WHISH, SIR WILLIAM SAMPSON (1787-1853), divisional commander of the British army under Lord Hugh Gough in the second Anglo-Sikh war, was born at Northwold, England, on 27 February 1787, the son of Richard Whish. He received a commission in the Bengal artillery in 1804. In 1826, he was appointed to command the Karnāl and Sirhind division of the artillery. In January 1848, he took over from Sir John Littler the command of British troops stationed at Lahore. In August 1848, he was given the command of the Multān field force, 8,000 strong, to march against Dīwān Mul Rāj. He took up position in front of Multān and besieged the fort on 7 September. As the Darbār troops under Sher Siṅgh Aṭārīvālā withdrew a week later, Whish removed his forces to Ṭibbī, and a period of inaction followed which enabled Mūl Rāj to improve his defences. In the beginning of November Mūl Rāj threw up his batteries which threatened Whish's camp, but on 21 December he was reinforced by a column from Bombay and, on 22 January 1849, he secured the Multān governor's surrender. After the fall of Multān, Whish's division moved northwards to join Lord Gough's army. He reached Rāmnagar on 13 February and took part in the battle of Gujrāt (21 February 1849). In November 1851, he was promoted lieutenant-general.

        Whish died in London on 25 February 1853. His eldest son, G. Palmer Whish, general of the Bengal staff corps, had taken part in the battle of Gujrāt. Another son, Henry Edward Whish, a major- general in the Bengal staff corps had also served with his father in the siege of Multān.


  1. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, Anglo-Sikh Relations 1799-1849. Hoshiarpur, 1968
  2. Buckland, C.E., Dictionary of Indian Biography. London, 1906

B. J. Hasrat