William Adair

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For the Cherokee leader in the American Civil War, see William Penn Adair.
Sir William Adair
Born (1850-06-21)21 June 1850
Died 29 December 1931(1931-12-29) (aged 81)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch RoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines
Years of service 1867–c.1911
Rank General
Battles/wars Second Boer War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Relations Admiral Charles Henry Adair (brother)

General Sir William Thompson Adair KCB (21 June 1850 – 29 December 1931) was a Royal Marines officer and Ulster Unionist.[1]


Educated at Cheltenham College, he entered the Royal Marine Light Infantry as a lieutenant on 6 December 1867, and was promoted to captain on 1 July 1881. He received the brevet rank of major on 6 December 1888, the substantive rank of major on 3 May 1889, the brevet rank of lieutenant colonel on 6 December 1895, and the substantive rank of lieutenant colonel on 7 February 1896. In early February 1900 he embarked the SS Canada leaving Southampton for South Africa, where he was to serve in the Second Boer War.[2] He received the brevet rank of colonel on 7 February 1900,[3] and was appointed Assistant Adjutant General on 1 November 1900. Following his return to the United Kingdom, he was promoted colonel second commandant of the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 30 January 1902.[4] He became Deputy Adjutant-General Royal Marines (the professional head of the Royal Marines) June 1907 before retiring in June 1911.[1]

Adair played a prominent role in the Ulster Unionist Party and was commander of the Antrim Ulster Volunteer Force. In 1914, he took charge of the landing and dispersal of guns during the Larne gun-running.[1]


  1. ^ a b c DJ Hickey & JE Doherty (2003). A New Dictionary of Irish History from 1800. Gill & Macmillan, Dublin. p. 4. 
  2. ^ "The War – Embarcation of Troops". The Times (36057). London. 5 February 1900. p. 10. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27165. p. 1078. 16 February 1900.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27402. p. 647. 31 January 1902.


  • D.J.Hickey & J.E.Doherty. A Dictionary of Irish History. Gill & MacMillan. Ireland 1980. p3 ISBN 0-7171-1567-4
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Wright
Deputy Adjutant-General Royal Marines
Succeeded by
Sir William Nicholls