Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Romaine, William Govett

ROMAINE, WILLIAM GOVETT (1815–1893), comptroller-general in Egypt, second son of Robert Govett Romaine, vicar of Staines, Middlesex, was born in 1815, and graduated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1837, M.A. 1859). He was entered at the Inner Temple, 9 Nov. 1834, and was called to the bar 25 Jan. 1839. After practising in the courts, he was appointed in 1854, on the outbreak of the Crimean war, deputy judge-advocate of the army in the east, and there distinguished himself in many capacities. At the close of the battle of the Alma, he voluntarily undertook the humane work of attending to the Russian wounded who had been left neglected on the field of battle. Adventurous, fond of travel, a keen observer, high-spirited, and zealous in all he undertook, Romaine often proved himself exceedingly useful to Lord Raglan. The latter called him ‘the eye of the army,’ in reference to the long sight with which he was gifted, and it was owing to his wise counsel that the Crimean army fund was set on foot. In appreciation of his services he was made a companion of the Bath in 1857. At the general election of March 1857 he unsuccessfully contested the representation in parliament of Chatham. Next month he was made second secretary to the admiralty. In June 1869 he became judge-advocate-general in India, where he remained until 1873. In 1876 the foreign office recommended Romaine to Ismail Pacha as member of the Egyptian Conseil du Trésor. Of that body he afterwards became president, and eventually under the Joint Control he acted as English comptroller-general of finances until he retired from public life in 1879. Romaine died at Old Windsor, 5 May 1893, at the age of seventy-six. He married, in 1861, Frances, daughter of Henry Tennant of Cadoxton Lodge, Glamorganshire.

[Foster's Men at the Bar; Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea; McCalmont's Parliamentary Poll Book; Annual Register; Obituary Notices in the Times and Guardian.]

W. R. W.