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Colonial Cases

British India, Army

NZ Gazette, 24 November 1841


  A Court Martial was about to hold its sitting at Ferozepore upon Captain Mellish.


NZ Gazette, 14 June 1843


  Courts Martial were held on seven officers for "conduct disgraceful to the character of an officer, in having at Khoord Cabool, on the 9th January, 1842, during the retreat of the British from Cabool towards Hindostan, in presence of the enemy, abandoned the said force, and sought personal protection in the camp of Sirdar Mahomed Akbar Khan, the leader of the enemy."  They were all acquitted, on the ground that they acted under the orders of General Elphinstone.  Courts Martial were ordered on Colonel Palmer and General Shelton.

  We were favoured yesterday with a loan of a Madras Athenaeum of February 7th.  The only item of importance not given in our yesterday number is, that the result of the Court Martial on Colonel Palmer has been made public.  He was tried for having, on or about the 6th March, 1842, shamefully delivered up to the enemy the fortress and post of Ghazni, of which he was commanding officer, and which it was his duty to defend;  for having, on or about the 10th of March, 1842, at Ghazni, been taken prisoner for want of due precaution; and for having, on the same occasion, by want of due precaution, and by his authority and example, caused the European commissioned officers of the regiment to fall into the hand of the enemy."

  The Court   honourably acquitted the prisoner, and General Nicholls in approving the verdict remarked, "I entirely and heartily concur in the justice of this honourable verdict; the circumstances under which Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer surrendered Ghazni to the Afghans, having been such as he could neither control, alter, or alleviate." The Court Martial on General Shelton was sitting. - Sydney Herald.


Singapore Free Press, 30 January 1845



(From the Friend of India, January 2.)

  Col. Moseley has been found guilty of the charges against him in reference to the mutiny of the 64th Regiment, and sentenced to be cashiered.  The Commander-in-Chief has confirmed the sentence, and ordered him to be struck off the strength of the Army.  In a subsequent page will be found both the charges and his reply, as well as the Governor-General's remarks on the mutiny.

  The dismissal of an officer of Col. Moseley's standing in the army, after thirty nine years of service, at a time when he was enabled to look forward to the early employment of the higher rewards of his profession, calls for much sympathy.  But, we can easily perceive, even with out our limited knowledge of military law, that as soon as the charges were considered to be proved, there remained no alternative but the adoption of that course which the members of the Court Martial have pursued.


Singapore Free Press, 6 March 1845



(From the Friend of India.)

Jan 18. -The United Service Gazette informs us that the Court Martial on Assistant-surgeon Balcombe had terminated in his dismissal from the Service - the Commander-in-Chief confirming the sentence;  .  .  .  


Wellington Independent, 23 July 1845

  The dismissal of Lieut. Col. Mosely, C.B., late of the 64th Bengal Native Infantry, from the army, after thirty-nine years of honorable service, is mentioned.  This officer was brought to a court martial principally for concealing from the Commander-in-Chief the mutinous state of the 64th regt. whilst on its way to Scinde.  There can be no doubt that Col. Mosely acted from the best motives.  He was anxious at a critical period to get the Regiment to its destination, when he thought the mutiny would blow over.  But indiscretion in an officer, it seems, can no more be forgiven than insubordination in a private soldier, especially where it has led to bad consequences.


Straits Times, 25 March 1846


  The papers state, that Captain Lumley has been permitted at his own request to resign his appointment of 1st Assistant Adjutant General of the Army.  Thus terminated the rumour that he was brought to a Court Martial for having ordered the Cavalry and Artillery away from the field, so that when they were wanted on the morning of the 22d, they were far on their way to Ferozepore. The permission thus given to resign the appointment, is a proof of extraordinary consideration and leniency, and shews how highly the services of his father, Sir James Lumley, are appreciated by those at the head of affairs. (Friend of India, Jan. 29.)


Lyttleton Times, 14 April 1858

  Lieutenant Ouseley was convicted by court-martial of having been drunk on duty in the outlying pickets at Dinapore; but he was recommended to mercy, "on account of the recent exposure, hardships, and excessive anxiety of mind he had undergone, without food for days, and in hourly expectation of being murdered; and also on account of his youth and inexperience."  Sir Colin Campbell summarily and totally disallowed the recommendation, censured those who had made it, and dismissed the accused from his service. -[Editorial comment.]

  This is not the only occasion on which Sir Colin Campbell had censured the findings of courts-martial.  Four privates of the Queen's 10th Regiment, were tried on a charge of murdering a soubadar major of the 10th Native Infantry at Dinapore, and were acquitted; but Sir Colin animadverted on the haste and carelessness with which the findings of the court had been drawn up.

  Two privates of the same regiment were tried for having made a prisoner of Major Halliburton of the 78th Regiment while going his rounds with his field officer; their defence was, that they were ordered by their sergeant; and Sir Colin bestows great pains in discriminating between the mechanical obedience of the men and grossly mutinous conduct of their sergeant, - remarking, that the court-martial by which he was tried had not exercised its full powers in sentencing him.


Grey River Argus, 18 October 1866


  The court-martial on Captain Jervis has acquitted him on all the charges; but the Assembly have ordered the court-martial to revise the finding of the Court.


Daily Southern Cross, 24 October 1866

CALCUTTA, September 4.

  The court-martial for the trial of Major Holland, of which Colonel Bright is president, commenced its sittings at Peshawar on the 21st August.

September 6.

  The Deccan Herald of Tuesday states, on good authority, that a telegram was received at Poona, stating that the proceedings of the Simla Court-martial terminated in a general acquittal of Captain Jervis on all the charges laid against him.


Southland Times, 21 November 1866


Oct. 1.

  The London Journals unanimously condemn the decision in the Simla court-martial on Captain Jervis, especially Sir William Mansfield's refusal to entertain the recommendation to mercy appended by the court to the sentence of dismissal from the service.  Government reverse the sentence.


Lyttleton Times, 30 November 1866


  Sir William Mansfield's conduct with reference to the recent court-martial on Captain Jervis, at Simla, has been severely criticised by the whole press of India.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School