Head, George (DNB00)

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HEAD, Sir GEORGE (1782–1855), deputy knight-marshal, elder brother of Sir Francis Bond Head [q. v.], was born at the Hermitage in the parish of Higham, Kent, in 1782, but there is no entry of his baptism in Higham parish register. He was educated at the Charterhouse. In 1808 he became a captain in the West Kent militia, then at Woodbridge, Suffolk, but in the following year joined the British army at Lisbon as a clerk in the commissariat. He served during the remainder of the Peninsular war, following the army to the fields of Vittoria, Nivelle, and Toulouse, and to the actions in the Pyrenees. He was promoted to be deputy-assistant commissary-general in 1811, and assistant commissary-general on 25 Dec. 1814. From May 1813 he was in charge of the commissariat of the 3rd division of the Spanish army under Sir Thomas Picton, concerning whom he has recorded many interesting particulars in the ‘Memoirs of an Assistant Commissary-General.’ Returning to England in August 1814, he was on the following 28 Oct. ordered to proceed to Halifax, Nova Scotia; thence he went to Quebec, and was afterwards employed on Lake Huron. In ten months he came back to England, and after a year's holiday returned to Halifax, where he remained five years on the peace establishment. Subsequently he served in Ireland, and in 1823 was placed on half-pay. In 1829 he published his Canadian reminiscences under the title of ‘Forest Scenery and Incidents in the Wilds of North America.’ At the coronation of William IV he acted as deputy knight-marshal, and for his services on that occasion was knighted on 12 Oct. 1831. At a later period he became deputy knight-marshal to Queen Victoria. He gained considerable repute for two works entitled ‘A Home Tour through the Manufacturing Districts of England in the Summer of 1835,’ and ‘A Home Tour through various parts of the United Kingdom in 1837, with an Appendix, being Memoirs of an Assistant Commissary-General,’ both works being reprinted in one volume in 1840. In 1849 he published in three volumes ‘Rome, a Tour of Many Days,’ and he afterwards translated ‘The Metamorphoses of Apuleius,’ 1851, and ‘Historical Memoirs of Cardinal B. Pacca,’ 1850, in two volumes. To the ‘Quarterly Review’ he was a frequent contributor. He was a popular author, and had much of the graphic power of description possessed by his brother. He died in Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, London, on 2 May 1855, unmarried.

[Gent. Mag. 1855, ii. 97–8; Annual Register, 1855, pp. 271–2; Hardwicke's Annual Biography, 1856, p. 87.]

G. C. B.