Military life began at an early age in Victorian times; Richard Fortescue Purvis was a midshipman in the Royal Navy at age 11, and by age 15, he was an officer in the Bengal Army. For all of Purvis' 17-year career, Indian units were officially under the East India Company and not controlled by the British government, but the drill, tactics and traditions of the British Army were closely followed. The major campaign in which Purvis served was the Nepal War, which pitted British and Indian forces against the tough Gurkha mountaineers, who were later recruited into British service. Purvis eventually returned to his homeland and pursued a career as a Church of England country parson.This detailed study of a young officer in India at the time of the Napoleonic Wars was made possible by the recent discovery of an extensive collection of previously unpublished contemporary letters. In addition to active duty there is a great deal of detail on daily life and attitudes among the British in India. A young man's career at the time was heavily dependent on patronage and Purvis has left behind a candid account of how this system worked.
Soldier of the Raj
Pen & Sword Books Limited
The Life of Richard Purvis, 1789-1868, Soldier, Sailor and Parson
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