Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/England, Richard

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1153594Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 17 — England, Richard1889Henry Morse Stephens

ENGLAND, Sir RICHARD (1793–1883), general, was the son of Lieutenant-general Richard England of Lifford, co. Clare, a veteran of the war of American Independence, colonel of the 5th regiment, lieutenant-governor of Plymouth, and one of the first colonists of Western Upper Canada, by Anne, daughter of James O'Brien of Ennistyen, a cadet of the family of the Marquis of Thomond. He was born at Detroit, Upper Canada, in 1793, and after being educated at Winchester entered the army as an ensign in the 14th regiment on 25 Feb. 1808. He was promoted lieutenant on 1 June 1809, and served in that year in the expedition to the Walcheren and in the attack on Flushing. He was employed in the adjutant-general's department in Sicily in 1810 and 1811, and served in the defence of Tarifa as a volunteer on his way to take up his appointment. He was promoted captain into the 60th regiment on 11 July 1811, and exchanged into the 12th on 1 Jan. 1812. In that year he went on leave to Canada to join his father, and after his death he returned to England, married Anna Maria, sister of Sir J. C. Anderson, in 1814, and in 1815 joined his regiment at Paris after the battle of Waterloo. He remained in France until the withdrawal of the army of occupation in 1818, and after serving as aide-de-camp to Major-general Sir Colquhoun Grant, commanding at Dublin from 1821 to 1823, he was promoted major into the 75th regiment on 4 Sept. 1823, and lieutenant-colonel of the same regiment, in the place of the Duke of Cleveland, on 29 Oct. 1825. He commanded this regiment for many years, and went with it to the Cape in 1833. Lieutenant-general Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, who then commanded there, selected England on the outbreak of the Kaffir war in 1836 to command upon the eastern frontier with the rank of brigadier-general, and he served throughout the campaigns of 1836 and 1837 in this rank. For his services he received a medal, and was promoted colonel on 28 June 1838. In 1839 he was transferred to the command of the 41st regiment, and appointed to command the Belgaum district of the Bombay presidency as brigadier-general, and immediately on his arrival he lost his wife. From this place he was summoned in 1841 to take command of the Bombay division despatched to the relief of Colonel Palmer at Ghuznee and General Nott at Kandahar. He failed to reach Ghuznee in time, but, after one repulse, forced his way through the Pishín valley, and reached Kandahar in time to join Nott, and as second in command to that general assisted in the defeat of Akbar Khán on the Khojak Heights. He remained at Kandahar till the close of 1842, when it was decided to abandon that place, and he was then placed in command of the force which retired through the Bolan Pass into Sind, while Nott marched with seven thousand picked troops on Ghuznee and Cabul. It cannot be said that England had greatly distinguished himself during these operations. Nott complained greatly of him, and though he did what he was appointed to do, and had relieved Kandahar, his operations were not considered as successful as they might have been, and he had suffered reverses, which were very like defeats, from the Balúchís both during his advance and his retreat. Nevertheless he was made a K.C.B. on 27 Sept. 1843, and then threw up his command, returned home, and settled at Bath.

England remained unemployed until 1849, when he received the command of the Curragh brigade, and he was promoted major-general on 11 Nov. 1851. In 1854 the censure passed on his behaviour in Afghanistan seemed to be forgotten, and he was placed in command of the 3rd division in the Crimean expedition. At the battle of the Alma his division was not so severely engaged as the guards or the light division; but at Inkerman England was one of the generals first upon the scene of action, and though he was never in actual command there, his promptitude in sending up his troops at the critical moment to the assistance of the hard-pressed battalions on the Inkerman Tusk greatly contributed to the success of the day. It was during the trying winter of 1854–5 that England chiefly distinguished himself. He suffered the greatest privations with his troops, but yet he never applied to come home, and was the last of the original general officers who had accompanied the army to the Crimea to leave it. Before he did return he directed the attack on the Redan on 18 June 1855, and it was not his fault that the result of that day's hard fighting was not a great success. In August 1855 he was, however, obliged to obey the doctor's orders and return to England. For his services he was promoted lieutenant-general, and made a G.C.B., a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, and a knight of the first class of the Medjidie. England never again saw service. He was made colonel of the 41st regiment on 20 April 1861, promoted general on 6 July 1863, and placed on the retired list in 1877. He died at St. Margaret's, Titchfield, Hampshire, on 19 Jan. 1883.

[Times, 23 Jan. 1883; Hart's Army List; Nolan's Hist. of Crimean War, i. 405; for the war in Afghanistan, Kaye's History and Stocqueler's Life of Sir William Nott; for the Crimean war, Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea.]

H. M. S.