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Posted: 1399892829000
Classification: Query
Surnames: MASON, LACEY
It is possible that my GG grandfather and grandmother perished during the siege at Cawnpore. I haven't been able to find their names on any of the sites, although not everyone is listed by name on the memorial. If they were connected to the military personnel in the garrison, would their names be recorded in the East India Company records, or is it possible they may have been attached to British forces?


Posted: 1400035018000
Classification: Query
Hello There,

Could you please give me the names and a little more information on them- any little point.
I can look this up since I am based out of Lucknow and Cawnpore/ Kanpur.



Posted: 1400148671000
Classification: Query

Very many thanks for your prompt reply and offer of help.

According to the memoirs of my great aunt, we had been led to believe that both my paternal GG grandparents had been killed at the siege of Cawnpore and that my G grandfather William Mason and his younger brother Robert had been saved by loyal servants who had hidden the two boys.

I have never been able to substantiate this story. Following a different line of research, however, it appears more likely that the boys' father John William Robert Mason died early in 1852 - possibly in Meerut. His wife, Sarah would have been expecting Robert at that time; he was born in July of that year in Allahabad. I think that Sarah must have re-married someone from within her deceased husband's regiment (1st Bengal European Fusiliers) - a Robert James Reid (or Reed), which would explain her presence at that time in Allahabad. The regiment moved to Cawnpore in 1856 but had moved on by the time of the siege, but it is possible that Sarah died whilst at Cawnpore and that her new husband was unable or unwilling to raise the two young boys, so arranged for them to be left at the military orphanage in Agra.

Any help with establishing the true facts would be appreciated.

Very best wishes,



Posted: 1400169385000
Classification: Query
Hi Paul,

Thanks for sharing the update. I can definitely help on this. Considering the line o research that says Sarah might have died in Cawnpore but the regiment had moved out in 1856, it is quite possible that she was buried with in the Kutcherry Cemetery or at Christ Church.

So what I can immediately do over the weekend is check out these two places and consult the caretaker and Father at the respective places and check for other pointers. To look for her in the All Soul's does not sound motivating at the moment.

Simultaneously, I will look out for John Mason in Meerut and the records in the orphanage in Agra. Whatever headway I make, I will keep you posted.
I would request you to be patient because sometimes there is a period of information draught and them wham.. it shows up. I know it because I have been through it. :)
Nevertheless, my support to you remains. Should you get any updates meanwhile, request you to share it.



Posted: 1400207090000
Classification: Query
Hi Paul,

Indeed John Mason of 1st European Bengal Fusiliers in buried in Meerut. I found an entry here.

Trying for grave location now.


Posted: 1400289584000
Classification: Marriage
Surnames: Reed, Mason, Young, Gear
From Find My Past
I have found a marriage entry for Sarah Mason to Robert James Reed:
10 March 1852
Robert James Reed, 35, Bachelor, Sergeant 1st E.B. Fusiliers
Sarah Mason, 29, Widow
Father's Names:
Adam Reed & James Geear?
John Pope & Sarah A. Charles

There is another marriage entry for Sarah Young to John Mason:
5 March 1849
John Mason, 29, Bachelor, Sergeant, 1st B. Fusiliers
Sarah Young, 26, Widow
Father's Names:
Owen Mason & James Gear


Posted: 1400292143000
Classification: Birth
Surnames: Mason, Reid
William Owen Mason
born 8 Jan 1850, baptised 25 Dec 1850
son of John William Robert & Sarah Mason
Sergeant in 1st European Bengal Fusiliers

Robert Mason Reid
born 23 Jul 1852, baptised 20 Aug 1852
son of Robert & Sarah Reid
Quarter Master Sergeant 10th Regt. N.I.


Posted: 1400337603000
Classification: Query

Thank you for this. Do you know the full title of Robert Reid's regiment? I had been working on the assumption that Sarah would have married another soldier from her deceased husband John's regiment - i.e. 1st European Bengal Fusiliers. I have researched the movements of the Fusilier regiment so I know they were not present at the siege of Cawnpore in 1857, which is why I think my great aunt's story can't be true. However, from the evidence of Robert Mason Reid's birth record, it looks like I now need to research the movements of the 10th Regt N.I. over the period 1852 - 1857.

By the way, I have found a marriage of Robert Mason to Ann Polson in 1876, but other than that he seems to have vanished without trace. According to my great aunt, he became a tea planter but I don't have any evidence for this. It may be that he used the surname Mason Reid rather than just plain Mason.


Posted: 1400338653000
Classification: Query

Thank you for this - it's also helped to confirm an approximate date of birth for John.

For what it's worth, I'm sending you a transcript of my great aunt's story - this was the source of the family "myth" of the rescue of the two young brothers William and Robert and the death of their parents at the siege of Cawnpore. As I've already told you, the story doesn't really stand up to scrutiny. You may, however, be able to get some useful information about the orphanage at Agra.

"I do not know much about my father’s parents — He remembered very little himself, having been made an orphan during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, when he was only 7 years old. He and his brother. Robert, aged 5 at the time, were saved from death, it would seem, through the agency of faithful servants, who hid the two lads and passed them on to some British soldiers. They were conducted to Agra, where there was a military orphanage and there they were cared for by Capuchin Fathers (Friars Minor of the Order of St. Francis). My father remembered the exodus to the Fort at Agra, of the nuns and girls from St. Patrick’s Convent School, and the boys and Masters from St. Peter’s College. The very old and very young rode in bullock carts; the others marched alongside, accompanied by an armed guard. At the Fort they were housed in former elephant stables and lived there for several weeksi, and school lessons were carried on there until peace and order were restored. My father spoke highly of the Fathers and Masters of the school, some of whom held degrees of British Universitiesii. He felt he owed a great deal of his own learning, which was not inconsiderable, to one Mr. Paul, an Oxford man.
Of his life before going to India, my father spoke only of the barracks at Chathamiii, and of his mother, who taught him his prayers, and said the ‘Rosary’. He and his brother were, as a matter of course, taken to be Catholics and were in due course, confirmed and made their First Communion. However, some years later, a man named Lacey turned up at the school, claimed to be a relative of the two boys, and wished to take them away. But William (my father) and Robert, then aged 16 and 14 1respectively refused to go with him. Lacey then said that they shouldn’t be in a Catholic School, as they were baptised in the Church of England. The boys decided to be re-baptised, conditionally, in the Catholic Church, and my father often smilingly said that he ought to be a good Christian seeing that he had been twice baptised!
When William and Robert had finished with school, they took the entrance examination of Calcutta University and entered its Medical College. All expenses were paid by the British Government, which had replaced government by the old East India Company. It was understood that, after having taken their medical degree, the two young men would give a minimum of 10 years service in military hospitals in India, which they did. The pay was low — starting on 75 rupees/month (= about £100 pa), but with free living quarters and some army rations, meat, bread and milk, they found they were not badly off. When his pay had risen to 150 rupees/month (about £200 pa), my father got married, and his brother did the same. The brothers seem to have lost touch with one another after their marriages — I never knew why, probably the vast distances in India was the main cause. Robert remained in Bengal; William was posted to the Punjab."

With very best wishes,



Posted: 1400375706000
Classification: Query
I'm sorry but I don't know the full title of Robert Reid's regiment. If you would like a copy of the information please email me at so that I may forward it to you.

It seems that Sarah married her second and third husbands from the same regiment 1st B. Fusiliers but I don't know which regiment her first husband "Young" was with.

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