Nairne, Charles Edward (DNB01)

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NAIRNE, Sir CHARLES EDWARD (1836–1899), lieutenant-general, born on 30 June 1836, was son of Captain Alexander Nairne, of the East India Company's service. He was educated at Addiscombe, and was commissioned as second lieutenant in the Bengal artillery on 7 Dec. 1855. He became lieutenant on 27 April 1858. He served in the Indian mutiny and received the medal, and in the Yusafzai expedition of 1863. He was promoted second captain in the royal artillery on 24 March 1865, and major on 2 Nov. 1872. From 1875 to 1880 he commanded a battery (now L battery of B brigade) of horse artillery, and served with it in the second Afghan war as part of the Peshawar Held force, receiving the medal.

He became regimental lieutenant-colonel on 1 May 1880, and in the Egyptian expedition of 1882 he commanded the horse artillery at the two actions of Kassassin and at Tel-el-Kebir. He was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette, 2 Nov. 1882), was made C.B. on 18 November, and received the medal with clasp, the bronze star, and the Medjidie (3rd class). He became colonel in the army on 1 May 1884. He was colonel of the depot staff of the horse artillery from 1882 to 1885, and commandant of the school of gunnery at Shoeburyness for the next two years. On 1 April 1887 he was appointed inspector-general of artillery in India, with the local rank of brigadier-general. He held this post for five years, and brought about a great improvement in the shooting of the field artillery (Roberts, Forty-one Years in India, p. 528).

He was promoted major-general on 6 Nov. 1890, and commanded a district in Bengal from 28 March 1892 to 4 Sept. 1893, when he was appointed to the chief command in Bombay. There it fell to him to carry out the reorganisation scheme by which the three presidential armies were to be merged in one, and he did this with tact and ability. He became lieutenant-general on 17 Nov. 1895, and was made K.C.B. on 22 June 1897. From 20 March to 4 Nov. of 1898 he was acting commander-in-chief in India. He left that country with a high reputation as an administrator, and he had just been appointed president of the ordnance committee when he died in London on 19 Feb. 1899. He was buried on the 22nd at Charlton cemetery with military honours. In 1860 he married Sophie, daughter of the Rev. John Dupré Addison, vicar of Fleet, Dorset. She survived him.

[Times, 21 Feb. 1899; Records of the Royal Horse Artillery; Lord Roberts's Forty-one Years in India, ed. 1898.]

E. M. L.