John Michel

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For the science fiction author, see John B. Michel.
For other people named John Michel, see John Michel (disambiguation).
Sir John Michel
John-michel-by-william-notman.jpg
Sir John Michel
Born (1804-09-01)1 September 1804
Dewlish House, Dorset
Died 23 May 1886(1886-05-23) (aged 81)
Dewlish House , Dorset
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1823–1880
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held 6th Regiment of Foot
Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong
Ireland
Battles/wars Eighth Xhosa War
Crimean War
Indian Mutiny
Second Opium War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Field Marshal Sir John Michel GCB, PC (1 September 1804 – 23 May 1886) was a British Army officer. He commanded the 6th Regiment of Foot during the Eighth Xhosa War in 1851 and served as Chief of Staff of the British Army's Turkish contingent during the Crimean War in 1854 before transferring to India where he commanded the Malwa Field Force which pursued Tatya Tope in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny. He then commanded the 1st Division at the Battle of Taku Forts in August 1860 during the Second Opium War and took part in the burning of the Old Summer Palace at Peking in October 1860 as a reprisal for the torture and murder of British prisoners before being appointed Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong in 1861. He later commanded of the forces in British North America playing a key role in the organization of the militia volunteers in resistance to the Fenian raids invasions in 1866. His last appointment was as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland in 1875.

Military career[edit]

Born the son of Lieutenant-General John Michel and Anne Michel (née Fane),[1] Michel was educated at Eton College and commissioned into the 57th Regiment of Foot on 3 April 1823.[2] He transferred to the 27th Regiment of Foot a few months later, then to the 60th Regiment of Foot on 6 November 1823[3] and then to the 64th Regiment of Foot in Gibraltar on 24 November 1823.[4] He was promoted to lieutenant on 28 April 1825,[5] to captain in an unattached company on 12 December 1826[6] and to captain the 64th Foot on 15 February 1827.[7]

Michel attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1832 passing out as a staff officer the following year.[2] He returned to the 64th Foot before transferring to the 3rd Regiment of Foot in Bengal on 20 February 1835[8] and becoming Aide-de-Camp to General Sir Henry Fane there later that year.[2] Promoted to major in the 6th Regiment of Foot on 6 March 1840,[9] he became Commanding Officer of the 6th Foot with the rank of lieutenant colonel on 15 April 1842.[10]

Michel was deployed to South Africa in 1847 where he commanded his Regiment at the Battle of Waterkloof in March 1851 and the Battle of Mount Chaco in December 1851 during the Eighth Xhosa War.[1] Promoted to brevet colonel on 20 June 1854,[11] he became an Inspecting Field Officer for the recruiting districts on 1 October 1854[12] and then Chief of Staff of the British Army's Turkish contingent serving in the Crimean War with the local rank of major-general on 27 March 1855.[13] After returning to South Africa again with the local rank of major-general on 24 July 1856[14] to deal with attacks by the cattle-killing movement, he was transferred to India with the local rank of major-general on 7 August 1857[15] and commanded the Malwa Field Force which pursued Tatya Tope in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny.[16] He was promoted to the substantive rank of major-general on 26 October 1858.[17]

Michel became Commander of the 1st Division and fought at the Battle of Taku Forts in August 1860 during the Second Opium War.[16] He took part in the burning of the Old Summer Palace at Peking in October 1860 as a reprisal for the torture and murder of British prisoners before being appointed Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong in 1861.[16]

Michel was placed in the command of the forces in British North America with the local rank of lieutenant-general on 25 April 1865,[18] succeeding Lieutenant-General Sir William Williams.[1] In this capacity, Michel played a key role in the organization of the militia volunteers in resistance to the Fenian raids invasions in 1866.[1] He was also a strong supporter of the OttawaFrench River navigation route advocated by Casimir Gzowski.[1] Promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-general on 25 June 1866[19] and to full general on 28 March 1874,[20] he became the Commander-in-Chief, Ireland in 1875; in this capacity his social skills and ample means made him very popular.[16] He returned from Ireland on 1 October 1880.[21] He also became colonel of the 86th Regiment of Foot (later the 2nd Battalion the Royal Irish Rifles).[22]

Promoted to field marshal on 27 March 1886,[23] Michel retired[24] to Dewlish House in Dorset where he died on 23 May 1886.[16]

The Taku Forts, just after the battle

Honours[edit]

Michel's honours included:

Family[edit]

In May 1838 Michel married Louise Anne Churchill and together they went on to have two sons and three daughters.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "John Michel". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 207
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17975. p. 1912. 15 November 1823. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 17979. p. 1990. 29 November 1823. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18137. p. 835. 14 May 1825. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18313. p. 2924. 12 December 1826. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18343. p. 596. 13 March 1827. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 19242. p. 310. 20 February 1835. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 19833. p. 555. 6 March 1840. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 20091. p. 1047. 15 April 1842. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21564. p. 1934. 22 June 1854. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21594. p. 2836. 15 September 1854. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21699. p. 1575. 24 April 1855. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21911. p. 2747. 8 August 1856. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22041. p. 3144. 18 September 1857. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  16. ^ a b c d e Heathcote, p. 208
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22194. p. 4578. 26 October 1858. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22961. p. 2188. 25 April 1865. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23139. p. 4040. 17 July 1866. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24090. p. 2298. 28 April 1874. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24876. p. 4627. 24 August 1880. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22658. p. 4306. 2 September 1862. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25572. p. 1468. 26 March 1886. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24892. p. 5288. 15 October 1880. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 23739. p. 2473. 20 May 1871. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22241. p. 1214. 22 March 1859. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: no. 21509. p. 44. 6 January 1854. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22107. p. 1268. 2 March 1858. Retrieved 16 November 2013.

Sources[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals, 1736–1997: A Biographical Dictionary. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Grant
Commander of British Troops in China and Hong Kong
1861–1862
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Staveley
Preceded by
Lord Sandhurst
Commander-in-Chief, Ireland
1875–1880
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Steele