Thackeray, an only child, was born in Calcutta, India, where his father, Richmond Thackeray (1 September 1781 – 13 September 1815), was secretary to the board of revenue in the British East India Company. His mother, Anne Becher (1792–1864) was the second daughter of Harriet Becher and John Harman Becher, who was also a secretary (writer) for the East India Company. William's father, Richmond, died in 1815, which caused his mother to send him to England in 1816 (whilst she remained in India). The ship on which he travelled made a short stopover at St. Helena where the imprisoned Napoleon was pointed out to him. Once in England he was educated at schools in Southampton and Chiswick and then at Charterhouse School, where he was a close friend of John Leech. He disliked Charterhouse, parodying it in his later fiction as "Slaughterhouse". (Nevertheless Thackeray was honoured in the Charterhouse Chapel with a monument after his death.) Illness in his last year there (during which he reportedly grew to his full height of 6' 3") postponed his matriculation at Trinity College, Cambridge, until February 1829. Never too keen on academic studies, he left the University in 1830, though some of his earliest writing appeared in university publications The Snob and The Gownsman.