Stringer Lawrence

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Stringer Lawrence
StringerLawrenceByGainsborough.jpg
Born 6 March 1697
Hereford, England
Died 10 January 1775
London, Kingdom of Great Britain
Allegiance  Great Britain
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1727–1766
Rank Major-General
Unit British East India Company
Commands held India
Battles/wars Jacobite Rising
First Carnatic War
Second Carnatic War
Third Carnatic War

Major-General Stringer Lawrence (6 March 1697 – 10 January 1775) was an English soldier, the first Commander-in-Chief, India, sometimes regarded as the "Father of the Indian Army".[1]

Lawrence was born at Hereford. He seems to have entered the army in 1727 and served in Gibraltar and Flanders, subsequently taking part in the battle of Culloden. In 1748, with the rank of major and the reputation of an experienced soldier, he went out to India to command the East India Company's troops. Dupleix's schemes for the French conquest of southern India were on the point of taking effect, and not long after his arrival at Fort St David, Stringer Lawrence was actively engaged. He successfully foiled an attempted French surprise at Cuddalore, but subsequently was captured by a French cavalry patrol at Ariancopang (Ariankuppam) while leading forces advancing on Pondicherry (which was then besieged by Admiral Edward Boscawen), and kept prisoner till the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.

In 1749 he was in command at the capture of Devicota. On this occasion Clive served under him and a lifelong friendship began. On one occasion, when Clive had become famous, he honored the creator of the Indian army by refusing to accept a sword of honour unless one was voted to Lawrence also.

In 1750 Lawrence returned to England, but in 1752 he was back in India. Here he found Clive in command of a force intended for the relief of Trichinopoly. As senior officer Lawrence took over the command, but was careful to allow Clive every credit for his share in the subsequent operations, which included the relief of Trichinopoly and the surrender of the entire French besieging force. In 1752 with an inferior force he defeated the French at Bahur (Behoor) and in 1753 again relieved Trichinopoly. For the next seventeen months he fought a series of actions in defence of this place, finally arranging a three months' armistice, which was afterwards converted into a conditional treaty. He had commanded in chief up to the arrival of the first detachment of regular forces of the crown.

In 1757 he served in the operations against Wandiwash, and in 1758-1759 was in command of Fort St George during the siege by the French under Lally. In 1759 failing health compelled him to return to England. He resumed his command in 1761 as major-general and commander-in-chief. Clive supplemented his old friend's inconsiderable income by settling on him an annuity of £500 a year. In 1765 he presided over the board charged with arranging the reorganization of the Madras army and he finally retired the following year. He died in London. The East India Company erected a monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey. A statue of him, dressed in classical Roman Army uniform, stands in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Haldon Belvedere (Lawrence Castle) built to his memory by the Palk family was erected on Haldon Hill, near Exeter, Devon.[2] There is also a memorial to him in nearby Dunchideock church.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stringer Lawrence, Father of the Indian Army
  2. ^ "Haldon Belvedere - Home Page". www.haldonbelvedere.co.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2009. 

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Further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
New
Commander-in-Chief, India
1748–1754
Succeeded by
John Adlercron