POLLOCK. SIR GEORGE (1786-1872), baronet, field marshal, son of David Pollock, was born on 4 June 1786. In 1803, he entered the East India Company artillery. He took part in the campaign against Jasvant Rao Holkar, 1804-05, and served in Nepal, 1814, and in the first Burmese war, 1824-26. In January 1842, he was appointed commander to the “Army of Retribution” which marched through the Punjab to reconquer Afghanistan after the Kabul massacre of November 1841. He marched with his force towards Peshawar under unfavourable circumstances.

There was alarm in the Khaibar and Frederick Mackeson was besieged in `Ali Masjid by the tribals till the Sikh force came to his relief. When, on 5 February 1842, Pollock arrived at Peshawar, he was faced with a serious situation. George Russell Clerk`s constant pleadings at the Sikh court at Lahore for help had received a positive response from Maharaja Sher Singh. Moreover, Lord Ellenborough`s offer of Jalalabad to the Sikhs on its evacuation by the British had necessitated the despatch of a large Sikh force to Peshawar 16 battalions, 2 brigades and several regiments, 25,000 men in all. Pollock, who had 3 brigades under his command reached Jalalabad on 16 April.

The Sikhs kept the Pass open as far as `All Masjid. Pollock had instructions to hand over Jalalabad to the Sikhs on the retirement of the British army. However, Maharaja Sher Singh felt reluctant to accept it without active British help. Pollock returned to England in 1846 and, in 1854, became senior government director of the East India Company. In 1870, he was promoted field marshal and, in 1872, created a baronet “of the Khyber Pass.” He died on 6 October 1872 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

References :

1. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, ed. and annot.. The Punjab Papers. Hoshiarpur, 1970
2. Buckland, C.E., Dictionary of Indian Biography. London, 1906