Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/407

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Lefroy
Lefroy
401

papers communicated, one to the 'Philosophical Magazine.' the other to 'Silliman's Journal.' In November 1844 Lefroy resumed work at Toronto, where he continued to reside for the next nine years. On 30 Not. 1845 he was promoted captain. In 1849 he founded the Canadian Institute, and was for some years its president. He cultivated the friendship of American men of science, among others of Agassiz and Henry. In 1863 the Toronto observatory was transferred to the colonial government, and Lefroy returned to England. He joined his battery at Woolwich, and went with it to the camp of instruction at Chobham. The Royal Artillery Institution had somewhat declined after he ceased to be secretary in 1839, but in 1849 the evidence given by Captain Eardley Wilmot before a committee of the House of Commons had aroused public interest in it, and a grant of public money had been made for the erection of a suitable building. Lefroy was again appointed secre- tary, and the laboratory was fitted up under his direction. On 1 Feb. 1854 the new build- ins was opened, and the inaugural address delivered by Sabine.

In view of the coming war, and the need of a good and portable text-book, Lefroy energetically compiled in 1854 'The Handbook of Field Artillery for the use of Officers.' which was published by the institution, and three hundred copies were sent out to the Crimea in July 1854. The book collected for the first time the practical information which is required for the rough work of the camp, and proved of great use. It was subsequently issued under the authority of the war office as a text-book for artillery officers, and remained so until 1884, when it was replaced by 'The Handbook for Field Service.'

In 1854 Lefroy became secretary of the Patriotic Fund, which brought him into contact with the Duke of Newcastle, war minister, who in December made him his confidential adviser in artillery matters. He was gazetted as ' scientific adviser on subjects of artillery and inventions.' and to meet questions of pay and military precedence was made a senior clerk in the war office. His duties consisted principally in examining and reporting on military inventions, to which was added the 'foreign legions' and correspondence connected with them. At that time the professional advisers of the master-general of the ordnance on artillery matters were the ' select committee.' composed of nine artillery officers whose average length of service was forty-nine years, and the youngest of whom was sixty-four years of acre. Lefroy managed to get this committee abolished, and a new one, composed of younger men, appointed with power to obtain the best possible outside scientific opinion. Lefroy remained in the same post at the war office under Lord Panmure, and was one of the first to recognise the importance of rifled ordnance. Although he gave full weight to the necessity of careful experiment and caution in developing the invention, he realised the advantage to be gained by the use of an even imperfect rifled gun over the smooth bore, and on his recommendation a battery of rifled guns throwing a 15 lb. shell was actually ordered from Herr Bashley Brittan in 1855, but the order was cancelled on the termination of the war. Lefroy was promoted lieutenant-colonel on 24 Sept. 1855. In October 1855 Lefroy was sent by Lord Panmure, at two days' notice, to Constantinople, to confer with Brigadier-general Storks on the condition of the hospital staff in the East, and on the accommodation of the sick at Scutari. During this mission he made the acquaintance of Miss Nightingale, with whom ne enjoyed a lifelong friendship. He cordially supported her valuable work, and corresponded with her on the subject of military hospitals and nurses from 1856 to 1868. While at Constantinople he desired to secure for the artillery museum in the Rotunda at Woolwich one of the monster pieces of bronze ordnance which overlooked the Dardanelles from the fort on the Asiatic side, but it was only after eleven years of effort that his wish was accomplished.

In 1856 a reorganisation of the system of military education was undertaken by the secretary of war, and Lefroy prepared a detailed scheme. A large sum of money was laid out on a staff college at Sandhurst, and in February 1857 Lefroy was gazetted inspector-general of army schools. All matters connected with regimental education were placed under his direction, and he at once organised a large staff of trained schoolmasters. In September 1858 he drew up an able paper, urging the importance of establishing a school of gunnery, and it is to his foresighted initiative that the existing school at Shoeburyness is due. He was promoted brevet-colonel on 24 Sept. 1858.

Lefroy was a member of the royal commission on the defence of the United Kingdom appointed in August 1859. The committee s recommendations resulted in the defence loan, and the fortifications which still form the main works of defence of the arsenals and dockyards of the country. The same year, in view of possible hostilities, he was sent with Lieutenant-colonel Owen, R.E., by Lord Derby to report on the fort-