George Williams (British politician)

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Lieutenant-Colonel George Williams (1765 – 19 December 1850) was a British army officer and Liberal politician. Although Williams was of Welsh descent, he was born in St Johns, Newfoundland, where his father was lord chief justice of the province.

Military career[edit]

When General John Burgoyne launched the Saratoga Campaign in 1777, Williams joined the army as a twelve-year-old volunteer. He was granted a commission as an ensign in the 62nd Regiment of Foot, replacing an officer mortally wounded at the Battle of Freeman's Farm. He was briefly a prisoner of war before returning with his regiment to England. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1782.

After studying at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he exchanged his commission in the 62nd Foot with one in the 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot in 1785. The regiment spent two years in the West Indies, taking part in the Second Maroon War. Williams left the army in 1800 with the rank of major.

Williams retired to Little Woolton near Liverpool, having married Mrs James, a widow. With the threat of an invasion by French forces, he helped organise the merchants and tradesmen into a local defence unit, The Liverpool Volunteers. He became the commanding officer of the volunteers with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In common with other such units, the Liverpool volunteers were disbanded at the Peace of Amiens in 1802.

Political career[edit]

In retirement, Williams adopted the life of a country gentleman, and was appointed as a justice of the peace. He was an active member of the Liberal Party, and supported the election of William Roscoe as member of parliament for Liverpool in 1806.

Following the enactment of the Reform Act 1832, Williams was approached by the electors for the newly enfranchised parliamentary borough of Ashton-under-Lyne to stand as Liberal candidate. He accepted the nomination, and was elected as MP at the 1832 general election. He stood down at the next election in 1835.

Colonel George williams died at his Woolton home, aged 85.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne
Succeeded by
Charles Hindley