|Born||6 October 1820|
|Died||1 April 1884 (aged 63)|
Municipal Ossuary, Pallanza
British Indian Army
|Years of service||1838 - 1881|
|Commands held||2nd Bengal Native Infantry|
|Battles/wars||First Anglo-Afghan War|
First Anglo-Sikh War
Order of the Bath
General James Travers (6 October 1820 – 1 April 1884) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
James Travers came from a distinguished Anglo-Irish military family, and all seven of his brothers (three of whom were killed in India) served in the armed forces. They were the sons of Major-General Sir Robert Travers (1770–1834) C.B., K.C.M.G., of the 95th Rifle Brigade, who was one of six brothers who again all served in the military, and one of three to be knighted for their services, including Rear-Admiral Sir Eaton Stannard Travers (1777–1858), who was engaged in battle with the enemy upwards of over one hundred times, and was mentioned in dispatches eight times for gallantry. James Travers grew up in County Cork, where the first of his ancestors to be born there, Sir Robert Travers, was killed at the Battle of Knocknanuss in 1647. James Travers was educated at Addiscombe Military Seminary.
James Travers was educated at the military college at Addiscombe. He received a commission in the Bengal infantry and arrived in Calcutta in January 1838. He served with the 57th native infantry at Barrackpore and then the 2nd native infantry at Firozpur. He served with this regiment in Afghanistan between 1840 and 1842, being mentioned in despatches in action at Zamin-Dawar, was involved in a cavalry fight at Mukur, was at the capture of Ghazni and the actions at Beni-badain and Maidan. On his return to Firozpur he was awarded three medals and recommended to be Major by brevet on attaining the rank of Captain. He was appointed adjutant to the Bhopal contingent in March 1843 and promoted to Captain and brevet Major in January 1846. He was involved in the battle of Sobraon and mentioned in despatches. He was appointed second in command of the Bhopal contingent in March 1846, promoted to Lt-Colonel on 20 June 1854, and on 15 February 1856 to be commandant. In 1856, he commanded a force in the field against the rebel Sankar Singh. After the outbreak of the mutiny in 1857, he moved from Bhopal to Indur and assumed command of the forces there. Travers was 36 years old, and a Colonel in the 2nd Bengal Native Infantry, Bengal Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed led to his award of the Victoria Cross:
For a daring act of bravery, in July, 1857, when the Indore Presidency was suddenly attacked by Holkar's Troops, in having charged the guns with only five men to support him, and driven the Gunners from the guns, thereby creating a favourable diversion, which saved the lives of many persons, fugitives to the Residency.
It is stated that Officers who were present considered that the effect of the charge was to enable many Europeans to escape from actual slaughter, and time was gained which enabled the faithful Bhopal Artillery to man their guns. Colonel Travers's horse was shot in three places, and his accoutrements were shot through in various parts. He commanded the Bhopal Levy.
He returned to duty with the 2nd and on 8 September 1860 was appointed commandant of the Central India Horse and on 23 July 1865 he was promoted to Major General. He was promoted to Lt General in 1873, General in 1877, placed on the supernumerary list in 1881. Travers was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. He married Mary Isabella Macintyre on 19 November 1849 in Bengal, India. Mary was born in 1830 and died at Kilrock, Bridge of Allan in Scotland on 16 June 1933.
- Philip A. Wilkins, The History of the Victoria Cross: Being an account of the 520 acts of bravery for which the decoration has been awarded and portraits of 392 recipients, Andrews UK Limited, 2012, ISBN 1781516731, 9781781516737
- "No. 22485". The London Gazette. 1 March 1861. p. 1007.
- The Life of John Travers Lewis, D.D., by His Wife
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (1981, 1988 and 1997)
- Clarke, Brian D. H. (1986). "A register of awards to Irish-born officers and men". The Irish Sword. XVI (64): 185–287.
- Ireland's VCs ISBN 1-899243-00-3 (Dept of Economic Development, 1995)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross (Richard Doherty & David Truesdale, 2000)