Richard Harrison (British Army officer)

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Sir Richard Harrison
Born 26 May 1837
Died 25 September 1931
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank General
Commands held Western District
Battles/wars Crimean War
Indian Mutiny
Second Opium War
Anglo-Zulu War
First Boer War
1882 Anglo-Egyptian War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

General Sir Richard Harrison GCB, CMG, DL (26 May 1837 – 25 September 1931)[1] was a British soldier and engineer.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Essex, he was the second son of Benjamin John Harrison and his wife Emily, daughter of Richard Hall.[2] Harrison was educated at Harrow School.[2] In 1870, he married Amy, the daughter of J. Doyle O'Brien and had by her a son and three daughters.[3] Harrison died at Glampton, near Brixham in 1931, aged 94.[1]

Military career[edit]

Early years[edit]

He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and became a lieutenant in 1855.[1] Harrison fought at Scutari during the Crimean War in 1856.[4] During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he took part in the Siege of Lucknow and in the following year, he went into the regions of Rohilkhand and Awadh.[4] Thereafter Harrison was sent to China, taking part in the Second Opium War, where he was present in the Battle of Taku Forts (1860) and its following capture.[4] He was advanced to 2nd captain in 1862 and after two years to major.[3] In 1877, he won a gold medal by the Engineers for an essay he had written.[3]

First commandos[edit]

When in 1879 the Anglo-Zulu War broke out, Harrison was attached to the troops in the Cape Colony and fought in the Battle of Ulundi.[3] Already in the next year the British efforts to bring Southern Africa under its control, led to the First Boer War, during which he had command of a British contingent in Transvaal.[4] Harrison served as assistant adjutant general in the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War and joined the Battle of Tel el-Kebir, after which he awarded a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.[3] Two years later, he accompanied the Nile Expedition, serving as colonel of its staff.[3] Back in England, Harrison became Chief Royal Engineer of the Southeastern District in 1886 and of Aldershot Command in the next year.[3] He was promoted to major-general in 1888 and was appointed a governor of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in the subsequent year[3] on whose occasion Harrison was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[5]

Later years[edit]

In 1890, he obtained the command of the Western District and was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1893.[6] Harrison left this post in 1895 and was made a full general.[7] After another two years, he became Quartermaster-General to the Forces[8] and in 1898 was named Inspector-General of Fortifications.[9] In December of the latter year, he was invested a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[10] Harrison was nominated Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers on the death of his predecessor in March 1903[11] and was further honoured with the Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in June.[12] He was granted an honorary colonelship of the Devon Royal Garrison Artillery Militia in 1906[13] and of the Devon Royal Field Reserve Artillery in June 1908.[14] In December he received the same rank of the South Midland Divisional Engineers[15] and additionally of the Devonshire (Fortress) Royal Engineers in 1909.[16] Harrison was selected a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Devon in 1921.[17] He was decorated with the Order of Osmanieh.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Crimea Veteran dead". The Straits Times. 29 October 1931. p. 18. 
  2. ^ a b c Walford, Edward (1919). The County Families of the United Kingdom. London: Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co. Ltd. p. 620. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Who is Who 1926. London: Adam & Charles Black Ltd. 1926. p. 1291. 
  4. ^ a b c d Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1929). Armorial Families. vol. I. London: Hurst & Blackett. pp. 886–887. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25939. p. 2873. 25 May 1889. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26393. p. 2293. 18 April 1893. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26622. p. 2632. 7 May 1895. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26906. p. 5995. 2 November 1897. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26961. p. 2592. 26 April 1898. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27032. p. 8045. 13 December 1898. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27550. p. 2923. 8 May 1903. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27568. p. 4009. 23 June 1903. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27971. p. 8301. 27 November 1906. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28205. p. 9561. 15 December 1908. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28202. p. 9296. 4 December 1908. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28225. p. 1313. 19 February 1909. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32193. p. 376. 14 January 1921. Retrieved 15 December 2009.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Evelyn Wood
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir George White
Preceded by
Sir Robert Grant
Inspector-General of Fortifications
Succeeded by
William Terence Shone
Preceded by
Richard Dyott[disambiguation needed]
Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers
Succeeded by
Sir Hubert Livingstone