Open main menu

Worsley, Henry (1768-1841) (DNB00)

WORSLEY, Sir HENRY (1768−1841), major-general, born on 20 Jan. 1768 at Appuldurcomb in the Isle of Wight, was the second son of Francis Worsley, rector of Chale in the Isle of Wight, by his wife Anne, daughter of Henry Roberts of Standen in the same island. In June 1780 he embarked for Bengal as an infantry cadet, and in January 1781 he landed in Madras to take part in the defence of Fort St. George, which was besieged by Haidar Ali. Arriving in Bengal in April, he was promoted ensign and lieutenant in the course of the year, and joined the 2nd European regiment at Cawnpur. In 1782 he served with the 30th regiment of sepoys in reducing Chait Singh's forts in the neighbourhood of Benares. In the following year he was appointed adjutant, and served with the 1st battalion of his regiment against insurgents in the Káimur Hills. In 1785 the regiment was disbanded in consequence of the general peace, and Worsley was appointed to the 8th regiment of sepoys. Early in 1789 he embarked with a detachment of volunteer sepoys for service in Sumatra. On their return in December the officers and men were honoured with the special approbation and thanks of Lord Cornwallis.

Towards the close of 1791 Worsley volunteered for service in the Mysore war, and was appointed to the 7th battalion of Bengal sepoys. He took part with the centre column in the night attack on Tipú's fortified camp under the walls of Seringapatam on 6 Feb. 1792, and in the subsequent operations against that town. In the following year he was reappointed to the 32nd battalion, and by the regulations of 1796−7 he was posted to the 1st native infantry, receiving the brevet rank of captain. During a visit to Europe he was promoted captain-lieutenant and captain on 1 Nov. 1798, and was posted as captain to the 15th native infantry, which he joined in 1801. At the close of the year and during 1802 he was employed in command of part of the first battalion in tranquillising the districts ceded by the nawab of Oudh. On 4 Sept. 1803 he fought at Alígarh, and on 11 Sept. he commanded his battalion at the battle of Delhi. On 10 Oct. he again commanded his battalion in the attack made on the enemy's infantry and guns under the walls of Agra, when he received the thanks of the commander-in-chief, Lord Lake, in general orders. He also led it at the battle of Laswari on 1 Nov. In 1804 he joined the 21st native infantry, and on 21 Sept. was promoted to a majority. In command of a detachment he cleared the Doáb of Holkar's troops, which had overrun it after Monson's reverse [see Monson, William], and occupied the city of Muttra, where he was employed in protecting the communication of Lake's army. Without scientific assistance he constructed a bridge of boats over the Jumna at Muttra, which proved of great use to the English force. Lake highly appreciated Worsley's services, and obtained for him the post of deputy adjutant-general. Early in 1806 he succeeded to the office of adjutant-general with the official rank of lieutenant-colonel. On 29 Nov. 1809 he attained the regimental rank of lieutenant-colonel, but in the beginning of 1810 ill-health compelled him to resign his office, and in 1811 he proceeded to Europe on furlough. In 1813 he accepted the post of principal private secretary to the governorgeneral, Francis Rawdon Hastings, second earl of Moira (and afterwards Marquis of Hastings) [q. v.] His health compelled him to resign this post almost immediately; but in 1818 he returned to India, and Moira at once appointed him military secretary. In a few months he was obliged to resign from the same cause as before, and joined his corps in the vain hope of restoring his health by active service. In 1819 he returned finally to Europe. On 12 Aug. he attained the brevet rank of colonel, and in August 1822 the rank of colonel with the command of a regiment. Worsley became major-general on 24 Aug. 1830. On 4 June 1815 he was nominated a C.B., on 26 Sept. 1821 K.C.B., and on 16 Feb. 1838 G.C.B. He died at Shide in the Isle of Wight on 19 Jan. 1841, and was buried at Chale. He married Sarah Hastings, and had one daughter, Elizabeth.

Worsley has frequently been confounded with Henry Worsley (1783−1820), lieutenant-colonel, born February 1783, who was the third son of James Worsley (1748−1798), rector of Gatcombe in the Isle of Wight, by his wife, Ann Hayles. In the autumn of 1799 he obtained an ensigncy in the 6th foot, and accompanied the expedition to Holland under the Duke of York. In 1800 he received a lieutenancy in the 52nd foot. In 1802 the 2nd battalion of that regiment became the 96th foot, to which Worsley was posted. In 1804 he obtained a company, and in 1805 went to America with Sir Eyre Coote (1762−1824?) [q. v.] In 1809 he joined the 85th regiment and took part in the expedition to the Scheldt under John Pitt, second earl of Chatham [q. v.] In 1811 he proceeded to the Peninsula, and was present at the battle of Fuentes d'Onor and the siege of Badajoz. Shortly afterwards he was promoted to a majority in the 4th garrison battalion, then at Guernsey, but, obtaining his removal to the 34th regiment in 1812, he returned to Spain and served in the advance on Madrid and the retreat from Salamanca. After the battle of Vittoria in 1813 he was recommended for promotion, received the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and served in the conflicts in the Pyrenees, gaining the thanks of Lord Hill. In 1816 he proceeded to India, but was forced shortly afterwards by ill-health to return to Europe. He was appointed captain of Yarmouth Castle in the Isle of Wight and a companion of the Bath. He died, unmarried, at Newport in the Isle of Wight on 13 May 1820, and was buried at Kingston (Gent. Mag. 1823, i. 569. Accounts of his services, confused with those of Sir Henry Worsley, appear in Gent. Mag. 1841, i. 654, Men of the Reign, and La Biographie Universelle).

[Information kindly given by Mr. C. Francis Worsley; East India Military Calendar, 1823−6, i. 130−9, iii. 78−9, 424−5, 470; Berry's Hampshire Genealogies, pp. 140, 142; Dodwell and Miles's Indian Army List, 1838.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.285
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
34 ii 10f.e. Worsley, Sir Henry: for 1821 read 1831