The Times/1913/Obituary/William Bellairs

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Obituary: Sir William Bellairs
1721516Obituary: Sir William Bellairs

Sir William Bellairs

We regret to record the death of Lieut.-General Sir William Bellairs, K.C.M.G., C.B., which occurred at his home at Clevedon, Somerset, yesterday morning. He had been seriously ill for some time.

Sir William Bellairs, who was born on August 28, 1823, was the youngest son of Sir William Bellairs, of Mulbarton, Norfolk, who served with the 15th Hussars, in the Peninsula and at Waterloo. He entered the 49th Regiment as ensign on May 8, 1846, becoming captain in 1854. He served throughout the Crimean War, being one of the comparatively few combatant officers who remained at the front from first to last, and took part in the battles of Alma and Inkerman, and the siege and fall of Sebastopol, being present at the repulse of the Russian sortie of October 26, 1854, the attack on the Quarries on June 7 following, and the two attacks on the Redan on June 18 and September 28. He particularly distinguished himself on the day of Inkerman, and displayed a readiness of resource and clearness of perception in emergencies which would have done credit to a man of greater experience of war; especially on one occasion, when, after going into action in command of a wing of his regiment, he charged with the bayonet and utterly routed a strong Russian battalion advancing upon guns in position close to his small command of 183 men. His name was submitted for a brevet-majority but passed over on the ground that he had been promoted to captain only a few weeks before. From December, 1854, until the close of the campaign he served on the staff of the 2nd Division, and, his distinguished conduct having brought to notice in despatches, he was promoted brevet-major, received the the Crimean medal with three clasps, was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour, and was awarded the 5th Class of Medjidieh, together with the Turkish medal.

He subsequently served at intervals in various staff appointments in the West Indies, in Ireland, in Canada, and at Gibraltar, in the course of which he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in December, 1865, and Colonel in August, 1873. In May, 1877, he proceeded to the Cape of Good Hope as D.A. and Q.M.G., and in that capacity served throughout the Kaffir War of 1877-78, commanding the combined forces on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony from December, 1877, to March, 1878. Having been repeatedly mentioned in despatches, he was nominated a C.B. as the reward of his services.

When in the following year, it became necessary to break the power of the Zulus, Colonel Bellairs was attached to the staffs first of Lord Chelmsford and then of Lord Wolseley, and commanded the laager for the protection of the column train during the engagement at Ulundi. He was repeatedly mentioned in despatches, was especially brought to the notice of the Secretary of State by Sir Bartle Frere, and was created K.C.M.G, also receiving a medal with clasp and being selected for a reward for distinguished service.

He next served in the dual capacity of military commander and civil administrator in Natal, and when affairs in the Transvaal assumed a threatening aspect in like capacity in the latter territory—a work which gave full scope for the exercise of tact, combined with energy and soundness of judgment. In speaking of this phase in the career of Sir William Bellairs, it would be futile to revive the memory of strife and controversy, since subsequent events have brought about an adjustment which promises well for the future of the white races interested in the welfare of South Africa. Suffice it to recall the indefatigable energy and resource displayed by Sir William Bellairs in making provision for the defence of the various garrisons in the Transvaal, and his own direction of affairs during the three months' investment of Pretoria, for which he received the special thanks of the Commander-in-Chief.

He was promoted Major-General in September 1884, and, having retired from the active list with the hon. rank of Lieutenant-General in December, 1887, was appointed Colonel of the Sherwood Foresters in July, 1902, and transferred to his old regiment, now the the Royal Berks Regiment, on June 9, 1905.

Sir William Bellairs, who was the author of "The Transvaal War, 1880-81" (edited by Lady Bellairs), and of "The Military Career: a Guide to Young Officers, Army Candidates, and Parents," and of various review articles, was twice married: first, in 1857, to Emily Craven (died June, 1866), daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel W. B. Gibbons, J.P., by whom he had one son and two daughters; secondly, in July, 1867, to Blanche St. John, the daughter of Dr. F. A. Moschzisker, by whom he had four sons, one of whom is Lieutenant Carlyon Bellairs, formerly member for King's Lynn; all his sons were in the Services, and three were decorated with war medals.

This work was published in 1913 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 110 years or less since publication.

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