Franks, Thomas Harte (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

FRANKS, Sir THOMAS HARTE (1808–1862), general, was the second son of William Franks of Carrig Castle, near Mallow, co. Cork, by Catherine, daughter of William Hume, M.P. for the county of Wicklow, and aunt of Fitzwilliam Hume Dick, M.P. for Wicklow. He entered the army as an ensign in the 10th regiment on 7 July 1825, and had been promoted lieutenant on 26 Sept. 1826, captain on 1 March 1839, major on 29 Dec. 1843, and lieutenant-colonel on 28 March 1845, before he had ever seen service. During these twenty years he had been with his regiment in many parts of the world, and in 1842 he accompanied it for the first time to India. He was engaged in the first Sikh war, and the 10th regiment was one of those which were called up to help to fill the gap caused by the heavy losses at Mudkí and Firozshah. At the battle of Sobraon the 10th regiment was on the extreme right of the line, and it did its duty nobly in carrying the Sikh position in front of it. Franks was wounded, and had a horse shot under him, and he was rewarded by the Sobraon medal and by being made a C.B. In the second Sikh war Franks's regiment was the first English one to come up to the siege of Múltán, and Franks, as one of the senior officers with the besieging force, held many independent commands, and rendered most valuable services. After the siege was over he joined Lord Gough on 10 Feb. 1849, and served with great distinction at Gujrát. He was promoted colonel on 20 June 1854, and was appointed to the command of the Jalandhar brigade on 11 May 1855. He had handed over his command, and was just going home on sick leave, when the mutiny of 1857 broke out. Thereupon he refused to go to England, and remained at Calcutta until his health was sufficiently restored to enable him to take the field. In January 1858 he was appointed to command the 4th infantry division in the field, with the rank of brigadier-general. This division, nearly six thousand strong, was intended to carry out a favourite scheme of Lord Canning. Franks was directed to march across the north-eastern frontier of Oude, driving the mutineers before him, and then to meet Sir Jung Bahadur, the prime minister of Nepal, who had promised to bring a force of Goorkhas to the assistance of the English, after which the two corps together were to co-operate in Sir Colin Campbell's operations against Lucknow. This programme was successfully carried out; the junction with Jung Bahadur's Goorkhas was cleverly effected, and on 19 and 23 Feb. Franks inflicted two severe defeats on the rebel leader, Muhammad Hussein Nazim, at Chanda, and between Badshahganj and Sultánpur respectively. The effect of these victories, in which Franks only lost two men killed and sixteen wounded, was, however, minimised by the severe check which he received in an attempt to take Dohrighat. Sir Colin Campbell was much incensed at this defeat, and after the final capture of Lucknow he refused to give Franks another command in the field. This was a severe blow to Franks, who at once returned to England, where he was promoted major-general on 20 July 1858, made a K.C.B., and given the thanks of parliament. His health was entirely ruined by his exertions, and he died at Ibstone House, Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, on 5 Feb. 1862. Franks married (1) Matilda, daughter of Richard Kay, esq., and widow of the Rev. W. Fletcher; (2) Rebecca Constantia Elizabeth, widow of Samuel Brewis, esq., of Langley House, Prestwich, Lancashire.

[Hart's Army List; Gent. Mag. March 1862; Despatches of Lord Hardinge, Lord Gough, and Sir Harry Smith; Shadwell's Lord Clyde; Malleson's Indian Mutiny.]

H. M. S.