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Garnett, Arthur Williamlocked

  • F. B. Garnett
  • , revised by Alex May

Garnett, Arthur William (1829–1861), army officer and engineer, was born on 1 June 1829, the younger son of William Garnett (1793–1873) and his first wife, Ellen (d. 1829), daughter of Solomon Treasure. He was educated at Addiscombe College from 1844 to 1846, was commissioned second-lieutenant on 12 June 1846, and went to India in 1848 to join the Bengal Engineers. Assistant field engineer with the army before Multan during the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848–9) he was wounded in attendance on Sir John Cheape. He joined the army under Lord Gough, held the fords of the Chenab during the victory of Gujrat, and went forward with Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert's flying column in pursuit of the Afghans. Having taken part in the first survey of the Peshawar valley with Lieutenant James T. Walker, on 31 May 1850 Garnett was placed in command of the engineers in the department of public works at Kohat. Later that year the sappers employed under his command in making a road to Landi Kotal were surprised in their camp by Afridis. Garnett and his party were surrounded, but held their position until Sir Colin Campbell (Lord Clyde), with General Charles J. Napier, arrived from Peshawar and forced the Kohat Pass.

Garnett reconstructed and strengthened the fort of Kohat, and designed and built the fort at Bahadur Khel for guarding the salt mines, as well as barracks, forts, and defensive works at other points on the frontier, including Fort Garnett, named after him. He planted forest trees wherever practicable, and constructed bridges, roads, and other works in circumstances of extreme difficulty. He was constantly interrupted by being called upon to take the field with expeditions such as those in the Derajat region, the Miranzai valley, Yusufzai country, the Kurram valley, and Peiwar Kotal, where there was frequently hard fighting. During the mutiny Garnett was kept at his post on the frontier, where his experience and influence with the hillmen were of the greatest value. He was promoted lieutenant on 15 February 1854 and second-captain on 27 August 1858.

Garnett went to England on leave in 1860, studied dockyard works with a view to the needs of Bombay, and married Mary Charlotte Burnard of Crewkerne, with whom he had a posthumous daughter. After returning to India he died of pleurisy in Calcutta on 1 May 1861, while temporarily assisting Colonel Henry Yule, secretary to the government of India in the department of public works. He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, Calcutta, where a monument was erected by his fellow officers. He was also commemorated by other monuments placed in the church at Kohat, which he had built, and in that of Holy Trinity at Brompton.


  • Indian Army List
  • E. J. Thackwell, Narrative of the Second Seikh War, in 1848–49 (1851)
  • H. C. B. Cook, The Sikh wars: the British army in the Punjab, 1845–1849 (1975)
  • J. G. Elliott, The frontier, 1839–1947 (1968)
  • A. H. Swinson, North-west frontier: people and events, 1839–1947 (1967)

Wealth at Death

£200: administration, 2 April 1862, CGPLA Eng. & Wales