Burne, Robert (DNB00)

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BURNE, ROBERT (1755?–1825), general, entered the army as an ensign in the 36th regiment in 1773, and remained with that regiment until 1811. In 1783 he went to India with the regiment. In 1784 he was promoted captain, and commanded the grenadiers of the 36th regiment throughout the campaigns of 1784-6 against Tippoo Sultan. He served at Sattimungulum, at Showera, and was present at the capture of Bangalore, the storming of the hill fortress of Nundydroog, and the siege of Seringapatam. In 1793 he was conspicuous at the siege of Pondicherry, and was promoted brevet-major in consequence on 1 March 1794, and in 1796 he purchased a majority in the regiment. In 1798 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel by brevet, and the same year the officers and headquarters of the regiment returned to England. On reaching England in 1799 he became lieutenant-colonel of the 36th. In 1800 he accompanied the regiment to Minorca, and went on leave for his health in 1801, the first occasion for twenty-eight years on which he had left his regiment. In 1802 he rejoined it in Ireland, served in the expedition to Hanover in 1805, and in the attack on Buenos Ayres on 5 July 1807, where his services so impressed his brother officers that he was presented by them with a sword of honour and 120 guineas. In April 1808 he was promoted colonel, and in July accompanied Sir Arthur Wellesley to Portugal. Burne, after doing good service at Roliça, received special notice in Wellesley's report to Sir Harry Burrard on the battle of Vimeiro (Wellington Despatches, iii. 92). Sir Arthur also wrote to Lord Castlereagh: ‘You will see in my despatch that I have mentioned Colonel Burne of the 36th regiment in a very particular manner; and I assure you that there is nothing that will give me so much satisfaction as to learn that something has been done for this old and meritorious soldier. The 86th regiment are an example to this army’ (ib. 95). Burne, in consequence, received the government of Carlisle. He remained in the Peninsula after Sir Arthur Wellesley went home, and served under Sir John Moore in the retreat to Corunna and in the battle. In 1809 Burne commanded the 36th at the capture of Flushing. and was made a colonel on the staff until the evacuation of the island. In 1811 he was made major-general, and sent out to the Peninsula. He was posted to the command of a brigade in the 6th division, with which he was present at the battle of Fuentes d’Onor. But his long service in India and the hardships of the Corunna retreat had told upon his health, and he had to return to England, where he commanded the camp at Lichfield from 1812 to 1813, and at Nottingham from 1813 to 1814. When rewards were liberally heaped on the Peninsula officers in 1814, Mayor-general Burne was completely passed over, but he was promoted lieutenant-general on 19 July 1821, and died at Berkeley Cottage, Stanmore, on 16 June 1825.

[Royal Military Calendar.]

H. M. S.