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David Douglas Wemyss





GeneraL David Douglas WemyssDavid Douglas Wemyss (1760–1839), army officer, went by the name of Douglas until about 1790, when he took the additional name of Wemyss, to the noble family of which name he belonged. He was commissioned ensign in the 49th foot on 27 April 1777, and joined them that year in North America, where he served first under General Howe, and then under Sir Henry Clinton, in the operations of the American war. In November 1778 he sailed with the 49th from New York in the expedition under Admiral Hotham and Major-General Grant to the West Indies. He took part in the capture of St Lucia on 13 December, and in the defence of the Vigie against the French under D'Estaing on the 18th. He was also in the naval engagement off the island of Grenada on 6 July 1779, and was promoted lieutenant on 15 August 1779. He returned to England in 1781.

Wemyss was promoted captain on 31 May 1783, and shortly after, on reduction of his regiment, was placed on half pay. He was brought into the 3rd foot (the Buffs) on 9 June 1786, joining the headquarters at Jamaica. He was required by ill health to return home in 1789. On 16 March 1791 he was promoted major in the 37th foot. In 1793 he served with them under the duke of York in Flanders, where he took part in the affair of Saultain, the battle of Famars (22 May), and the siege of Valenciennes, which capitulated on 28 July. For his services he was promoted lieutenant-colonel in the 18th foot (Royal Irish) from 12 April 1793. He was aged thirty-three. He had purchased every step in rank from ensign to colonel.

Wemyss commanded his new regiment in 1794, with the force under Sir Charles Stuart at the capture of Corsica, taking part in the sieges of Fiorenza in February, of Bastia in April, and of Calvi, where he was wounded, in August. He was mentioned in dispatches, and in 1795 was appointed governor of Calvi and its dependencies. He was promoted brevet colonel on 3 May 1796. On the evacuation of Corsica in October he accompanied the troops to Porto Ferrajo in Elba, whence he commanded a force (including the 18th) which landed on the Italian coast on 7 November, and succeeded in driving the French from Piombino, Campiglia, and Castiglione, but, the enemy receiving considerable reinforcements, the British troops were withdrawn from Italy and returned to Elba. On the evacuation of the Mediterranean in 1797 Wemyss took his regiment to Gibraltar at a time of the mutiny against the Duke of Kent, where he was employed as a brigadier-general on the staff until promoted major-general on 29 April 1802, when he returned to England.

In April 1803 Wemyss was appointed to the command of the forces in Ceylon. He returned home in 1806, was promoted lieutenant-general on 25 April 1808, and on 27 May 1809 was appointed (the last?) governor of Tynemouth Castle and Cliffe Fort. He was promoted general on 12 August 1819. He died on 5 September 1839 at his residence, Upper Gore House, Kensington, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery.


His son served on the Revenge - Lady Blessington at Naples By Edith Clay



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Last modified: Sunday, 20 January 2019