Home > Family History > Social History: George Olliffe at Fort St George, Madras, India

Social History: George Olliffe at Fort St George, Madras, India

In 1905 (100 years ago) my grandfather George Olliffe was serving with the British army in Madras (now Chennai) at Fort St George in India. I have blogged his story here. He was a bandsman in the Leicestershire Regiment (1Bn) and was posted to British India in 1903 at a time when the Raj was at the height of its powers on the sub-continent. He left India in 1906.


Lt-Colonel Webb’s 1912 ‘ A History of the Services of the 17th (The Leicestershire) Regiment’ records, ‘The regiment sailed from Durban on the 7th November 1902 for Madras (from fighting in the South African Boer war), and arriving on the 30th, disembarked on the 1st December and proceeded to Fort George‘. Bandsman Olliffe arrived in Fort St George from Britain four months later on 6th March 1903.

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In October 2014, I went to Chennai. One of the highlights of the trip to southern India was to visit the Fort St George military compound, some of which still houses units of the Indian military.


It was thrilling for me to walk through part of the Fort where Grandfather must have drilled, to view his old parade ground and perhaps even to look at one of his old barrack blocks.


This is a photo record of my visit to this evocative place within our own family history:


The Parade Ground and Drill Square at Fort St George


Some of the vast walls and ditches surrounding the Fort.



Another part of the compound adjacent to St Mary’s Anglican Church, the first English church built in India (1678-80).


The thought that Grandfather may have set foot, perhaps for a parade service, in this very same church was very moving.



  1. Dave Hancock
    August 14, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    just came across this while looking up the family tree My Great Grandfather was also in India he spent almost 8 years there 1904 to 1911 in the 1st and 2nd Btln, Leicestershire Regt (I have his war & Pension Record) big part of his life was spent there while serving and this blog has really bought it all to life my Grandfather also mentioned that he had a pet monkey over there so lots of similarities.
    My G Grandfather was based at fort Belgium but also spent time in Madras.
    This blog made a great read and painted a picture of what his life would have been like during his stay, so thank you very much !!
    Dave Hancock, G Grandson of Private Edward Hancock No 6308

  2. Chris Dunham
    March 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    please call me on 07545094909 regarding your blog about 32 Brigade RFA

  1. October 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

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