Sir Thomas Graham
Viceroy of Italy
Thomas Graham certainly had one of the more unusual British army
careers - as he took up arms at the age of 50.
joined the army to fight the French after an incident in 1792 saw
Revolutionary officials open his wife's coffin as he was returning
her body to England for burial.
with the treatment of his beloved he volunteered to help the British
efforts at Toulon and then raised
his own regiment - the 90th.
his obvious passion and talent, Graham was not initially given a
permanent commission, but still served with the regiment as its
colonel at Quiberon and in 1796
became a liaison officer with the Austrians in Italy.
by the French inside Mantua with General Wurmser,
the middle-aged Graham staged a daring escape during a severe snowstorm.
next campaigns came with Sir John Moore,
firstly to Sweden in 1808 and then into Spain.
Corunna his temporary status was
made permanent and, before setting out on the Walcheren Expedition,
he was promoted to general. Sickness saw him sent back to Britain,
but a year later he took command of the British troops at Cadiz.
siege in 1811, Graham went on to the offensive and caught the enemy
unawares. He later defeated them at the battle of Barrossa.
Illness struck again just prior to the battle of Salamanca
and he did not return to the Peninsula until 1813 when he arrived
just in time to play a major part at Vitoria.
the head of 20,000 men, Graham was sent on a wide hooking operation
to threaten the French flank and rear. Its success cut the French
supply lines and line of retreat.
follow-up capture of San Sebastian was his last major success as
sickness again forced his return to Britain.
last military assignment came in 1814 when he unsuccessfully tried
to take Antwerp.
the last 30 years of his life, Graham spent his time pursuing his
great interests of farming and politics.