Henry Dermot Daly

Although Daly was not a colourful and charismatic character like Hodson, he was a highly respected cavalry leader. He commanded 4 of the most famous cavalry regiments in India and was blessed with good luck, surviving many battles and living to the age of 74. During the Mutiny he commanded the Guides when they made their heroic forced march to Delhi in the hottest month, during Ramadan. They covered 580 miles from Hoti Mardan in 22 days in full kit. Ten days after arriving in Delhi he led a very daring charge against an enemy battery in which all his men were either killed or wounded. Daly himself was wounded in the shoulder which caused him to lose the use of his left arm for the rest of his life.

When Hodson died in March 1858 he took over the command of Hodson's Horse. It took him a while to understand Hodson's accounts but when they were sorted out everything was in order. He organised the regiment into 3 battalions at first but it soon became apparent that there needed to be three regiments.

Daly was born on 25th Oct 1821 in Kirkee. His Protestant Irish father was in the Bombay Army but Henry was brought up in the Isle of Wight by his uncle. He entered the 1st Bombay European Regiment as an ensign on 1st Sept 1840 and fought in the 2nd Sikh War 1848-9. He was at Multan and Gujerat. He was offered the task of raising a new regiment in 1849 which was the 1st Regiment of Punjab Cavalry (Daly's Horse). He commanded it on the North-West Frontier 1850-2. After commanding the Corps of Guides and Hodson's Horse he commanded the Central India Horse 1861-71.

He turned to civil administration in 1871, becoming agent for the Governor-General for the Princely States of Central India. By this time he was General Sir Henry Daly. He retired to England in 1882, but unfortunately his wife, Susan, died just before embarkation. He wrote to a friend: 'my life in India seems a thing of yesterday, and when I call up the incidents and time, it is passing strange, for until this dark blow came, I felt no older or colder than when I landed a boy of 17.' He died in the Isle of Wight on 21st July 1895.

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by Stephen Luscombe