27 March 2007

The impressive stone covering Major General George Renny's grave in Locksbrook Cemetery, Bath, has recently been cleaned and refurbished. Although the stone was in reasonable condition it had deteriorated in colour and was extremely dirty.

The renovation was carried out by T HQ Battery ( Shah Sujah's Troop ), Royal Artillery (*), to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the instigation of the Victoria Cross and a small ceremony took place in Locksbrook Cemetery on the 27th March 2007 to celebrate the refurbishment of the grave.

(*) T HQ Battery ( Shah Sujah's Troop ), Royal Artillery, is the modern name for Captain Renny's own 5 Troop, 1 Brigade, Bengal Horse Artillery. The Battery is currently serving at Thorney Island, Portsmouth.

Renny's grave:
before and after

The storming of Delhi took place between 14 - 16 September 1857 the aim of the British being to dislodge the mutineers and retake the city. When the Delhi Field Force renewed its advance on 16th September, its progress was steady and sustained. Siege guns had been brought into the city and began battering a breach in the repaired walls of the arsenal allowing the 61st Regiment and the Baluchi Battalion to storm the building.

Within the arsenal were no less than 171 guns and howitzers and a large quantity of ammunition. Realising the enormity of their loss, the mutineers mounted a serious counter-attack, covered by musketry fire from the roofs of nearby buildings. They set fire to the thatched roof of a shed containing explosives. With musket balls cracking around him and in imminent danger of being blown apart, Second Lieutenant Edward Thackery of the Bengal Engineers extinguished the blaze. Simultaneously, Lieutenant George Renny of the Bengal Horse Artillery climbed the arsenal's wall and flung several shells with lighted fuses into the midst of the attackers. The carnage caused by the explosion of these put an end to the attack. Both Thackery and Renny were awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions.

[ London Gazette, 12 April 1859 ], Delhi, Indian Mutiny, 16 September 1857, Lieutenant George Alexander Renny, Bengal Horse Artillery.

Lieutenant-Colonel Farquhar, Commanding the 1st Belooch Regiment, reports that he was in command of the troops stationed in the Delhi magazine, after its capture on the 16th of September 1857. Early in the forenoon of that day, a vigorous attack was made on the post by the enemy, and was kept up with great force for some time, without the slightest chance of success.

Under cover of a heavy cross fire from the high houses on the right flank of the magazine, and from Selinghur and the Palace, the enemy advanced to the high wall of the magazine, and endeavoured to set fire to a thatched roof. The roof was partially set fire to, which was extinguished at the spot by a Sepoy of the Belooch battalion, a soldier of the 61st Regiment having in vain attempted to do so.

The roof having been again set on fire, Captain Renny with great gallantry mounted to the top of the wall of the magazine, and flung several shells with lighted fuzes over into the midst of the enemy, which had an almost immediate effect, as the attack at once became feeble at that point, and soon after ceased there.

George Renny was invested with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsore Castle on 9th November 1860.

To finalise his military career George Renny was made a Major General and was placed on the Supernumerary Unemployed List on the 31st December 1878. He died in Bath on the 5th January 1887 and was buried in the city's Locksbrook Cemetery.

In 1978 the Victoria Cross awarded to George Renny was stolen from the house of Mrs Margo Renny in Walderingfield, Suffolk. Five years later, in 1983, a person using a metal detector on sheen Common, London, located a 'find' and after digging for a short time discovered it was a Victoria Cross. The 'find' was reported to the local press on the 22nd March 1983, the news soon reaching Mrs Renny, who was able to confirm the identity of the VC by the engraving on the reverse of the Cross.

The George Renny Victoria Cross group is currently on loan to the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich.

Medal entitlement of Major General George Alexander Renny - Bengal Horse Artillery

  • Victoria Cross
  • Sutlej Medal ( 1845-46 )
  • Indian Mutiny Medal ( 1857-58 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Delhi"
  • Indian General Service Medal ( 1854-95 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "North West Frontier"


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Iain Stewart, 4 May 2007