GODALMING, Surrey, England – Perhaps the National Portrait Gallery in London might want to get an old picture out of Maj. James Abbott, for whom the town of Abbottabad in Pakistan is named. Abbottabad, is of course, the town where Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan. Worldwide attention has been focused on this town, 4,000 feet in the mountains.
Britain has a long history with Abbottabad, which is described in an early 20th century Murray’s Handbook to India, Burma and Ceylon as a “pretty hill station.” The 1926 guide to all things Indian says that it was the headquarters of a Ghurka Infantry and a Mountain Artillery. Of course, Pakistan was part of India until independence from Britain. Today “India” is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
James Abbott was the 3rd son of Henry Alexius Abbott, a retired Calcutta merchant of Blackheath, then in Kent, and his wife Margaret Welsh, the daughter of William Welsh of Edinburgh. The above video has a bit of history on his life, the town, and his gravesite, which is in Surrey, England.