Armstrong was a military man and became lieutenant-colonel of Philipps’ Regiment (later the 40th Foot). He arrived in the New World in 1711 as a ship-wreck victim along with troops headed to take Quebec. He and a contingent of men were dispatched to strengthen Annapolis Royal, in Nova Scotia. The garrison was impoverished and Armstrong spent until the appointment of Richard Philipps as governor in 1717, trying to improve their situation. In 1725, he was appointed lieutenant-governor.
His period as lieutenant-governor was marked by many difficulties and attempts to improve the lot of the colony. There was a mistrust and dislike between Armstrong and the governor and ongoing problems with the governor's brother-in-law, Major Alexander Cosby, who had a great deal of influence in the colonies of Nova Scotia.
Lieutenant-governor Armstrong committed suicide at Annapolis Royal, N.S to end his stormy, and often frustrating, career.
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