Busk, Hans (1815-1882) (DNB00)

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BUSK, HANS, the younger (1815–1882), one of the principal originators of the volunteer movement in England, son of Hans Busk, born 1772 [q. v.], was born on 11 May 1815. He was educated at King's College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1839, and M.A. in 1844. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1841. While still an undergraduate, he represented to the government the advisability of forming rifle clubs in the different districts of the kingdom for defence against invasion, and on receiving a discouraging reply from Lord Melbourne, he instituted a model rifle club in the university, and published a popular treatise on ‘The Rifle and how to use it.’ In 1858 he restored vitality to the Victoria Rifles, the only volunteer corps then existing, and the lectures he delivered throughout the country were instrumental in extending the movement over the whole kingdom. He also published a number of treatises and pamphlets, which proved to be of great practical value in the development of the movement, and have passed through numerous editions. They include ‘The Rifleman's Manual,’ ‘Tabular Arrangement of Company Drill,’ ‘Handbook for Hythe,’ ‘Rifle Target Registers,’ and ‘Rifle Volunteers, how to organise and drill them.’ He took an equal interest in the navy. Originally it was his intention to adopt a naval career, and, being forced to abandon it, he devoted much of his leisure to yachting. He mastered the principles of naval construction, and made designs for several yachts which were very successful. He was the first to advocate life-ship stations, and fitted out a model life-ship at his own expense. In 1859 he published ‘The Navies of the World, their Present State and Future Capabilities,’ a comprehensive description of the condition of the principal navies of Europe, with suggestions for the improvement of the navy of England. By his friends he was held in high repute as a gastronome, and characteristically turned his special knowledge to practical account for the general good, by assisting to establish the school of cookery at South Kensington. Besides the technical works above referred to, he was the author of a number of minor pamphlets, including ‘The Education Craze,’ ‘Horse Viaticæ,’ and ‘Golden Truths.’ In 1847 he was chosen high sheriff of Radnorshire. He died at Ashley Place, Westminster, on 11 March 1882. By his wife, Miss Dunbar, who died not long after her marriage, he left a daughter, well known as an authoress.

[Annual Register, cxxiv. 119–20; Men of the Time, 9th ed.; Burke's Landed Gentry, i. 242; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. F. H.