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Wilmot Christopher

Male 1814 - 1848  (33 years)

  • Name Wilmot Christopher  [1, 2, 3
    Birth 24 Dec 1814  Camberwell Find all individuals with events at this location   [1, 2, 3
    Baptism 03 Feb 1815  St Olave, Hart St, London Find all individuals with events at this location   [2, 3
    Wilmot Christopher (1814-1848)
    Wilmot Christopher (1814-1848)
    Baptism register
    Occupation - 1848  Lieutenant, Indian Navy  [2
    • The Punjab campaign medal to Lieutenant Wilmot Christopher, Indian Navy, mortally wounded during the siege of Mooltan:
      Punjab 1848-49, 1 claps, Mooltan (Lieut. W. Christopher, Ind. Flot.) officially impressed naming, small collector's number impressed by claw, edge nicks, otherwise very fine. Sold at auction 23 Sep 2005 for £2100. [Dix Noonan Webb archive accessed 27 Apr 2011]
    Wilmot Christopher (1814-1848)
    Wilmot Christopher (1814-1848)
    Punjab Campaign Medal
    Death 08 Oct 1848  Multan, Punjab Find all individuals with events at this location ; Cause: killed in action  [1
    • died from the effects of cannot-shot wound, received at the siege of Mooltan, when he was serving as a volunteer under his old friend and school-fellow, General Sir Herbert Edwardes; see under "Conquest of the Punjab"' in "Our Soldier", pp. 93-5, by W H G Kingston [Curtis]
    • the ink of the Maldive charts had scarcely dried, when the labours of those employed were demanded of the Indian Government by Her Majesty's authorities at Ceylon, to undertake trigonometrical surveys of that Island, and the dangerous and shallow gulfs on either side of the neck of sand connecting it with India. They were the present Captains F. F. Powell, and Richard Ethersey, in the Schooner "Royal Tiger" and "Shannon", assisted by Lieut. (now Commander) Felix Jones, and the late Lieut. Wilmot Christopher, who fell in action before Mooltan. The first of these officers had charge of one of the tenders under Lieut. Powell, and the latter another under Lieut. Ethersey. {Richard Burton, First footsteps in East Africa]
    • Wilmot Christopher was born at Camberwell, Surrey, on 24 December 1814, and entered the Indian Navy as a Midshipman in January 1829. He was employed in the Red Sea Survey aboard the Benares between October of that year and April 1834, being one of just three officers still fit for duty when the Survey returned. Quickly re-employed aboard the same ship for further survey work in the Maldive Islands, sickness once again struck down the crew, but Christopher and Lieutenant Young volunteered to stay behind and continue the Survey's work, as recorded by a fellow officer:
      'Young and Christoper volunteered to remain at Male, on King's Island, the seat of the Government of the Sultan, to acquire a knowledge of the people and their language, and make meteorological observations. This was at the risk of their lives, from the peculiarly sickly influence of the climate on Europeans, but they braved this in the hope of doing some good to the people as well as contributing to knowledge and science. They soon fell ill, in spite of all their care and spirit, and at last became so much worse that the King, who, with his people, revered them for their consistent Christian conduct, had his one vessel launched from the shore, where she had been hauled high up and covered in, and having fitted her out sent them across to Colombo, at great risk of both crew and vessel from the terrible weather.'
      Luckily both men recovered as a result of the dedication of the Government Missionaries who nursed them and Christopher compiled a vocabulary of the Maldavian language which was subsequently published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Volume VI). Next employed under Lieutenant Powell, he participated in survey work in the Gulf of Manaar and along the coast of Madura, once more putting pen to paper with his account of Adam's Bridge and Ramisseram, with a plan of the Temple, the whole appearing in the Journal of the Bombay Geographical Society (Volume VII).
      Promoted to Lieutenant in July 1839, he commanded the Brig Tigris during her voyage from Aden to Zanzibar in early 1843, and from there was despatched by Captain Haines, the celebrated Political Agent, with the returning Envoys of Seyyid Said, the Imaum of Muscat, to make an examination of the coast to northward, the portion between Brava and Ras Hafoon being utterly unknown except in so far as the running surveys of Captain Owen were concerned. Making a journey into the interior, he discovered a "noble river" to the northward of the Juba or Govind River, which he named after Captain Haines. Extracts from Christopher's journal, as well as a map, were later published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society (Volume XIV).
      Christopher was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of the Indus Flotilla during the first siege of Mooltan in 1848. He already had an intimate knowledge of the rivers of the Punjab, having in the previous year ascended the Indus, Sutlej and Chenab in the Steamer Meeanee, and made good use of this experience by persuading Sir Herbert Edwardes to let him join one of his hastily raised Levies. When General Whish arrived and began a regular siege, he took part, in the capacity of guide to one of the assaulting columns, in the attack made on the outworks of the fortress on the 9th September. On this occasion he received a dangerous wound, one of his ankles having been shattered by a musket shot. It became necessary to amputate the limb, but mortification set in, and after a month's intense suffering he succumbed to his wound on the 8th October 1848. In the words of Sir Herbert Edwardes, '...he was borne by the grateful British soldiers to a rude grave beside a well, near the village of Sooraj Khoond, and I myself read the service over him. A better or braver man fell not beneath the walls of Mooltan.'
      [Soldiers of the Raj, De Rhé-Philipe; History of the Indian Navy 1613-1863, Lowe]
    Person ID I1790  Tatham | Christopher branch | Descendant
    Last Modified 27 Apr 2011 

    Father Thomas Christopher,   b. 17 Aug 1782, London? Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jan 1818, Crutched Friars, London Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years) 
    Mother Sarah Caroline Seton,   b. 08 Feb 1787,   d. 07 Mar 1845, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 58 years) 
    Marriage 22 Sep 1806  St Giles, South Mimms Find all individuals with events at this location   [1, 4
    • 06 Sep 1806 per Curtis; 05 Sep per The Family of Christopher & some others
    • Witnesses: J A Seton, Eliza Seton [her parents]
    Thomas Christopher & Sarah Caroline Seton
    Thomas Christopher & Sarah Caroline Seton
    Marriage register
    Family ID F0341  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Caroline Simpson,   b. est 1819,   d. 1847  (Age ~ 28 years) 
    +1. Henry Carmichael Christopher,   b. 31 Jan 1845, Ceylon Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 05 Oct 1907, Lambeth Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years)
    Family ID F0140  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S04] H Curtis: Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham.

    2. [S30] India Office Library, L/MAR/C/688 f.100.

    3. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Olave Hart St, London, 03 Feb 1815.
      b 24 Dec 1814

    4. [S06] Parish Registers, marriages, St Giles, South Mimms, 22 Sep 1806.