Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lake, Henry Atwell

LAKE, Sir HENRY ATWELL (1808–1881), colonel of the royal engineers, third son of Sir James Samuel William Lake, fourth baronet, by his marriage with Maria, daughter of Samuel Turner, was born at Kenilworth, Warwickshire, in 1808. He was educated at Harrow and at the military college of the East India Company at Addiscombe. On 15 Dec. 1826 he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the Madras engineers, and went to India. Until 1854 he was employed in the public works department of India, and principally upon irrigation works. He became lieutenant 4 March 1831, brevetcaptain 22 July 1840, regimental captain in 1852, and brevet-major 20 June 1854.

While in England on leave of absence in 1854 he volunteered his services for the Russian war, and was sent to Kars, in Asia Minor, as chief engineer, and second in command to Colonel (afterwards Sir) William Fenwick Williams. He became lieutenant-colonel on 9 Feb. 1855. He strengthened the fortifications of Kars, and took a very prominent part in the defence, including the repulse of the Russian forces under General Mouravieff on 29 Sept. 1855. On the capitulation of Kars he was sent, with the other British officers, as a prisoner of war to Russia, where he remained until the proclamation of peace in 1856.

For his services at Kars he received the thanks of parliament, was transferred to the royal army as an unattached lieutenant-colonel, and was made a companion of the Bath, aide-de-camp to the queen, and colonel in the army from 24 June 1856. He received a medal with clasp for Kars, the second class of the Medjidie, was appointed an ‘officer’ of the Legion of Honour, and was given the rank of major-general in the Turkish army. On his arrival in England he was presented with a sword of honour and a silver salver by the inhabitants of Ramsgate, where his mother then resided, and where his family was well known.

Lake was placed on half-pay on 12 Sept. 1856, but next year accompanied the Earl of Eglinton, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, to Dublin as principal aide-de-camp, and in the following year retired from the army on his appointment as a commissioner of the Dublin metropolitan police. Subsequently he became chief commissioner of police in Dublin. In 1875 he was made a K.C.B. of the civil division for his civil services, and in 1877 he retired upon a pension. He died at Brighton on 17 Aug. 1881.

He was twice married: first, in 1841, to Anne, daughter of the Rev. Peregrine Curtois of the Longhills, Lincolnshire—she died in 1847; secondly, in 1848, to Ann Augusta, daughter of Sir William Curtis, second baronet—she died in 1877. Of his five sons, Atwell Peregrine Macleod became an admiral, while two sons Edward and Hubert Atwell were officers in the Artillery, and Noel Montagu was an officer in the Engineers.

Lake was the author of: 1. ‘Kars and our Captivity in Russia, with Letters from General Sir W. Fenwick Williams, Bart., Major Teesdale, and the late Captain Thomson,’ London, 8vo, 1856; 2nd edition, published same year. 2. ‘Narrative of the Defence of Kars, Historical and Military, from Authentic Documents, illustrated by Lieutenant-Colonel C. Teesdale and W. Simpson,’ London, 8vo, 1857.

[Corps Records; Royal Engineers Journal, vol. xi.; Sandwith's Siege of Kars, 1857; Monteith's Kars and Erzeroum, 1857; Athenæum, 1856 p. 951, 1857 p. 626.]

R. H. V.