|JOHN PHILLIP ANTHONY THEOBALD
Cornet Theobald served with his regiment during the Punjab campaign of 1848-49. He was present at the action at
Chillianwala and Goojerat. He was promoted Lieutenant in the 6th BLC on the 12th of April, 1849. For his services he
received the Punjab medal with clasps for Chillianwala and Goojerat, named to him as a Cornet in the 6th Bengal Light
John was promoted Captain on the 20th of November, 1856, while on sick certificate in England. He was not to return
to duty until November, 1857, and then only to find that his Regiment had mutinied following the outbreak of the Indian
Mutiny in May of that year. On the 28th of November, Captain Theobald proceeded to Raneegange in view of being
employed in accompanying troops to the Upper Provinces. In April, Captain Theobald was ordered to do duty with Her
Majesties Hussars. He was present at the final capture of the City of Lucknow in Oude in 1858.
For his services during the Indian Mutiny, James Theobald received the Indian Mutiny medal, with clasp for Lucknow,
named to him as a Captain in the 6th BLC.
In May of 1858, the 3rd Regiment of European Light Cavalry was formed and the majority of the officers of the 6th
Bengal Light Cavalry, including Captain Theobald, transferred to it. In November of 1859, Captain Theobald proceeded
on duty with “discharged soldiers” and returned on the 7th of March, 1863. It appears that when the 3rd European
Light Cavalry was transferred to the Crown and became the 21st Hussars, Captain Theobald remained with the Bengal
Cavalry. He is shown as serving with the 5th Bengal Cavalry in 1865, having been promoted Brevet Major on the 13th
of January, 1865. Brevet Major Theobald is shown as doing duty at Bareilly in 1866, and in January of 1867, he is
listed as “doing duty at Presidency”.
On the 3rd of September, 1871, by General Order, Major J. P.A. Theobald, Bengal Cavalry, was promoted to Lt. Colonel.
Brevet Lt. Col. Theobald was placed on the retired list on the 27th of October, 1871 and it was ordered that he “will
receive half pay pension of his substantive rank.”
The information given in the Bengal General Orders is somewhat confusing and it would appear that Lt. Col. Theobald
did not obtain his substantive majority. The Bengal Army Lists give his rank until retirement as Captain, and gives 5 June
1865 as the date of his acting rank of Major.
John Theobald married Mary Henrietta Sunderland on the 23rd of February, 1857, in Douglas on the Isle of Man, while
in England on sick leave. His wife was born on the 2nd of February, 1838, in India. Although born in India, Mary Theobald
was a British Subject (and as a result, would not have been either Indian or Eurasian.)
Their children were:
1) Edward James, born 6 July 1858 in India.
2) Fanny Lavinia: born 23 February 1861 in London at Regent’s Park.
3) Theodosia Mary: born 23 April 1862 on the Isle of Wight.
4) Annette Caroline: born 23 June 1865 in Derbyshire.
Lt. Col. J.P.A. Theobald died on the 1st June, 1872, and was buried the following day at the Military Burial Ground, Fort
William, Calcutta, India. The cause of death was listed as heat apoplexy.
Mary Theobald is shown in the 1881 census as living in England with her son Edward. She is listed as being an “Officer’s
Widow.” Mary Theobald died on the 19th of January, 1914.
Sources: India Office Records: L/MIL/5/72 f63v (Punjab medal rolls); L/MIL/5/77 f 29v (Indian Mutiny medal rolls);
1871 and 1881 Census Enumeration for the United Kingdom; Various Bengal Army Lists; Various Hart’s Army Lists.
Although the records are unclear, it appears John Phillip
Anthony Theobald was born on the 7th of December,
1825. He was baptized in the Parish of St. Mary's,
Kensington, Middlesex, on the 11th of December, 1825.
He was the son of Thomas John Theobald and his wife,
Elizabeth Lavinia, of Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor
John was educated at Mr J. Kesley's School, Kennington,
the nature of the education being the customary
“classical and mathematical.” On the recommendation
of his father, he was nominated for the Bengal Cavalry
by John Petty Muspratt, an EIC Director. His father
is recorded at this time as being the Rector of Nunney,
Frome, Somerset. On the 10th of December, 1845, John
was examined and passed the examination for the Cavalry
and sailed for India aboard the “Mallacca” the next day.
He was commissioned as a Cornet in the Bengal Cavalry
on the 27th of December, 1845.
Cornet Theobald arrived in Calcutta at Fort William on
the 9th of June, 1845, and was directed to do duty with
the 9th Bengal Cavalry at Cawnpore. On the 18th of
November, 1845, he was posted to the 6th Bengal Light
Cavalry at Ferozepore.