Russell, Charles (1826-1883) (DNB00)

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RUSSELL, Sir CHARLES (1826–1883), lieutenant-colonel, born on 22 June 1826, was the son of Sir Henry Russell (second baronet of Swallowfield), resident at Hyderabad, by his second wife, Marie Clotilde (d. 1872), daughter of Benoit Mottet de la Fontaine. Sir Henry Russell (1751–1836) [q. v.] was his grandfather. After education at Eton, he entered the army as ensign in the 35th foot on 25 Aug. 1843, became lieutenant on 9 June 1846, and served with that regiment in Mauritius. On 13 Sept. 1853 he became lieutenant and captain in the grenadier guards, to which he had exchanged in 1847. He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father on 19 April 1852.

In 1854 he went to the Crimea with the third battalion, was at the battle of the Alma, and served through the siege of Sebastopol. During the latter part of it he was deputy assistant quartermaster-general to the first division. He received the medal with four clasps, the brevet rank of major (2 Nov. 1855), the legion of honour (knight), and the fifth class of the Medjidie and Turkish medal. When the Victoria Cross was instituted in February 1857, he was among the first recipients of it. The act for which the cross was awarded to him is described by Kinglake. During the battle of Inkerman he was in the sandbag battery with a mixed body of men, condemned to inaction by the height of the parapet. Some of them said, ‘If an officer will lead, we will follow,’ to which Russell responded ‘Follow me, my lads!’ and sprang out through an embrasure. Accompanied by one man only (private Anthony Palmer, who also received the cross), he attacked the Russians clustered outside, and, though of slight build, he wrested a rifle from the hands of a Russian soldier, and made his way along the ledge to another party of grenadiers.

He became captain and lieutenant-colonel on 23 April 1858, and retired from the army on 13 June 1868. On 4 July 1877 he was appointed honorary colonel of the 23rd Middlesex volunteers. He was a J.P. and deputy-lieutenant for the county of Berkshire. He sat as conservative M.P. for that county from July 1865 to November 1868, and for Westminster from 1874 to 1882.

He died at Swallowfield Park, near Reading, on 14 April 1883. He was unmarried, and was succeeded by his brother George.

[Times, Obituary, 16 April 1883; Foster's Baronetage; Hamilton's History of the Grenadier Guards; Kinglake's War in the Crimea.]

E. M. L.