Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dyott, William

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DYOTT, WILLIAM (1761–1847), general, born on 17 April 1761, was second son of Richard Dyott of Freeford Hall, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, the head of a family seated at that place since the reign of Elizabeth, of which many members have sat in parliament for Lichfield during the last three centuries. He entered the army as an ensign in the 4th regiment on 14 March 1781, and, after being promoted lieutenant on 9 May 1782, was placed on half-pay in the following year. In February 1785 he rejoined his regiment in Ireland as adjutant, and in 1787 he accompanied it to Nova Scotia, where he made the acquaintance of Prince William, afterwards King William IV, who was then commanding the Andromeda upon that station, whose personal friend he became. He was promoted captain on 25 April 1793, and in the June of that year returned to England to take up the post of aide-de-camp to Major-general Hotham, commanding the Plymouth district. He was promoted major into the 103rd regiment on 19 May 1794, and, after acting as brigade-major in the western district, was promoted lieutenant-colonel on 18 Feb. 1795. After two exchanges he took command of the 25th regiment in November 1795, when under orders for the West Indies, and after being driven back by Christian's storm he reached that station in 1796. He there saw service in the capture of Grenada, but soon had to return to England from ill-health. He was next appointed assistant adjutant-general for the south-western district in 1799, and was promoted colonel on 1 Jan. 1800, and appointed aide-de-camp to the king in the following year. In 1801 Dyott was given the command of a brigade in the army in Egypt, which he reached in July 1801, when he was appointed to Ludlow's division before Alexandria. He commanded his brigade in the action of 22 Aug. which led to the capture of that city, and on the conclusion of the peace of Amiens he returned to England. In 1803 he was appointed to the command of a brigade in the West Indies, and after commanding at Waterford and Dublin he was transferred to the English staff, and commanded in Sussex until his promotion to the rank of major-general on 25 April 1808. In December 1808 he was appointed to the command of a brigade in Spain, but never sailed, and in July 1809 he took command of a brigade, consisting of the 6th, 50th, and 91st regiments, in the Walcheren expedition. His brigade was attached to the Marquis of Huntly's division, which occupied the island of South Beveland, and owing to the return of many of his superior officers he acted as second in command in that island for a month, from September to October 1809, when he returned to England. He never again went on active service, but commanded at Lichfield from August 1810 until his promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general on 4 June 1813. In that year he succeeded to the family estates on the death of his brother, and settled down at Freeford Hall. He was further made colonel of the 63rd regiment in 1825, and was promoted general on 22 July 1830. A senior general in the army, he died, on 7 May 1847, at the age of eighty-six.

[Dyott's Diary, 1781–1845, a Selection from the Journal of William Dyott, ed. R. W. Jeffery, 2 vols. 1907; Royal Military Calendar; Gent. Mag. July 1847, from the general's own notes.]

H. M. S.