Pratt, Thomas Simson (DNB00)

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PRATT, Sir THOMAS SIMSON (1797–1879), commander of the forces in Australia, born in 1797, was son of Captain James Pratt, by Anne, daughter of William Simson, and was educated at St. Andrews University. He was gazetted to an ensigncy in the 26th foot on 2 Feb. 1814, and served in Holland in the same year as a volunteer with the 56th foot. He was present at the attack on Merxem on 2 Feb. and the subsequent bombardment of Antwerp. He purchased his captaincy on 17 Sept. 1825. He was with the 26th foot in the China expedition, and commanded the land forces at the assault and capture of the forts of Chuenpee on 7 Jan. 1841, and again at the capture of the Bogue forts on 26 Feb. In the attacks on Canton, from 24 May to 1 June, he was in command of his regiment, and was present also at the demonstration before Nankin, and at the signing of the treaty of peace on board H.M.S. Cornwallis. On 28 Aug. 1841 he was gazetted lieutenant-colonel, and from 5 Sept. 1843 to 23 Oct. 1855 was deputy adjutant-general at Madras.

From 1856 to 1861 he was in command of the forces in Australia, with the rank of major-general. During 1860–1 he was in New Zealand, conducting the war against the Maoris. From 8 Jan. 1860 to May 1862 he commanded the forces in Victoria, and was then appointed to the colonelcy of the 37th regiment. In October 1877 he retired from active service. He was made a C.B. on 14 Oct. 1841, and, for services in New Zealand, promoted to K.C.B. on 16 July 1861, being publicly invested with the ribbon and badge by Sir Henry Barkly, governor of Victoria, on 15 April 1862. This was the first ceremony of the kind performed in Australia. He was advanced to the rank of general on 26 May 1873, and died in England on 2 Feb. 1879. He married, in 1827, Frances Agnes, second daughter of John S. Cooper.

[Hart's Annual Army List, 1872, pp. 8, 281; Times, 6 Feb. 1879, p. 10.]

G. C. B.