Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh in India is an old cantonemnt or military station. Since it is at an elevation and therefore enjoys a cool climate and is quite next to the plains, the Britishers chose it for one of their military stations.
It is located on top of a 5689 feet (1734 mtr) high hillock by the side of the Kalka-Shimla highway at about 11 km from Solan. It was founded in 1847 by the East India Company by securing free of cost five villages (Dabbi, Badhtiala, Chunawad, Jawag and Dagshai) from Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala.
There are two christian cemeteries in Dagshai, one in the cantoneemment area. There is a wall around with an iron gate. There is another cemetery in the Anech village about a kilometer from this site. There are some interesting stories about the Anech cemetery being visited by ghosts, but we would come to those in another article. The present photo write-up is about the walled cemetery.
Following a large scale mutiny by Irish soldiers in the British service at 1920, in support of the independence struggle then unfolding in their homeland, dozens of mutineers were incarcerated at Dagshai Prison. On November 2, 1920, mutineer leader James Daly – a 21-year-old private – was shot by a firing squad in the prison courtyard, the last member of the British Forces to be executed for mutiny. He was buried at the Dagshai graveyard until 1970, when his remains were repatriated to Ireland and given a funeral with full military honours.
This stone informs that this cemetery was thoroughly renovated and repaired by the 93 Highlanders in 1893.
The 2nd Bihar Regiment of the Indian army renovated this cemetery in 1968 and then in 2004.
In love for his memory and in sorrow for his early death,
friends have placed this monument to mark the grave of
N. David S. Wallich, Surgeon 1st Bengal Cavalry,
born 10th October 1824, died on 9th June 1863,
aged 39 years.
Sacred to the memory of Edward Henry Priestlew
the beloved child of Dr. Macrae,
HMs 53rd Regiment,
on 25th July 1855 at 6 months.
Eward Bowyen Denison
Youngest child of Rev. D.P. Williams, Senior Chaplain,
& Augusta Louisa, his wife,
Born at Dagshai 17th July, 1871
Died of diptheria 10th November, 1872.
Anearby grave is of Edward’s sister, Bertha. The inscription reads as follows:
child of Rev. D.P.Williams, Senior Chaplain
and his wife Louisa,
born at Dagshai 12th February, 1866
died of diptheria on 20th November 1872.
The above inscription shows that the grave stone was chisselled/ inscription engraved by a W.Wilson, sculptor of Merrut, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath
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