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Woodgate, Edward Robert Prevost (DNB01)

WOODGATE, Sir EDWARD ROBERT PREVOST (1845–1900), major-general, born on 1 Nov. 1845, was the second son of Henry Arthur Woodgate (d. 24 April 1874), rector of Belbroughton in Worcestershire. He was educated at Radley and Sandhurst, and joined the 4th foot (now the Royal Lancashire regiment) on 7 April 1865. With it he served in the Abyssinian campaign of 1868; was present at the action of Arogee and the capture of Magdala, and received a medal. He obtained his lieutenancy on 7 July 1869. He was next employed on special service in the Ashanti war of 1873–4, and took part in the actions of Esaman, Ainsah, Abrakampa, and Jaysunah, the battle of Amoaful. and the capture of Kumasai. He was twice mentioned in the despatches and received a medal with a clasp. After passing through the staff college in 1877, he attained the rank of captain on 2 March 1878, and was selected for special employment in the South African war of 1879. He was twice mentioned in the despatches for his work as staff officer of the flying column in the Zulu campaign; was present at Kambula and Ulundi, and was rewarded with a brevet majority on 29 Nov. 1879, and a medal with a clasp.

From 1880 to 1885 Woodgate served as brigade major in the West Indies. In the autumn of 1885 he proceeded to India as a regimental officer, returning in December 1889. In 1893 he obtained the command of the first battalion of the Royal Lancashire regiment, and on 26 June attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel. On 24 May 1896 he was nominated C.B., and on 26 June 1897 he received his colonelcy, obtaining the charge of the fourth regimental district at Lancaster. In April 1858 he was sent to Sierra Leone to organise the new West African regiment. The new corps was almost immediately called to take the field against Bai Burch and other malcontents who had risen on account of the hut tax. Woodgate successfully conducted the operations against the rebels, but in 1899 he was invalided home, where he was placed in command of the seventeenth regimental district at Leicester.

Four months later, on 13 Nov. 1899, on the formation of the fifth division under Sir Charles Warren for service in Smith Africa, Woodgate was given command over the eleventh or Lannohire brigade with the local rank of major-general. Arriving at Durban in Natal in December 1899 be crossed the Tugela with Warren at Wagon Drift on 16-17 Jan. 1900. On the night of 23 Jan. he occupied the perilous eminence of Spion Spion Kop. On the following day he was dangerously wounded just before order for retreat from Spion Kop was given. On 23 March he died at Mooi River from the effects of his wounds. A few weeks before his death he was nominated K.C.M.G. in recognition of his services in Sierra Leone.

[Times, 26 March 1900; Who's Who; Hart's Army Lists; Conan Doyle's Great Boer War, 1900; Bennet Burleigh's War in Natal. 1900.]

E. I. C.