Field Marshall Sir Colin Campbell

(Lord Clyde)

1792 - 1863

Statue of Field Marshall Lord Clyde, George Square, Glasgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Statue of Field Marshall Lord Clyde, George Square, Glasgow

Outstanding soldier. Born in Glasgow, Campbell was the son of a John McLiver, a carpenter from Mull. He was educated at the High School of Glasgow and the Military Academy (Gosport) at the expense of his maternal uncle, an army Colonel called John Campbell, who ensured his commission in the army in 1807. The young recruit adopted his uncle's surname.

He was seriously wounded twice in the campaigns of the Peninsular Wars (1808-14), having seen action at Corunna, Barossa, Vittoria and San Sebastian. He then spent a number of years in garrisons in Gibraltar, Barbados and at home in Britain, before being posted to China between 1836 and 1846, where he was promoted to Brigadier-General. Campbell then served with distinction in India taking part in the Second Sikh War (1848-9) and commanding the outpost at Peshawar. Despite his age, he took the Highland Brigade to the Crimea (1854) and was largely responsible for the victory at Alma. For this action he was widely honoured, including a knighthood and sword of honour presented by the city of Glasgow. On the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, the British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, offered Campbell command of the army in Indian, a position he enthusiastically accepted, leaving for the sub-continent with twenty-four hours of the offer being made! He organised the army and brought about the relief of Lucknow later in the same year. He was raised to the peerage in 1858 and promoted to the rank of Field Marshall on his return to Britain the following year.

Campbell is buried in Westminster Abbey (London). He is remembered for his personal bravery and, as a senior commander, for his cautious and considered prosecution of his various campaigns which saved the lives of many of his men.

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