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White, Sir George Stuart

WHITE, SIR GEORGE STUART (1835- ), British field marshal, the son of an Irish country gentleman, was born in County Antrim on the 6th of July 1835. He was educated at Sandhurst, and in 1853 joined the Inniskillings, with which regiment he served in India during the Mutiny in 1857. In the second Afghan War (1878-80) he was second in command of the Gordon Highlanders, whom he led in their charge at the battle of Charasiah. For conspicuous gallantry in this action, and again shortly afterwards at Kandahar, he received the Victoria Cross. In 1 88 1 he assumed command of the Gordon Highlanders, and took part in the Nile Expedition of 1884-85. As brigadier in the Burmese War (1885-87) he rendered distinguished service, for which he was promoted major-general; and when Sir Frederick (afterwards Lord) Roberts returned to India from Burma in 1887, White was left in command of the force charged with the duty of suppressing the dacoits and pacifying the country. This he accomplished with a thoroughness which earned the thanks of the government of India. He was in command of the Zhob expedition in 1890, and in 1893 he succeeded Lord Roberts as commander-in-chief in India; and during his tenure of this office directed the conduct of the Chitral expedition in 1895 and the Tirah campaign in 1897. In the latter year he was made G.C.B. and in 1898 G.C.S.I. Returning to England in 1898 he became quartermaster-general to the forces; and on the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899 he was given command of the forces in Natal. He defeated the Boers at Elandslaagte on the 21st of October 1899 and at Reitfontein on the 24th; but the superior numbers of the Boers enabled them to invest Ladysmith, which Sir George White defended in a siege lasting 119 days, from the 2nd of November 1899 to the 1st of March 1000, in the course of which he refused to entertain Sir Redvers Buller's suggestion that he should arrange terms of capitulation with the enemy (see LADYSMITH, SIEGE and RELIEF of). After the relief of Ladysmith, White, whose health had been impaired by the siege, returned to England, and was appointed governor of Gibraltar (1900-1904). King Edward VII., who visited the fortress in 1003, personally gave him the baton of a field maishal. In 1905 Sir George White was appointed governor of Chelsea Hospital, and in the same year was decorated with the Order of Merit.

See T. F. G. Coates, Sir George White (1900).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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