Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Colonel John Forbes, C.B.
24 March 1862

Volume 6, page 118, sitting number 7340.

[Identified as ‘Colonel Forbes, CB’ in the Silvy daybooks, he was later General Sir John Forbes, GCB.]

John Forbes was born on 10 June 1817, the son of Reverend George Forbes of Blelack and Inverernan, Aberdeenshire. In his eighteenth year he obtained a commission in the Bombay Army and in July 1835 he landed in India, beginning a long and distinguished career. He saw action in Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War and in the Scinde campaign (1842-43), when he was present at the Battle of Hyderabad. In 1856-57 he participated in the Anglo-Persian War, when he commanded the 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry and was shot through the thigh. His last war service was during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. He later commanded the Northern and Mhow divisions of the Bombay Army (1876-1881). As a non-combatant he was on the staff of the King of Italy at the bloody Battle of Solferino in 1859.

In 1848 – when he was 30 years old and she had just passed her 13th birthday – he married Emily Drummond, third daughter of Adam Augustus Drummond. Their marriage produced at least ten children, including five sons. Of these, four also pursued military careers.

He got his CB in 1858, his KCB in 1881 and his GCB in 1899.

General Sir John Forbes, GCB, died, aged 89, on 6 July 1906 at 36 Onslow Gardens in London.

A long and detailed account of his life and military career appeared in the Aberdeen Press and Journal (5 July 1905) on the 70th anniversary of the day on which he first set foot in India. ‘[H]e still remains with us hale and hearty to tell the story of his splendid career, during which he has done much to make that empire in India which is so very much in the foreground of practical politics at the moment.’


code: cs1557
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