1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chesney, Sir George Tomkyns

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13579351911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6 — Chesney, Sir George Tomkyns

CHESNEY, SIR GEORGE TOMKYNS (1830–1895), English general, brother of Colonel C. C. Chesney, was born at Tiverton, Devonshire, on the 30th of April 1830. Educated at Blundell’s school, Tiverton, and at Addiscombe, he entered the Bengal Engineers as second lieutenant in 1848. He was employed for some years in the public works department and, on the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, joined the Ambala column, was field engineer at the battle of Badli-ke-serai, brigade-major of engineers throughout the siege of Delhi, and was severely wounded in the assault (medal and clasp and a brevet majority). In 1860 he was appointed head of a new department in connexion with the public works accounts. His work on Indian Polity (1868), dealing with the administration of the several departments of the Indian government, attracted wide attention and remains a permanent text-book. The originator of the Royal Indian Civil Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill, Staines, he was also its first president (1871–1880). In 1871 he contributed to Blackwood’s Magazine, “The Battle of Dorking,” a vivid account of a supposed invasion of England by the Germans after their victory over France. This was republished in many editions and translations, and produced a profound impression. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel, 1869; colonel, 1877; major-general, 1886; lieutenant-general, 1887; colonel-commandant of Royal Engineers, 1890; and general, 1892. From 1881 to 1886 he was secretary to the military department of the government of India, and was made a C.S.I, and a C.I.E. From 1886 to 1892, as military member of the governor-general’s council, he carried out many much-needed military reforms. He was made a C.B. at the jubilee of 1887, and a K.C.B. on leaving India in 1892. In that year he was returned to parliament, in the Conservative interest, as member for Oxford, and was chairman of the committee of service members of the House of Commons until his death on the 31st of March 1895. He wrote some novels, The Dilemma, The Private Secretary, The Lesters, &c., and was a frequent contributor to periodical literature.