George Murray (British Army officer)

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The Right Honourable
Sir George Murray
GCB GCH FRS
George Murray Portrait.jpg
George Murray portrait by George Theodore Berthon
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
In office
30 May 1828 – 22 November 1830
Monarch George IV
William IV
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by William Huskisson
Succeeded by The Viscount Goderich
Personal details
Born 6 February 1772 (1772-02-06)
Perth, Perthshire
Died 28 July 1846 (1846-07-29)
Belgrave Square, London
Nationality British
Political party Tory

Sir George Murray, GCB, GCH, FRS (6 February 1772 – 28 July 1846) was a Scottish soldier and politician.

Background and education[edit]

Murray was born in Perth, the second son of Sir William Murray, of Ochtertyre, 5th Baronet (see Murray Baronets), and was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh.[1]

Military career[edit]

In 1789, Murray obtained a commission into the 71st Foot,[1] reaching the rank of Captain in 1794, and seeing service in Flanders (1794–95),[1] the West Indies, England and Ireland. In 1799 he was made a Lieutenant-Colonel, entering the Quartermaster General's Department and making his considerable reputation as Quartermaster General (1808–11) during the Peninsular War, under the Duke of Wellington, and receiving promotion to Colonel in 1809.[1] After a brief period as Quartermaster General in Ireland, Murray returned to the Peninsular Campaign as Major-General (1813–14), and was invested with the Order of the Bath in 1813.[1] He was briefly in Canada from December 1814 to May 1815 where he was appointed provisional Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and reviewed the defences of Canada.[1] He quickly returned to Europe following Napoleon's escape from Elba, but arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Waterloo.

After cessation of hostilities, Murray was based in France as Chief of Staff to the Army of Occupation and, thereafter, he was appointed Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1819.[1] He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford in 1820 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1824. In 1825 he married Lady Louisa Erskine, widow of Sir James Erskine of Torrie (1772–1825). Subsequently he was made Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance and then Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, but in 1828 he resigned the position and became Colonial Secretary.[1] He was later Master-General of the Ordnance between 1834 to 1835 and between 1841 and 1846.[1]

Political career[edit]

Murray was a Tory and later Conservative in politics. He was Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1824–1832 and from 1834 until he retired in 1835. He served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1828 to 1830.[1] He also contested Westminster in 1837 and Manchester in both 1839 and 1841, without success.

Other public appointments[edit]

Murray was also President of the Royal Geographical Society (1833–35) and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. On 7 September 1829 he was appointed Governor of Fort George.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Murray died in July 1846, aged 74, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London. His substantial papers and maps were given to the National Library of Scotland by a great-niece in 1913.

Legacy[edit]

The Memorials to Governors in the Chapel of the present-day Royal Military Academy Sandhurst include: In Memory of General the Right Hon. Sir George Murray, G.C.B., G.C H., Colonel ist Royal Regiment of Foot. Died 28 July 1846, aged 74. He served in Holland, Egypt, Syria, the West Indies, Denmark, and Sweden ; wsLS Q.M.G. in the Peninsula; Commander-in-Chief in Canada; Chief of the Staff of the Army of Occupation in France ; Commander of the Forces in Ireland, and twice Master-General of the Ordnance. He was Governor of this College from 1819 to 1824. [3]

The Murray River and Mount Murray in eastern Australia, the Murray River in Western Australia and Murray House in Hong Kong are named after him. The city of Perth, Western Australia was named in his honour after his parliamentary constituency Perthshire.[4]

References[edit]

  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832–1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Drummond
Member of Parliament for Perthshire
1824–1832
Succeeded by
The Earl of Ormelie
Preceded by
The Earl of Ormelie
Member of Parliament for Perthshire
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Hon. Fox Maule
Military offices
New regiment Colonel of the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot
1817–1823
Battalion disbanded
Preceded by
The Lord Hill
Colonel of the 72nd Regiment of Foot
1817–1823
Succeeded by
Sir John Hope
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Hope
Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst
1819–1824
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Hope
Preceded by
The Earl of Hopetoun
Colonel of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot
1823–1843
Succeeded by
Sir John Macdonald
Preceded by
The Viscount Beresford
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
1824–1825
Succeeded by
Sir William Henry Clinton
Preceded by
The Viscount Combermere
Commander-in-Chief, Ireland
1825–1828
Succeeded by
Sir John Byng
Preceded by
The Lord Lynedoch
Colonel of the 1st, or The Royal Regiment of Foot
1843–1846
Succeeded by
Sir James Kempt
Political offices
Preceded by
William Huskisson
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
1828–1830
Succeeded by
The Viscount Goderich
Preceded by
Sir James Kempt
Master-General of the Ordnance
1834–1835
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Hussey Vivian, Bt
Preceded by
Sir Hussey Vivian, Bt
Master-General of the Ordnance
1841–1846
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Anglesey