Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Brigade Mess

Archway in the Brigade Mess

Our room, which really formed part of a native gaol, was very small, hardly more than a verandah, about twelve feet by six feet, with no doors nor windows, only arches; but we put up screens and curtains, which gave us a certain amount of privacy; and we had an outhouse attached, which we used as a bath-room, a great luxury..."  The Siege of Lucknow, A Diary – The Honorable Lady Inglis (1892)

On the other side of the road to the Martinere Post, stood the Brigade’s Mess also known as the King’s Hospital. It was a striking, two storied building with a massive outer wall. During the siege it was converted into a mess for the Oudh Force and for the NI regiments. There were also two inner courts which were surrounded by low, flat-roofed brick buildings and protected by high walls. The post was chiefly manned by the English officers of the mutinous regiments, many of whom owned their own rifles and were excellent shots. The commandant, Lieutenant Master, 7th Light Cavalry, soon became known as the Admiral from his habit of hailing from the roof top. 

One of the constant threats faced by the inhabitants of the Brigade Mess was the presence of sharpshooters, who occupied the upper floors of Johannes House. Their fire raked the lane between the Mess and Martiniere Post and could not be dislodged by musketry or shellfire. Although the lane had been blocked up by a bank and pallisades, it remained a precarious position. Six mines were laid by the enemy in the direction of the Brigade Mess, however none of them were of consequence, being either too short or stopped by countermining.

Entrance to the Brigade Mess


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