Item Ref:  BSL - Duke of Cambridge Appt 1862
Commander-in Chief Prince George Signs the Appointment
 of Major General William Reece, Esquire, C.B.


Field Marshall Prince George's
Equestrian Statue on Whitehall

Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
 (March 1819 – March 1904)
Served as General Commanding-in-Chief
from 1856 - 1895
Field Marshall November 1862 to 1895

Longest Serving Commander-in Chief
of the British Army

George - Duke of Cambridge

A Strong Bold Signature of Prince "George", Duke of Cambridge, as the General Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, here seen signing the Appointment of William Reece, Esquire, C. B. as a "Colonel in Our Army from the Thirteenth of July 1858". Also signing, on behalf of the War Office, is General, The Right Honourable, Sir Edward Lugard, G.C.B.

Prince George, Duke of Cambridge was a member of the British Royal Family, a male-line grandson of King George III. The Duke was an Army officer and served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army from 1856 to 1895. He became Duke of Cambridge in 1850.

Biographical Note

Prince George was born at Cambridge House in Hanover, Germany. His father was Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the 10th child and 7th son of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He succeeded to his father's titles of Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, and Baron Culloden in 1850.

George was educated in Hanover and embarked upon a military career. In November 1837, after he had served for a short time in the Hanoverian army, he received the rank of colonel in the British Army. He was attached to the staff at Gibraltar from October 1838 to April 1839. After serving in Ireland with the 12th Royal Lancers (the Prince of Wales's), he was appointed colonel of the 17th Light Dragoons (now Lancers), in April 1842. From 1842 to 1845, he served as a colonel on the staff in the Ionian islands.

The Duke of Cambridge became inspector of the cavalry in 1852. He held that post until 1854, when, upon the outbreak of the Crimean War, he received command of the 1st Division (Guards and Highland brigades) of the British army in the East. In June 1854, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. He was present at the battles of the Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman, and at the siege of Sevastopol. On 5 July 1856, the Duke was appointed general commanding-in-chief of the British Army; a post that was retitled commander-in-chief of the forces by Letters Patent in 1887. In that capacity he served as the chief military advisor to the Secretary of State for War, with responsibility for the administration of the army and the command of forces in the field. However, the commander-in-chief was not subordinate to the Secretary of State. He was promoted of the rank of Field Marshal on 9 November 1862.

The Duke of Cambridge was the longest serving head of the British Army, serving as commander-in-chief for 39 years. Although he was deeply concerned about the welfare of soldiers, he earned a reputation for being resistant to doctrinal change and for making promotions based upon an officer's social standing, rather than his merit. Under his command, the British Army became a moribund and stagnant institution, lagging far behind its continental counterparts. In the late 19th century, whereas 50 per cent of all military literature was written in Germany and 25 per cent in France, just one per cent came from Britain. It is said that he rebuked one of his more intelligent subordinates with the words: "Brains? I don't believe in brains! You haven't any, I know, Sir!" He was equally forthright on his reluctance to adopt change: "There is a time for everything, and the time for change is when you can no longer help it."  With George's death in 1904, the 1801 creation of the dukedom of Cambridge became extinct.


General The Rt. Hon Sir Edward Lugard G.C.B. 1810 - 1898
(Colonel the 31st Regiment 1862-1881)

Biographical Note

Born in 1810, the son of an Army Captain, Sir Edward took part in some of the greatest military endeavours of the 19th century. He served in the ultimately disastrous British invasion of Afghanistan and occupation of Kabul. Having survived that campaign, he became Assistant Adjutant General to the army which fought and defeated the Sikhs in the Sutlej campaign of 1845-1846. Despite being wounded at the Battle of Moodkee, he took part in the action at Aliwal only seven weeks later. In his despatch, the legendary Major General Sir Harry Smith described Lugard as “a cool, intrepid and trustworthy officer”. Promoted again, he was Adjutant General for the Punjab (1848-1849), then Deputy Adjutant General, Bombay (1854-1857)

In 1856 the British invaded Persia, and Sir Edward accompanied the expeditionary force as Chief of Staff to Major General Sir James Outram. Unlike the Kabul affair, it achieved its aims swiftly and with few losses. In 1857 Sir Edward returned to India to the appointment of Adjutant General. No sooner had he taken up this post than mutiny broke out in the Army of Bengal, an event recorded by British historians as the Great Sepoy Mutiny of 1857-1858. Sir Edward was given command of the 2nd Division of Infantry, and he led it in the fierce battles to rescue the garrison at Lucknow.

In 1859, after nearly three decades of warfare in the east, Lugard came home to a series of senior appointments in the War Office (including that of Under-Secretary for War, 1861-1871). It was during this time that he signed this Appointment. It was also in 1862 that he became Colonel of the 31st Regiment of Foot, so it was fitting that he should have been appointed to the same post for The East Surrey Regiment upon its formation in 1881. He had retired in the previous year to his home in Notting Hill, London, but continued to take an active role in the affairs of his old regiment’s successor until his death, still in command, in 1898. By then, he was eighty-eight years of age. His combined service as Colonel of the old 31st Regiment, and subsequently The East Surrey Regiment amounted to the remarkable total of thirty-six years. A memorial to Sir Edward is in All Saints Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames.

Document Specifications: Fine Royal Appointment, Signed by Prince "George", Duke of Cambridge as General Commanding-in-Chief of the British Army and Sir Edward Lugard as the Under Secretary for War. One page folio on thick stock paper measuring 16" wide x 12" tall (405mm x 303mm) and dated June 8th 1862. Embossed with the paper over wax Royal Seal and further embossed with a blue paper, cancel and cypher seal Revenue Stamp in the Amount of £1.10Sh. Very fine, dark signature of "George". Three normal vertical file folds as expected. Docketed on the reverse as well as a complementary Revenue Paper Stamp Seal.  A Very Fine example of a Royal Appointment Signed by HRH Prince "George", Longest Serving General Commanding-in-Chief of the British Army.

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. .................................  $ Listed on eBay

End of Item - BSL - Duke of Cambridge Appt 1862

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