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Saturday, December 6, 2014

38.6 Elias and Martha Durnford - Their third son Lt Thomas Durnford diedin India

Elias Durnford and Martha Gannaway   Their sons                            Part 3

Their third son Thomas Durnford

Their sons were:

Elias Dunford                 born  1739   m  Rebecca Walker
Thomas Durnford           born  1741
Andrew Durnford           born   1744  m   Jemima Isaacson   Our lineage  4th great grandparents
Clark Durnford               born   1748   m  Mary Bakerville


Of the boys,  3 entered the Military, and 1 remained in London.


Elias and Andrew became very impressive military commanders and were responsible
for many engineering projects throughout the world.  Their stories are quite comprehensive and follow.

They had their beginnings at the Office of Ordnance situated in the Tower of London.

While extensive records can be found for Elias and Andrew, those of Thomas are not available.

He did become a volunteer for the British East India Company and went to India as an engineer.

He may have received his training in India.  The East India Company paid the passage for staff
 to go to India, and they hold staff records, it is unknown when he went.














St. Mary's Church  located at Fort St George,

 is the oldest Anglican church East of Suez and also the oldest British  building in India.
The church is popularly known as the 'Westminster Abbey of the East'.


During the second siege of Madras by the French, in 1758-'59, the  British were put to great
difficulties by the fact that the French were afforded shelter from bullets and shells by the tombs.

Therefore, on the petition to the Select Committee of Sir John Call, the Chief Engineer of the fort,
the cemetery was re-located to the north-west of the island, while the tomb-stones were brought
and placed around the church. Some of them were again removed during the investiture of the fort
by Hyder Ali, when they were used as gun-platforms.

It was not until 1807 that they were re-collected and restored to their former position around
the church.


Thomas Dunford                born 1744 died in India in 1769

Thomas Durnford went to the East Indies as a volunteer and was made a Lieutenant in the East India
Company's Artillery, and acted as Assistant Engineer. He was wounded at the siege of Trichinopoly,
and was killed at an attack on the Fort of Onor, on the coast of Bombay in 1769 -- which attack he
conducted. Having been severely wounded, some Lascars were carrying him off the field, on a board,
when he was shot to pieces by a cannon shot, which also killed some of the Lascars.


 Some battles of the year 1769          

1st European Regiment at Tripinopoy 1769  

The First Anglo–Mysore War (1767–1769) was a war in India between the Sultanate of Mysore
and the East India Company. The war was instigated in part by the machinations of
Asaf Jah II, the Nizam of Hyderabad, who sought to divert the company's resources from attempts
to gain control of the Northern Circars.

There was severe fighting in 1768, with a heavy loss of life over 200 British killed.

In early 1768, company authorities in Bombay organised an expedition to Mysore's Malabar
coast territories. Hyder had established a small fleet, based primarily in the port of Mangalore,
in the mid-1760s. This fleet, which the British reported as numbering about ten ships, deserted
en masse, apparently because the captains were unhappy with Lutf Ali Beg, a Mysorean cavalry
officer, as fleet commander.

Owing to a British deception, Lutf Ali Beg also withdrew
much of the Mangalore garrison to move on what he perceived to be the British target, Onore.

The British consequently occupied Mangalore against minimal opposition in February.
This activity, combined with the loss of the nizam as an ally, prompted Hyder to withdraw
from the Carnatic, and move with speed to the Malabar. Dispatching his son Tipu with an
advance force, Hyder followed, and eventually retook Mangalore and the other ports held
by the over-extended British forces. He also levied additional taxes as punishment against
rebellious Nair districts that had supported the British.






Hyder Ali Khan  1721 – 7 December 1782) was the sultan and de facto ruler
of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India.

Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily,eventually drawing
the attention of Mysore's rulers. Rising to the post of Dalavayi
(commander-in-chief) to Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, he came to dominate
the titular monarch and the Mysore government.

He became the de facto ruler of Mysore as Sarvadhikari (Chief Minister)
by 1761. He offered strong anti-colonial resistance against the military
advances of the British East India Company during the First and
Second Anglo–Mysore Wars, and he was the innovator of military
 use of the iron-cased Mysorean rockets.



Hyder Ali Khan's father, Fath Muhammad Khan was settled in Mysore and serving as
a soldier with the rank of naik in the army.

Though illiterate, Hyder Ali earned an important place in the history of southern India
for his administrative acumen and military skills. He concluded an alliance with the French against the British, and used the services of French workmen in raising his artillery and arsenal.

His rule of Mysore was characterised by frequent warfare with his neighbours and rebellion
within his territories. This was not unusual for the time, as much of the Indian subcontinent
was then in turmoil. He spoke Kannada, Telugu, Hindustani, Persian, Marathi and Tamil fluently.

He was a shrewd leader, and left his eldest son Tipu Sultan an extensive kingdom bordered
by the Krishna River in the north, the Eastern Ghats in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west.

History of Mumbai 18th Century




This century saw an intense rivalry between various powers, the British, the French and the Marathas for the control of India. Much of British policy in Bombay during this uncertain period was directed to this power play. In the twenty years starting from 1746 the Fort was improved.

Many batteries and bastions were added. The depredations of the British, perhaps more than the black basalt walls, gave rise to the name Kala Killa for the fort.

The fort walls had three main gates. One was the Apollo Gate, near the present day location of the St. Andrew's Church. The most well-known was Church Gate, named after St. Thomas' standing almost exactly on the spot that the Flora Fountain now occupies.


The third was the Bazaar Gate, right opposite the present dome of the General Post Office, which lends its name to the area even now, long after the gate itself has disappeared.

In 1769 Fort George was built on the site of the Dongri Fort. In the next year the Mazagaon docks were built. In 1772 an order was promulgated to segregate Indian and English houses, both within and outside the Fort.



These records are in the Recollections of Elias Durnford, written by Mary Durnford, and other sources

The circumstances of Thomas's death were questioned in later years by one of his nephews.

As a result the details were provided by this piece almost translated!


Thomas, Mr. Elias Durnford's second son, went as volunteer to the East Indies, where he was made a lieutenant in the East India Company's Artillery, and also acted as a district engineer. The misstatements and difficulties that are affixed to this period of Indian history, cling to the slight record remaining of this young man's early end.

He appears to into the first dubious enterprises undertaken against Hyder All; and the following answer to an enquiry made many years subsequently, by his nephew,
Major Gen. E. W. Durnford, R. E., fixes with precision the year of his death, and proves a family document incorrect, wherein have entered with error it is asserted to have taken place in 1768.

Mr. Melville presents his compliments to General Durnford, bids to accept him, in reference to his enquiry respectful the late Lieut. Durnford, that his name is borne on a Bombay army list, dated the 15th January, 1767, but omitted in the one following dated  l0th November, 1769. His will, which is dated, l5th February, 1768, was proved at Bombay on the 17th ]uly following

The copy of this may be seen on adjudication at this house." East India House, 4th August, 1840.

In 1765, the transactions on the Bengal and Coromandel coast are said to be involved in obscure conciseness. Malabar side, in 1766, there is equal difficulty in tracing out occurrences; and, but for the information afforded by the foregoing letter, it would have been impossible to understand the sole record the friends of Lieut. Thomas Durnford have retained of him.

It certainly appears not to have been prior to 1767 that the war commenced between the English Company and Hyder Ali, who, at first but a private soldier, became, by his courage and talents, a powerful prince, able to involve the company in difficult wars and vast expenses. He had then possessed himself of great part of the Malabar coast, and induced tin.' Nizam of the l"eccan to renounce his alliance with the company and unite in a war with himself against it.

On receiving intelligence of this league, the Council of Madras" ""; sent an army into the field, under the command of Colonel Smith: who, on September 28th, 1767, brought the united forces to an engagement, near Tripinopoy and there "defeated them. This victory caused the Nizam to desert the alliance of Hyder, and conclude a treaty again with the company, in which he gave up to them the Dewannee of the Ba laghaut Carnafic.

This obliged Hyder to retire to tin; mountainous country, and there support himself by the assistance his admirable cavalry lent, in cutting oil' supplies intended for the English army. The historian, who supplied this account, does not mention any siege; yet, as Mr. Durnford was present at the siege of Tripinopoy, it must have taken place at this period, when he was wounded, probably having performed duty in his double capacity of assistant-engineer and artillery officer. General Smith is said to have penetrated far into Hyder Ali's country, to have taken several of his fortresses, and to have advanced towards his capital, but was prevented by dissensions fi"oin approaching nearer to it. Hyder, in consequence of these mistimed division, quietly regained the forts and strong posts he had taken

From this statement it appears, that towards the close of 1767, although the victory of Tripinopoy
had forced the Nizam to renounce the tract of country denominated the Da wannee of the Iklaghaut Carnatic, still Hyder's j"ower and resources remained as formidable as ever, while he continued to distress the English, and maintain himself in mountain fast

It was at the commencement of 1768 that an expedition was made ready at Bombay against Mangaiore, one of Hyder's principal sea-ports, and ships were fitted out to convey 400 European soldiers and about SOO Se["oys.

Historians agree that the fort was taken with very little loss on the company's side, 25th February, 1768; and that of his shipping, nine were brought off, of considerable size, besides several smaller vessels. Through some strange error, as it is described, a small garrison was left in the forts made
prisoners by Hyder Ali.


The accounts of these years are difficult to understand clearly; still we learn from them that as Lieut. Durnford was present at the siege of Tripinopoy about 20th September, 1767, the enterprise against Mangalore succeeded on 25th February the following year, only ten days after he had signed his will.

He was about five and twenty at the time of his death; and the account preserved of him is, that, after being wounded at the siege of Tripinopoy , he was unfortunately killed at an attack on the Fort of Onore on the Bombay coast.


The references found in wikipedia are almost as was written in the report 200+ years ago!

My apologies for the remaining un-translated words, my knowledge of the language is nill but a bit better than the Google translator!



Colonel Smith had a dispute with the Army, over the methods employed by the Field Deputies, as is written in a book The British Indian Military Repository  by Samuel Parlby



There is a great deal of information available online about the different battles in India.


Archibald Campbell, Engineer




An interesting piece of research for Archibald Campbell who became the Chief Engineer in Bengal for the British East India Company.

In 1758 (the same year his brother James was engaged at Ticonderoga), the 19 year old
Archibald was commissioned in the corps of engineers of the Royal Army

During this time of the "Seven Years War" between Britain and France, he served on expeditions
to the coast of France and the West Indies in 1768, Archibald Campbell became the chief
engineer in Bengal for the British East India Company.

Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell KB (21 August 1739 – 31 March 1791) served as
Governor of Jamaica and Madras. He was a major Scottish landowner,
Heritable Usher of the White Rod for Scotland and a Member of Parliament for the Stirling Burghs.

In 1758, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers. He served with them in the Seven Years' War and was wounded at the Siege of Quebec. He participated in a numberof raids along the coast of France, as well as in expeditions in the West Indies.

A decade later,in 1768, Colonel Campbell, was made Chief Engineer of the British East India Company at Bengal, and was successfully employed by the company to head the works on Fort William in Calcutta.

In 1768, Campbell was seconded to the Corps of Engineers, and employed by the British East
India Co. in Bengal to work on Fort William in Calcutta.




The original fort had been completed in 1706. However, in 1756, after the Nawab of Bengal
attacked the fort and conquered Calcutta, it was determined to make a fort strong enough to
withstand any future attack.    Most Chief Engineers did not last for more than two years.

By the time Lieut Col Archibald Campbell arrived to take up this position, "... Calcutta had
not been been fortunate in her Chief Engineers. Brohier was clever and dishonest; Amphlett
and Polier, well meaning but inexperienced; Martin, upright, but obstinate and niggardly.

 In Archibald Campbell, however, she got at last the man she needed, energetic, methodical,
of high integrity and good ability." (vol. 1, p. 133, Sandes)

Campbell arrived 20 February 1769, and the works at Fort William "were at last reduced to
some order and system... When he assumed charge in Fort William, he made his assistants
keep books in which they were obliged to record every important engineering transaction.

Also, he caused an exact survey to be made of all the engineering stores, and proper returns
 to be drawn up, and he prepared a careful plan and state of the works. ' ( vol. 1, p. 133 Sandes)

In 1771, he resigned from the Company and his post as Chief Engineer of Bengal
It had become the rule that one could not retain a position in BOTH the King's AND
the Company's Armies. Campbell decided to remain with the Royal Army.




Both Elias and Andrew were involved in the same places as Lt Col Archibald Campbell.








































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