Gilbert Lynas was recruited to the 82nd Foot (South Lancashire) from the ranks of the Glasgow Militia on the 17th of May 1855.
Because of the great need for manpower (the Crimean War being at it’s height) he was rewarded with the rather generous bonus
of £9 with a further 14 shillings and 6 pence going to his recruiters. His description at that time was given as aged 20 and 5ft 4
The 82nd were serving at this time at Corfu and so the need for recruiting and training had led to the establishment of a depot
company, the location of which was at Edinburgh at this time. Gilbert joined the depot company (under command of Major Edward
Blagden Hale) on the 19th of May 1855 where he was given the regimental number of 3891. All is quiet in the musters for the next
few months, the service companies had left Corfu and arrived in the Crimea in the first few days of September 1855 in time to
witness the fall of Sebastopol. Private Lynas is in a draft of men (under command of Major Hale) who march to Greenlaw to board a
ship on the 13th of September. The draft board the steam ship ‘Ripon’ which departs on the 15th of September and lands in the
Crimea after a 24 day journey on the 7th of October, too late to qualify for the Crimean medal.
The 82nd had been assigned to stay the winter in the Crimea and although conditions were much improved from the winter of
1854-55 they were still poor enough for Gilbert to spend 7 days in hospital at the tail end of 1855. He also missed all 4 musters at
the start of 1856 with fatigues at the January, March and April musters and guard at the February one. With the peace finally
signed the 82nd leave the Crimea, most of the men (including Lynas) boarding the ‘Royal George’ on the 10th of July 1856 and
arriving at Gosport on the 10th of August. The remainder of the regiment travelled on ‘HMS Perseverance’ which left the Crimea on
the 9th of July, stopped at Turkey from the 11th to the 15th and arrived at Gosport on the 6th of August. Once collected at
Gosport the regiment moved to Aldershot on the 11th of August.
Gilbert is on guard at the November muster and over the next couple on months the regiment is boosted by an influx of
volunteers from the 9th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 30th and 80th regiments of Foot. Having been warned for overseas service in
China the 82nd moved to Portsmouth on the 6th of February 1857 where they waited for 3 months before most of the 82nd
(including Lynas) boarded ‘HMS Adventure’ on the 21st of May 1857, the remainder boarding ‘HMS Assistance’ on the same day.
During the long trip around the Cape the news of the Sepoy Mutiny that had begun in Meerut on the 10th of May reached the
82nd, along with orders that would see them landing in India and not China as they had expected. The ‘Adventure’ arrived at
Calcutta on the 22nd of September 1857 with the ‘Assistance’ arriving more than 2 weeks later on the 11th of October. The
Indian service musters are never too detailed, but here we can quote ‘The History of the South Lancashire Regiment’.
On the 12th October the 82nd had landed at Calcutta and by the 21st the first detachment of the regiment, under the
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Blagden Hale, was on the march for Allahabad, the rest of the regiment following
in detachments on successive days. Conditions in India were very different then, as is shown by the following extract from ‘The
Historical Records of the 82nd Regiment' : 'A number of covered wagons, drawn by bullocks, were told off to each detachment,
and at the end of every night's march the halting places afforded commissariat supplies and shelter from the sun during the
intense heat of the day. Each officer in command of a party was furnished with a small medicine chest and clear instructions how to
use the medicines, with a description of the symptoms attending the various complaints most likely to occur. By this simple
precaution many lives were saved.
On 5th November five companies had reached Allahabad. The main garrison had by now gone up country with Havelock, and
Allahabad was in charge of a small body of the Naval Brigade under Lieutenant Wilson, of H.M.S. Shannon, who later performed
such prodigies of valour at Lucknow. On the 7th November Lieutenant-Colonel Hale, with ten officers and two hundred men of the
82nd, left Allahabad and arrived at Cawnpore on the llth, pushing on again at once to Join the force which had established itself at
the Alumbagh, on the outskirts of Lucknow, where he arrived on the night of the 13th.
The force at the Alumbagh now amounted to about 5,000 men and a new brigade was formed in which Captain Warren of the 82nd
acted as Orderly Officer to the commander. The regiment went into action immediately, for the advance on the rebel defences
began at daylight on the 14th November. The first objectives were La Maritiniere, a large school with extensive gardens and the
Dilkusha, one of the palaces of the Kings of Oude.
These were occupied by nightfall, and a violent counter-attack by the rebels was easily repelled next day, being Sunday. On the
16th November, the Secunderbagh, a large enclosure surrounded by a massive masonry wall, was attacked, and a stiff fight
ensued, in which the 82nd was in reserve but lost a number of men and Colonel Hale had a narrow escape when his horse was
killed under him.
On the 17th, the enemy made a last stand at the Moti Mahal Palace, but the relieving force was not to be denied and after breaches
had been made in the wall, the troops poured through and at last established contact with the devoted garrison which had held
out for so long, and against such odds, at the Residency. This success, too, was marred by the death of another great soldier, for
Havelock died of dysentery on the 24th.
After the relief of Lucknow, the detachment of the 82nd was part of the force covering the withdrawal of the women and children,
the wounded and the treasure, to Cawnpore, and the whole regiment was together again by the 30th November.
That part of the 82nd which had been left behind at Cawnpore had by no means been idle, for it soon became involved in the
fighting for the bridgehead over the Ganges, command of which was vital to the withdrawal of the force from Lucknow. As soon as
Sir Colin Campbell was engaged before Lucknow, the Gwalior Contingent; a well trained and equipped force of troops belonging to
the Maharjah Scindia of Gwalior, who had thrown his lot in with the mutineers, appeared before Cawnpore with the intention of
forcing its way across the river and joining the mutineers at Lucknow. The enemy took up a number of positions round Cawnpore
and the British force, now at a strength of 1,700 men, moved out to meet them on the 25th November. The enemy were in
strength in a dry nullah known as the Pandu Naddi, and in the attack which followed the detachment of the 82nd was in reserve.
Having cleared the enemy away, the force started to retire towards Cawnpore, when the enemy followed-up hotly and the brunt of
the fighting fell on the light company of the 82nd, which was acting as rearguard : During this retrograde movement the light
company of the 82nd, in command of Captain Gordon, formed the rear-guard, and held the enemy in check at the Pandoo Nudee
until ordered to retire, when he drew off his men with great skill, inflicting considerable loss on his pursuers, who advanced as far
as the canal, where they halted and encamped, keeping this obstacle In their front. The casualties in the force this day were, one
officer and thirteen men killed, and five officers and seventy-three men wounded. Lieutenant East, 82nd, was severely wounded in
the foot, a portion of which was amputated.
On the morning of the 27th the mutineers crossed the canal in force and began a heavy cannonade of the British positions. The
enemy then attacked and after several hours of severe fighting the Britishforce again withdrew, this time to its entrenched
positions on the outskirts of the city. The despatch describing this part of the action thus speaks of the part played by the 82nd :
‘The flank attack was well met and resisted for a considerable time by the 34th Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly, and the
Madras Battery, under Lieutenant Chamier, together with that part of the 82nd Regiment which was detached in this direction
under Lieutenant-Colonel Watson.'
On the 28th the enemy launched a general attack all along the line, in the hope of gaining possession of the bridge before the
Lucknow force could come up. The two companies of the 82nd which were detached on the left of the line during this day's fighting
distinguished themselves greatly by capturing two enemy guns in hand-to-hand fighting. They were commanded by Captains
Farmar and Slater, respectively, and this is how the Historical Record of the 82nd Regiment describes the exploit: ‘The two
companies of the 82nd were commanded respectively by Captains Farmar and Slater. Captain Farmar led his company to the
capture of the two guns, supported by Captain Slater's company and a portion of the Rifle Brigade. He was the first man up to
them, and had a hand-to-hand encounter with the native gunners, who lay down under their guns and waited the assault, rising
up and rushing at their assailants when within a short distance.
Captain Farmar was immediately surrounded, and would have been slain, but for the promptitude with which Ensign Waterfield, a
cadet of the East India Company, temporarily attached to the 82nd, handled his revolver; and the vigour with which Sergeant
Godfrey of the 82nd thrust his bayonet through a sepoy in the act of cutting down his captain. This sepoy held the bayonet, firmly
fixed in his body, with his left hand, while with his right he gave the Sergeant a sword wound in the wrist, which caused him to be
invalided, and from its effects he subsequently died. The men of the company soon dispersed and bayoneted thirty-five of the
enemy and took the guns. For this exploit Captain Farmar received the brevet rank of Major, and Ensign Waterfield was also
promoted soon afterwards. The remainder of the 82nd had taken post in the town on the right, were closely engaged all day and
suffered severely.' No. 1, No. 8, and No. 10 Companies of the regiment were here engaged, and fought through the day keeping
the enemy at bay until, at nightfall, the force withdrew into the fort During the night of the 28th the enemy took complete
possession of the town, but the defences covering the vital bridge remained intact and the Lucknow force appeared on the
opposite bank of the river the same night. A brigade of the Lucknow force crossed next morning and on the 6th a general attack
was delivered against the enemy who, now disheartened, were driven away with little difficulty and pursued for several miles, with
After the defeat of the Gwalior Contingent, the 82nd was engaged on what would nowadays be called ‘mopping-up ' operations,
clearing rebel pockets of resistance in the country around Cawnpore and Fatehgarh, which was now the headquarters of Sir Colin
Campbell. This work took them to the beginning of February, 1858, when preparations for the final capture of Lucknow were well
advanced. In the first stages the 82nd was in the force under Sir Thomas Seaton, with headquarters at Fatehgarh, with orders to
watch the river line in that neighbourhood. A hundred men of the regiment were here trained in gun drill and used as gunners at
Fatehgarh Fort. The work of guarding the river fords meant a number of small mobile columns and the bulk of the regiment was
employed on this work during February and March, and on 6th April the 82nd formed the major part of a force which carried out a
surprise dawn attack on a large body of the mutineers at Kunkur, twenty-two miles from Fatehgarh, in which the enemy was
completely routed after a brisk fight in which the regiment lost three men killed and seventeen wounded. It had marched forty-four
miles and fought a sharp action within twenty-two hours. On the 27th April the army moved north to Shahjehanpur and Bareilly,
which was captured on 5th April. As the army had advanced, the rebels had closed in again on Shahjehanpur and the left wing of
the 82nd was in the force that was ordered to return to that place by forced marches to relieve the small garrison which was
besieged in part of the town and included the right wing of the regiment. The hot weather was now at its height and the troops
suffered terribly from the heat, many men dying from heat-stroke. The right wing of the 82nd was besieged in the jail at
Shahjehanpur for nine days before the relieving column came up and drove the enemy away. There was a brisk action outside
Shahjehanpur a few days later, when the enemy re-attacked in strength, and the 82nd continued to be engaged in exhausting
column work in the vicinity of the town until the end of May. Thereafter the regiment remained in garrison at Shahjehanpur for the
next seven months with a final engagement happening at Bunkagong (12 miles from Shahjehanpur) where the enemy was easily
So with all this history unfolding around him… Gilbert Lynas remained well away from most of the events described above. On
arrival in India he was detached in a company commanded by Captain G.E. Halliday at Dinapore and remained there until January
1858. By the end of February he had been detached at Cawnpore and had joined the remainder of the regiment at Futtergurh
(Fatehgarh) in March. Gilbert Lynas was promoted to Corporal on the 1st day of April 1858 and only 5 days later he took part in
the attack at Kunkar for which he was awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal with no clasps when the roll was written at Camp Mahondee
on the 20th of November 1858. The musters show Corporal Lynas and the HQ of the 82nd Regiment at Shahjahanpoor from April
to October 1858 (he was sick in hospital at the end of September) and then at the Camp at Mahondee until December 1858.
1859 began with the regiment back at Shahjahanpoor but Corporal Lynas was not there for long as he was on detachment in a
company under Captain H.C. Marriott at Moradabad in February and remained there for the next 2 years. Gilbert became liable for
his first good conduct badge and pay rise on the 1st of March 1860 but he was not to retain his good conduct pay for long, he
was promoted to Sergeant on the 1st of July of the same year and as such was not eligible for such pay. Sergeant Lynas
continued at Moradabad until April of 1861 when he joined the remainder of his regiment on it’s move to the ancient city of Delhi.
His time back with the remainder of his regiment was not to be too successful as on the 28th of June 1861 he was reduced in the
ranks to private with no reasons being given on the musters.
Gilbert’s health was not too good during his stay in Delhi, he was in hospital over the August 1861 muster and for the 3 months
from October to December 1861 he is shown as away on duty. All is quiet in the musters then until his good conduct badge and
pay is restored to him on the 2nd of July 1862. He is shown on duty in August and September 1862 and again from January to
March 1863 when the 82nd move from Delhi to Kernaub in February (on the march) and Subathoo by March where they are to
remain for the next 2 years. Private Lynas is again on duty over the May, June and July 1863 muster and he is promoted again to
Corporal on the 13th of August 1863. Corporal Lynas on detachment in November under Lieutenant J. Johnston at Musqueby
Precentice and in December in Dagshai. He is back with the HQ of the 82nd at Subathoo in February when he is shown as being in
hospital and in March he is shown on duty.
Nothing is then listed in the musters until Gilbert gets his second good conduct badge and pay increase on the 2nd of July 1864,
he is then shown on duty in July and August and hospital in September and duty from October to December. By this time the
82nd Regiment have again changed location from Subathoo to Meen Meer, being on the march in the muster of October of 1864.
The musters are quiet until the 1st of May 1865 when Corporal Lynas is promoted to Sergeant for the second time, but as before
he is not to hang on to his third stripe for long. After a prolonged period in hospital in June and July 1865 he is shown over the
August muster as being a prisoner and on the 10th of September 1865 he is again reduced in the ranks to Private with 1 penny of
good conduct pay being retained. Gilbert is in hospital over the September and November 1865 musters and by January 1866 he is
on detachment under Captain W.C. Seton at Lahore. Lahore was in fact to be the last post that Private Gilbert Lynas of the 82nd
Regiment of Foot was to serve in, he had his second penny of good conduct pay restored to him on the 2nd of September 1866
and he died at Fort Lahore on the 11th of January 1867 after nearly 10 years in India. No records remain of his death in either the
HEIC or Chaplains records so it’s likely we will never know the cause of Gilbert Lynas’s death, all we know is that his Mutiny medal
survived and because of this we know at least something of his life.
PRO Musters WO 12/ 8643-8652 & 8654-8655
|Gilbert Lynas – 82nd Foot – 1855-1867