Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, 1st Baronet

6 Aug 1830
30 Dec 1897
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Lieutenant General Sir Henry Marshman Havelock-Allan, 1st Baronet VC GCB DL (6 August 1830 – 30 December 1897) was an Indian-born British soldier and politician.

Havelock was born in Cawnpore, India, the son of Major General Sir Henry Havelock and his wife, Hannah née Marshman – herself the daughter of the missionaries Joshua Marshman and his wife Hannah.

He was 26 years old, and a lieutenant in the 10th Regiment of Foot during the Indian Mutiny when on 16 July 1857 at Cawnpore, the 64th Regiment had suffered badly under artillery fire. When the enemy was seen rallying their last 24-pounder, the order was given to advance, and Lieutenant Havelock immediately placed himself, on his horse, in front of the centre of the 64th, opposite the muzzle of the gun and moved on at a foot pace, in the face of shot and grape fired by the enemy. The advance went steadily on, led by the lieutenant and finally the gun was rushed and taken by the 64th. For this deed, Havelock was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 25 September 1857 he was badly wounded in the Siege of Lucknow.

On returning to England in 1860, he joined his regiment at Shorncliffe. He became deputy assistant adjutant-general at Aldershot on 1 October 1861. He was posted with his regiment to New Zealand in August 1863, where he was appointed deputy assistant quartermaster-general and served under Major-general Duncan Cameron from 1863 to 1864. He participated in the Invasion of Waikato, being present at Rangiriri, Waiari, Paterangi, Rangiawhia, and at the siege and capture of Orakau. For his services during this period, he was Mentioned in dispatches, promoted to Major (28 June 1864), and was made a Companion of the Bath in August 1866.

In March 1867 he was posted to Canada, where he served as assistant quartermaster-general for two years. He then spent three years in Dublin performing the same role. In 1870 he was given leave of absence to act as a War correspondent in the Franco-Prussian War, being present at the Battle of Sedan. In 1877, he attended the Russo-Turkish War in the same capacity. He was promoted to Colonel on 17 June 1868, and Major-general on 18 March 1878.

Ill health forced him to retire from the active list on 9 December 1881, with the honorary rank of Lieutenant-general. However, when the Anglo-Egyptian War broke out the following year, he made his way to the British headquarters in Ismaïlia telling a war correspondent “Don’t for goodness’ sake mention me in your despatches, for my wife thinks I’m somewhere on the Riviera, but I could not resist coming here to see the fun.”He petitioned British commander Sir Garnet Wolseley for a role on the staff; but Wolseley refused, writing to his wife:

Havelock is still here as mad as ever: I received a letter from him yesterday, begging to have it sent home as it was a request to be re-employed, etc. etc., in his usual strain. I am extremely sorry for him, and feel for him very much, but still feel that he can never be employed again: he is not sane enough to argue with.

Nonetheless, he was able to see action at the battles of Kassassin and Tel el-Kebir, where he supposedly led a charge armed with nothing but a riding crop.

In 1858 he was granted the baronetcy originally intended for his father (who died a year earlier) and he and his mother were granted a parliamentary pension of £1,000 a year. He later went to England and became an MP in 1874 for his father’s birth-town of Sunderland until 1881. He inherited Blackwell Grange, the former property of his cousin Robert Allan, changed his surname to Havelock-Allan (as was required by the will of the latter) and became an MP for South East Durham from 1885 to 1892.

He was re-elected in 1895 and also became colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment, stationed in India, that year. It was there that he was killed by Afridi clansmen on the Afghanistan side of the Khyber Pass in 1897 and he was later buried in Rawalpindi.

In 1867, Havelock published his Three Main Military Questions of the Day, which addressed the issues of a Home Reserve Army, improved economic military tenure of India and the effects of breechloading arms on cavalry.

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