British Army

Victor Duleep Singh


Victor Duleep Singh was the eldest son of the Maharaja Duleep Singh and Princess Bamba. He studied at Eton College, and then Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1887, he joined the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, having gained special dispensation to join the Army from his godmother, Queen Victoria. He held various positions in the Army but resigned from the Royal Dragoons in 1898.

In January 1898, Victor married Lady Anne Blanche Alice of Coventry. She was the sister of his friend, George, and daughter of the Earl of Coventry.

During the First World War, Victor was ordered to remain in Paris and died in France shortly before the war ended.

Date of birth: 
10 Jul 1866
Secondary works: 

Bance, Peter, The Duleep Singhs: The Photograph Album of Queen Victoria's Maharajah (Stroud: Sutton, 2004)

Bance, Peter, Sovereign, Squire and Rebel: Maharajah Duleep Singh and the Heirs of a Lost Kingdom (London: Coronet House, 2009)

Singh, Ganda, Correspondence of Maharajah Duleep Singh (Patiala: Punjabi University, 1977)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)

Archive source: 

Mss Eur E377/2, letters 1880-97, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Other names: 

Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh


Eton College Windsor, SL4 6DW
United Kingdom
51° 28' 47.982" N, 0° 36' 21.5856" W
Date of death: 
07 Jun 1918

Eton College, Windsor

Trinity College, Cambridge

Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst

Tags for Making Britain: 

Oriental Club


The Oriental Club began on 24 February 1824, following a proposal by Major-General Sir John Malcolm. A committee was established with the Duke of Wellington as President. On 8 July 1824 the Club was opened to members at 16 Lower Grosvenor Street, London.

The original primary qualifications for membership of The Oriental Club ‘were to be present or previous residence, or employment present or previous either in the King’s or East India Company’s service, in any part of the East; membership of the Royal Asiatic Society; or any official connection with the administration of this country’s Eastern Governments abroad or at home. Members of the Bengal, Madras, Bombay, India, and China Clubs were invited to join the Oriental; and all persons who had travelled in the East were declared eligible.’ (Wheeler, p. vii) Indeed, the Oriental Club’s very roots were to be found in the Royal Asiatic Society’s house in Grafton Street, where Sir John Malcolm first proposed the formation of the club, and members of the Asiatic were invited to join the newer organization. Members of the Alfred Club were also invited to join the Oriental after the dissolution of the former in 1854.

The majority of members in the Club’s first decades were members of the East India Company. The Club also boasted the membership of Governors-General, Governors, Lieutenant-Governors, and later Viceroys of India. Membership was originally restricted to men; in 2009 the website states: ‘Whilst the Club has maintained its tradition as a Gentlemen's Club, associate membership is encouraged for wives, unmarried sisters and unmarried daughters of members’ (, accessed August 2009). Indeed until 1937, women were wholly excluded on Thursdays. In the early 1950s the Club faced financial ruin as membership fell; an extraordinary general meeting rejected a suggestion to go into liquidation, and the Club instead embarked on a recruitment drive. The move to Stratford House ten years later reinvigorated the club, whose primary function has been social rather than political. The Club’s symbol is an Indian elephant.

Non-British subjects could be granted honorary member status from 1831. Throughout the nineteenth century they included the likes of Oman Effendi (1831), The Prince of Oudh (1839), Dwarkanath Tagore and Mohun Lal (1842), H. H. Maharaja Duleep Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, ruler of Punjab (1854), Sir Cursetjee Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (1860), H. E. Nazim Bey, Prime Minister of Turkey (1862), and Nawab Nazim of Bengal (1869).

Published works: 

Riches, Hugh, A History of the Oriental Club (London: The Oriental Club, 1998)

Website of Oriental Club:


Alexander F. Baille., The Oriental Club and Hanover Square (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1901), p. 282


Secondary works: 

Baille, Alexander F., The Oriental Club and Hanover Square (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1901)

Forrest, Denys, The Oriental: Life Story of a West End Club (London: B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1968)

Wheeler, Stephen, Annals of the Oriental Club, 1824-1858 (printed for private circulation, London: Arden Press, 1925)


From the founding prospectus on the purpose of the Club.

Date began: 
24 Feb 1824

The objects of the establishment are – First, to give to persons who have been long resident abroad the means of entering, on their return, into a society where they will not only associate daily with those they have known before, but have an opportunity of forming acquaintance and connections in their own country; secondly, to give to those who have resided or served abroad the easy means of meeting old friends, and of keeping up their knowledge of the actual state of our Eastern Empire, by personal intercourse and friendship with those recently returned from scenes in which they have once acted; thirdly, giving to all persons who are solicitous of information regarding the past and present condition of the East, to those who are officially connected with our Governments abroad, and to all persons who are desirous of improving their knowledge and strengthening their personal ties with that quarter, additional means of accomplishing these ends.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Lord William Bentinck (founder member), Sir John Malcolm (founder member), Duke of Wellington (first (and only) Honorary President).


Lord Curzon, Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, Mohun Lal (Secretary to Sir Alexander Burnes, honorary member, 1842), Lord Metcalfe (member), Prince of Oudh (honorary member, 1839), H. H. Prince Ranjitsinhji (honorary member), H. H. Maharaja Duleep Singh (honorary member, 1854 and subscriber from 1858), Dwarkanath Tagore (honorary member, 1842).

Archive source: 

LMA/4452, London Metropolitan Archives


18 Hanover Square
London, W1S 1HP
United Kingdom

William Hutt Curzon Wyllie


After an education at Marlborough College (1863-4) and Sandhurst (1865-6), Wyllie entered the Durham Light Infantry and arrived in India in 1867. After serving briefly with the 2nd Gurkha regiment, Wyllie undertook civil and political employment including positions such as Cantonment Magistrate of Nasirabad, Assistant Commissioner in Ajmer-Merwara, and Assistant to the Governor-General's Agent in Baluchistan. Wyllie took part in the Afghan campaign of 1878-80 and was mentioned in the viceroy’s dispatches (Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, Earl of Lytton). In 1886 he became a Major of the British Army, and in 1892 a Lieutenant-Colonel. During the 1880s and 1890s Wyllie held a number of assistant resident positions throughout India, and in 1898 gained the appointment of agent to the governor-general in central India. In May 1900 he was transferred in the same capacity to Rajputana where he remained until 1901; notable during this last position was his organization of relief efforts to overcome the famine of 1899-1900. 

Upon his return to London he was selected to work as political Aide-de-Camp for Lord George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India; Wyllie retained the position with Hamilton’s two successors. Wyllie was heavily involved in arrangements for the reception of Indian princes in Britain, especially with regards the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. Wyllie also worked with charities and associations related to India. At a reception given by one such association – the National Indian Association – in 1909, Wyllie was shot by Madan Lal Dhingra, an Indian student. A Parsee physician, Dr Cawas Lalcaca, who sought to protect Wyllie, was also killed. Dhingra and his family were known to Wyllie from his time in India, and Dhingra’s family had maintained a correspondence with Wyllie. Dhingra had himself ignored letters from Wyllie suggesting a meeting at India House. Some argue that Dhingra’s preferred target was either the former Secretary of State Lord Morley or the former Viceroy Lord Curzon, given their greater prestige and connection with the construction of repressive policies against revolutionaries in India; Dhingra was known to have been following both men. Wyllie’s presence at events with Indian students, however, made him an easier target. 

The assassination was met with outrage at home and abroad, with public offices closed in Rajputana upon reception of the news. Wyllie’s widow, Lady Katherine Georgina Wyllie (daughter of a member of the Indian Civil Service), was granted a pension by Viscount Morley, then secretary of state. Memorial tablets to Wyllie were established in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, in Rajputana and central India.

Date of birth: 
05 Oct 1848

William St John Fremantle Brodrick, known as St John Brodrick, Secretary of State for India 1903-1905 (colleague), Madan Lal Dhingra (assassin), Lord George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India 1895-1903 (colleague), Shyamji Krishnavarma (Madan Lal Dhingra’s mentor), Viscount John Morley, Secretary of State for India 1905-10, 1911-15 (colleague), Francis Robert Shaw Wyllie (brother; undersecretary to Bombay Government).

British Army

Secondary works: 

‘Sir William Wyllie Murdered by Hindu’, The New York Times (2 July 1909)

Brown, F.H., ‘Wyllie, Sir (William Hutt) Curzon, 1848-1909’, rev. Roger T. Stern, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Datta, V.N., Madan Lal Dhingra and the Revolutionary Movement (New Dehli: Vikas Publishing House PVT Ltd., 1978)

Lahiri, Shompa, Indians in Britain: Anglo-Indian Encounters, Race and Identity, 1880-1930 (London & Portland, Oregon: Frank Cass, 2000).

Morley, Viscount John, Recollections, 2 vols. (London: MacMillan, 1918).

Nanda, B.R., Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj, (London & Dehli: Oxford University Press, 1977).

Wolpert, Stanley A., Morley and India, 1906-1910 (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967).

Archive source: 

Letters and government reports, L/PJ/6/901, L/PJ/6/903, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Morley Collection, Mss Eur D573, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Trial Deposition of Madan Lal Dhingra, National Archives of India, New Dehli.

Involved in events: 

Famine relief, Rajputana, 1899-1900

Coronation of Edward VII, 1902

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie

Appears in indexes under Curzon-Wyllie and Wyllie

Date of death: 
01 Jul 1909
Location of death: 
Imperial Institute, South Kensington, London
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