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

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WALE, Sir CHARLES (1763–1845), general, born on 5 Aug. 1763, was second son of Thomas Wale of Shelford, Cambridgeshire, by Louisa Rudolphina, daughter of Nicholas Rahten of Lüneburg. The family was descended from Walter de Wahul, who occurs in Domesday Book as a landholder in Northamptonshire. Several members of the family acted as sheriff of that county. A Sir Thomas Wale was knight of the Garter in Edward III's reign, and another Thomas was killed at Agincourt in 1415. A branch of the family migrated to Ireland late in the twelfth century and founded Walestown. The branch to which Sir Charles belonged acquired Shelford in the seventeenth century. His father, Thomas Wale (1701–1796), a type of the eighteenth-century squire, kept a notebook, numerous extracts from which were printed by the Rev. H. J. Wale in ‘My Grandfather's Pocket-book,’ 1883. Prefixed is a portrait of Thomas Wale, æt. 93.

Charles was in 1778 sent up to London to learn arithmetic and fencing. In September 1779, much against his father's wish, he accepted a commission in a regiment which was then being raised by Colonel Keating, the 88th foot. He went out with it to Jamaica, but on 13 April 1780 his father purchased him (‘cost 150l.’) a lieutenancy in the 97th. That regiment went to Gibraltar with Admiral Darby's fleet in April 1781, and served throughout the latter part of the defence. In a letter to his father on 16 Oct. 1782, Wale described the great attack made on 13 Sept. by the floating batteries (Wale, p. 222).

He obtained a company in the 12th foot on 25 June 1783, but was placed on half-pay soon afterwards. On 23 May 1786 he exchanged to the 46th foot, and served with it in Ireland and the Channel Islands. He married in 1793 and retired on half-pay, becoming adjutant of the Cambridgeshire militia on 4 Dec. in that year. On 1 March 1794 he was made major, and on 1 Jan. 1798 lieutenant-colonel in the army. He returned to full pay on 6 Aug. 1799 as captain in the 20th, and served with that regiment in the expedition to the Helder in the autumn. On 16 Jan. 1800 he was promoted to a majority in the 85th, and on 9 Oct. in that year to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 67th. He joined that regiment in Jamaica, and brought it home at the end of 1801. In 1805 he went out with it to Bengal, but he returned to England and exchanged to the 66th foot on 16 June 1808.

He did not serve long with that regiment. He had been made colonel on 25 April 1808, and in March 1809 he was appointed a brigadier-general in the West Indies. He commanded the reserve in the expedition under Sir George Beckwith [q. v.], which took Guadeloupe in February 1810. He was wounded in the action of 3 Feb., and received the medal. On 4 June 1811 he was promoted major-general, and on 21 Feb. 1812 he was appointed governor of Martinique, and remained so till that island was restored to France in 1815. He was made K.C.B. on 2 Jan. 1815. He was promoted lieutenant-general on 19 July 1821, and general on 28 June 1838, and was made colonel of the 33rd foot on 25 Feb. 1831. He died at Shelford on 19 March 1845. His portrait, by Northcote, was lent by Mr. R. G. Wale to the third loan exhibition at South Kensington in 1868 (Cat. No. 38).

He was three times married: (1) in 1793 to Louisa, daughter of Rev. Castel Sherrard of Huntington; (2) in 1803 to Isabella, daughter of Rev. Thomas Johnson of Stockton-on-Tees; (3) in 1815 to Henrietta, daughter of Rev. Thomas Brent of Croscombe, Somerset. She survived him, and he left seven sons and five daughters.

His eighth son, Frederick Wale (1822–1858), born in 1822, entered the East India Company's service in 1840, and was posted to the 48th Bengal native infantry on 9 Jan. 1841. He became lieutenant on 23 Feb. 1842, and captain on 1 Oct. 1852. He was appointed brigade-major at Peshawar on 19 Aug. 1853, and was serving there when his regiment mutinied at Lucknow in May 1857. He took command of the 1st Sikh irregular cavalry (known as Wale's horse) and served in the relief of Lucknow, and in the subsequent siege and capture of it in March 1858. His corps formed part of the second cavalry brigade, and the brigadier reported that Wale ‘showed on all occasions great zeal in command of his regiment, and on 21 March led it most successfully in pursuit of the enemy till he was shot’ (London Gazette, 21 May 1858; see also Lord Roberts, Forty-one Years in India, i. 408). He married Adelaide, daughter of Edward Prest of York, and he left two daughters.

[Gent. Mag. 1845, i. 547; Burke's Landed Gentry; Wale's My Grandfather's Pocket-book, 1883.]

E. M. L.