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“The Path to Mutiny, a family story of rebellion, death and survival”

An Evening Talk by Dr Tom Shannon

on Thursday 21st March 2018

Tom Shannon’s family have been in India since his fourth great grandfather, Alexander Lawrence, survived the breach of Seringapatam  in 1799 as a subaltern in the forlorn hope.  In the mid-19th century, the subcontinent was very different from  the nation states we know today, consisting of different territories controlled by a variety of rulers, the greatest of these being John Company that governed two thirds of the region mostly under the protection of locally recruited armies.

In 1857, Sepoys of the Bengal Army rose up against their European commanders in Northern India.  They were joined by local rulers and thousands of ordinary people in a struggle that threatened to destroy the power and influence of the British East India Company on the subcontinent.  Tom will discuss the reasons behind the rebellion that stretch back to the very beginnings of British involvement in Indian affairs with no single factor in itself enough to trigger mutiny.  But the cumulative effect meant all that was needed was a catalyst to turn quiet discontent into open conflict.  He returns to Winchester to talk on how Alexander’s sons George, Henry, John and Richard were to play central roles before, during and after the rebellion with Henry losing his life whilst his nephew, Tom’s twice great grandfather, was at his side.

Tom Shannon TD PhD has served as an Australian regular soldier, naval reserve sailor and finally as a Territorial Rifleman.  He is a founder of Oxford Metrics plc with over 30 years of international and commercial experience as a practicing engineer and scientist with a focus on the medical applications of computer vision to human motion and shape.  Tom currently holds a Visiting Professorship within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Staffordshire University researching adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. He is also a passionate amateur historian, Trustee Director of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and a sheep and cattle farmer in Somerset.  He recently returned from Lucknow and Delhi where he was able to walk the battlefields of his forbears and will talk on how he is now better able to appreciate the history and lasting impacts of the conflict from both Britain and India’s perspective.

Tickets for the talk, including a glass (or two) of wine plus up-market nibbles after the talk, cost £20.00 per person (£17.50 for Friends of the Museum).  Tickets must be booked in advance online: https://shop.rgjmuseum.co.uk/evening-talk–21-mar—-2019-1752-p.asp

by email: curator@rgjmuseum.co.uk

by telephone:  01962 828549

or in person:  The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum, Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO23 8TS