Forestier-Walker, Frederick William Edward Forestier (DNB12)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement
Forestier-Walker, Frederick William Edward Forestier

by Henry Meredith Vibart

FORESTIER-WALKER, Sir FREDERICK WILLIAM EDWARD FORESTIER (1844–1910), general, born at Bushey on 17 April 1844, was eldest of the four sons of General Sir Edward Walter Forestier- Walker, K.C.B. (1812-1881), of the Manor House, Bushey, Hertfordshire, by his first wife, Lady Jane, only daughter of Francis Grant, sixth earl of Seafield. His grand-uncle was Sir George Townshend Walker, first baronet [q. v.]. Educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he entered the Scots Guards as lieutenant on 5 Sept. 1862, and was promoted captain on 11 July 1865. In 1866-7 he served as A.D.C. to the major-general at Mauritius, and from 1869 to 1873 he was adjutant of his regiment. On 1 Feb. 1873 he became lieutenant-colonel, and afterwards he made his first acquaintance with South Africa, where he was thenceforth employed for the greater part of his active career. From 1873 to 1879 he was on the staff at the Cape of Good Hope acting as assistant military secretary to the general officer there. In that capacity, or on special service, he was engaged in much active warfare in South Africa. In 1875 he served in the expedition to Griqualand West. During 1877-8 he was with lieut.-general Sir Arthur Cunynghame [q. v.] through the sixth Kaffir war. He was mentioned in despatches, and was made colonel on 15 Oct. 1878 and C.B. on 11 Nov. following. In the course of 1878 he became military secretary to Sir Bartle Frere, the high commissioner. Throughout the Zulu war of 1879, of which Frederic Augustus Thesiger, second baron Chelmsford [q. v. Suppl. II] was in chief command, Forestier-Walker was employed on special service. In the early stages of the campaign he was principal staff officer to No. 1 column, being present at the action of Inyezane and during the occupation of Ekowe. Subsequently he was on the line of communications and in command of Fort Pearson and the Lower Tugela district. He received the medal with clasp, and was mentioned in despatches (Lond. Gaz. 5 March, 18 May 1879). Returning to England, he was from 1 August to 14 Nov. 1882 assistant adjutant and quartermaster-general of the home district ; but from 12 Nov. 1884 till Dec. 1885 he was again in South Africa, serving with the Bechuanaland expedition under Sir Charles Warren as assistant adjutant and quartermaster-general. He was nominated C.M.G. on 27 Jan. 1886 and major-general on 31 Dec. 1887. From 1 April to Dec. 1890 he served as brigadier-general at Aldershot, and from 19 Dec. 1890 to 30 Sept. 1895 he was major-general commanding the troops in Egypt. On 26 May 1894 he was created K.C.B. for his services in Egypt. Subsequently he was lieut.-general commanding the western district of England from 1 Nov. 1895 to 18 Aug. 1899, with headquarters at Devonport. Shortly before the outbreak of the second Boer war it was decided to recall Sir William Butler [q. v. Suppl. II] from the command of the forces at the Cape, and the appointment was offered at very short notice to Forestier-Walker, who accepted it. He arrived at Cape Town on 6 Sept. 1899, and was there during the chief stages of the Boer war. Placed in command of the lines of communication, he performed his exceedingly innjortant duties with his usual thorougluiess. At the outset ho had to provide for the defence of a frontier 1000 miles long, and was active in support of Sir Redvers Buller's advance. He was twice mentioned in despatches. On 18 April 1901 he handed over his ix)st to Major-general Wyinie, and embarked for England. On 7 July 1902 he attained the rank of general, and on 1 Sept. 1905 ho succeeded Sir George White (1835-1912) as governor and commander-in-chief of Gibraltar, having just before, on 31 July of the same year, been nominated colonel of the King's Own Scottish Borderers. He received the reward for distinguished service in 1893, and was nominated G.C.M.G. in 1900.

He died from heart failure at Tenby on 30 Aug. 1910, and was buried at Bushey, Hertfordshire. In 1887 ho married Mabel Louisa, daughter of Lieut.-colonel A. E. Ross, late Northumberland fusiliers, and left one son.

A caricature portrait by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1902.

[The Times, 1 Sept. 1910; T. Martineau, Life of Sir Bartle Fiere, 1895, vol. ii. ; Sir Frederick Maurice, History of the War in South Africa (1899-1902), 4 vols. 1906-1910; The Times History of the War in South Africa, ii. 114, iii. 207-8; Walford's County Families ; Hart's and Ofl&cial Army Lists ; Burke's Peerage.]

H. M. V.