Thomas Spring (British Army officer)

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Sir Thomas Spring KCIE CB CMG
Born(1822-05-12)12 May 1822
London, England
Died 1 September 1905(1905-09-01) (aged 83)
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
British Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Army
Years of service 1842-1873
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars Crimean War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire, Companion of the Order of the Bath, Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

Colonel Sir Thomas Arthur Cavendish Spring KCIE CB CMG (12 May 1822 – 1 September 1905) was a British Army officer and Irish Unionist politician.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Order of the Indian Empire series of award in an order of chivalry of the British Empire

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:

  1. Knight Grand Commander (GCIE)
  2. Knight Commander (KCIE)
  3. Companion (CIE)
Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.


Early life and family

Spring was born into the gentry Spring family in 1822 in London, the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel William Spring and his second wife, Hon. Catherine Cavendish. [1] He was the grandson of Richard Cavendish, 2nd Baron Waterpark and a relation of Colonel Frederick William Spring. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. [2]

Landed gentry largely historical British social class, consisting of land owners who could live entirely off rental income

The landed gentry, or simply the gentry, is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate. It was distinct from, and socially "below", the aristocracy or peerage, although in fact some of the landed gentry were wealthier than some peers, and many gentry were related to peers. They often worked as administrators of their own lands, while others became public, political, religious, and armed forces figures. The decline of this privileged class largely stemmed from the 1870s agricultural depression; however, there are still a large number of hereditary gentry in the UK to this day, many of whom transferred their landlord style management skills after the agricultural depression into the business of land agency, the act of buying and selling land.

Spring family English clothiers of Lavenham, Suffolk

The Spring family is a Suffolk gentry family that has been involved in the politics and economy of East Anglia since the 15th century, and held large estates in Ireland from the 16th century.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Spring married Emily, the daughter of Charles Davenly, in 1846. She was the granddaughter of Richard Arden, 1st Baron Alvanley and the great-granddaughter of Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl Fauconberg. Together they had two sons and a daughter. [3]

Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl Fauconberg British politician

Henry Belasyse, 2nd Earl Fauconberg was a British politician and peer.


Spring was commissioned into a cavalry regiment, the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Dragoon Guards, in 1842. He was promoted to lieutenant a year later, and to captain in 1847. He was seconded to the Indian Army in 1848, and was involved in the training of the 8th Irregular Cavalry, later the 6th Prince of Wales's Cavalry. He returned to the United Kingdom in January 1853, when he was promoted to major and decorated as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. [4] He returned to the 5th Dragoon Guards and was deployed with the regiment to the Crimea. He was involved in the Charge of the Heavy Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854, in which he suffered minor injuries. Spring was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1872. He retired from the regular army in 1873, having been promoted to lieutenant-colonel four years earlier. [5] He subsequently returned to India, where he acted as a military advisor to Sir Frederick Haines and Sir Neville Chamberlain of the Madras Army. He also acted as a junior military attaché to M. E. Grant Duff as Governor of Madras Presidency. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire, and made a Knight Commander in the same order in 1884.

British Indian Army 1858-1947 land warfare branch of British Indias military, distinct from the British Army in India

The Indian Army (IA), often known since 1947 as the British Indian Army to distinguish it from the current Indian Army, was the principal military of the British Indian Empire before its decommissioning in 1947. It was responsible for the defence of both the British Indian Empire and the princely states, which could also have their own armies. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First World War and the Second World War.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Order of St Michael and St George series of appointments of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

Upon returning from India in 1885, Spring settled in Ireland on the County Tipperary estate of his mother's family. He became involved in unionist politics, and stood as the Conservative candidate in the South Tipperary constituency in the 1885 and 1886 UK general elections. [6] He also spent time in Suffolk and briefly sat as a Conservative councillor in Bury St Edmunds. Spring served as High Sheriff of Tipperary in 1890. [7] He was asked by his cousin, Lord Monteagle to consider standing for an Irish seat in the 1900 general election, but declined due to old age. [8] He died in Bury St Edmunds in 1905. He held honorary appointments in the Yeomanry in London.

County Tipperary County in the Republic of Ireland

County Tipperary is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster. The county is named after the town of Tipperary, and was established in the early thirteenth century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland. The population of the county was 159,553 at the 2016 census. The largest towns are Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles.

Unionism in Ireland political ideology

Unionism in Ireland is a political ideology that favours the continuation of some form of political union between the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. Since the partition of Ireland, unionism in Ireland has focused on maintaining and preserving the place of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. In this context, a distinction may be made between the unionism in the province of Ulster and unionism elsewhere in Ireland.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. Presently led by Theresa May, it has been the governing party since 2010. It presently has 314 Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, 249 members of the House of Lords, and 18 members of the European Parliament. It also has 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 9,008 local councillors. One of the major parties of UK politics, it has formed the government on 45 occasions, more than any other party.



  1. (entry #634342)
  2. "No. 26964". The London Gazette . 6 May 1842. p. 2821.
  3. (entry #634342)
  4. The London Gazette, February 1853
  5. The London Gazette, July 1869
  6. Alan O'Day, Reactions to Irish Nationalism, 1865-1914 (Reactions to Irish Nationalism, 1865-1914), 374.
  7. Michael C. O'Laughlin, Families of Co. Kerry, Ireland (Irish Roots Cafe, 1994), 137.
  8. Travis L. Crosby, Joseph Chamberlain: A Most Radical Imperialist (I.B.Tauris, 30 Mar 2011), 102.