Dacres, Richard James (DNB00)

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DACRES, Sir RICHARD JAMES (1799–1886), field-marshal, elder son of Vice-admiral Sir Richard Dacres, G.C.H., was born in 1799. He received a nomination to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1815, and, after passing through the course of instruction there, was gazetted a second lieutenant in the royal artillery on 15 Dec. 1817. He was promoted first lieutenant on 29 Aug. 1825, and captain on 18 Dec. 1837, and was in 1843 transferred to the royal horse artillery, of which he commanded the 2nd, or Black Troop, for many years in different parts of the world, but without seeing any service. He was promoted major by brevet on 11 Nov. 1851, and lieutenant-colonel on 23 Feb. 1852, and in 1854 was appointed to command the force of royal horse artillery, consisting of three troops, designed to accompany the army sent to Turkey. This force was attached to the cavalry division under Lieutenant-general the Earl of Lucan, and Dacres commanded it in the descent on the Crimea and at the battle of the Alma. It headed the advance on Sebastopol, and was engaged at Bulganak and Mackenzie's farm, and the battle of Balaclava, and in the repulse of the Russian sortie of 24 Oct. Dacres commanded all the artillery engaged. At the battle of Inkerman Dacres was present with the head-quarters staff, and had his horse killed under him, and on the death of Brigadier-general Fox-Strangways in that battle he took command of all the artillery in the Crimea, a post which he filled until the end of the war. As officer commanding the artillery Dacres superintended the various bombardments of Sebastopol, though always under the direction of General Sir John Burgoyne, the commanding royal engineer, and he was promoted colonel by brevet on 23 Feb. 1855, and major-general on 29 June 1855, and was made a K.C.B. in that month for his distinguished services. At the conclusion of the war he received a medal and four clasps, as well as the Turkish medal, and was made a commander of the Legion of Honour, a commander of the 1st class of the order of Savoy, and a knight of the 2nd class of the Medjidie. After his return to England he commanded the Woolwich district from 1859 to 1865, and was made colonel-commandant of the royal horse artillery on 28 July 1864, and promoted lieutenant-general on 18 Dec. 1864. He was further promoted full general on 2 Feb. 1868, and made a G.C.B. in 1869, and was placed on the retired list. He was appointed constable of the Tower of London, in succession to Sir William Fenwick Williams [q. v.], on 27 July 1881, and became master gunner of England, as senior officer of the royal artillery, in the following year. In July 1886 he was made a field-marshal, but he did not long survive this last promotion, and died at Brighton, aged 87, on 6 Dec. 1886.

[Hart's Army List; Duncan's History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery; Times, 8 Dec. 1886.]

H. M. S.