Whichcote, George (DNB00)

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WHICHCOTE, GEORGE (1794–1891), general, born on 21 Dec. 1794, was the fourth son of Sir Thomas Whichcote, fifth baronet (1763–1824), of Aswarby Park, Lincolnshire, by his wife Diana (d. 1826), third daughter of Edmund Turnor of Panton and Stoke Rochford. In 1803 he entered Rugby school, where he fagged for William Charles Macready, the great actor. In December 1810, on leaving Rugby, he joined the 52nd foot as a volunteer, and received a commission as ensign on 10 Jan. 1811. In the same year he embarked on the Pompey, a French prize, to join the British army in the Spanish peninsula, where his regiment, with the 43rd and the 95th, formed the famous light division. He took part in the battle of Sabugal on 3 April, and in the combat of El Bodon on 25 Sept., though his regiment was not engaged. He assisted in the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 Jan. 1812, and of Badajoz on 6 April. On 8 July he became lieutenant, and on 22 July was present at the battle of Salamanca and at that of Vittoria on 21 June 1813, where the 52nd carried the village of Magarita with an impetuous charge. He took part with his regiment in the combats in the Pyrenees in July and August, the combat of Vera on 3 Oct., the battle of the Nivelle on 10 Nov., the battle of the Nive on 10–13 Dec., the battle of Orthes on 27 Feb. 1814, of Tarbes on 12 March, and of Toulouse on 12 April. He was the first man in the English army to enter Toulouse. While in command of an advanced picket he observed the French retreat, and, boldly pushing on, took possession of the town. At the close of the war the regiment was placed in garrison at Castelsarrasin on the Garonne, and afterwards was sent to Ireland. Whichcote took part in the battle of Waterloo, where the 52nd completed the rout of the imperial guard. He was quartered in Paris during the occupation by the allies, and on his return home received the Waterloo medal and the silver war medal with nine clasps, before he had attained his majority. After the peace the 52nd was ordered to Botany Bay, and Whichcote exchanged into the buffs.

On 22 Jan. 1818 he obtained his captaincy, and in 1822 again exchanged into the 4th dragoon guards. He was made major on 29 Oct. 1825, lieutenant-colonel on 28 June 1838, and colonel on 11 Nov. 1851. In 1825 he was placed on half-pay, and on 4 June 1857 he attained the rank of major-general; was promoted to be lieutenant-general on 31 Jan. 1864, and became a full general on 5 Dec. 1871. In 1887 he received a jubilee medal from the queen in recognition of his services, accompanied by an autograph letter. He died on 26 Aug. 1891 at Meriden, near Coventry, where he had resided since retiring from active service, and was buried there on 31 Aug. With the exception of Lieutenant-colonel Hewitt, he was the last officer of the English army surviving who had been present at Waterloo. In 1842 he married Charlotte Sophia (d. 1880), daughter of Philip Monckton. He had no issue.

[Times, 27 Aug. 1891; Coventry Standard, 28 Aug. 1891; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage; Rugby School Register; Army Lists.]

E. I. C.