Canora, Francis John
Irish Colonel in Sikh Army (1799-1848)
An Irishman, inscribed in Khalsa Darbar records variously as Kenny, Kennedy and Khora. Roaming across many countries, he reached Lahore in 1831, and joined Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s artillery on a daily wage of Rs 3.
Gradually, he rose to the rank of colonel, with a salary of Rs 350 per month. He continued to serve in the Sikh army after the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46). But his loyalty to the Lahore Darbar was suspect. In 1848, he was commanding an artillery battery at Hazara and was under the overall command of Chatar Singh Atarivala, the governor of Hazara province. Chatar Singh had raised the banner of revolt against the British on account of the extraordinary behaviour of Captain James Abbott, assistant to the British resident at Lahore, who had defied the governor’s authority by raising Muslim levies to destroy the Sikh brigade stationed in the Fort.
When James Abbott, accompanied by Muslim mercenaries, marched on Haripur Hazara with a view to expelling the governor, Chatar Singh ordered Canora to move the cannon out of the Fort on the open ground outside. Canora, who was in secret communication with James Abbott, refused to do so. The Sardar charged two companies of infantry to arrest Canora for insubordination. Canora refused to surrender and was consequently shot down under the orders of Chatar Singh.