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

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1405373Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Mayne, William1894Henry Manners Chichester

MAYNE, WILLIAM (1818–1855), colonel, and brigadier of the Hyderabad contingent, born on 28 Oct. 1818, was second surviving son of the Rev. Robert Mayne of Limpsfield, Surrey, by his wife, Charlotte Cuninghame Graham, daughter of Colonel Graham of St. Lawrence House, near Canterbury. William Mayne, baron Newhaven, was his father's brother (see Burke, Extinct Peerages, under ‘Mayne’). He joined the East India Company's Military Seminary, Addiscombe, 5 Feb. 1836, and passed his examination 12 June. Appointed ensign, 15 Dec. 1837, he did duty with the 4th Bengal native infantry, and was afterwards posted to the 49th Bengal native infantry at Neemuch. On 29 Nov. 1838 he was specially appointed to serve with the 37th Bengal infantry in the army of the Indus. Two companies of the 27th Bengal infantry and ten of the 37th Bengal infantry were attached to Sir Robert Sale's force. Mayne was appointed detachment-adjutant to these companies, and much distinguished himself at the unsuccessful attack on the fort of Julgar, 3 Oct. 1840. He became lieutenant 2 Nov. 1841. As lieutenant in command of a rissalah (squadron) of the 2nd Shah Soojah's irregular cavalry, or Anderson's horse, he repeatedly signalised himself during the defence, by Sir Robert Sale [q. v.], of Jellalabad, and subsequently with the quartermaster-general's department under General Pollock, and at the capture of Istiliff, 29 Sept. 1842. He was selected by Lord Ellenborough for the adjutancy of the body-guard, as ‘among the officers most distinguished in the late war’ (G. O. 20 Dec. 1842). While second in command of the body-guard, he had a horse killed under him at Maharajpore, 31 Dec. 1843. He was not engaged in the Sikh wars, being in command of the late 5th irregular horse at Bhowapur during the first, and commandant of Lord Dalhousie's bodyguard at the time of the second war. In 1851, while still a captain in the 37th Bengal infantry, he was specially selected by Lord Dalhousie for the command of the Nizam's forces (Hyderabad contingent), and at the head of six thousand of these troops was much employed in suppressing disturbances in the Deccan. The rapidity of Mayne's marches, and the invariable success of his operations, attracted general notice. He was repeatedly thanked by the governor-general in council, particularly for the defeat of a large body of Arabs near Aurungabad, 20 Sept. 1853, and for his conduct on 22 Sept. 1854. On the latter occasion, while investing the fort of Saila, near Hyderabad, he defeated and annihilated a party of Rohillas, who sallied out at dead of night, and attempted to cut their way through the besiegers.

Returning to England at the close of 1854, Mayne was made a brevet-colonel and A.D.C. to the queen. He had just returned to India when a violent attack of dysentery sent him home again. He died at Cairo, 23 Dec. 1855. He married Helen Cunliffe, daughter of Thomas Reed Davidson, Bengal civil service, and niece of Lieutenant-general Sir Robert Cunliffe, by whom he left one child.

[Information supplied by the India office; Gent. Mag. 1856, pt. i. p. 185.]

H. M. C.