James Travers VC CB

b. 06/10/1820 Cork, Ireland. d. 01/04/1884 Pallanza, Italy.

James Travers (1820-1884) was born on the 6th October 1820 in Cork, Ireland, and came from a distinguished Anglo-Irish military family, and all seven of his brothers (three of whom were killed in India) served in the armed forces. They were the sons of Major-General Sir Robert Travers (1770–1834) C.B., K.C.M.G., of the 95th Rifle Brigade, who was one of six brothers who again all served in the military, and one of three to be knighted for their services, including Rear-Admiral Sir Eaton Stannard Travers (1777–1858), who was engaged in battle with the enemy upwards of over one hundred times, and was mentioned in dispatches eight times for gallantry. James Travers grew up in County Cork, where the first of his ancestors to be born there, Sir Robert Travers M.P., was killed at the Battle of Knocknarness in 1647.

James Travers VC

Travers was sent to England to military school as in keeping with his heritage, and attended the Addiscombe Military Seminary in Surrey. Travers enlisted with the 2nd Bengal Native Infantry and served in Afghanistan between 1840 and 1842, at the operations at Zamindanar, the capture of Ghuzni and the action at Mydan. In 1846, he served in Bhopal and at Kulla Karee. In 1856, he received the thanks of the Governor General of Central India for his actions against the rebel Sunker Singh. In 1857, the Indian Mutiny broke out at Meerut, and swiftly, Travers and his Regiment were involved in the action.

Travers’ actions which led to the award of the Victoria Cross (London Gazette, 1st March 1861) occurred at the Indore Residency which in July 1857, was suddenly attacked by Holkar’s troops. During this action, Travers with just five men to support him, led a charge on the enemy guns, and forced the gunners to flee from their posts. This caused a diversion, which saved the lives of many people who were trapped inside the Residency. Travers narrowly escaped harm, with his horse shot three times, and several parts of his equipment and clothing was hit.

Travers was presented with his VC by the Commander in Chief in India, Sir Hugh Rose in Gwalior on 3rd June 1862. Travers later commanded the Bhopal Levy. After his army career was over, General James Travers retired to Italy. He settled near to Como. Travers died at his home, “L’Hotel” in Verbania-Pallanza on 1st April 1884 aged 63. He was originally buried in the Old Cemetery in Pallanza then moved in c.1920 to the New Cemetery, before finally being interred in the Municipal Ossuary in the Cimitero di Pallanza in 1996. His grave is unmarked. His medals are in private ownership.