Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross - Encyclopedia

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SIR HEW DALRYMPLE ROSS (1779-1868), British soldier, entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1793, and passed out into the Royal Artillery two years later. With the Royal Horse Artillery he saw active service during the Irish rebellion of 1798, and after eleven years' service was promoted captain and appointed to command "A" troop R.H.A. (afterwards famous as the "Chestnut Troop"). In 1809 the troop landed at Lisbon and at once set out to join Wellington's army, reaching the front two days after Talavera. Ross's guns were attached to the Light Division, and, with Craufurd, took. part in the actions on the Coa and the battle of Busaco. When Massena began his famous retreat from the lines of Torres Vedras, Ross's troop was amongst the foremost in the pursuit; at Redinha and Pombal, at Sabugal and Fuentes d'Onor, the "Chestnuts" earned great distinction, and in December 1811 their commander received a brevet-majority for his services. He was present at Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, at the Salamanca forts and the battle of Salamanca, still attached to the Light Division. In the campaign of Vittoria, Ross's guns were continually with the most advanced troops, and after Vittoria they captured the only piece of artillery that remained to the defeated French. A further brevet-promotion and a good service reward came to Ross for his part in the campaign. At Vera in the Pyrenees Ross's troop was one of the three which played a decisive part in the action, and Vera remains a classical example of the action of horse artillery. "A" troop was engaged at St Pierre and Orthez, and at the conclusion of peace returned to England. It was engaged at Waterloo, and though half its guns were disabled the remainder took part in the pursuit of the French. Ross received, besides the Peninsular and Waterloo medals, the K.C.B., the Portuguese order of the Tower and Sword and the Russian St Anne. He had commanded the troop for nineteen years when he at last received a regimental lieutenant-colonelcy. As officer commanding Royal Artillery in the Northern District, with delegated command over all the forces of the four northern counties, Sir Hew Ross had for nearly sixteen years to deal with continually threatened civil disorder, and bore himself as well as on the field of battle. From 1840 to 1858, when he retired, he practically directed, in one post or another, all the artillery services of the British army, and when in 1854 the test of war came, the artillery took the field in a far better condition than the rest of Lord Raglan's army. Much of the present efficiency of the "Royal Regiment" is directly traceable to the influence of Sir Hew Ross, to whom it owes the institution of the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness and the establishment of the Royal Artillery Institution at Woolwich. Major-general in 1841 and lieut.-general in 1851, he became general in 1854, and died, a field-marshal and G.C.B., in 1868.

See Memoir of the R.A. Institution, 1871; and Duncan, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

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