Memorial to Cap, William Hodson, Lichfield Cathedral, England - symbolizes British superiority and religious disparity

Memorial to William. Hodson, Lichfield Cathedral,England.
Memorial to W. S. R. Hodson, Lichfield Cathedral,

Memorial to W. S. R. Hodson, Lichfield Cathedral England.

Above image:  Unusual  Memorial to W. S. R. Hodson, Lichfield Cathedral, England - Made of  black marble, and white and coloured stone,  designed by George Edmund Street, one of the most prominent architects associated with the Gothic Revival  and carved by Thomas Earp; erected in 1862. Photograph by Jim Cheshire with the permission of the Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral........................  

The project to erect a memorial to Cap. William Hodson (who arrested the last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar and shot dead his two sons and one grandson near Delhi in September, 1857) was announced in the final paragraphs of  Twelve Years of a Soldier’s Life in India compiled and edited by William Hodson's brother, Rev. George Hewitt Hodson,  But for Rev, George, the Hodson memorial in Lichfield Cathedral would not have been built. The memorial   stands roughly opposite to a memorial to his father, Archdeacon Hodson, erected in 1857.

Lichfield Cathedral,

Above image: Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire -  The tomb of William S.R. Hodson  lies under the Union Jack which flew night and day over the residency from 1 July to 30 September 1940. It was presented to Hodson’s Horse by the Government of India in memory of the part played by the Regiment in the relief of the residency in 1857, then was presented to the Dean and Chapter in 1946 for safe keeping....

William Hodson’s death six months after a series of many difficult events in the wake of the  Siege of Delhi had made him  a martyr of the Indian Uprising. On 16 April 1858, The Times reported his death:

"The country will receive with lively regret the news that the gallant Major Hodson, who has given his name to an invincible and almost ubiquitous body of cavalry, was killed in the attack on Lucknow. Major Hodson has been from the very beginning of this war fighting everywhere and against any odds with all the spirit of a Paladin of old. His most remarkable exploit, the capture of the King of Delhi and his two sons, astonished the world by its courage and coolness. Hodson was, indeed, a man who, from his romantic daring and his knowledge of the Asiatic character, was able to beat the natives at their own weapons"

About Hodson's irrational act of shooting to death the last three prices of the last Mogul Bahadur Shah Zafar,  The Illustrated London News,  justified Hodson's summary dispatch of the princes by saying: "The Royal scoundrels were known to have taken throughout the most active share in the rebellion" (qtd. in Featherstone 121). Still, it seems that the gentle figure of Temperance with a little bird is quite out of place here.

The book on ''Twelve Years of a Soldier’s Life in India (1859)'' - written by William Hodson and edited by his brother george Hodson  covers his exploits,  rather than his atrocities.  As for the memorial and iconography  initiated by Hodson's brother in England, it does not represent  Victorian cultural heritage  rather one could sense  the impact of  Muscular Christianity (Physical prowess) and ecclesiology. 

While outside the imperial history Hodson is considered  a ruthless bloodthirsty maniac, it is quite deplorable  the Victorian ecclesiologists  look upon him as a hero, relegating his odd behavior and atrocities in the subcontinent to the back.  Cap. Hodson's  military services lasting twelve years in India. according to critics,  represent  a tradition of Christian warfare led by him against against Islam. Hodson's memorial in Lichfield Cathedral, in  religious perspective,  highlights the revelry between the two religious groups and this may be the reason for the Hodson monument.  

While in India Hodson  took extra care to retain his Britishness and cultural identity. His racial superiority permeated throughout his career and there was an undercurrent of disdain in dealing with the natives, be they soldiers or kings.  Racial differences and British superiority were central to the attitude of both Rev. George and cap. William Hodson. So, throughout his career in India Cap. Hodson had harbored  racial prejudice against the natives and purported cultural superiority  which finally led him to shoot to death the three young mogul princes in September 1857 near Delhi. He neither had scruples nor Christian Love and Mercy on the prisoners;  they were superseded  by racial arrogance and Britishness.   

According to George Hodson: ‘though in India, he [Hodson] remembered that he was an Englishman; that though living among the heathen he did not forget he was a Christian’. The strength of William Hodson’s attitude was expressed in a letter of 1846:

"If I have one feeling stronger than another, it is contempt for a ‘regular Indian,’ a man who thinks it is fine to adopt a totally different set of habits and morals and fashions, until, in forgetting that he is an Englishman, he usually forgets also that he is a Christian and a gentleman."