Lynedoch, Thomas Graham, 1st Baron
LYNEDOCH, THOMAS GRAHAM, 1ST BARON (1748-1843), British general, was the son of Thomas Graeme, laird of Balgowan, and was born on the igth of October 1748. He was educated by private tutors, among whom was James Macpherson (q.v.), and was a gentleman commoner of Christ Church, Oxford, between 1766 and 1768. He then travelled on the continent of Europe, and in 1772 unsuccessfully contested a parliamentary seat in Perthshire. In 1774 he married a daughter of the ninth Lord Cathcart, and took a house in the Leicestershire hunting country. After a few years, owing to the state of his wife's health, Graham was compelled to live mainly in the south of Europe, though while at home he was a prominent sportsman and agriculturist. In 1787 he bought the small estate of Lynedoch or Lednock, a few miles from Perth. In 1791 his wife died in the Mediterranean, off Hyeres. Graham tried to find distraction in renewed travels, and during his wanderings fell in with Lord Hood's fleet on its way to Toulon. He joined it as a volunteer, served on Lord Mulgrave's staff during the British occupation of Toulon, and returned, after the failure of the expedition, to Scotland, where he organized a regiment of infantry, the goth Foot, Perthshire Volunteers (now 2nd Battalion Scottish Rifles). Graham's men were the first regiment in the army to be equipped and trained wholly as light infantry, though they were not officially recognized as such for many years. In the same year (1794) Graham became member of parliament, in the Whig interest, for the county of Perth. He saw some active service in 1795 in " conjunct expeditions " of the army and navy, and in 1796, being then a brevet colonel, he was appointed British commissioner at the headquarters of the Austrian army in Italy. He took part in the operations against Napoleon Bonaparte, was shut up in Mantua with WUrmser's army, escaped in disguise, and after many adventures reached the relieving army of Alvinzi just before the battle of Rivoli. On returning to his regiment he served in more " conjunct " expeditions, in one of which, at Messina, he co-operated with Nelson, and in 1799 he was sent as brigadier-general to invest the fortress of Valetta, Malta. He blockaded the place for two years, and though Major-General Pigot arrived shortly before the close of the blockade and assumed command, the conquest of Malta stands almost wholly to the credit of Graham and his naval colleague Sir Alexander Ball. In 1801 Graham proceeded to Egypt, where his regiment was engaged in Abercromby's expedition, but arrived too late to take part in any fighting. He took the opportunity afforded by the peace of Amiens to visit Turkey, Austria, Germany and France, and only resumed command of his regiment in 1804. When the latter was ordered to the West Indies he devoted himself to his duties as a member of parliament. He sat for Perthshire until 1807, when he was defeated, as he was again in 1812. Graham was with Moore in Sweden in 1808 and in Spain 1808-1809, an d was present at his death at the battle of Corunna. In 1809 he became a major-general, and after taking part in the disastrous Walcheren expedition he was promoted lieutenant-general and sent to Cadiz (1810).
In 1811, acting in conjunction with the Spanish army under General la Pefia (see PENINSULAR WAR), he took the offensive, and won the brilliant action of Barossa (sth of March). The victory was made barren of result by the timidity of the Spanish generals. The latter nevertheless claimed more than their share of the credit, and Graham answered them with spirit. One of the Spanish officers he called out, fought and disarmed, and after refusing with contempt the offer of a Spanish dukedom, he resigned his command in the south and joined Wellington in Portugal. His seniority as lieutenant-general made him second in command of Wellington's army. He took part in the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, and commanded a wing of the army in the siege of Badajoz and the advance to Salamanca. In July 1812, his eyesight becoming seriously impaired, he went home, but rejoined in time to lead the detached wing of the army in the wideranging manoeuvre which culminated in the battle of Vittoria. Graham was next entrusted with the investment and siege of San Sebastian, which after a desperate defence fell on the 9th of September 1813. He then went home, but in 1814 accepted the command of a corps to be despatched against Antwerp. His assault on Bergen op Zoom was, however, disastrously repulsed (3rd of February 1814).
At the peace Graham retired from active military employment. He was created Baron Lynedoch of Balgowan in the peerage of the United Kingdom, but refused the offered pension of 2000 a year. In 1813 he proposed the formation of a military club in London, and though Lord St Vincent considered such an assemblage of officers to be unconstitutional, Wellington supported it and the officers of the army and navy at large received the idea with enthusiasm. Lynedoch's portrait, by Sir T. Lawrence, is in possession of this club, the (Senior) United Service. In his latter years he resumed the habits of his youth, travelling all over Europe, hunting with the Pytchley so long as he was able to sit his horse, actively concerned hi politics and voting consistently for liberal measures. At the age of ninetytwo he hastened from Switzerland to Edinburgh to receive Queen Victoria when she visited Scotland after her marriage. He died in London on the 18th of December 1843. He had been made a full general in 1821, and at the time of his death was a G.C.B., Colonel of the 1st (Royal Scots) regiment, and governor of Dumbarton Castle.
See biographies by John Murray Graham (2nd ed., Edinburgh, 1877) and Captain A. M. Delavoye (London, 1880); also the latter's History of the goth (Perthshire Volunteers) (London, 1880), Philipparts' Royal Military Calendar (1820), ii. 147, and Gentleman's Magazine, new series, xxi. 197.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)