Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Hoste, George Charles

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HOSTE, Sir GEORGE CHARLES (1786–1845), colonel royal engineers, third son of the Rev. Dixon Hoste, rector of Tittleshall, Norfolk, and of Margaret, daughter of Henry Stanforth of Salthouse, Norfolk, and brother of Captain Sir William Hoste, R.N. [q. v.], first baronet, was born on 10 March 1786. After passing through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 20 Dec. 1802. His further commissions were dated: lieutenant 21 Dec. 1802, second captain 18 Nov. 1807, captain 21 May 1812, brevet major 17 March 1814, lieutenant-colonel 29 July 1825, brevet colonel 28 June 1838, colonel 23 Nov. 1841.

After home service at Portsmouth and Dover, Hoste went to the Mediterranean in April 1805, and accompanied the expedition under Lieutenant-general Sir James Craig [q. v.] in November, to co-operate with the Russians in the protection of the kingdom of Naples. He landed at Castellamare and took part in the operations and in the withdrawal to Messina in January 1806. At the end of June he served in the campaign in Calabria under Sir John Stuart [q. v.], and was present at the battle of Maida on 4 July and at the siege of Scylla Castle from 12 to 23 July, when it capitulated. He returned with Stuart to Messina.

In March 1807 Hoste accompanied the expedition under Major-general McKenzie Fraser to Egypt, landed at Aboukir on the 16th, and took part on the 18th in storming the outworks of Alexandria, which capitulated, and was occupied on the 22nd. In April he took part in the siege of Rosetta until the disastrous retirement to Alexandria, and, on the evacuation of Egypt by the British, returned to Sicily with the troops in September. He was busily engaged during 1808 and 1809 in improving the defences and communications of the east of Sicily to resist attack. The surrender of Capri to Murat in October 1808 led to an expedition under Sir John Stuart in the following June to the bay of Naples, when Hoste was engaged in the capture of Ischia and Procida on the 25th, and in the siege of the castle of Ischia which capitulated on the 30th. He returned with the expedition to Messina.

In May 1810 he was on board the Spartan frigate, commanded by Captain Jahleel Brenton [q. v.], on reconnoitring duty; when off the bay of Naples on the 3rd, the Spartan was attacked by a French squadron. At Brenton's request he took command of the quarter-deck guns. After a smart and successful action, in which the Spartan lost ten killed and twenty-two wounded, she stood in triumphantly with her prize, La Sparviere, to the 5fole of Naples, where Murat had watched the fight. In his despatch Brenton speaks highly of Hoste's services. King Ferdinand conferred upon him the honour of knighthood of the third class of the royal Sicilian order of St. Ferdinand and of Merit 'for great courage and intrepidity' on this occasion, and he was permitted by the prince regent to accept and wear the insignia (Lond. Gaz. 27 Nov. 1811).

In December 1810 Hoste left Sicily for Gibraltar, and in May 1811, having returned to England, was stationed at Landguard Fort. On 4 Jan. 1812 he accidentally killed his younger brother, Charles Fox, when out shooting. In November 1813 he accompanied the brigade of guards in the expedition to Holland, landing on the 24th and marching to Delft.

He was engaged under Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch [q. v.], in the bombardment of Antwerp in February 1814 until it was abandoned, and in the night assault of Bergen-op-Zoom on 8 March, when he led the third column, consisting of about a thousand men of the guards under Colonel Lord Proby, into the place. At daybreak, owing to successive blunders, the assaulting columns were withdrawn when the fortress was almost within their grasp. Hoste was very favourably mentioned by Graham in despatches for his services, and received a brevet majority.

After the conclusion of peace Hoste returned home in May and resumed his duties in the eastern military district, from which he was again called a year later to join Wellington's army in the Netherlands in June 1815. He was appointed commanding royal engineer of the 1st army corps commanded by the prince of Orange, in which capacity he was present at the battles of Quatre Bras on the 16th, and Waterloo on the 18th, at the assault of Péronne on the 26th, and the occupation of Paris on 7 July. For his services he was mentioned in despatches and made a companion of the order of the Bath, military division (22 June 1815), on the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington. In November 1815 he was one of the British commissioners appointed to take over the French fortresses for occupation by the allies.

In February 1816 Hoste returned to England, and for the next nine years was employed in the Medway and Thames military districts, after which he went on particular service to Canada in 1825, and to Ireland in 1828. On the accession of William IV in 1830, he was appointed gentleman usher of the privy chamber to Queen Adelaide. He served as commanding royal engineer of the eastern, western, and Woolwich military districts successively. He died at his residence, Mill Hill, Woolwich, on 21 April 1845, and was buried in Charlton churchyard, Kent, where a tomb marks the grave.

Hoste married, on 9 July 1812, Mary, only daughter of James Burkin Burroughes of Burlingham Hall, Norfolk, by whom he had issue four sons and two daughters.

[Royal Engineers' Records ; Despatches ; Ann. Register, 1845; European Mag. 1812; Gent. Mag. 1810 and 1815; Porter's Hist, of the Royal Engineers ; Royal Military Calendar, 1820 ; Burke's Baronetage; Army Lists ; Bunbury's Military Transactions in the Mediterranean, 1805-10 ; Sperling's Letters from the British Army in Holland, Belgium, and France ; Carmichael-Smyth's Wars in the Low Countries.]

R. H. V.