- Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde (1792-1863)
Born in Glasgow on October 20, 1792, the son of a carpenter named McLiver, he was educated by his mother's brother, Colonel John Campbell of Islay. His uncle procured him an ensigney in the 9th Regiment in 1808, whereupon he took the name of Colin Campbell. There is an unsubstantiated story that it was the Duke of York who advised him that Campbell would be a good name for a Scottish soldier.
His first service was in the Peninsular War, where he was in the retreat to Corunna. After the Walcheren expedition in 1809, he served again in Spain until 1813, when his gallantry at the siege of San Sebastian brought him a captaincy in the 60th Rifles.
Without any social standing (and despite the assistance of his new surname), promotion was slow and 30 years in garrison duty at home and abroad elapsed before Campbell reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His next period of active service was the Chinese War of 1842, followed by the second Sikh War of 1849 on the North-West Frontier - as the British Empire expanded during the reign of Queen Victoria.
The illustration here of Campbell (as Lord Clyde) in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, also shows the 1st Marquess of Dalhousie (James Andrew Brown Ramsay), who was appointed Governor-general of India in 1847.
Campbell was knighted in 1849, and after three years in India he returned to England in 1853. Next year, the Crimean War broke out, and Campbell (now aged 60) proceeded to the Near East in charge of the Highland brigade, which he led at the battles of the Alma and Balaclava. The latter battle inspired the legend of the "thin red line" when he and his troops held back the Russian cavalry.
On the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, he went out as commander-in-chief of the forces in India. The British army, under his command, relieved sieges around Kanpur and Lucknow and brought the mutiny to an end. The campaign confirmed his reputation both as a tactician who also inspired the respect of his men. Some regard him as the greatest British soldier of the mid-19th century - a busy period for military campaigns. He was rewarded with a peerage in 1858. He left India in 1860, and died at Chatham, August 14, 1863. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
The city where he was born erected a statue to him in George Square, placed amongst many other distinguished Scots including, in pride of place, that of the first statue in Scotland of Sir Walter Walter Scott (illustrated here).
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