William Lockhart (Indian Army officer)

William Lockhart (Indian Army officer) bigraphy, stories - British Indian Army general

William Lockhart (Indian Army officer) : biography

2 September 1841 – 18 March 1900

General Sir William Stephen Alexander Lockhart, GCB KCSI (2 September 1841 – 18 March 1900) was a British General.

Military career

Lockhart was born at the Manse in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, Scotland, where his father Dr Laurence Lockhart D.D. was the minister. Lockhart’s uncle was John Gibson Lockhart, eminent writer, poet and biographer of Sir Walter Scott. His mother Louisa Blair was a daughter of Janet Muir who was sister of the Scottish political reformer Thomas Muir of Huntershill.

He entered the Indian Army in 1858, in the 44th Bengal Native Infantry. He served in the last months of the Indian Mutiny, the Bhutan Campaign (1864–66), under Napier in the Abyssinian Expedition (1867–68; mentioned in dispatches) and the Hazara Black Mountain Expedition (1868–69; mentioned in dispatches).

From 1869 to 1879 he acted as Deputy-Assistant and assistant quartermaster-general in Bengal. In 1877 he was military attaché with the Dutch Army in Acheen (modern Aceh). He was Road Commandant of the Khyber Pass and served in the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1878–80, was mentioned in dispatches and made a CB, and from 1880 to 1885 he was Deputy Quartermaster-General in the Intelligence Branch at headquarters. He commanded a brigade in the Third Burmese War (1886–87), and was made KCB and CSI and received the thanks of the government.

An attack of fever brought Lockhart to England in 1888, where he was employed as Assistant Military Secretary for Indian affairs (at Horse Guards); but in 1890 he returned to India earlier than planned to become Commander-in-Chief Punjab Command. He set up his home in Abbottabad and for five years was engaged in various expeditions against the hill tribes. After the Waziristan Campaign in 1894–95 he was made KCSI. He became a full general in 1896, and in 1897 he was given the command against the Afridis and Mohmands, and conducted the difficult Tirah Expedition with great skill. He returned to England in 1898 and was made GCB, and was appointed Commander-in-Chief, India and, after a brief visit to Scotland, returned to India. He took up residence in ‘Treasury Gate’, Fort William, India and at ‘Snowdon’ in Simla when the government migrated to the hill station for the summer months. He died of malaria whilst serving in office in Calcutta on the 18th March 1900. His funeral occurred the following day and the service was taken by James Welldon the Bishop of Calcutta, and former headmaster of Harrow School. Lockhart’s good friend Lord Curzon (The Viceroy) attended the funeral. Lockhart married twice, and had five children, only two of whom were alive at the time of his death.

No memorial to Lockhart was ever erected in London. A private collection funded a fine memorial in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh and soldiers and their families paid for the construction of an obelisk in Roomi Park, Rawalpindi (now Pakistan).