Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whinyates, Edward Charles

WHINYATES, Sir EDWARD CHARLES (1782–1865), general, born on 6 May 1782, was third son of Major Thomas Whinyates (1755–1806) of Abbotsleigh, Devonshire, by Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Frankland, bart., of Thirkleby Park, Yorkshire. He was educated at Mr. Newcombe's school, Hackney, and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, which he entered as a cadet on 16 May 1796. He was commissioned as second lieutenant in the royal artillery on 1 March 1798, and became lieutenant on 2 Oct. 1799. He served in the expedition of that year to the Helder, and in the expedition to Madeira in 1801. When Madeira was evacuated at the peace of Amiens, he went with his company to Jamaica, and was made adjutant. On 8 July 1805 he was promoted second captain, and came home. He served as adjutant to the artillery in the attack on Copenhagen in 1807. In the following year he was posted to D troop of the horse artillery.

In February 1810 he embarked with it for the Peninsula, but the Camilla transport, on board of which he was, nearly foundered, and had to put back. Owing to this, D troop did not take the field as a unit till 1811; but Whinyates was present at Busaco on 27 Sept. 1810, and acted as adjutant to the officer commanding the artillery. He was at Albuera on 16 May 1811 with four guns, and there are letters of his describing this and subsequent actions (Whinyates, pp. 59 sq.). He and his troop took part in the cavalry affair at Usagre on 25 May, and in the actions at Fuentes de Guinaldo and Aldea de Ponte on 25 and 27 Sept.

In 1812 the troop was with Hill's corps on the Tagus; and at Ribera, on 24 July, Whinyates made such good use of two guns that the French commander Lallemand inquired his name, and sent him a message: ‘Tell that brave man that if it had not been for him, I should have beaten your cavalry’ (Whinyates, p. 63). The captain of D troop died at Madrid on 22 Oct., and for the next four months Whinyates was in command of it. It distinguished itself at San Muñoz on 17 Nov., at the close of the retreat from Burgos, five out of its six guns being injured. General Long, who commanded the cavalry to which it was attached, afterwards wrote of the troop that he had never witnessed ‘more exemplary conduct in quarters, nor more distinguished zeal and gallantry in the field.’

On 24 Jan. 1813 Whinyates became captain, and consequently left the Peninsula in March. His service there won him no promotion, as brevet rank was not given at that time to second captains. In 1814 he was appointed to the second rocket troop, and he commanded it at Waterloo. Wellington, who did not believe in rockets, ordered that they should be left behind; and when he was told that this would break Whinyates's heart, he replied: ‘Damn his heart; let my orders be obeyed.’ However, Whinyates eventually obtained leave to bring them into the field, together with his six guns. When Ponsonby's brigade charged D'Erlon's corps, he followed it with his rocket sections, and fired several volleys of ground-rockets with good effect against the French cavalry (Waterloo Letters, pp. 203–10). He then rejoined his guns, which were placed in front of Picton's division. In the course of the day he had three horses shot under him, was struck on the leg, and severely wounded in the left arm. He received a brevet majority and the Waterloo medal, and afterwards the Peninsular silver medal with clasps for Busaco and Albuera.

At the end of 1815 the rocket troop went to England to be reduced, and Whinyates was appointed to a troop of drivers in the army of occupation, with which he remained till 1818. He commanded H troop of horse artillery from 1823 to 22 July 1830, when he became regimental lieutenant-colonel. He was made K.H. in 1823 and C.B. in 1831. He had command of the horse artillery at Woolwich from November 1834 to May 1840, and of the artillery in the northern district for eleven years afterwards, having become regimental colonel on 23 Nov. 1841.

On 1 April 1852 he was appointed director-general of artillery, and on 19 Aug. commandant at Woolwich, where he remained till 1 June 1856. He had been promoted major-general on 20 June 1854, and became lieutenant-general on 7 June 1856, and general on 10 Dec. 1864. He was made K.C.B. on 18 May 1860. He had become colonel-commandant of a battalion on 1 April 1855, and was transferred to the horse artillery on 22 July 1864. He was ‘an officer whose ability, zeal, and services have hardly been surpassed in the regiment’ (Duncan, ii. 37).

He died at Cheltenham on 25 Dec. 1865. In 1827 he had married Elizabeth, only daughter of Samuel Compton of Wood End, North Riding, Yorkshire. He left no children. He had five brothers, of whom four served with distinction in the army and navy.

The eldest, Rear-admiral Thomas Whinyates (1778–1857), born on 7 Sept. 1778, entered the navy as first-class volunteer on 24 May 1793. He commanded a boat in the attack and capture of Martinique in March 1794, and assisted in boarding the French frigate Bienvenue. He was also present at the capture of St. Lucia and Guadeloupe. He was in Lord Bridport's action of 23 June 1795, and in that of Sir John Warren on 12 Oct. 1798. He was commissioned as lieutenant on 7 Sept. 1799, and as commander on 16 May 1805. In April 1807 he was appointed to the Frolic, an 18-gun brig of 384 tons. He took her out to the West Indies, and spent five years there, being present at the recapture of Martinique on 24 Feb. 1809, and of Guadeloupe on 5 Feb. 1810.

He was made post captain on 12 Aug. 1812, and on his way home, in charge of convoy, he was attacked on 18 Oct. by the United States sloop Wasp of 434 tons. The Frolic had been much damaged in a gale, and after an action of fifty minutes, in which more than half her crew were killed or wounded, including her commander, she was boarded and taken. She was recovered, and the Wasp was taken by the Poictiers the same day. The court-martial which tried Whinyates for the loss of his ship acquitted him most honourably, as having done all that could be done (James, Naval History, vi. 158–62). In 1815 he was appointed to a corvette, but she was paid off at the peace. He was promoted rear-admiral on 1 Oct. 1846, and died unmarried at Cheltenham on 15 March 1857. He received the silver war medal with five clasps.

The fourth son of Major Thomas Whinyates, Captain George Babbington Whinyates (1783–1808), born on 31 Aug. 1783, entered the navy as first-class volunteer in 1797, and saw much active service, chiefly in the Mediterranean. In 1805, as lieutenant in the Spencer, 74 guns, he served under Nelson in the blockade of Toulon, the voyage to the West Indies, and the blockade of Cadiz; but his ship, which formed part of the inshore squadron, was sent to Gibraltar for provisions three days before Trafalgar. He was in Duckworth's action off St. Domingo on 6 Feb. 1806. In 1807 he commanded the Bergère sloop in the Mediterranean and the Channel. He died of consumption, brought on by hardship and exposure, on 5 Aug. 1808.

The fifth son, Major-general Frederick William Whinyates (1793–1881), born on 29 Aug. 1793, was commissioned as second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 14 Dec. 1811, and became lieutenant on 1 July 1812. He was present at the bombardment of Algiers on 27 Aug. 1816, being in command of a detachment of sappers and miners on the Impregnable. He has left a graphic account of the bombardment, and of a conference with the dey three days afterwards (Royal Engineers' Journal, xi. 26). He received the medal. He served with the army of occupation in France, and made reports on some of the French fortresses (now in the Royal Engineers' Institute, Chatham). He was commanding royal engineer with the field force in New Brunswick when the disputed territory was invaded by the state of Maine in 1839. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel on 9 Nov. 1846, and colonel on 16 Dec. 1854. He retired as major-general on 13 Jan. 1855, and died at Cheltenham on 9 Jan. 1881. He married, on 25 Jan. 1830, Sarah Marianne, second daughter of Charles Whalley of Stow-on-Wold, Gloucestershire, and had six children, four of whom became officers of the army.

The sixth son, General Francis Frankland Whinyates (1796–1887), born on 30 June 1796, entered the East India Company's service at the age of sixteen, and was gazetted as lieutenant-fireworker in the Madras artillery in July 1813. After serving in Ceylon and against the Pindáris, he took part in the Mahratta war of 1817–19 as a subaltern in A troop horse artillery, and received the medal with clasp for Maheidpoor (21 Dec. 1817). Promoted captain on 24 Oct. 1824, he served at the siege of Kittoor at the end of that year. He was principal commissary of ordnance from 1845 to 1850, and then had command of the horse artillery, and of the Madras artillery as brigadier. He left India in 1854, having ‘filled, with the highest credit to himself, every appointment and command connected with his corps’ (general order, 10 Feb. 1854). He became major-general on 28 Nov. 1854, lieutenant-general on 14 July 1867, and general on 21 Jan. 1872. He died without issue at Bath on 22 Jan. 1887. On 7 Aug. 1826 he had married Elizabeth, daughter of John Campbell of Ormidale, Argyllshire.

[Whinyates Family Records, by Major-General Frederick T. Whinyates, 1894, 3 vols. 4to, with portraits (twenty-five copies privately printed); Whinyates pedigree in Genealogist, new ser. viii. 52–5; Proceedings of Royal Artillery Institution, vol. v. pp. vii–ix; Colonel F. A. Whinyates's From Coruña to Sevastopol, 1884; Duncan's History of the Royal Artillery; Records of the Royal Horse Artillery; O'Byrne's Naval Biogr.; Royal Engineers' Journal, xi. 31; information furnished by Major-general F. T. Whinyates.]

E. M. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.279
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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7 i 12 Whinyates, Sir Edward C.: for first captain read post-captain