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Last edited by Sarah Tuck
November 19, 2011 | History

Walter Tschudi Lyall

1832 - 1903

Born in Findon, Sussex in 1832, he was the eldest son of the Reverend Alfred Lyall and Mary Drummond, daughter of James Broadwood. Educated at Eton, he showed little aptitude for academic study, entering the military service after school, from where he obtained a HEIC cadetship in 1849 to the 6th Bengal Light Cavalry Regiment of the Indian Army. With an adventurous spirit and a taste for the outdoor life he took to India immediately, and was instrumental in encouraging his two younger brothers to join him there. Both chose careers in the Indian civil service rather than the military service, ultimately leading to governorships of the North-West Provinces and the Punjab respectively, both also receiving knighthoods for their services. Walter, however, was cut from a different cloth. While on leave in England he contracted a disastrous marriage to Mary Streeter, a farmer's daughter, and subsequently resigned his commission in 1855. Walter commanded a levy of 100 native soldiers during the Indian Mutiny in 1857. With the help of sponsors, he tried his hand at establishing a tea plantation in the Himalayan foothills in the 1860s. He was also a renowned game hunter, nick-named 'the Bhagee', and explored in the Himilayas. He was described by General MacIntyre Hindu-Koh p. 69 as "one of the best mountain-hunters, and about as cool a hand as I ever met, and quite a character in his way". His face was scarred under the eye by the claw of a man-eating leopard. He took part in the Umbeyla Campaign of 1863-4. When the tea plantation failed he travelled extensively in Russia and Persia, abandoning his wife and causing the extended Lyall family much consternation. They used their collective influence and connections to find him a position in the diplomatic service. As a consequence he received an appointment as Acting British Consul to Tiflis (present day Tbilisi in Georgia) in 1874. He was present during the Russo-Turkish Campaign of 1877, submitting an official report on it to the British government. He adopted the pen name ‘Wanderer’ while in India, using it in published correspondence with various newspapers and journals. Following his residency in Tiflis Walter was appointed as British Consul to French Guiana in February 1884, residing at Cayenne. In July of the same year he was appointed Consul for Texas and New Mexico, residing at Galveston. Here he was much involved in the sailing fraternity. His final appointment was to Santos, Brazil in 1891, where he served as British Consul for the provinces of Sao Paolo and Pirana until his retirement from the diplomatic service around 1893. He returned to England, where he died in 1903.


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November 19, 2011 Edited by Sarah Tuck Edited without comment.
September 13, 2011 Edited by Added new photo
July 22, 2011 Edited by Thomas Lyall biography
September 4, 2008 Edited by RenameBot fix author name
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import