Captain Francis Farhill Collingwood Dickson was born in Petersfield, Hampshire in September 1822, the son of Admiral Sir Archibald Dickson, Bt. Nominated for a Cadetship in the Madras Infantry in late 1838, he was posted to the Right Wing of the Madras European Regiment in the Summer of 1839, which unit later became the 1st Madras Fusiliers. Advanced to Lieutenant in October 1840 and to Captain in March 1850, he served in the Pegu operations of 1852-53, when he commanded No. 8 Company of the Regiment. Sadly, in February 1857, his promising career was cut short by the verdict of a Court-Martial:
'Guilty of conduct unbecoming the character of an Officer and a Gentleman, and to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline, having at Fort St. George, Madras, on the night of the 15th or morning of the 16th of December 1856, been drunk at a Ball given by the Non-Commissioned Officers of the 1st Madras Fusiliers and then and there conducted himself in an indecorous manner, striking, and attempting to strike some of the Non-Commissioned Officers present, and showing a bad example to, and lowering himself in the eyes of his Military Inferiors, and of having ultimately been assisted to his Quarters'.
His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief found the Court's verdict a harsh one, Captain Dickson's length of service perhaps being the cause - or certainly an 'aggravation of' - the offence. The verdict, however, was upheld, and Dickson was dismissed the Service.