Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Waddington, Charles

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WADDINGTON, CHARLES (1796–1858), major-general Bombay engineers, fifth son of William Waddington of Walkeringham, Nottinghamshire, by his wife, Grace Valentine, daughter of Henry Sykes of London, was born at Brompton on 24 Oct. 1796. After passing through a military college of the East India Company at Addiscombe, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Bombay engineers on 3 April 1813, and arrived in India on 22 May 1814, He accompanied Colonel Kennedy’s force to the Concan, and is services at the assaults of Madanghar (eighty miles south-east of Bombay) and of Jamba were favourably mentioned (general orders, 15 Feb. 1818). Towards the end of 1819 he went home on furlough, was promoted to be lieutenant on 16 Nov. 1820, married in 1822, and on his return to India in 1823 acted as executive engineer at Baroda. He was promoted to captain on 29 July 1825, and appointed in October executive engineer of the Baroda subsidiary force. In November 1827 he was moved to Bombay as civil engineer at the presidency, and in August 1828 acted also as superintending engineer. He was appointed to the command of the engineer corps and to take charge of the Engineer Institution in October 1830. In September 1834 he commanded the engineers at Sirur, returning to the presidency as superintending engineer in January 1835.

On 28 June 1838 Waddington was promoted to be major, and in May of the following year was appointed superintending engineer of the southern provinces. In September 1841 he went to Sind as commanding engineer. He accompanied Major-general (afterwards Sir) Richard England in his march through the Bolan pass in the autumn of 1842, and was favourably mentioned in England’s despatch of 10 Oct. 1842 (London Gazette, 10 Jan. 1843) for his services at Haikalzai. On 4 Nov. 1842 he was appointed command engineer in Baluchistan as well as Sind. He accompanied Sir Charles Napier [q. v.] as commanding engineer of his force in the celebrated march of eighty-two miles from Dijikote on 6 Jan, 1843 to Imamghar, where they arrived on the 12th. Instructed to demolish the fort, Waddington fired his mines on the 15th. He himself lit the fuses of three mines, and was bending over the train of one when his assistant called upon him to run as the other mines were about to explode. But he deliberately insured that the fuse was well alight before he walked away amid a storm of bursting mines. Napier mentioned him in his despatch of 22 Jan. 1843 for his gallantry. He called it a grand action, but advised Waddington that he would have done better to appreciate his own worth and reserve his heroism for an occasion where it might turn the crisis of a war.

Waddington took part in the battle of Miani on 17 Feb. 1843, where he acted as aide-de-camp to Napier and was mentioned in despatches (ib. 11 April and 9 May 1843). He was also at the battle of Haidarabad, or Dubba, on 24 March, when Napier again mentioned him as having 'rendered the most important aid in examining the enemy's position with that cool courage which he possesses in so eminent degree' (ib. 4 July 1843). He received the medal for Miani and Haidarabad.

After a furlough in England, Waddington was employed in special duty at Puna until October 1847, where he was appointed superintending and executive engineer at Aden, altered to chief engineer in April 1851, the court of directors desiring that 'their high approbation of his valuable services be conveyed to this zealous and able officer' (30 July 1851). He was promoted to colonel on 24 Nov. 1853 and major-general on 28 Nov. 1854. On 4 May 1854 he was appointed chief engineer in the public works department, Bombay, and his services in making the preparation for the Persian expedition received official acknowledgement on 3 Dec. 1856. In November 1857 Waddington was appointed to the command in Sind. In September 1858 he was compelled by ill-health to leave India, and he died in London on 22 Nov. of that year.

Waddington married, in 1822, Anne Rebecca, daughter of John Pinchard of Taunton, Somerset, and by her he left a family of six sons and two daughters. His eldest son, William (b. 1823), colonel Bombay staff corps, served in Persia (medal and clasp) 1856-1857, and became J.P. for Wiltshire. Another son, Thomas (b. 1827), was major-general of the Bombay staff corps.

Waddington contributed to the professional papers of the corps of royal engineers (quarto series), vol. ix. 'Account of the Battle Meanee;' vol. x. 'Doctrines of Carpentry in their Application to the Construction of Roofs;' and other papers.

[India Office Records; Despatches; Vibart's Addiscombe; Kelly's Handbook; Royal Engineers' Records; private sources.]

R. H. V.