Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thompson, Henry Langhorne

THOMPSON, HENRY LANGHORNE (1829–1856), soldier, born at the cottage, Clumber Park, on 21 Sept. 1829, was the son of Jonathan Thompson of Sherwood Hall, Nottinghamshire, receiver-general of crown rents for the northern counties, by his wife Anne, daughter of Ralph Smyth, colonel in the royal artillery. He was educated at Eton, and on 20 Dec. 1845 received the commission of ensign in the East Indian army. On 20 Aug. 1846 he was appointed to the 68th Bengal native infantry, and on 12 Feb. 1850 was promoted lieutenant. He took part in the second Burmese war in 1852 and 1853, receiving a wound which necessitated his return to England. For his services he received the Pegu medal. In 1854 he volunteered in the Turkish army, received the rank of major, and, after visiting the Crimea, proceeded to Kars, where he arrived in March 1855. Under the command of Colonel Williams (afterwards Sir William Fenwick Williams) [q. v.], he gave important assistance in strengthening the fortifications. He distinguished himself in repelling the Russian assault on 29 Sept., crushing the Russian columns by his fire from Arab Tabia. His bravery won the admiration of the besiegers, and, on the surrender of Kars in November, Mouravieff, the Russian commander, returned him his sword. On 9 Nov. he was appointed captain unattached in the British army; on 7 Feb. 1856 he received the third class of the Turkish order of Medijie; and on 10 May was nominated an honorary C.B. He died unmarried at 70 Gloucester Street, Belgrave Road, on 13 June 1856, immediately after his return from Russia, where he had been detained a prisoner of war. He was buried in Brompton cemetery. A mural tablet was erected to his memory in St. Paul's Cathedral by public subscription. His letters, which give an interesting account of the siege of Kars, were published in Lake's ‘Kars and our Captivity in Russia’ (2nd ed. 1856).

[Lake's Defence of Kars, 1857; Sandwith's Siege of Kars, 3rd ed. 1856; Smith's Military Obituary, 1856; Times, 14 June 1856; Gent. Mag. 1856, ii. 118; Annual Register, 1856; Chronicle, p. 255; Illustrated London News, 21 June 1856; information kindly given by B. H. Soulsby, esq. (Thompson's nephew).]

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