1.1 Document details
2.2.2 The Forties (1840-1849)
2.2.3 The Fifties (1850-1859)
2.2.4 The Sixties (1860-1869)
2.2.6 The Eighties (1880-1889)
2.2.7 The 20th century
Harry Flashman is the fictitious hero created by George MacDonald Fraser, based on
the bully in Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s schooldays.
Many, including the present author, count Fraser’s Flashman Papers to be a
substitute for latter 19th century (and early 20th century) British Imperial history, a
history which has been largely lacking from even good British schools’ curricula for
decades. Given the immense number of notable Victorian events and especially
personalities which Fraser so skilfully brings to life, a chronological timeline
of where these intersect with Flashman may prove informative to fellow
There have been previous efforts to compile a timeline of Flashman’s life and
- Now sadly defunct:
- Another valiant attempt is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Joelmills/Flashman_timeline
but unfortunately tails off for many of the later books.
This current effort, compiled from scratch from the sources (§3), purports to be a
definitive chronology of the fictitious Harry Flashman’s life, appropriately annotated,
cross-referenced and indexed. Corrections and suggestions welcome. Until then, a
work in progress.
January 4, 2012
1.1 Document details
Some non-Flashman (and therefore mundane) information:
- Began on 21/05/2011, in London, England.
- Typeset using LATEX. Specifically, htlatex and makeglossary. On a
- Latest revision on 04/01/2012.
FLASHMAN, Harry Paget, brigadier-general, V.C., K.C.B., K.C.I.E.:
Chevalier, Legion of Honour1; Order of Maria Theresa, Austria1;
Order of the Elephant, Denmark (temporary); U.S. Medal of Honor; San
Serafino Order of Purity and Truth, 4th class; b. May 5, 1822, s. of H. Buckley
Flashman, Esq., Ashby, and Hon. Alicia Paget; m. Elspeth Rennie Morrison,
d. of Lord Paisley, one s., one d. Educ. Rugby School, 11th Hussars, 17th
Lancers. Served Afghanistan 1841-2 (medals, thanks of Parliament); chief
of staff to H.M. James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, Batang Luper expedn,
1844; milit. adviser with unique rank of sergeant-general to H.M. Queen
Ranavalona of Madagascar, 1844-5; Sutlej campaign, 1845-6 (Ferozeshah,
Sobraon, envoy extraordinary to Maharani Jeendan, Court of Lahore)[?]; polit.
adviser to Herr (later Chancellor Prince) von Bismarck, Schleswig-Holstein,
1847-8; Crimea, staff (Alma, Sevastopol, Balaclava), prisoner of war, 1854;
artillery adviser to Atalik Ghazi, Syr Daria campaign, 1855; India, Sepoy
Mutiny, 1857-8, dip, envoy to H.R.H. the Maharani of Jhansi, trooper 3rd
Native Cavalry, Meerut, subseq. att. Rowbothams Mosstroopers, Cawnpore,
(Lucknow, Gwalior, etc., V.C.); adjutant to Captain John Brown, Harpers Ferry,
1859; China campaign 1860, polit, mission to Nanking, Taiping Rebellion,
polit, and other services, Imperial Court, Pekin; U.S. Army (major, Union
forces, 1862, colonel (staff) Army of the Confederacy, 1863); a.d.c. to H.I.M.
Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1867; interpreter and observer Sioux campaign,
U.S., 1875-6 (Camp Robinson conference, Little Big Horn, etc.); Zulu War,
1879 (Isandhlwana, Rorkes Drift); Egypt 1882 (Kassassin, Tel-el-Kebir);
personal bodyguard to H.I.M. Franz-Josef, Emperor of Austria, 1883; Sudan
1884-5 (Khartoum); Pekin Legations, 1900. Travelled widely in military
and civilian capacities, among them supercargo, merchant marine (West
Africa), agriculturist (Mississippi valley), wagon captain and hotelier (Santa
Fe Trail); buffalo hunter and scout (Oregon Trail); courier (Underground
Railroad); majordomo (India), prospector (Australia); trader and missionary
(Solomon Islands, Fly River, etc.), lottery supervisor (Manila), diamond
broker and horse coper (Punjab), dep. marshal (U.S.), occasional actor and
impersonator. Hon. mbr of numerous societies and clubs, including Sons of the
Volsungs (Strackenz), Mimbreno Apache Copper Mines band (New Mexico),
Khokand Horde (Central Asia), Kit Carson’s Boys (Colorado), Browns Lambs
(Maryland), M.C.C., Whites and United Service (London, both resigned), Blackjack
(Batavia). Chmn, Flashman and Bottomley, Ltd; dir. British Opium Trading Co.;
governor, Rugby School; hon. pres. Mission for Reclamation of Reduced Females.
Publications: Dawns and Departures of a Soldiers Life; Twixt Cossack and
Cannon; The Case Against Army Reform. Recreations: oriental studies,
angling, cricket (performed first recorded “hat trick”, wickets of Felix, Pilch,
Mynn, for 14 runs, Rugby Past and Present v. Kent, Lords 1842; five for 12,
Mynn’s Casuals v. All-England XI, 1843). Add: Gandamack Lodge, Ashby,
2.1 Antecedents and birth
17–. Jack Flashman, Flashman’s grandfather, makes his fortune and becomes a
nabob from “slaves and rum, and piracy, too, I shouldn’t wonder”. He buys the
estate in Leicestershire which Flashman eventually inherits. [1, 3].
1809. Buckley Flashman returns to England from Talavera, the “Spanish
Waterloo” where he was with the 23rd Light Dragoons. He is sent back by Wellington
after fighting (and winning) four duels in three weeks. .
18–. Buckley Flashman discovers Tom Molineux in a pub in ???.
18–. Flashman’s mother, Alicia Paget, dies (his mother has been dead “these
many years” by 1839), leaving Flashman with aunts (her sisters) and an Uncle
Bindley (her brother) in the Horse Guards . Flashman’s father, Buckley Flashman
is devastated .
1839. Flashman is aged 17. He becomes drunk at Rugby after Speedicut orders beer
following some gin-punches Flashman had already imbibed. Rufton, a housemaster at
Rugby, discovers the inebriated Flashman in a sedan chair and sends him to see Dr
Arnold, who expels him. Scud East sees off Flashman at the school gate. Buckley
Flashman’s woman of the moment is Miss Judy Parsons, whom Flashman is seduced
by (once) and then rebuffed, leading to a longstanding emnity between Flashman and
Judy. [2, 3].
2.2.2 The Forties (1840-1849)
1840. Flashman wins the “famous Bernier-Flashman duel”, his only duel, fought over
his (financially aided) seduction of Bernier’s French mistress Josette. His
triumph is entirely due to bribing Bryant (without eventual payment) to
ensure his opponent Bernier fires an unloaded pistol. Flashman’s reneging
on Bryant’s bribe creates a (currently impotent) enemy, who alone knows
the truth of the affair. The fame leads to Flashman being sent a pair of
pistols by Parkin, the Oxford Street gunmaker and a mention by Baron
Macauley in the House. The regiment is renamed the 11th Hussars after Prince
Albert becomes Colonel of the Regiment, which directly results in Flashman
being temporarily posted to Paisley, Scotland, where there is civil unrest.
He stays with the principal mill-owner in the area: John Morrison, later Lord
Morrison and his wife, Mrs Morrison of Renfrew. They have four daughters: Agnes,
Mary, Elspeth and Grizel (later Grizel de Rothschild ). Monday, nine days after
Flashman’s arrival, he seduces Elspeth on the banks of the Clyde on the way
from Paisley to Glasgow. Flashman is forced to marry Elspeth Morrison at
the Abbey in Paisley, under duress from Abercrombie, previously of the
93rd Regiment of Foot (Sutherland Highlanders). Flashman is expelled from
the 11th Hussars by Cardigan for marrying trade and is forced to go to
India when his father threatens to cut him off if he sells out of the army.
Flashman travels to Calcutta in an Indiaman. Two weeks after arriving,
he buys a courtesan, Fetnab, for 500 rupees (50 guineas) whom he also
uses for language instruction. He also hires Muhammed Iqbal, a Pathan
rissaldar of the Bengal Cavalry, for mastering the lance since his eventual
assignation was to be with a Company native lancer regiment in Benares.
Three weeks after arrival, he impresses General Crawford, who is on the
Governor-General’s staff, with his lancing and Hindi. At Crawford’s invitation,
hobnobs with ? Eden, the Governor-General and his sister Emily, Lady Eden at the
Governor-General’s palace. Crawford’s recounting of his exploits has him posted as
aide to General Elphinstone the very next day. Elphinstone is transitioning from
command of the Benares Division to that of the Army of the Indus, destination:
Kabul, Afghanistan. Takes Basset, Muhammed Iqbal and Fetnab (who is sold on the
journey to an artillery major). Dons native garb of loose robes and trousers.
Flashman’s potted Afghanistan history: – The King of Afghanistan, Dost
Mohammed, is suspected of Russian symptahies, doubtless driven to it by
British policy. – Thanks to Alexander “Sekunder” Burnes advice, Britain
invaded Afghanistan and placed a puppet leader, Shah Sujah on the throne in
Kabul. – The previous king, Dost Mohammed is imprisoned in India. – The
Afghans don’t like Sujah, hence the army (a mix of Company and official
troops) being sent under Elphinstone. – The British exert policy through
Travels via the Punjab (“Sikh country”) and stops at Peshawar (“where India
ends”). There, he meets the Italian Avitabile, with whom he gets on well. Avitabile
gives Flashman two key pieces of advice: – To keep an escape route ready for the day
when the Afghans turn against the British. – Brothel owner hospitality [?].
Arrives at Bala Hissar, the fortress of Kabul. The commanding general
to whom he delivers despatches is Sir Willoughby Cotton, who is being
replaced by Elphinstone. With him is General Nott, commander in Kandahar.
1842. Dr Thomas Arnold dies on the 12th of June.
2.2.3 The Fifties (1850-1859)
2.2.4 The Sixties (1860-1869)
Major, Union forces, US Army. .
1863. Staff colonel, Army of the Confederacy, US Army. .
1867. Deserts from the Foreign Legion and joins the bandolero Jesus Montero’s
”gang of ambushers”. Montero thinks Flashman knows the location of Montezuma’s
treasure. Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, mistakenly thinks that Flashman saved his
life in Texatl and places him under his protection, dismissing the Foreign
Legion’s claim on Flashman when they present it. Flashman becomes an
aide-de-camp to Maximilian, whom he discovers is a “fairish cricketer for a
novice”1. In March, the Foreign Legion departs but two sources of danger
remain for Flashman: the republican Juaristas and the possibility that Jesus
Montero finds out that Flashman doesn’t know where Montezuma’s treasure
Maximilian is captured by the Juaristas? Flashman, Princess Agnes Salm-Salm
(wife of another ADC) and Jesus Montero arrange an escape for Maximilian, which
fails due to Maximilian refusing to escape. In summer, Maximilian is shot by the
Agnes and Jesus help Flashman get to Vera Cruz where Agnes arranges for
Flashman’s passage out of Mexico: as the ”Emperor’s English right arm”,
he is to escort the casket to Austria on a warship commanded by Admiral
Flashman seduces Gertrude, Tegethoff’s great-niece engaged to a graf and due to
be married on returning to Vienna. Gertrude confides in here duenna? from whom
the news reaches Tegethoff as the ship reaches Molo St Carlo at Trieste. Flashman
hastily escapes as the casket is taken ashore where the Duke or Wurtemburg is
amongst the dignitaries in attendance.
diplomat in the Vienna embassy. (Hookey Walker?) Vienna – Italy – Crete -
Alexandria – Cairo – Suez – Jeddah – via Annesley Bay – Zoola (an Abyssinian port).
1868. Flashman returns from Mexico and meets Emperor Franz-Josef of
Austria-Hungary on his yacht off Corfu. The Empress Elisabeth presents
him with the Order of Maria Theresa and the Emperor shakes him by the
2.2.5 The Seventies (1870-1879)
1877. Flashman is awarded the Legion of Honour.
2.2.6 The Eighties (1880-1889)
1882. Egypt, Kassassin, Tel-el-Kebir. .
1883. Personal bodyguard to HIM Franz-Josef, Emperor of Austria. .
Awarded the Order of Maria Theresa (again?) and waltzes with the Empress
1884 – 1845. Sudan, Khartoum. .
18– (“a few years ago” from 1900). Flashman presents prizes at Rugby and makes
a speech on Courage. No mention is made of his explusion. .
2.2.7 The 20th century
1900. Pekin Legations. .
1900-1905. The Flashman Papers are written by, or maybe dictated by Flashman.
The first (Flashman) is written in 1900. .
2.3 Death and afterwards
1915. Flashman dies. His relatives discover the Flashman Papers, which causes
consternation. They are unanimously against publication, but strangely do not
destroy the papers (Thank goodness!). .
1965. The oilskin-wrapped “mass of manuscript” known as the Flashman papers
are discovered in a tea chest during a sale of household furniture at Ashby,
Leicestershire. The nearest known living relative of Flashman is Mr Paget Morrison
of Durban, South Africa (why there aren’t any heirs surnamed “Flashman”
is never explained). Mr Morrison claims the papers and entrusts George
MacDonald Fraser to edit them. They are subsequently published as listed in
- Baron Macauley
- Prussian Junker.. 11
- Buckley Flashman
- H Buckley “Mad Buck” Flashman is Flashmans’s father..
Dr Arnold.. 4
Emily, Lady Edenhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Eden.. 5
General Sir Willoughby Cotton.. 4
Jack FlashmanFlashmans’s grandfather.. 4
Scud EastHarry “Scud” East.. 4SpeedicutDiminutive: Speed. Fellow bully and friend of Flashman’s at
Rugby . Becomes a diplomatic official, a role which Flashman thinks he
is eminently suited for, given that he was “a born toad-eater with a great
gift of genteel sponging and an aversion to work” . Like Flashman,
Speedicut comes from nabob wealth, and is therefore “as mean as Solomon
Levi” .. 4, 6, 11StrackenzFictional duchy in Schleswig-Holstein, similar to and based
on Ruritania(url) (ascription reversed in the Flashman papers where
Flashman recounts his Strackenzian adventures to Hope who then
pens The Prisoner of Zenda). Subsumed along with the rest of
Schleswig-Holstein into the Germany created by Bismarck .. 9
Tom Cribb19th century English bare-knuckle boxer
3 The books (“The Flashman Papers”)
In addition to the books by Fraser, Hughes’ Tom Brown books must also be
|George MacDonald Fraser||1997||Black Ajax||||?||?, England.||Tom Molineux.|
|Thomas Hughes||18–||Tom Brown’s schooldays||||?||England.||?|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman||||1839-1842||England, Scotland, India, Afghanistan.||The First Afghan War.|
|Thomas Hughes||18–||Tom Brown in Oxford||||?||England.||?|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Royal Flash (I)||||1842-1843||England.||Bismarck’s visit to Britain. Lola Montez’ debut and departure on the London stage.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman’s Lady||||1842-1845||England, Borneo, Madagascar.||?.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Mountain of Light||||1845-1846||Indian Punjab.||The First Sikh War.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Royal Flash (II)||||1847-1848||Germany, Strackenz.||The Schleswig-Holstein Question.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flash for Freedom!||||1848-1849||England, West Africa, USA.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Redskins (I)||||1849-1850||USA.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman at the Charge||||1854-1855||England, Crimea, Central Asia|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman in the Great Game||||1856-1858||Scotland, India|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Angel of the Lord||||1858-1859||India, South Africa, USA|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Dragon||||1860||China.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||2005||Flashman on the March||||1867-1868||Mexico (French Empire), Austria, Abyssinia (Ethiopia)||Emperor Maximilian’s death in Mexico, The Abyssinian War.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Redskins (II)||||1875-1876||USA.|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Tiger (-1-)||||(1878-1894)||(England, Europe, Africa)|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Tiger (-2-)||||(1878-1894)||(England, Europe, Africa)|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Flashman and the Tiger (-3-)||||(1878-1894)||(England, Europe, Africa)|
|George MacDonald Fraser||19–||Mr American||||19—1914||London, England.||—.|
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Black Ajax.
 Hughes, Thomas. Tom Brown’s schooldays.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman.
 Hughes, Thomas. Tom Brown in Oxford.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Royal Flash.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman’s Lady.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Mountain of Light.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flash for freedom!
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Redskins.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman at the Charge.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman in the Great Game.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Angel of the Lord.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Dragon.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman on the March.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Tiger.
 Fraser, George MacDonald. Mr American.