Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brydon, William

BRYDON, WILLIAM (1811–1873), a surgeon in the Bengal army, was descended from a Scotch border family, one member of which had distinguished himself as provost of Dumfries during a siege of that town, while another, who farmed his own land, had horsed a troop of cavalry for the Pretender. He was born in London 9 Oct. 1811, and entered the service of the East India Company as an assistant surgeon in October 1835. After serving in India with various regiments, British and native in the course of which service he was sent on escort duty, first with the commander-in-chief, Sir Henry Fane, and a few months afterwards with the governor-general, Lord Auckland, to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore, he was despatched in 1839 in medical charge of a regiment of native infantry to Afghanistan.

On the fatal retreat from Cabul, Brydon with five other British officers managed to escape as far as Fattehabad. In the neighbourhood of this place his companions were all slain, and he alone wounded and wellnigh exhausted by hunger and fatigue, reached Jellalabad, then held by a British and native force under the command of Sir Robert Sale. He served in the subsequent defence of Jellalabad during its siege by the army of Akhbar Khan, and returning to Cabul with Sir George Pollock's army of retribution, accompanied it back to India. Fifteen years later the mutiny of the Bengal army found Brydon at Lucknow, where it was his lot again to serve with a beleaguered garrison, and where he was severely wounded in the course of the siege. In a general order issued by Lord Canning on the defence of Lucknow, Brydon was referred to in terms of special laudation. In the following year he was appointed a companion of the Bath, and retired from the Indian service in 1859. The latter years of his life were passed in Scotland, where in 1862 he joined the Highland rifles militia regiment, now called the 3rd battalion Seaforth (Duke of Albany's) Highlanders. He died at Westfield, in the county of Ross, on 20 March 1873, his health having been previously much impaired by the results of the wound received at Lucknow.

[Kaye's History of the War in Afghanistan 3rd edit. 1874, p. 389; Calcutta Gazette, 8 Dec. 1857; family papers.]

A. J. A.