Around 200 years ago in Lahore, deserters across Europe intermingled with sophisticated ex-Napoleonic officers for the chance to fight for Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who sought to create Asia's most powerful army in anticipation of a clash with the British Empire. Conspicuous among them were a Scots-American soldier-of-fortune who single-handedly defended Lahore by blowing up 300 furious fanatics, a Neapolitan general whose blood-lust for extreme forms of punitive justice inspired fear in Sikhs and Afghans alike, and the son of an Irish sailor who had ruled a small Indian principality as the Raja of Tipperary.
After retiring from the North-Western Railway in 1918, CHARLES GREY retired to Lahore where he became an amateur scholar of early European interactions with Asia. HLO GARRETT was an eminent professor of history and a principal of Government College, Lahore. He was Keeper of the Records of the Punjab Government and also the first Director of the Punjab Archives (1923-36).