Badcock, Alexander Robert (DNB12)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement
Badcock, Alexander Robert

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BADCOCK, Sir ALEXANDER ROBERT (1844–1907), general, Indian staff corps, born at Wheatleigh, Taunton, on 11 Jan. 1844, was third son of Henry Badcock, J.P., of Wheatleigh, by Georgina Jeffries. His father's family had long been connected with a bank in Taunton, now a branch of Parr's bank. Educated at Elstree and at Harrow School, he passed to Addiscombe, and obtaining his first commission as ensign on 1 Oct. 1861, was promoted lieutenant on 1 Oct. 1862 and captain on 1 Oct. 1873, brevet-colonel on 2 March 1885, major-general on 1 April 1897, lieutenant-general on 3 April 1900.

After a brief period of regimental duty with the 38th foot and then with the 29th Bengal native infantry, he entered in 1864 the commissariat department, in which he remained till 1895, achieving a remarkable success and rising to the highest post of commissary general-in-chief, December 1890. In his three earliest campaigns, Bhootan (1864-5), the Black Mountain expedition (1868), and Perak (1875-6) he attracted notice for his foresight and power of organisation, winning the thanks of government. His next service was rendered as principal commissariat officer under Sir Frederick (afterwards Earl) Roberts in the Kuram field force (1878-9), taking part in the forcing of the Peiwar Kotal and other actions. Returning from furlough when operations were resumed, he joined the Kabul field force, and owing to his admirable preparations Lord Roberts found in Sherpur when it was invested 'supplies for men stored for nearly four months and for animals for six weeks.' Badcoek also assisted in recovering the guns abandoned near Bhagwana, and finally when the Kabul-Kandahar field force, consisting of 9986 men and eighteen guns with 8000 followers and 2300 horses and mules, started on 9 Aug. 1880 he relieved Roberts's 'greatest anxiety,' and the force reached Kandahar, 313 miles from Kabul, on 31 Aug., with a safe margin of supplies. For these services he received the medal and three clasps, the bronze star, brevets of major and lieutenant-colonel, and the C.B. Roberts reported to government that he knew of 'no officer so well qualified as Major Badcock to be placed at the head of the commissariat in the field.' In 1885 he collected trans- port for the Sudan, and in 1895 received the C.S.I, and the thanks of government for his services in connection with the Chitral relief force. He was appointed quartermaster-general in India on 7 Nov. 1895. Besides these appointments he acted as secretary in the military department 1890-1 and was president of a committee to consider the grant of compensation for dearness of provisions, October 1894. On Ms retirement at the expiration of his term of office as quartermaster-general in 1900, he took an active part in the organisation of the imperial yeomanry, and was appointed member of the council of India, receiving on 26 June 1902 the K.C.B. He died in London on 23 March 1907, while still holding that office, and was buried at Taunton.

He married in 1865 Theophila Lowther, daughter of John Shore Dumergue, I.C.S., judge of Aligarh, by whom he had four sons and a daughter. All his sons entered the army. Sir Alexander appears in the picture of officers who took part in the Kabul - Kandahar march published by Major Whitelock of Birmingham in 1911.

[The Times, 25 March 1907; Watford's County Families; Hart's and Official Army Lists; Roberts's Forty-one Years in India, 1898; H. B. Hanna's Second Afghan War, 3 vols. 1899-1910.]