George Thomas Napier

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George Napier

George Thomas Napier.jpg
Birth nameGeorge Thomas Napier
Born(1784-06-30)30 June 1784
Died16 September 1855(1855-09-16) (aged 71)
Geneva, Switzerland
Allegiance United Kingdom
BranchBritish Army
RankLieutenant general
WarsPeninsular War

Sir George Thomas Napier KCB (30 June 1784 – 16 September 1855) was a British Army officer who saw service in the Peninsular War and later commanded the army of the Cape Colony.


He entered the British army in 1800, and served with distinction under Sir John Moore and the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula—losing his right arm at the 1812 storming of Ciudad Rodrigo, where, as a major in the 52nd Foot, he led the Light Division's storming party.[1]

He became major-general in 1837, KCB in 1838 and lieutenant-general in 1846. He was governor and Commander-In-Chief of the army in the Cape Colony from 1839 to 1843, during which time the abolition of slavery and the expulsion of the Boers from Natal were the chief events. He was offered, but declined, the chief command in India after the Battle of Chillianwalla, and also that of the Sardinian army in 1849. He became full general in 1854. He died at Geneva, Switzerland on 16 September 1855, aged 71.

His autobiography, Passages in the Early Military Life of General Sir G.T. Napier, was published by his surviving son, General William Craig Emilius Napier (the author of an important work on outpost duty) in 1885.

The town of Napier, Western Cape, and also Napier House at Fairbairn College, Goodwood, Cape Town, are named after Sir George Thomas Napier.



  1. ^ Glover, Michael; (1974) The Peninsular War 1807–1814: A Concise Military History, UK: David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-6387-5, pp. 180-181
Government offices
Preceded by
Benjamin d'Urban
Governor of the Cape Colony
Succeeded by
Sir Peregrine Maitland

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Napier, Sir William Francis Patrick". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 175–177.