(December 11, 1821 - September 23, 1857) U.K.
East India Company officer
Nicholson was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland, the eldest son of Dr Alexander Jaffray Nicholson and Clara Hogg. His father died when John was nine, after which the family moved to Lisburn. John Nicholson was privately educated in Delgany and later attended the Royal School Dungannon. Soon after his sixteenth birthday, it was also through the good offices of this uncle, that J.N. was able to secure a cadetship in the East India Company's Bengal Infantry. He then set out for a military career in India in 1839.
On reaching India, he was ordered to join the 41st Native Infantry at Benares on temporary attachment, being transferred some months later in December, as a regular Ensign, to the 27th Native Infantry at Ferozepore. He served in the First Anglo-Afghan War when his regiment was ordered up to relieve one of the infantry units already in Afghanistan, in November 1840, and during this time he saw early and fierce military action.
Nicholson was present at the British garrison at Ghazni when it was besieged by Afghan tribesmen during a freezing winter between 20 November 1841 and 10 March 1842. After the capitulation, Nicholson held captive at Ghazni.
Later on, upon his release and the consequent return of the British forces to India, he was stationed at Peshawar, and later for two years at Moradabad and in November 1845, on passing his Urdu vernacular examination, was posted to the Delhi Field Force which was being organised at that time, as the threat of a war with the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab loomed near.
Involved in the First Anglo-Sikh War as a junior officer, he was taken under the wing of Henry Montgomery Lawrence along with several other similarly-aged officers, which group was known as Henry Lawrence's "Young Men", and was given much power as a political officer, and later a District Commissioner. He was feared for his foul temper and authoritarian manner, but also gained the respect of the Afghan and North Punjabi tribes in the area for his fairhandedness and sense of honour. Nicholson was best known for his role in the Indian Mutiny, planning and leading the Storming of Delhi.
Nicholson never married, the most significant people in his life being his fellow Punjab administrators Sir Henry Lawrence and Herbert Edwardes. At Bannu, Nicholson used to ride one hundred and twenty miles every weekend to spend a few hours with Edwardes, and lived in his beloved friend's house for some time when Edwardes' wife Emma was in England.
He died in a small bungalow in the cantonments of Delhi, as a result of wounds received in the taking of the city nine days previously. He was 34, not as the tombstone gives it, 35.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia