Holloway, Charles (DNB01)

HOLLOWAY, Sir CHARLES (1749–1827), major-general royal engineers, was born on 17 April 1749. On attaining the age of fifteen he entered the drawing room of the board of ordnance at the Tower of London (7 Feb. 1764), and in 1772 went to Portsmouth to assist the commanding royal engineer with the plans of the new fortifications. On 16 Jan. 1776 he received a commission as second lieutenant in the royal engineers. His further commissions were dated: lieutenant, 1 Jan. 1783; captain lieutenant, 16 Jan. 1793; captain, 31 Dec. 1795; brevet major, 1 Jan. 1801; lieutenant-colonel, 20 July 1804; colonel, 1 May 1811; major-general, 4 June 1814.

In 1777 Holloway went to Gibraltar, arriving there on 17 Sept. During the first part of the celebrated siege of Gibraltar, which began in the summer of 1779, he was staff officer to the chief engineer, Colonel (afterwards General Sir) William Green [q. v.], as well as adjutant of the engineers and of the artificer company. On 17 April 1781 he was made brigade major, and when Green became a major-general he was appointed his aide-de-camp on 13 Oct. 1782. On 4 Jan. 1783 he was severely wounded by the splinter of a shell from the enemy's mortar boats. During the siege he was indefatigable in his exertions and kept a diary of his doings, which fills three folio volumes, and is in the possession of the family. Before his return to England on 7 June 1783 the governor, Sir George Augustus Eliott, afterwards Lord Heathfield [q. v.], thanked him on parade in the presence of the garrison for his services during the siege. He figured in the picture of the principal officers serving in the siege which was painted by Copley for the city of London.

On 1 Oct. 1784 he joined Major-general William Roy [q. v.], and for three years assisted him in his survey triangulations from the Hounslow base to the Kentish coast, and in connecting the English with the French system of triangulation in 1787. For the next ten years he was employed in the ordinary duties of his corps in the Eastern, Thames, and Woolwich military districts, and was also particularly engaged in strengthening the Tower of London in 1792.

In October 1798 Holloway was selected to be commanding royal engineer and second in command with the local rank of major of a military mission under Brigadier-general George Frederic Koehler [q. v.] to assist the Turks in the reorganisation of their army. He left London with the mission on 3 Dec. and on the 24th was shipwrecked among the ice at the mouth of the Elbe. The mission was rescued and travelled across the continent to Constantinople, where it arrived on 28 March 1799. In June, in conjunction with Major Robert Hope of the royal artillery, Holloway reported upon the fortifications of the Dardanelles and the defence works necessary for the better security of that passage, and of Tenedos and the gulf of Saros. The report was approved and the works were commenced.

On 2 July 1800 the British mission joined the Ottoman army in Syria under the grand vizier. It was encamped at Jaffa after retiring from Egypt, and, at the grand vizier's request, Holloway entrenched the camp and designed additional defences for Jaffa, which were at once put in hand. A virulent attack of plague towards the end of the year caused great mortality, and carried oft Koehler on 29 Dec. The command of the mission then devolved upon Holloway, who received the local rank of lieutenant-colonel from 1 Jan. 1801, when he also obtained his brevet majority. Early in the following month, the plague having ceased, the Turkish army advanced and, after crossing the desert, came in contact with a superior French force under General Belliard in May. Although nominally the Turkish army was commanded by the grand vizier, Holloway practically commanded it, both in the advance from Jaffa and at the battle of El Hanka on 16 May. The fight lasted for seven hours, when the French were defeated and fell back. On 12 July Holloway entered Cairo with the mission, which remained there until 18 Feb. 1802. The mission returned home in charge of Major (afterwards Sir) Richard Fletcher [q. v.], royal engineers, and Holloway went to Alexandria. Later he visited Constantinople and Vienna on his return to England, where he arrived on 12 July. For his services with the Turkish army, of which Lord Elgin, the British ambassador at Constantinople, wrote in the highest terms (see despatch, Wilson's Hist. of the British Expedition to Egypt, ii. 244, 1803, 8vo), Holloway, who had been invested by the sultan with a pelisse on five different occasions and presented with a gold medal in November 1801, was knighted on 2 Feb. 1803.

In March 1803 he took up the post of commanding royal engineer of the Cork district, and was active in carrying out works of defence in Cork harbour. On 25 July 1805 he was appointed a member of a committee upon a permanent system of defence for Ireland and also of the engineer committee at the Tower of London. He was nominated commanding royal engineer at Gibraltar on 30 Jan. 1807, where he arrived on 13 Sept. He kept another diary during his stay, which in seven quarto volumes of manuscript is in the possession of the family. Its copious references to the frequently changing officers of the garrison, and the narrative of its daily routine of work and pleasure, are of interest chiefly to the military antiquary.

In 1809 Holloway reported on the defences of Cadiz, Ceuta, Algeciras, &c., and in the following year, with the consent of the Spanish authorities, he demolished by mines the Spanish forts and lines in front of the fortress on the north of the neutral ground of the Gibraltar isthmus to prevent their use by the French.

In 1813 and 1814 a malignant fever raged in the garrison with alarming fatality. Holloway and all his household were ill. His son Charles, a lieutenant in the royal artillery, died on 19 Oct. 1813, and his daughter, Helen Smith, the wife of an officer of the garrison, on the 22nd, and he lost three servants. He returned to England in September 1817, and settled down at Devonport, where he died at Stoke Cottage on 4 Jan. 1827.

He married Helen Mary (d. 11 April 1798), second daughter of General Sir William Green [q. v.], by whom he had several children besides those already mentioned.

His eldest son, William Cuthbert Elphinestone-Holloway (1787-1850), born on 1 May 1787, after passing through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the royal engineers on 1 Jan. 1804. His further commissions were dated : lieutenant 1 March 1805, second captain 24 June 1809, captain 21 July 1813, brevet major 21 June 1817, lieutenant-colonel 26 Feb. 1828, colonel 23 Nov. 1841. After serving under his father at Cork harbour he went in December 1807 to Madeira, then in British occupation, and spent one year there. He was then employed in the eastern military district at home, and went to the peninsular war early in 1810. He served in the lines of Torres Vedras, and in various operations of the campaign, including the final siege of Badajos, where he was shot through the body after having gained the parapet of Fort Picurina in the successful assault of 25 March 1812. After a visit to his father at Gibraltar he returned to England in August. For his services in the peninsula he received the silver medal and clasp for Badajos, a brevet majority, and a pension for his wound. After serving in Wales, the Isle of Man, and the eastern military district, he went in October 1818 to the Cape of Good Hope as commanding royal engineer, and rendered good service in the Kaffir troubles of 1819 and later, and executed some useful surveys during the thirteen years he spent there. For his services, on his return to England, he was made a companion .of the order of the Bath on 26 Sept. 1831. He was sent on particular service to Ireland in 1833, was commanding royal engineer in Canada from April 1843 to August 1849, and in the western military district until his death at Plymouth citadel on 4 Sept. 1850. He was buried in Plymouth cemetery, where a monument to his memory was erected by his widow. He married Amelia (d. 12 July 1874), second daughter and coheir of Captain Thomas Elphinstone, R.N., brother of Sir Howard Elphinstone, first baronet. He took the surname of Elphinstone in addition to and before that of Holloway (Lond. Gaz. 26 Feb. 1825).

[Royal Engineers' Records: Despatches; Army Lists; Burke's Baronetage; Holloway's Diaries; Royal Military Calendar, 1820; Histories of the Siege of Gibraltar by Ansell, Drinkwater, D'Arcon, Mann, &c.; W. Wittman's Travels in Turkey, 1802; Jones's Sieges in Spain; Wilson's British Expedition to Egypt.]

R. H. V.