Company's service, by his wife, daughter of Harry Brine, esq., of Duckden, Huntingdonshire, was born on 19 Sept. 1782. Educated with his brother George John (afterwards of the 17th and 4th dragoons) at Dr. Nicholas's school at Ealing, he obtained an ensign's commission in the 36th foot on 19 Jan. 1795. He was promoted to be lieutenant on 12 April 1797, and on 8 Jan. 1798 was transferred in the same rank to the 12th foot, then quartered at Fort George, Madras. He marched with his regiment to Tanjore, arriving there on 1 March, and on 22 July proceeded with it to join the force assembling under Lieutenant-general (afterwards Lord) Harris to act against Tipu Sultan. The 12th foot were in the first infantry brigade under Major-general Baird. On 7 March 1799 they were employed in an attempt to surprise the enemy's cavalry camp, and on the 8th took possession of Naldrug. Sale took part in the operations in the battle of Melavelly on 27 March and in the siege and storm of Seringapatam, which was carried by assault on 4 May. He received the silver medal for Seringapatam. He was engaged with his regiment under Colonel Stevenson, in the subsequent operations directed by Colonel the Hon. A. Wellesley (afterwards Duke of Wellington), commanding in Maisur, against the freebooter Dhundia Wagh, between July and September, the troops engaged receiving the thanks of the governor-general in council and of the Madras government. The 12th foot were then encamped near Seringapatam till the close of 1800. In December Sale served in the expedition into the Wainad and Malabar country under Colonel Pater against Paichi Raja. The service was very severe in this hilly and thickly wooded country, and was not concluded until May 1801, when the troops again received the thanks of government.
Sale returned with his regiment to Seringapatam, moving in October to Trichinopoly, where they remained for nearly four years, when they were again sent to Seringapatam. On 23 March 1806 Sale was promoted to be captain, and in April 1807, after an epidemic of fever, he accompanied his regiment to Cannanore. In December 1808 they embarked for Quilon in Travancore to wage war against the rajah of that province, arriving there on 29 Dec. On 15 Jan. 1809 Sale served with his regiment, which formed part of Colonel Chalmers's force, against the dewan of Travancore. After an engagement at Quilon which lasted for five hours, the enemy were defeated with the loss of fourteen guns. Again, on 31 Jan. he was engaged in another victorious action at Quilon, when another gun was captured. He took part in the storming of the Travancore lines and the action of Killianore on 21 Feb., when seven guns were captured and five thousand of the enemy defeated.
Sale arrived on 24 July 1809 with his regiment at Trichinopoly, where he married the same year. In August 1810 the regiment moved from Walajabad, where it had been quartered, to St. Thomas's Mount, and thence in September to Madras, where it embarked in the fleet to take part in the expedition against Mauritius. Sale landed in Mapon Bay with the troops on 28 Nov. He took part in the storm of the French position a few miles from Port Louis, and in the other operations resulting in the surrender of the island on 3 Dec. 1810. He remained in Mauritius until April 1813, when he moved with the regiment to Bourbon. He was promoted to be regimental major on 30 Dec. 1813, and served on the staff during his stay in Bourbon; on the restoration of that island to France in April 1815 Sale returned with his battalion to Mauritius. Sale sailed from Mauritius with the 1st battalion on 25 July for England, and landed at Portsmouth on 10 Nov. The regiment moved to Ireland, arriving at Cork on 26 Dec. and at Athlone on 9 Jan. 1818. Here the two battalions met; the second was disbanded, on reduction of the army, on 16 Jan.; Sale, as a junior major, was placed on half-pay on 25 March 1818.
Sale was brought back to full pay as major in the 13th foot on 28 June 1821, and joined the regiment at Dublin. He accompanied the 13th foot to Edinburgh in August 1822 to do duty during the visit of George IV, and proceeded thence to Chatham, and on 1 Jan. 1823 sailed with it for India, arriving at Calcutta in May.
Towards the end of 1823 Burmese incursions on British territory led to war with Burma, and an expedition was fitted out under the command of Major-general Sir Archibald Campbell. Lieutenant-colonel McCreagh, who commanded the 13th foot, having been appointed to command a brigade, the command of the regiment devolved upon Sale, who embarked with it on 5 April 1824, and entered the Irrawaddy on 10 May. Rangoon was occupied, and Sale with the 13th regiment drove the enemy from the neighbourhood. On 10 June Sale commanded two companies of the 13th foot and two companies of the 38th foot in the successful attack on the stronghold at Kamandin. The stockade was ten feet high, and the men, encouraged by Sale, helped one another up its face, entering the work simultaneously