probably from typhoid fever which was rampant in the camp. The effects of his service in the Indian Mutiny
and the Second China War are best summed up by a quote from The Fighting Ten:
“One winter day, Wynyard arrived at 28, Chester Square. Eliza (his sister) scarcely recognized the haggard widower from
the debonair youth of nineteen with an eye for the girls she had bid farewell to four years before.” (Id at pages 143.)
Wynyard Battye died on 10 February 1882 at the age of 47. The Battye brothers were justifiably hailed by the British
public as heroes, but not without considerable personal sacrifice by even by those brothers who were lucky enough to
survive their exploits on behalf of Queen and Country.