On Wednesday, I went to the Lower Circular Road Cemetery in search of the Alkins grave ... my great great grand- parents. It was surprisingly easy as the records held in their office go back to the early 1800's.
So there they were, together under a very precariously balanced headstone.
The inscriptions are legible and it is true that Edward died in the vicinity of the Sunderbans, at a place called Madaripore on 18th December 1895. He was fifty-three years old. Although Madaripore is to the north and east of the Sunderbans (now in Bangladesh), it is still connected to the delta and waterways of the area. So did he die in the Sunderbans or in Madaripore. Maybe he was taken there and pronounced dead.
This small detail, the date Edward died, has opened up further avenues to explore. There are a number of archives in Kolkata and as I'm here for five weeks, it might just be possible to uncover some more of this story. I'm intrigued.