Captain Joseph Cudbert Longueville Clarke (1827-1857),
36th Bengal Native Infantry, 67th Bengal Native Infantry, and
3rd Regiment of Oudh Irregular Infantry

by Fred Larimore.
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Copyright © 1995-1999

Photograph and Uniform Details.

Captain Longueville Clarke shows the following dates of rank, campaign service, and army appointments related to his 11 years 180 days (1845-1857) service in the Bengal Army of the Honourable East India Company: [1]

  • Ensign 13 December 1845.
  • Admitted to the service - Bengal General Order 23 January 1846.
  • Appointed to 36th Bengal Native Infantry 25 March 1846.
  • Posted to 36th Bengal Native Infantry at Agra 18 August 1846.
  • Transferred to 67th Bengal Native Infantry at Delhi 1 October 1846.
  • Lieutenant 20 February 1852.
  • Served in 2nd Burma War (Medal & Clasp : Pegu) Mentioned in Despatch & Severely Wounded 1852 - 1853.
  • Captain. 11 February 1856.
  • Appointed second-in-command 3rd Oudh Irregular Infantry 11 February 1856.
  • Killed by mutineers at Bairamghat in Oudh 11 June 1857.

    Joseph Cudbert Longueville Clarke was born on the 19 th of June 1827 in Calcutta, India. He was the son of Loftus Tottenham Clarke, barrister in the Supreme Court at Calcutta, and his wife Maria Hart. He was baptised at Fort William, Calcutta on the 7th of January 1828.

    He received a classical education under the instruction of H. Dixon. He was nominated as a Cadet for the East India Company's Bengal Infantry for the season of 1845/6 by East India Company Director Elliot Macnaghten, at the recommendation of his father. His appointment was approved by the Military Committee at East India House, London, on the 3rd of December 1845.

    He was commissioned as an Ensign on the 13th of December 1845 and posted to the 36th Bengal Native Infantry on the at Agra on the 18th of August 1846. He transferred, by his own request, on the 1st of October 1846 to the 67th Bengal Native Infantry, at Delhi.

    Ensign Clarke developed his language skills well. On the 2nd of December 1848 he was reported to have acquired a competent knowledge of Hindustani and on the 2nd of August 1851 he was reported qualified as an Interpreter. On the 27th of August 1851, Ensign Clarke was declared by the Examiners of the College of Fort William as qualified for Interpreter and exempt from further examination in native languages. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 20th of February 1852.

    The 2nd Burma War was declared after the King of Ava refused to abide by the Treaty of Yendaboo signed on the 24 th of February 1826 at the conclusion of the 1st Burma War, which allowed trading facilities in the port of Rangoon. In addition to the molestation of shipping, the British Residence was insulted, and British war ships were fired upon. In anticipation of trouble, on the 28th of March, the British had dispatched a naval squadron under Commodore G. Lambert and an expeditionary force under Major General Godwin. After war was declared on the 2nd of April 1852, the British acted quickly and captured Martaban on the 5th of April, Rangoon on the 14 th of April, Bassein on the 19th of May, Prome on the 10 th of October, and Pegu, which had first been captured on the 4 th of April, was recaptured on the 21st of November. On the 20 th of December, the Province of Pegu was annexed. Soon after this a revolution broke out which resulted in considerable banditry, of which Myat-Toon was the chief instigator from his stronghold near Donubyu. The British captured Donubyu in March of 1853 and the war ended on the 30 th of June 1853.

    Lieutenant Clarke served with the 67th Begal Native Infantry during the operations resulting in the expulsion of the Burmese from Pegu. He was mentioned in the despatch of Major H. Cotton, 67th Bengal Native Infantry, for having "…rendered me the greatest assistance and whose conduct I was most pleased." [2] Lieutenant Clarke was later severely wounded in the operations against Myat-Toon at Donubyu in March of 1853.[3] He was granted a wound gratuity of nine months full pay on the 26 th of September 1853 and was furloughed to England on sick certificate from the 16th of May 1853 to the 21st of December 1855.

    On the 11th of February 1856, Lieutenant Clarke was promoted to Captain and appointed as Second-in-Command of the 3 rd Infantry of the Oudh Irregular Force, stationed at Gondah. In 1776 the Nawab of Oude had raised two regiments of Oude Cavalry both of which were disbanded in 1783. An army known as the Oude Irregular Force was raised on the 11th of February 1856, and Captain Clarke was one of the newly appointed officers of this force. The force consisted of three regiments of cavalry, three field batteries of artillery, ten regiments of infantry, and a police battalion. All the regiments of the Oudh Irregular Force would mutiny in mid 1857.

    When the Indian Mutiny broke out Captain Clarke was stationed at his division head-quarters at Bahraich, Bengal, India, and was in command of two detached companies of his regiment.

    Early on the 10th of June 1857 the main body of his regiment, stationed at Gondah, mutinied. The officers, women, and children of the regiment made a successful escape to Balrampur where they received safe refuge from the Raja of Balrampur. A total of 19 adults received protection here. The number of children is not recorded. Later they all were successful in crossing into British controlled territory and the safety of British controlled Gorakhpur.

    Captain Clarke, having received information of the mutiny of the main body of his regiment, gathered together the Deputy Commissioner of Bahraich, Mr. Cunliffe, and his assistant Mr. Jordon, these three men being the only Europeans in the cantonment at Bahraich. It was clear that the two companies under Captain Clarke would follow the lead of the main body of the regiment and mutiny. The three officers wisely resolved to take advantage of their early information and make their escape. They, however, lacked intelligence as to the best escape route. They decided to start off northward in the direction of Nanpara, twenty two miles north of Bahraich, which was the seat of a minor Rajah. On their arrival at Nanpara, admission was refused them and they were forced to retrace their steps. Returning to Bahraich, they started to Lakhnao by way of Bairamghat. This road was under close control of the mutineers. The fugitives, who had disguised themselves as natives, found the passage over the Ghagra River occupied by mutineers. Trusting their disguise, they embarked the ferry boat with their horses. At first the fugitives appeared to attract no attention, but about one-third of the way across the river the cry arose that Europeans were escaping. Instantly there was an uproar. The mutineers crowded into other boats and made for the ferry, opening at the same time a sharp fire of musketry. The native boatmen at once abandoned the ferry boat. Exposed to a concentrated fire, the three men were unable to prevent the current from returning them to their starting point. Before it reached the bank Captain Clarke and Mr. Cunliffe had been shot dead. Mr. Jordon was taken alive but he was to share in the same fate a few days later. [4]

    It appears that Captain Clarke also had a brother in the service of the East India Companies Bengal Army. In the 1860 East India Register there is a Lieutenant Charlie Myers Longueville Clarke listed as on furlough from the ex-37th Bengal Native Infantry. He was probably lucky to have survived the mutiny of his regiment.[5]

    [1]Captain Clarke's biographical details were collected from India Office Records: L/MIL/9/211 f.38-44 Cadet Papers; No. 532 in L/MIL/10/41, 45, 48, 52, 54, 56, 61, & 65 Bengal Service Lists; and published Bengal Army Lists .

    [2] London Gazette , 20 August 1852, p.2273.

    [3]London Gazette , 24 June 1853, p.1773.

    [4] Malleson, G.B., Kaye's and Malleson's History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-8, v.3, p.264-5.

    [5]East India Register , 1860.