George de Grey, 3rd Baron Walsingham

Last updated


Baron Walsingham
Born11 June 1776
Died26 April 1831 (aged 54)
Harley Street, London
Buried
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1794–1831
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Heavy Cavalry Brigade
Battles/wars French Revolutionary War

Napoleonic Wars

Awards Army Gold Medal with Albuera clasp
Alma mater Eton College
Other work Comptroller of the First Fruits

Lieutenant General George de Grey, 3rd Baron Walsingham (11 June 1776 – 26 April 1831) was a British peer and Army officer.

Contents

Early life

George de Grey was born on 11 June 1776, the eldest son of Thomas de Grey, 2nd Baron Walsingham, and his wife Augusta Georgina Elizabeth Irby, who was the daughter of William Irby, 1st Baron Boston. He was educated at Eton College before joining the British Army in the early months of 1794 as a cornet in the 1st Dragoons. [1]

Military career

French Revolutionary War

De Grey purchased a lieutenantcy in the 1st Dragoons almost immediately after becoming a cornet, and then on 13 March of the same year he transferred to the newly formed 25th Light Dragoons as a captain. He continued his swift rise up the ranks by purchasing the rank of major in the 25th on 25 May 1795, still only eighteen years of age. In early 1796 de Grey's regiment was sent to serve in India, as part of which journey they witnessed the Capitulation of Saldanha Bay in August 1796 off Cape Colony. After arriving in India the regiment joined the Madras garrison in time to participate in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. As part of such de Grey fought at the Battle of Mallavelly and Siege of Seringapatam in 1799. [1]

Towards the end of 1799 de Grey learned from England that he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel to command the 26th Light Dragoons on 3 May. He returned to England to join the regiment, but by the time he arrived his orders had been changed and he was instead given command of his old regiment, the 1st Dragoons, dated from 6 June. The regiment was garrisoned in Kent and de Grey stayed there with them for the following two years, until in 1803 he was appointed an assistant adjutant general for the Home District. He served in this position until 1805, at which point he re-joined the 1st Dragoons. The regiment began a tour of the British Isles, marching north to Scotland and then travelling across the Irish Sea to Ireland, arriving there in 1807. [1] On 25 April 1808 de Grey was promoted to the rank of brevet colonel and made an aide de camp to King George III, while still holding command of the 1st Dragoons. [2]

Napoleonic Wars

De Grey's regiment had been meant to travel to Portugal to fight in the army of Lieutenant General Sir John Moore towards the end of 1808, but Moore's death and the subsequent evacuation of his army at the Battle of Corunna meant the move was cancelled. He stayed in England until August of the following year when the regiment was again sent orders to join an army in Portugal, and they arrived there in September. The regiment spent the remainder of the year at Lisbon before moving to the Spanish border near Ciudad Rodrigo at the start of 1810. Having arrived there, de Grey left the regiment to instead command a brigade of heavy cavalry on 13 May. [3] [4] He fought in command of his brigade at the subsequent Battle of Bussaco on 27 September and then formed part of the rearguard of the army as it retreated to the Lines of Torres Vedras for the winter. The Lines stopped the advance of the French towards Lisbon and when they began their retreat in November of the same year de Grey's brigade was part of the force that pursued the French, doing so until the enemy forces entered Spain in early 1811. [3]

With the threat of an attack by the French now lessening, de Grey's brigade was sent to join Marshal William Beresford's force marching to fight at the Siege of Badajoz. After this open battle with the French began again, and de Grey's brigade was often involved. They were in reserve at the Battle of Campo Maior on 25 March but saw heavy combat at the subsequent battles of Los Santos and Albuera, on 16 April and 16 May respectively. Then at the Battle of Usagre on 25 May de Grey's force saw its greatest success, destroying a brigade of French dragoons in a fight that saw 250 Frenchmen killed to only 20 British soldiers. This was de Grey's last action as a colonel because on 4 June he was promoted to major general as part of a large group of promotions to that rank. With there being more major generals than there were commands for them in the Peninsular War, some were not able to continue in their commands but Lieutenant Colonel Henry Torrens organised for de Grey to stay in his role and this was announced on 26 June. At this time the army was reorganised and de Grey and his brigade were sent to join the 2nd Cavalry Division. In August they traveled back to Ciudad Rodrigo where they spent the remainder of 1811, while moving to the 1st Cavalry Division in October. [3]

In the middle of 1811 de Grey injured his shoulder and requested to Lord Wellington, the commander of the army, that he be allowed to return home to recuperate. At some point after his brigade had moved to Ciudad Rodrigo de Grey was given permission to leave his command, and by the end of the year he had done so, although the exact date of his departure is unknown. [3] It has been suggested that this harmed his relationship with Wellington because at this time a large number of officers were attempting to be sent home from Spain and Portugal for reasons Wellington thought to be unprofessional. [5] De Grey never received another active military command during or after the Napoleonic Wars, instead serving on the Home Staff of the Kent District until 1814, which was his last military appointment. [3]

De Grey inherited the title of Baron Walsingham from his father when the latter died on 16 January 1818, also becoming Comptroller of the First Fruits at the same time. By seniority he was promoted to lieutenant general on 19 July 1821 but did not receive any further rewards for his service apart from the Army Gold Medal with Albuera clasp. [3] [6] de Grey has been described as one of the forgotten generals of the Peninsular War, doing nothing bad but equally not having any great successes, resulting in him often being left out of the narrative of the cavalry's role in the war. [5]

Family and death

Arms of Grey, Barons Walsingham: Barry of six argent and azure, in chief three annulets gules; crest: A wyvern's head or; supporters: Two wyverns regardant argent collard azure chained or and charged on the breast with three annulets gules; motto: Excitari Non Herescere ("to be spirited not inactive") Walsingham Achievement.png
Arms of Grey, Barons Walsingham: Barry of six argent and azure, in chief three annulets gules; crest: A wyvern's head or; supporters: Two wyverns regardant argent collard azure chained or and charged on the breast with three annulets gules; motto: Excitari Non Herescere ("to be spirited not inactive")

de Grey married Matilda Methuen, the daughter of Paul Cobb Methuen, on 16 May 1804. They had no children. The couple lived in London at their home in Harley Street. On 26 April 1831 de Grey and his wife were sleeping there when his bed caught on fire; de Grey was unable to escape the incredibly intense fire and his corpse was found on the floor below, the fire having burned through the ceiling. His wife was not caught in the fire but jumped out of a window in order to escape it, breaking both of her thighs and dying shortly afterwards. The couple were buried at Merton, Norfolk and he was succeeded in his title by his brother, Thomas de Grey. [5]

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 McGuigan & Burnham (2017), p. 91.
  2. McGuigan & Burnham (2017), pp. 91–92.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 McGuigan & Burnham (2017), p. 92.
  4. Burnham & McGuigan (2010), p. 272.
  5. 1 2 3 McGuigan & Burnham (2017), p. 93.
  6. McGuigan & Burnham (2017), pp. 92–93.
  7. Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage. 2000.

Related Research Articles

Royal Scots Greys Military unit

The Royal Scots Greys was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1707 until 1971, when they amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers to form The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Battle of Albuera 1811 battle in the Peninsular War

The Battle of Albuera was a battle during the Peninsular War. A mixed British, Spanish and Portuguese corps engaged elements of the French Armée du Midi at the small Spanish village of Albuera, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the frontier fortress-town of Badajoz, Spain.

Charles, Count Alten

Field Marshal Sir Charles (Carl) August von Alten was a Hanoverian and British soldier who led the famous Light Division during the last two years of the Peninsular War. At the Battle of Waterloo, he commanded a division in the front line, where he was wounded. He later rose to the rank of Field Marshal in the Hanoverian army.

Robert Arbuthnot (British Army officer)

Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Arbuthnot, KCB was a British military commander during the Napoleonic Wars. He was a General in the army, a colonel in the 76th Regiment. He was a Brigadier General in the Portuguese Service and was appointed a Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal (KTS).

Battle of Grijó French Invasion of Portugal

The Battle of Grijó was a battle that ended in victory for the Anglo-Portuguese Army commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley over the French army commanded by Marshal Nicolas Soult during the second French invasion of Portugal in the Peninsular War. The next day, Wellesley drove Soult from Porto in the Second Battle of Porto.

13th Hussars Military unit

The 13th Hussars was a cavalry regiment of the British Army established in 1715. It saw service for three centuries including the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First World War but then amalgamated with the 18th Royal Hussars, to form the 13th/18th Royal Hussars in 1922.

Battle of Alba de Tormes

In the Battle of Alba de Tormes on 26 November 1809, an Imperial French corps commanded by François Étienne de Kellermann attacked a Spanish army led by Diego de Cañas y Portocarrero, Duke del Parque. Finding the Spanish army in the midst of crossing the Tormes River, Kellermann did not wait for his infantry under Jean Gabriel Marchand to arrive, but led the French cavalry in a series of charges that routed the Spanish units on the near bank with heavy losses. Del Parque's army was forced to take refuge in the mountains that winter. Alba de Tormes is 21 kilometres (13 mi) southeast of Salamanca, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Robert Ballard Long

Lieutenant-General Robert Ballard Long was an officer of the British and Hanoverian Armies who despite extensive service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars never managed to achieve high command due to his abrasive manner with his superiors and his alleged tactical ineptitude. Although he remained a cavalry commander in the Peninsular War between 1811 and 1813, the British commander Wellington became disillusioned with Long's abilities. Wellington's opinion was never expressed directly, though when the Prince Regent manoeuvred his favourite, Colquhoun Grant into replacing Long as a cavalry brigade commander, Wellington conspicuously made no effort to retain Long. Other senior officers, including Sir William Beresford and the Duke of Cumberland, expressed their dissatisfaction with Long's abilities. The celebrated historian, and Peninsula veteran, Sir William Napier was a severe critic of Beresford's record as army commander during the Albuera Campaign; in criticising Beresford he involved Long's opinions as part of his argument. The publication of Napier's history led to a long running and acrimonious argument in print between Beresford and his partisans on one side, with Napier and Long's nephew Charles Edward Long on the other. Recently, Long's performance as a cavalry general has received more favourable comment in Ian Fletcher's revisionist account of the British cavalry in the Napoleonic period.

Battle of Maguilla

In the Battle of Maguilla a British cavalry brigade led by Major General John Slade attacked a similar-sized French cavalry brigade commanded by General of Brigade Charles Lallemand. The British dragoons scored an initial success, routing the French dragoons and capturing a number of them. The British troopers recklessly galloped after their foes, losing all order. At length, the French reserve squadron charged into the British, followed by the French main body which rallied. With the tables turned, the French dragoons chased the British until the horses of both sides were too exhausted for the battle to continue. The action took place during the Peninsular War, near Maguilla, Spain, a distance of 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of Llerena.

Loftus William Otway

General Sir Loftus William Otway, CB was an experienced and professional cavalry commander of British forces during the Peninsula War who saw extensive service under Sir John Moore in the Corunna Campaign and Wellington in the remainder of the campaign. He also worked training Portuguese troops and spent time serving in Ireland during the 1798 rebellion and Canada. Otway retired after the Peninsula War and was honoured several times for his war service by both the British and Spanish royal families.

Henry Fane (British Army officer)

General Sir Henry Fane commanded brigades under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington during several battles during the Peninsular War, and served both as a member of Parliament and Commander-in-Chief of India.

Battle of Usagre

In the Battle of Usagre on 25 May 1811, Anglo-Allied cavalry commanded by Major-General William Lumley routed a French cavalry force led by Major-General Marie Victor Latour-Maubourg at the village of Usagre in the Peninsular War.

General Sir John "Black Jack" Slade, 1st Baronet, served as a general officer in the British Army during the Peninsular War. Slade was praised in official reports, including by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, who also voiced some criticisms of him privately. Slade received an Army Gold Medal, and was honoured three times with the thanks of Parliament. Slade's descendants include two admirals, namely son Sir Adolphus Slade and grandson Sir Edmond Slade. Despite achieving high rank during and after active soldiering, Slade was criticised as a general of cavalry by some contemporaries and historians.

Battle of Campo Maior

In the Battle of Campo Maior, or Campo Mayor, on 25 March 1811, Brigadier General Robert Ballard Long with a force of Anglo-Portuguese cavalry, the advance-guard of the army commanded by William Beresford, clashed with a French force commanded by General of Division Marie Victor de Fay, marquis de Latour-Maubourg. Initially successful, some of the Allied horsemen indulged in a reckless pursuit of the French. An erroneous report was given that they had been captured wholesale. In consequence, Beresford halted his forces and the French were able to escape and recover a convoy of artillery pieces.

Anne-François-Charles Trelliard Cavalry Commnder during Napoleonic War

Anne-François-Charles Trelliard or Treillard or Treilhard, born 7 February 1764 – died 14 May 1832, joined the cavalry of the French Royal Army as a cadet gentleman in 1780. During the French Revolutionary Wars he fought in Germany and Holland, eventually rising in rank to become a general officer in 1799. He led a corps cavalry brigade at Austerlitz in the 1805 campaign. In the 1806-1807 campaign he fought at Saalfeld, Jena, and Pultusk.

Battle of El Bodón

The Battle of El Bodón was a successful rearguard action fought on 25 September 1811 by elements of the Anglo-Portuguese army against waves of French cavalry, supported by a division of infantry of the French army during the Peninsular War.

Sir George Walker, 1st Baronet British general

General Sir George Townshend Walker, 1st Baronet, GCB ComTE was a British Army officer. He joined the army in 1782, but after his first two regiments were quickly disbanded, he joined the 36th Regiment of Foot stationed in India in 1784. He returned to England in 1787 suffering from an illness, and became aide de camp to General Thomas Bruce in Ireland. After being promoted to captain lieutenant, Walker studied German and tactics in Germany until he was promoted to captain in the 60th Regiment of Foot in 1791. When the French Revolutionary War began in 1793, he took a force of volunteers to reinforce the Flanders Campaign, where he fought at the Battle of Tournay. He was appointed Inspector of Foreign Corps while serving on the continent, and as such helped form Roll's Regiment for British service. He took them to England in 1796, and having been promoted to major he went to serve in Portugal in 1797. Here Walker again served as an aide de camp, to at first Major-General Simon Fraser and then the Prince of Waldeck.

Major General Sir Granby Thomas Calcraft (1770–1820) was a British soldier and politician. He was a cavalry officer, and commanded the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Heavy Brigade in the Peninsular War. He was MP for Wareham in the years 1807–1808.

Freiherr Sigismund Christoph Gustav von Löw von und zu Steinfurth was a Hanoverian general of the Napoleonic Wars who served under the British. He is also known as Sigismund von Löw and Sigismund Baron Low.

General Christopher Chowne, born Christopher Tilson and also known as Christopher Tilson-Chowne, was a British Army officer. He joined the army in 1788 and after periods of service in the 23rd Regiment of Foot and an Independent Company, he became lieutenant-colonel of the 99th Regiment of Foot in 1794. The 99th were disbanded in 1797, and Chowne joined instead the 44th Regiment of Foot in 1799. He commanded the regiment at the battles of Abukir and Mandora in the British campaign in Egypt in 1801. In 1805 he was appointed a brigadier-general, as which he served in the Anglo-Russian occupation of Naples later in the year and subsequently in the West Indies.

References

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by Baron Walsingham
1818–1831
Succeeded by