Richard Dacres (British Army officer)

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Sir Richard James Dacres
Richard James Dacres.jpg
Sir Richard Dacres
Born 1799
Died 6 December 1886 (aged 86 or 87)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1817–1884
Rank Field Marshal
Battles/wars Battle of Alma
Battle of Balaclava
Battle of Inkerman
Siege of Sevastopol
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of Savoy
Commander of the Légion d'honneur
Second Class of the Order of Medjidie
Relations Richard Dacres (father)
Sydney Dacres (brother)
James Richard Dacres (uncle)
Barrington Dacres (cousin)
James Richard Dacres (cousin)

Field Marshal Sir Richard James Dacres, GCB (1799 – 6 December 1886) was a British Army officer during the nineteenth century. Born into a substantial naval dynasty, he would achieve similar status in the military, commanding three troops of Royal Horse Artillery at the Battles of Alma in September 1854, Balaclava in October 1854 and Inkerman in November 1854, and throughout the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War and eventually rising to the rank of field marshal.

Family and early life[edit]

Richard James was born in 1799, the son of Richard Dacres, who became a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy, and his wife Martha Phillips Milligan.[1][2] The Dacres had a long history of naval service, Sydney's uncle, James Richard Dacres, was a vice-admiral, while his cousins Barrington Dacres and James Richard Dacres would both serve in the navy, the former becoming a post-captain, the latter a vice-admiral.[3] His younger brother, Sydney Dacres, also had a naval career, eventually reaching the rank of Admiral, and serving as a First Naval Lord.[4] Richard James attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in 1815, and embarked on a career with the army when he joined the Royal Artillery as a second lieutenant on 15 December 1817.[2][5]


Dacres was promoted to first lieutenant on 29 August 1825,[5] and a second captain on 18 December 1837.[6] He transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery in 1843 and was promoted to major on 11 November 1851.[5][7] He became a lieutenant-colonel on 23 February 1852, and was appointed to command the three troops of Royal Horse Artillery sent to take part in the Crimean War.[5] He and his forces were attached to the cavalry, commanded by Lord Lucan.[5] Dacres commanded his forces at the Battles of Alma in September 1854, Balaclava in October 1854 and Inkerman in November 1854, and throughout the Siege of Sevastopol.[2][5] He was with the headquarters-staff at Balaclava, having his horse killed under him.[5] When Brigadier-General Fox-Strangways was killed in the battle, Dacres took over command of all the artillery in the Crimea, retaining the post until the end of the war.[5]

He was advanced to the local rank of colonel on 23 February 1855,[5] brigadier general on 30 March 1855,[8] and was promoted to major-general on 29 June that year.[5] He was created a Knight Commander of the Bath on 5 July 1855 for his services in the capture of artillery at Sevastopol,[9] as well as a Commander of the Order of Savoy, and a Commander of the Légion d'honneur.[2][10][11] He was also among the officers authorised to accept the appointment to the Second Class of the Order of Medjidie on 2 March 1858.[12] Dacres was appointed Commandant of the Woolwich district in May 1859, holding the position until 1865.[2][5]

Dacres was made colonel-commandant of the Royal Horse Artillery on 28 July 1864, and was promoted to lieutenant general on 10 December 1864.[5][13] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 2 June 1869.[14] He was retired from active service at the rank of colonel-commandant on 2 October 1877,[15] and was subsequently appointed to the position of Constable of the Tower on 27 July 1881,[5] a position he occupied when the tower was one of the London targets bombed on 24 January 1885 by Feinian terrorists, wounding several people and causing some damage by fire.[16] He became master gunner of England in 1882.[5] Dacres was made a field marshal in July 1886, but died at Brighton on 6 December 1886 at the age of 87.[5] He was succeeded as Constable of the Tower and Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets by The Lord Napier of Magdala on 6 January 1887.[17]

Family and personal life[edit]

Dacres married Frances Brooking Thomas, granddaughter of William Bevil Thomas, at St. John's, Newfoundland on 3 November 1840.[18]

The Battle of Alma, at which Dacres commanded the Royal Horse Artillery, during the Crimean War


  1. ^ Tracy. Who's who in Nelson's Navy. p. 109. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Dod (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, of Great Britain and Ireland. p. 202. 
  3. ^ Tracy. Who's who in Nelson's Navy. p. 108. 
  4. ^ Laughton. "Dacres, Sir Sydney Colpoys (1805–1884)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Dacres, Sir Richard James (1799–1886)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 1888. 
  6. ^ "No. 19577". The London Gazette. 9 January 1838. p. 56. 
  7. ^ "No. 21262". The London Gazette. 11 November 1851. p. 2970. 
  8. ^ "No. 21686". The London Gazette. 30 March 1855. p. 1278. 
  9. ^ "No. 21743". The London Gazette. 10 July 1855. p. 2654. 
  10. ^ "No. 21909". The London Gazette. 4 August 1856. p. 2701. 
  11. ^ "No. 21912". The London Gazette. 12 August 1856. p. 2781. 
  12. ^ "No. 22107". The London Gazette. 2 March 1858. p. 1251. 
  13. ^ "No. 22929". The London Gazette. 13 January 1865. p. 168. 
  14. ^ "No. 23503". The London Gazette. 2 June 1869. p. 2179. 
  15. ^ "No. 24508". The London Gazette. 2 October 1877. p. 5455. 
  16. ^ Melchiori. Terrorism in the Late Victorian Novel. p. 22. 
  17. ^ "No. 25662". The London Gazette. 2 October 100. p. 5455.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ The Annual Register of World Events. 1842. p. 146. 


Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir William Fenwick Williams, Bt
Constable of the Tower
Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets

Succeeded by
The Lord Napier of Magdala