Warre, William (DNB00)

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WARRE, Sir WILLIAM (1784–1853), lieutenant-general, colonel of the 94th foot, eldest son of James Warre of George Street, Hanover Square, London, and of his wife Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Greg of Coles Park, Hertfordshire, was born at Oporto, Portugal, on 15 April 1784. He was educated at Harrow, and on 5 Nov. 1803 received an ensign's commission in the 52nd foot, which he joined at Hythe. He was promoted to be lieutenant by purchase on 2 June 1804, and on 25 April 1806 he purchased his company in the 98th foot, from which he exchanged on 7 Aug. into the 23rd light dragoons, joining them at Clonmel, co. Tipperary, in October 1806.

In the summer of 1807 Warre became a student of the Royal Military College, and in May 1808 was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-general Sir Ronald Craufurd Ferguson [q. v.], commander of an expedition to sail from Cork. After some detention, an alteration was made in the destination of this expedition, and it proceeded to Portugal, landing in July. Warre took part in the battles of Rolica (17 Aug.) and Vimiera (21 Aug.), after which he was seized with dysentery, and, being too ill to accompany his general on his return to England, was sent to Lisbon, where Major-general William Carr (afterwards Viscount) Beresford [q. v.] received him into his house, and, on his recovery, attached him to his staff. He served with him during the whole of Sir John Moore's campaign, ending with the battle of Coruña on 16 Jan. 1809, after which he remained with his division to cover the embarkation of the army during the night, and himself embarked with his chief and the rear-guard in the afternoon of the following day.

On the acceptance by Beresford of the chief command of the Portuguese army in March 1809, Warre accompanied him to Portugal, was commissioned as major in the Portuguese service, and appointed Beresford's first aide-de-camp. He was with Beresford at Lamego and the passage of the Douro on 12 May, and, after the capture of Oporto, was employed to destroy the bridges in rear of the retreating French army, a duty which he in great measure accomplished, with very inadequate means, and in spite of the opposition of an obstinate and refractory peasantry. Wellington was thereby enabled to overtake Soult at Salamonde, whence, on 16 May, the French marshal only escaped by abandoning his guns and baggage. Warre took part in all the operations of Beresford's division in 1809–10, but during the retreat to the lines of Torres Vedras in September 1810 rheumatic fever compelled him to quit the army and eventually to return to England. He rejoined Beresford in May 1811 after the battle of Albuera, and took part in the second siege of Badajos in May and June. He was promoted to be brevet major in the British service on 30 May 1811, and lieutenant-colonel in the Portuguese service on 3 July. He was at the siege and capture on 19 Jan. 1812 of Ciudad Rodrigo, at the third siege and capture on 6 April of Badajos, and at the battle of Salamanca on 22 July, where Beresford was wounded. Warre accompanied him to Lisbon, and returned to England, where he married in 1812. For his services in the Peninsular war he received the medal and six clasps; was made a knight of the Portuguese order of the Tower and Sword, and a commander of the Portuguese order of St. Bento d'Avis (London Gazette, 9 April 1816). On 13 May 1813 he was promoted to be brevet lieutenant-colonel in the British Army. His ‘Letters from the Peninsula 1808–1812,’ were edited by his nephew Dr. Edmond Warre in 1909.

By the advice of Beresford, Warre accepted the appointment of deputy quartermaster-general at the Cape of Good Hope, and went thither in 1813, returning to England in 1821. In 1823 he was appointed one of the permanent assistant quartermasters-general, and served in the Dublin military district until 1826, when he was transferred to the southern military district and stationed at Portsmouth. In December 1826 he was appointed assistant quartermaster-general of the army under Lieutenant-general Sir William Henry Clinton [q. v.] which was sent to Portugal to assist that country against Spain, returning to his permanent appointment in England in the summer of 1828. He was promoted to be colonel on 22 July 1830. In 1832 he was transferred as permanent assistant quartermaster-general from Portsmouth to Cork, and in 1835 to Dublin. In 1837 he was appointed commandant of the Chatham garrison.

Warre was made a companion of the order of the Bath, military division, on 19 July 1838; was knighted in 1839, relinquished the Chatham command on promotion to major-general on 23 Nov. 1841, was given the colonelcy of the 94th foot in 1847, and was promoted to be lieutenant-general in November 1851. He died at York on 26 July 1853, and was buried at Bishopthorpe.

Warre married, on 19 Nov. 1812, Selina Anna (d. 3 Feb. 1821), youngest daughter of Christopher Thomson Maling of West Herrington, Durham, and sister of the first Countess of Mulgrave. By her he had seven children, three of whom died at the Cape of Good Hope. The others were: (1) Thomas Maling; (2) John Frederick; (3) Henry James; and (4) Julia Sophia. The third son, General Sir Henry James Warre, K.C.B. (1819–1898), colonel of the Wiltshire regiment, served in the Crimean and New Zealand wars; he married in 1855, Georgiana, daughter of R. Lukin and widow of W. P. Adams, British consul-general in Peru.

A full-length portrait of Warre, in the uniform of the 23rd light dragoons, is in possession of J. Acheson Lyle of the Oak, Londonderry.

[War Office Records; Despatches; Gent. Mag. 1853; Royal Military Calendar, 1820; Army Lists; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vol. x.; Burke's Peerage; Warre's Letters from the Peninsula, 1909.]

R. H. V.