Allen Thornton Shuttleworth AM

b. 21/10/1839 Meerpore, Bengal, India.  d. 04/01/1915 Walmer, Kent.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 22-23/07/1866, 01/08/1866 and 18/07/1867 Alibagh, India.

Allen T Shuttleworth AM

Allen Thornton Shuttleworth, the son of Digby Edward Shuttleworth, Indigo Planter, was born in the Meerpore district of Pubna on 21 October 1839. He was educated under Mr J. Whitely at Woolwich Common and was nominated for the post of Captain’s Clerk in the Indian Navy by Captain John Shepherd on the recommendation of his uncle. Shuttleworth was admitted into the Indian Navy on 12 December 1855, and having taken the oath ‘to be true and faithful to the said Company, and faithfully and truly execute and discharge the trust reposed in me, to the utmost of my skill and power. So Help me God’, he left Gravesend on the Cairngorm on the 24th. In a letter dated ‘31 December off the Isle of Wight’, the captain of the Cairngorm reported that they had commenced their voyage to Bombay. Shuttleworth landed after a four month voyage on 21 April 1856, and was appointed Captain’s Clerk on the 8-gun H.E.I. Company’s Steam Frigate Ferooz. He was then one of twenty-four Captain’s Clerks in the Service and was paid Rs. 50 per month, which if he attained the rank of Captain in 30 to 35 years time could be expected to rise to rise to Rs. 600-800 per month.

Shuttleworth was not actively engaged in the Mutiny, but served in supporting naval operations in the 1800-ton H.E.I.C. Steam Frigate Assaye as Assistant Paymaster. Promoted Paymaster and transferred to the 300-ton Steam-gun boat Clyde in which he served the last three years of his career in the Indian Navy, Shuttleworth next took part in operations against the piratical Waghurs, who, having seized the island fort of Beyt and the fort of Dwarka, were levying large imposts from the pilgrims who came to worship at the great temple dedicated to Krishna. An expedition was mounted including H.M’s 28th Foot, 6th N.I. and a Marine Battalion, accompanied by the Ferooz, Zenobia, Berenice, Victoria, Clyde, Constance and the Lady Falkland.

On 5 and 6 October, the fort at Beyt, with earthwork walls 18-40 feet thick and 30-40 feet high, and lofty, massive towers with guns, was under continual bombardment from the naval ships. Troops were landed in an attempt to storm the fort, with boats’ crews and field pieces in support, but failed in the face of heavy fire from the defenders. The Waghurs, however, evacuated the fort soon after dark and it was occupied the next day. To launch the attack on Dwarka, the force then moved to Roopon Bunder, two miles up the coast to the only place where the surf permitted a landing. The beach, however, was covered by the guns of an imposing fort. On the 19th, the Clyde, towing a naval landing party in cutters from the Ferooz, Zenobia and Berenice, opened a bombardment, and successfully put the sailors ashore. Much to the surprise of the Colonel commanding the field force, who said he ‘would not have attempted a landing with less than a thousand men’, they took the fort by storm. On the 26th a Naval Brigade, supported by guns, was landed to storm the fort at Dwarka. The Waghurs attacked them during the night but were beaten off with great loss. The following morning the Waghurs abandoned the fort and cut their way out through piquets of the 28th Foot.

Officers and men engaged in the Waghur operations received war batta, and a commendation from the Governor General in Council and the Secretary of State for India: ‘I am desired to request you will be pleased to express to the officers and men who served in the Okhamundel Expedition, the high sense which his Lordship in Council entertains of the gallantry and zeal exhibited by all, and especially by the Naval Brigade, in the operations against Beyt and Dwarka.’

In the reorganisation of Indian affairs after the Mutiny, the Indian Navy amid much acrimony was abolished in August 1863, and responsibility for the defence of India against attack by sea passed to the Royal Navy. Shuttleworth was awarded a service pension and was accordingly ‘axed’. Three months later however he secured an appointment in the Indian Forestry Service in the Bombay Residency as Assistant Conservator of Forests, Belgaum and Dharwar. He soon proved successful in his new career and was promoted to Deputy Conservator for Kolaba and Suvarndurg in May 1865 and was transferred to Bombay. It was during this period in the mid to late 1860’s that Shuttleworth carried out an incredible number of life-saving achievements, possibly unique in the history of life-saving.

In recognition of his rescue of the captains and crewmen from the Die Vernon and Terzat, Shuttleworth was also awarded (alongside his Albert Medal 1st Class), on 25 September 1867, Lloyd’s Medal for Saving Life at Sea in Silver, and his fishermen were granted a reward of £25. Additionally he also gained the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society’s Gold Medal.

Shuttleworth moved progressively upwards through the Forestry Department and by early 1884 when he went on leave to officiate as a juror at the International Exhibition of Forestry at Edinburgh, he was classified 1st Grade (new scale). He returned to India from privilege leave in 1890 to become 1st Grade Conservator of Forests, Northern Circle, on 1 April 1892 before moving to the Central Circle with his headquarters at Poona. In 1895, he was appointed Additional Member of the Council of His Excellency the Governor General for making Laws and Regulations, and was deputed on Special Famine Duty under the orders of the Revenue Department from November 1896 to June 1897. During the famine he rendered conspicuous service in the direction and superintending of operations for the supply of fodder and grass, and for the saving of cattle in Western India. ‘The results achieved’ recorded the Advocate of India, ‘were of the highest importance, both as regards the decrease in mortality of cattle during the famine, and the lessons learned in what was practically a new field which must be invaluable in all future famines … he brought a new art to grapple with famines.’ Shuttleworth retired in April 1899 after nearly 40 years distinguished service, a fact which was echoed by the Deccan Herald which declared that in his time he had ‘renderded the Government of this country and a large proportion of its inhabitants, services which for variety and extent of usefulness have perhaps seldom been surpassed.’

Shuttleworth settled at Stonar House, Sandwich, Kent, but moved to Walmer in 1910. He died on 4 January 1915, having had a sudden ‘heart seizure’ on Walmer station. A medical officer belonging to the Royal Naval Division who happened to be present tried to revive him, but his death was apparently instantaneous. He left five sons all of whom were commissioned in the British or Indian Armies.



On the 22nd July, 1866, the “Berwickshire’* ran on Chawool Kadoo Reef. Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH went to her assistance in a fisherman’s canoe, and, after two days’ exertions, succeeded in landing six men of the ship’s boats. Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH again proceeded to the ship with the fishermen in another boat in so dangerous a sea that some of the ” Berwickshire’s” seamen, who had landed, and the coolies of Colaba, to whom a large reward was offered, declined to take a message to her. After rowing for three hours, the boat having twice filled to the thwarts, He reached the vessel, and informed the captain of her true position, and remained on board to give assistance. On the 1st August, 1866, the ” Die Vernon ” ran on the Chawool Kadoo Reef, near Alibagh. Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH put off in a boat with ten native fishermen, and by his coolness was the means of averting a greater loss of life than that which unhappily took place. The boat was dashed against the vessel’s side and capsized, throwing all her crew into the water, and, while endeavouring to save some of these, Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH was washed overboard. He, however, regained the vessel, and was for two hours lashed, in the mizen rigging. He refused to forsake the captain and carpenter who were helpless, and eventually succeeded in saving the captain. The carpenter was washed away and drowned. On the 18th July, 1867, the ship “Terzah” was wrecked about south-east of Kennery. Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH put off in a life-boat manned by fishermen, and succeeded, in bringing off the captain and thirteen men out of a crew of thirty-one. Eight others came on shore on pieces of wreck. This service was rendered by Mr. SHUTTLEWORTH and his crew at great peril of their lives. The sea was breaking very heavily all round the ship and washing over her.