joined the Bengal Civil Service, 1839, and was posted to the North-Western Provinces
appointed Collector of Bulandshahr, 1852
Judge of Cawnpore, 1857
appointed officiating Commissioner of Agra
demoted to judgeship of Meerut, after refusing to file paper work
retired in 1874
1881 census (England):
George Turnbull, head, widower, age 60, Annuitant, born in Middlesex
Rivers, son, unmarried, age 26, Law Student; born in Bengal, East Indies
Helen, daughter, age 23; born in do.
Frederick, son, age 21; Lieutenant, Shropshire Militia; born in do.
Lilian Turnbull, age 16; born in Brighton, Sussex
Amelia Grindell, sister-in-law, unmarried, age 58; born in Bengal, East Indies
household servants (4)
census place: 17 St Michael’s Place, Brighton, Sussex.
… and in 1891:
George D Turnbull, head, widower, age 70; H.M. Bengal Civil Service (Retired); born in Kensington, London
Hellen [sic] F.L., daughter, single, age 33, born in India
Amelia J. Grindall, sister in law, single, age 68, born in India
Louisa J. Harris, visitor, single, age 28, born in India
household servants (3)
census place: 100 Lansdowne Road, Hove, Sussex.
… and in 1901:
George D. Turnbull, head, widower, age 80, Indian Civil Service retired; born in Kensington, London
Rivers M., son, married, age 46, Solicitor, born in India
Mabel, daughter in law, married, age 41, born in Kensington
Helen F.L., daughter, single, age 43, born in India
Amelia J. Grindall, sister in law, single, age 78, born in do.
household servants (2)
census place: 6 Gilston Road, Brompton, London.
… and in 1911:
George Dundas Turnbull, head, age 90, widower, Independent; born in Kensington, London
Helen Frances Leslie, daughter, age 53, single, Independent; born in Dehra Dun, India (Res’t)
household servants (3)
census place: 9 Elm Park Road, Chelsea, London
… with the notation, “Filled in because it is My Father’s House & only for his Sake. H. Turnbull W.S.P.[-]., and signed: Helen F.L. Turnbull for G.D. Turnbull, Esq’r.
Obituary printed in the Chelsea News and General Advertiser, 9 October 1914:
Chelsea will sincerely regret the death of Mr. George Dundas Turnbull, who was the “Father” of the Indian Civil Service, and who died on Saturday at 9 Elm Park-road, at the great age of 94. And yet the sense of regret will be combined with relief, for the veteran knew himself to be as a guest who had outstayed his welcome. His sight failed, and his other faculties must have been sadly impaired before he was called away. In the Times of Wednesday there appeared a lengthy appreciation of Mr. Turnbull, and this has given much satisfaction to his old friends and neighbours in and out of Chelsea.
We learn that the deceased gentleman left the East India College, Haileybury, in 1838, and joined the Service in the following year and was posted to the North-Western Provinces. His memory thus went back to the time when every villager in India went armed, and when the raises, or landed gentry, lived in mud forts surrounded by bamboo jungle or by swamps, and sallied forth in tarnished cloth of gold on piebal prancing horses, followed by a rout of swaggering mustachioed matchlock men. He himself was very different from the desk-chained, report-writing civilian of these times. He hated putting pen to paper, and while a drawback in many ways this characteristic probably added some three-score years to his life.
Appointed Collector of Bulandshahr in 1852, he was promoted in the spring of 1857 to the Judgeship of Cawnpore. But he had heavy arrears of criminal and revenue decisions to write up—for even then reasons for judgments in the district Courts had to be put on paper—and Brand Sapte, his successor as Collector, insisted on his staying with him to clear off the file records. So the bursting of the storm at Meerut—the headquarters of an adjacent district—found him, not with the Europeans of Cawnpore, fated to treacherous massacre, but at Bulandshahr, where, besides Sapte, there were only three other Europeans, one of them being Alfred Lyall, a young assistant destined to eminence alike in administration and literature.
The district was soon in anarchy. While Sapte was for retirement to Meerut, to join the European forces there, Turnbull, who knew the district and people intimately, was for holding out. Extra police were raised, and with the assistance of well-disposed landowners and men on leave from cavalry regiments[,] strong patrolling parties were organised. By this means refugees from Delhi on their way to Meerut were saved, and some order was maintained. Eventually, after an attack on the town by a large body of Gujars, the Europeans went to Meerut, but Turnbull afterwards returned to Bulandshahr, and had charge of the district for some weeks, making flying excursions to villages round with such troops as could be spared, and greatly hampering the predatory designs of the rebels.
From his first-hand knowledge of the facts, Sir Alfred Lyall always held that the C.B. awarded to Sapte should have gone to Turnbull. But Turnbull’s reluctance to write reports repeatedly stood in the way of official favour and advancement. After serving some years as a district Judge, he was made officiating Commissioner of Agra. An order given by the Collector of Muttra, Charles Grant, for the destruction of the pariah dogs of the city famous as the birthplace of Krishna was protested against by the Bunnias and other orthodox sects. The outcry got into the papers, and the Viceroy, Lord Lawrence, communicated with the Lieutenant-Governor, who thereupon telegraphed to Turnbull.
The latter proceeded to Muttra, and was soon able to pacify the protesting Hindoos and to set matters right. But he failed to report what he had done, and though the Viceroy repeatedly telegraphed to the Lieutenant-Governor and the latter to the Commissioner for information, Turnbull never stirred. At last Lawrence ordered that Turnbull as well as Grant, should be reduced in official standing. Had he taken the trouble to report his action, Turnbull would doubtless have been commended and confirmed in his Commissionership. As it was, he reverted to the district judicial work, and when he retired in 1874 he was Judge of Meerut.￼
The date of baptism has been used to approximate the date of birth.
↑ 1.01.1 Church of England. St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington. Baptism (no. 1965) of George Dundas Turnbull, son of Montague Henry, Esquire, and Eliza Ann, of Earls Terrace, by the Rev. Thomas Rennell (vicar). Original record held by Board of Guardian Records and Church of England Parish Registers. London Metropolitan Archives, London; digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2018-06-29).
↑Western Courier, West of England Conservative, Plymouth and Devonport Advertiser, 1 January 1851 (pg 5). Marriage notice: “October 24, at Allahabad, George Dundas Turnbull, Esq., Bengal Civil Service, to Eliza Henrietta, youngest daughter of the late Rivers Francis Grindall, Esq., also of the Bengal Civil Service.” Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑ British India Office. Ecclesiastical Returns. “Marriages solemnized at Allahabad in the Archeaconry & Diocese of Calcutta.” Marriage of George Dundas Turnbull, of full age, bachelor, Bengal Civil Service, resident of Allahabad, son of Montague Henry Turnbull; Eliza Henrietta Grindall, of full age, spinster, resident of Allahabad, daughter of Rivers Francis Grindall; married 24th October 1850, by licence, by G.W. Marriott, D.D., Chaplain; witnesses: R.F. Greindall [sic], Rob’t Lowther, Richard Temple, G.L. Cooper. Digital image online at findmypast.co.uk (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2018-09-17).
↑London Evening Standard, 12 October 1867 (pg 6). Death notice: “TURNBULL.—August 27, at Brighton, Eliza Henrietta, wife of George D. Turnbull, Esq., P.C.S.” Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑Hampshire Advertiser, 25 December 1872 (pg 2). Death notice: “On the 13th instant, at Brighton, Emily Florence Mary, eldest daughter of G.D. Turnbull, Esq., B.C.S., in her 17th year.” Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑Homeward Mail from India, China and the East, 30 June 1884 (pg 21). Death notice: “Turnbull—June 24, at Benares, Frederick Grindall Turnbull, Assist. Director Superintendent of Police.” Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑Hull Daily Mail, 7 October 1914 (pg 4). Death notice: “The London Civil Service loses its ‘Father’ by the death of Mr George Dundas Turnbull, which took place on Satruday at his residence in Chelsea. He was in his 94th year.” Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑National Probate Calendar, England and Wales. “TURNBULL, George Dundas, of 9 Elm Park-road, Chelsea, Middlesex, died 3 October 1914; Probate: London, 14 January  to Helen Frances Leslie Turnbull, spinster.” (ref. 1915, pg 108.) Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick 2018-09-19, by subscription).
↑Index of civil registrations of deaths, England. George D Turnbull, aged 93 years, 4th quarter ending 31st December 1914, Chelsea RD (London), vol. 1a, pg 448. Index and digital image online at FreeBMD, www.freebmd.org.uk (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-23).
↑ 10.010.1Chelsea News and General Advertiser, 9 October 1914 (pg 5). Obituary for Henry Dundas Turnbull, Esq. Digital image online at The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed by subscription, and transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, 2018-09-19).
↑England 1881 Census. George Turnbull, age 60, with children, Rivers (26), Helen (23), Frederick (21), and Lilian (16); in Brighton, Sussex. Original record: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881 (Kew, Surrey: The National Archives); PRO ref. RG 11, registration district: Brighton, sub-registration district: The Palace, enumeration district no. 16, piece 1094, folio 51, pg. 27. Digital image online at findmypast.co.uk (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2018-09-19).
↑England 1891 Census. George D Turnbull, age 70, with daughter, Helen F.L. (33), and sister-in-law, Amelia J. Grindell (68); in Hove, Sussex. Original records: Census Returns of England & Wales, 1891 (Kew, Surrey: The National Archives of the UK, 1891); sub-registration district: Shoreham, enumeration district no. 2, civil parish of Hove; PRO ref. RG12, piece 816, folio 56. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2018-09-19).
↑England 1901 Census. George D Turnbull, age 80, with son, River M. (46), daughter-in-law, Mabel (41), daughter, Helen F.L. (43), and sister-in-law, Amelia Grindell (78); in Brompton, London. Original record: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901 (Kew, Surrey: The National Archives); PRO ref. RG 13, registration district: Kensington, sub-registration district: Brompton, enumeration district no. 20, piece 37, folio 52, pg. 9, household schedule no. 60. Digital image online at findmypast.co.uk (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick by subscription, 2018-09-19).
↑England 1911 Census. George Dundas Turnbull, age 90, with daughter, Helen Frances Leslie (53); in Chelsea, London. Original record: Census Returns for England & Wales, 1911 (Kew, Surrey: National Archives of the UK, 1911), PRO ref. RG 14, registration district: Chelsea, sub-registration district: Chelsea North, enumeration district no. 3, piece 375. Digital image online at ancestry.ca (accessed by Alison Kilpatrick 2018-09-19, by subscription).