Lt. Col. John Grant Gerrard
Ghuznee 1839, (Captain, A.D.C.)
Jellalabad 1842, so-called Flying Victory type (Captain, Officiating Sub Afsistant Commifsary General)
Cabul 1842, (Captain, 1st E.L.I. S.A.C.G.)
Punjab 1849, (Captn., D.A.C.G. Bengal Army)
India General Service 1854-95, clasp for Pegu (Major, 1st Eur. Bengal Fusrs.)
Indian Mutiny 1857-58, (Lieut. Col. 1st Ben. Fusrs.)



John Grant Gerrard was born in Calcutta on the 8th of November, 1808, and baptized in “the Garrison at Fort William” on the
7th of January, 1809. He was the son of Major John Gerrard of the 5th Bengal N.I. and his wife Harriet (formerly Holt).

Having been educated in England, John Gerrard was nominated in London as a cadet for the Bengal Infantry on the 28th of June,
1826, by EIC Director William T. Money at the recommendation of T.P. Courtenay, passing the examination the same day. He
embarked for India on the 21st of July, 1826, and was commissioned an Ensign the same day.

Ensign Gerrard arrived at Fort William, Calcutta on the 14th of December, 1826. He was posted as an Ensign in the 1st Bengal
European Regiment on the 10th of May, 1827, and promoted Lieutenant the 15th of December, 1830.

On the 15th of December, 1838, Gerrard was appointed Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier Abraham Roberts (the father of Fredrick
Sleigh Roberts, V.C), the commander of the 4th Brigade of the Army of the Indus. Gerrard was present at the storming and
capture of the fortress of Ghuznee in 1839, receiving the medal for Ghuznee and a share of the prize money.

In 1841, Gerrard, having been granted a Brevet Captaincy on the 21st of July, was appointed to command the 1st Jezailchie
Regiment of Shah Shuja's Army. Assuming command of this regiment, Gerrard command became a part of the force under Major
General Sir Robert Sale when a detachment of the 1st Jezailchie Regiment was ordered to take part in garrisoning Jellalabad.
Jellalabad was soon besieged by an army under Akbar Khan. Due to the state of fanatical excitement among the local population,
Sale was compelled to dispense with the services of the several of the irregular corps attached to his force, including Gerrard’s
detachment of Jezailchies. Gerrard immediately volunteered to do duty with any regiment in which he could be useful and for the
duration of the defense was attached to the 35th Native Infantry under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Monteath, C.B.
Gerrard was severely wounded in a sortie sent out from Jellalabad on the 14th of November, 1841. (London Gazette 11 Feb.
1842.)

Gerrard’s entry in
“War Services” in the Bengal Army List, states that he was also severely wounded on the 7th of April, 1842,
when General Sale's force unexpectedly marched out of Jellalabad and met and defeated the much larger army of Akbar Khan
which was besieging the city. Major-General Pollock marched with a relief column from Ali Musjid, arriving at Jellalabad with
his force on the 16th of April, only to find that the “Illustrious Garrison”, as Lord Ellenborough subsequently dubbed them, had
effectuated their own relief by defeating Akbar Khan’s army and according to Major-General Pollock were “except for wine and
beer, better off than we.”

Gerrard was mentioned in General Sale's Despatch of the 16th of April, 1842 (
London Gazette 9 August 1842), for his services
at Jellalabad, and along with the other 52 European officers present during the siege received the silver medal for Jellalabad.
Gerrard was also “granted the wound pension of his rank, for an injury sustained in action Jellalabad on the 14th Nov. 1841
equivalent to the loss of a limb.”(L/MIL/10/28p33.)

On the 11th of May, 1842, Major-General George Pollack, commander of the troops west of the Indus, appointed Brevet-Captain
Gerrard to act as Sub-Assistant Commissary General of the Artillery attached to his force. (G.O. 21 July 1842.) Advancing in
August from Jellalabad towards Cabul, General Pollack’s forces virtually annihilated Akbar Khan’s army of approximately
15,000 men at the Tazeane (or Tazeen) Pass on the 13th of September, 1842. No further Afghan resistance was encountered and
General Pollack’s army re-entered Cabul unmolested on the 15th of September and occupied the city. Gerrard received the medal
for Cabul for his services with Major-General Pollack’s column.

Gerrard was promoted Captain in 1843 and took part in the operations against the hill tribes on the northern frontier of Scinde
in 1845. Appointed Deputy Assistant Commissary General in February of 1848 (G.O. 8th March 1848), Gerrard took part in the
second Sikh War, being present at Ramnagar, the passage of the Chenab, and at Sadulapur, for which services he received the
Punjab Medal.

Gerrard was promoted Major in March of 1850, and from October of that year until May of 1854, was doing duty in charge of
the Hissar camel and cattle farm. However, during this time Major Gerrard also served in the Second Burma War. Among other
services, he commanded a detachment of the 1st European Bengal Fusiliers in the relief of the besieged Pegu garrison on the 7th
of December, 1842. Gerrard was mentioned in despatches on the 24th of December, 1852 (
London Gazette 15 Feb. 1853) and
23rd of February, 1853 (
London Gazette 29 April 1853) for his services during the Pegu campaign and received the India
General Service medal with clasp for Pegu.

Gerrard was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on the 14th of January, 1856. His subsequent appointments, as Lieutenant-Colonel,
were to the 34th N.I., the 14th N.I. and the 27th N.I.

In July of 1857, Lieutenant-Colonel Gerrard was stationed at Jhelum, commanding the 14th Bengal Native Infantry. Brigadier
Neville Chamberlain, concerned about the loyalty of the 14th N.I. due to the recent mutiny of the native troops at Meerut,
ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Gerrard to disarm his men and disband the regiment. A detachment of H.M. 24th Regiment under
Colonel Ellice was dispatched from Rawul Pindi to Jhelum to assist Lieutenant-Colonel Gerrard in event of trouble. The
detachment arrived on the 7th of July and Gerrard describes what happened next in his letter of 8 July 1857 to the Commander-
in-Chief (reprinted in full in
Historical Records of the 24th Regiment by G. Paton, F. Glennie and W. Symons.):

“I have the honour to report for the information of H.E. the Commander-in-Chief that yesterday morning, agreeably to the
instructions received from Col. Ellice, commanding a detachment 24th Queen’s and three guns of European Horse Artillery,
together with, some of the Mooltan Foot and Horse, I paraded the men of the 14th regiment N.I. for the purpose of
withdrawing all the Sikhs and Punjabees, and on his arrival in the morning, for the disarming of the down country men. The men
were paraded at 4 ½ o’clock a.m., the Sikhs were marched off, and on the appearance of the force under Col. Ellice on the
parade ground, I attempted to explain to the men that they would be called upon to give up their arms for the present…I
scarcely uttered the words when the whole of the Grenadier company commenced loading their firelocks, and although every
effort was made …to dissuade the men, they loaded, and…they fired on us. They then broke, and fled towards the lines and
quarter guard, which later place they held for a considerable time…until Col. Ellice himself headed a most daring and brilliant
advance, when it was taken…with…the loss of Col. Ellice’s services, he having fallen severely wounded in two places. Being the
next senior officer present, I took command, and…ordered the guns forward…”

The mutinous troop of the 14th N.I. after being driven out of the quarter guard fled into the jungle but soon occupied the
nearby village of Saemli. Although the mutineers lacked artillery, a day long battle ensued before they lost heart and scattered
during the night, taking their weapons and ammunition with them. The 24th Regiment’s casualties at Jhelum were 23 officers and
men killed and 51 wounded. Captain Spring was killed in action and Colonel Ellice and Lieutenants Streatfeild and Chichester
were severely wounded. Approximately 150 mutinous sepoys were killed, with at least an equal number escaping under the cover
of darkness. The remaining mutineers were taken prisoner, forty-eight of which were shot following a drum-head court-martial
the morning, with a further twenty-five blown from guns the following day.

Immediately after the fall of Delhi on the 14th of September, Gerrard was appointed to command the 1st European Bengal
Fusiliers, the men being extremely pleased by Gerrard’s return to his old regiment. In early November, Gerrard was appointed
to command a column for the purpose of intercepting and opposing the Jodhpur Legion which had mutinied at Erinpura and was
then marching towards Delhi. Colonel G.B. Malleson in
The History of the Indian Mutiny states, “The direction of it (the column)
was bestowed upon Colonel Gerrard, an officer of merit and distinction, trained in the 1st Fusiliers, and who then commanded
that regiment.”

Gerrard’s column of approximately 2,500 men marched from Delhi on the 10th of November, 1857. On the 16th, the column
reached the village of Narnul which was thought to then be occupied by the enemy. However, upon arriving at Narnul, it was
determined that the enemy had withdrawn to a camp some two miles away. Gerrard immediately ordered an advance towards the
enemy’s position. The centre of the first line was occupied by the 1st European Bengal Fusiliers and “
in front of all rode
Gerrard, a handsome man, with bright dark eyes and wavy grey hair, his red coat covered with decorations, conspicuous on his
white Arab, surrounded by his staff. Gerrard was the only man of the force, his Orderly Officer excepted, dressed in red,
the infantry wearing the khaki uniform.” (Id.)

The History of the Indian Mutiny
, by Rice-Holmes, in discussing the battle at Narnul states:

“Gerrard halted for a short time to refresh his men. They were eating their food when they saw a little cloud of dust rising
over some sloping ground in their front. In a few minutes they discovered masses of horsemen through the dust. Presently a
shot whizzed over their heads. No time was lost in replying to the challenge. The British advanced steadily; their artillery
threw a shower of grape and round shot into the rebel ranks; and now the loud ‘Shabash’ of the Guides, and the flash of
sabres and tulwars amid a cloud of dust on the right showed that a cavalry combat had begun. The enemy’s horsemen met the
shock of the Guides and the Carabiniers right gallantly, but were, notwithstanding, overpowered and hurled back; the victors,
wheeling round after their pursuit, swooped upon the gunners and cut down all that stood their ground; the 1st Bengal
Fusiliers overpowered the infantry and captured the guns, and the Multani Horse, charging the rebel right, completed the
route.” (Page 384.)

Malleson reports what happened next:

“As in the fight, so in the pursuit, Gerrard maintained his prominent position. He pushed forward, directing the men, till he
reached a rivulet with partially wooded banks. On these banks he drew in his horse, whilst he directed the movements of the
troops to the other side. To him, thus sitting on his white Arab and giving directions calmly, one of his staff officers,
Lieutenant Hogg, suddenly pointed out a man on the opposite bank taking deliberate aim at him. Just then the man fired, but
missed. Hogg entreated the Colonel to move back. Gerrard replied that he would move in a minute, but that he must see what
was going on. But before he did move, the man had reloaded and fired. This time his aim was true. Gerrard fell mortally
wounded, and died in two hours”

A memorial to Lieutenant-Colonel Gerrard was raised at Meerut with the inscription: “Sacred to the memory of Lieutenant-
Colonel John Grant Gerrard, 1st Bengal Fusiliers, who was killed in action while gallantly leading on to victory the movable
column which he commanded against the Jodhpur Legion at Narnaul, near Delhi, November 17th 1857, aged 48 years.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gerrard is also named on the Memorial to the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Westminster Cathedral.

Fred Roberts (later Lord Roberts) in a letter to his mother wrote,
“Poor Gerrard, I am very sorry for his death. Marianne
(Gerrard’s wife) must be in great grief, I have scarcely seen a couple in India so fond of each other as they were.”
(F.R.
Roberts, Letters Written During the Indian Mutiny, at page 117.)

Lieutenant-Colonel Innes in the regimental history states: “
… there is a sad gap in the ranks of the Fusiliers, who had left on
the field of battle their gallant and generous-hearted Colonel. There was no complaint too trivial, no wrong too slight, to
escape the attention and secure the relief of Colonel Gerrard; known as the soldier’s friend, he was ever ready to listen
patiently to their injuries, and to redress their wrongs. The melancholy loss of their brave Colonel was deeply felt and
generally deplored by officers and men alike; there were few amongst them who had not felt the beneficial influence of his
noble character, and his memory will be deservedly cherished by those who love to honour and respect the good, the noble,
and the brave.” (
Lt.-Co.. P.R. Innes, History of the Bengal European Regiment, now the Royal Munster Fusiliers and How It
Helped to Win India, at page 500.)
1st Bengal Fusiliers