Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Arbuthnott Family

EA M03

In proud and loving memory


 John Campbell Arbuthnott ICS CIC

Born 6th April 1858 Died 20th May 1923

And of Jeannie Sinclair
 his beloved wife and devoted companion.

 Great Windlesham Surrey 5th April 1947

 Also of their elder Son

Hugh Hamilton Arbuthnott
 Lieut. 27 Punjabis.

 Killed during the siege of Kut-El-Amara 2nd December 1915 age 21.


On the 12th of June, 1897, occurred one of those terrible calamities which those who lived through it will always speak a with a shudder.

One of the earliest measures I took was to assign to every officer his own special duty in repairing damages and restoring confidence.  Every officer, whatever his ordinary duties, was given the task of rendering assistance……..

Every man was placed at his post, and all worked with their might.

Above all, Major Neil Campbell, the Civil Surgeon of the station, and John C. Arbuthnott, the Deputy Commissioner — both of whom I am glad to say afterwards received a decoration for their services — never spared themselves, and day and night were continually at work, encouraging others and setting an example to every one by their sense of duty and

self -devotion.

John C. Arbuthnott, the Deputy Commissioner, provided the following description:

“The first shock, which was comparatively slight, was preceded by that rumbling underground noise since so familiar, but was accentuated within a few seconds with such severity that every masonry building in Shillong was levelled with the ground. The direction was roughly from south-west to north-east. The Secretary’s (Edward Gait) residence on the hill above the ward lakes, in which my wife and I were living, collapsed at once, as we stepped out upon the lawn, and the magnitude of the disaster was revealed immediately by the roar of the water escaping from the Ward lakes, which rushed down a ravine, and damming up the stream Umkhra, destroyed the iron bridge leading to the polo ground, driving the heavy iron girders a considerable distance upstream.”

THE EARTHQUAKE: Constantine K Khongwar
Arbuthnott reached the scene of the disaster McCabe was already dead, horribly crushed by the falling debris.  It was a sad end to a distinguished career, and just as he was about to be made a companion of the Order of the Star of India.

After recovering his body from the rubble, Arbuthnott went to see what remained of the Secretariat and other government buildings.  These he found completely destroyed.  The compositors who were engaged in the printing of the Gazette in the Secretariat Press were buried when the building fell in on them.  Arbuthnott was able to rescue a chaprassi, still alive, with only his head protruding from the ruins.

Report on the Conditions of Tea Garden Labour in the Duars of Bengal, in Madras, and in Ceylon by John Campbell Arbuthnott (1904).

NEXT - Hugh Hamilton Arbuthnott

John Campbell Arbuthnott was born in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland, on 6 April 1858.   He was the third son of Lt.-Col. Hon. Hugh Arbuthnott, the 8th Viscount Arbuthnott, and Susannah Morrison Campbell.

He married Jeannie Sinclair Hamilton, daughter of Robert Hamilton, on 21 July 1887.

He died in Hastings on 20 May 1923 at age 65.

He was in the Indian Civil Service between 1879 and 1914.

He was invested as a Companion, Order of the Indian Empire (C.I.E.) in 1908.

Children of John Campbell Arbuthnott and Jeannie Sinclair Hamilton

1. Jeannie Arbuthnott, born 15 Dec 1888, died. 28 Feb 1970

2. Margaret Ogilvy Arbuthnott,. born 9 Aug 1892

3. Lieutenant Hugh Hamilton Arbuthnott, born 24 Feb 1894, died 28 Dec 1915

4. Maj.-Gen. Robert Keith Arbuthnott, 15th Viscount Arbuthnott, [descent from a cousin] born 21 Aug 1897, died 15 Dec 1966

5. Susannah Mary Arbuthnott born 14 May 1901