Bingham, George Ridout (DNB00)

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BINGHAM, Sir GEORGE RIDOUT (1777–1833), major-general and colonel-commandant of 2nd battalion rifle brigade, was the son of Richard Bingham, colonel of the Dorset militia, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of J. Ridout, and was born on 21 July 1777. He entered the army in June 1793 as ensign in the 69th foot, serving with it in Corsica and with one of the detachments embarked as marines under Admiral Hotham, in the Gulf of Genoa. Promoted to a company in the 81st foot in 1796, he served with that regiment at the Cape, and took part in the Kaffir war of 1800 on the Sundays River. In 1801 he became major in the 82nd foot, and was with it in Minorca until that island was finally restored to Spain at the peace of Amiens. In 1805 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the newly raised 2nd battalion 53rd foot in Ireland, and, proceeding with it to Portugal four years later, fought at its head throughout its distinguished Peninsular career, beginning with the expulsion of the French from Oporto in 1809, and ending with the close of the Burgos retreat in 1812. The battalion being then reduced to a skeleton, and having no home battalion to relieve or reinforce it (the 1st battalion was in India), was sent home, but four companies were left in Portugal, and these, with four companies of 2nd Queen's similarly circumstanced, were formed into a provisional battalion which, under the command of Colonel Bingham, performed gallant service in the subsequent campaigns in Spain and the south of France, including the victories at Vittoria, in the Pyrenees, and on the Nivelle. When it was decided to consign the Emperor Napoleon to St. Helena, Colonel (now Sir George) Bingham was senior officer of the troops sent thither, and continued to serve in the island with the rank of brigadier-general, as second in command under Sir Hudson Lowe, until 1819, when he returned home on promotion. Some unpublished letters and memoranda of Bingham relating to St. Helena are among the British Museum Additional MSS. Sir George was afterwards on the Irish staff, and commanded the Cork district from 1827 to 1832, a most distracted period, when the discord fomented by the catholic emancipation debates was aggravated by agrarian crime, famine, and latterly by pestilence. In Ireland, as at St. Helena, Sir George Bingham's fine tact and kindliness of disposition appear to have won general esteem. He is described as having been a thorough gentleman as well as a brilliant soldier. He died in London on 3 Jan. 1833.

[Hutchins's Hist. of Dorset (ed. 1815, iv. 203); Cannon's Hist. Record 53rd (Shropshire) Regt. of Foot; Gent. Mag. ciii. (i.) 274; Ann. Biog. vol. xviii. ]

H. M. C.