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Major General John Douglas






John Douglas, 11th HussarsEnsign 61st Foot 18th July 1829
79th Highlanders 25th July 1829
Lieutenant 79th 25th Oct 1833
Captain 79th 11th May 1839
Captain 11th Light Dragoons 15th Nov 1839
Major 11th Hussars 24th Dec 1852
Lt-Col 11th H 20th July 1854
Colonel of the Army 20th June 1857
Half Pay 1859
Major General 6th March 1868
Died Aldershot 10th May 1871

John Douglas led thJohn Douglas led the 11th Hussars in the Charge of the Light Brigade. He survived without serious wound. He had been brought into the regiment by Lord Cardigan and as such, was one of Cardigan's supporters to the extent that he acted as second to the Earl in the duel with Captain Harvey Tuckett on Wimbledon Common on 12th September 1840. Tuckett, a former officer of the 11th and a popular hero of Bhurtpore had infuriated Cardigan by writing letters to the Morning Chronicle criticising Cardigan's treatment of his officers. Douglas was sent round to see Tuckett and demand an apology. This failed so the duel was fought with the result that Tuckett was severely wounded. Cardigan was tried by a friendly judge for illegal duelling and wounding, and was ludicrously discharged. Captain Douglas was also tried as an accessory to attempted murder and also acquitted.


Born about 1810, in Glasgow, the son of douglas7.htm">Archibald Douglas and Anna McNe and Anna McNeill, he married Rosa Maria Paget, daughter of Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Paget and Lady Augusta Fane, on 10 March 1842.  He lived in Glenfinart, Argyllshire, Scotland, and died on 10 May 1871, without issue.


(Major General John Douglas, C.B., commanding the Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot, was found dead in his bed on the....) [Colonel Douglas died in bed in May 1871, commanding the Cavalry Brigade at Aldershot.] 

John's father, Archibald Douglas. was a partner in J, T & A Douglas of Glasgow, and brother of John Douglas (q.v.), Thomas Dunlop Douglas (q.v.) and Cecilia Douglas.

John Douglas John Douglas (1811-1871) received 'at least £40,000' under Thomas Dunlop Douglas' will after the latter's death in 1869; his grand-daughter Mary Caroline Douglas Campbell (daughter of Archibald's daughter Anna Glassford and Richard Campbell) was also 'one of the important legatees' of Thomas Dunlop Douglas' estate.

John Douglas (1811-1871), an Army officer who was present at the Charge of the Light Brigade, left £102,873 on his death in 1871.bsp;




Col. John Douglas and Trumpet Major Perkins


John Douglas, 11th HussarsTrumpet Major W. Perkins, 11th Hussars charged with the Light Brigade and had his horse killed under him, 25.10.1854; Perkins Was trumpeter to Colonel J. Douglas during the famous charge and is recorded as having sounded the rally before the 11th and the 4th Light Dragoons Charged the Russian Lancers.

Trumpet Major William Perkins, born Maidstone, Kent; enlisted 11th Hussars, 1846; served in the Crimea with the Regiment and was one of three Trumpeters of the 11th Hussars who rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade, Perkins stated, 'I was a Trumpeter to Colonel Douglas and rode close to him in the charge and the retreat, until my horse was killed after passing the Lancers. When halted about 100 yards in right rear of the guns, I hear Colonel Douglas call out, 'What are we to do now Lord Paget?', he replied, 'Where is Lord Cardigan?' and galloped away. I never saw nor heard him again. The 11th alone pursued the Russian Hussars to the end of the valley. When surrounded, Colonel Douglas ordered us to rally on the 17th Lancers. I immediately sounded the rally. We were then close face to face with the Russian Cavalry. When engaged with the Lancers I saw Lieutenant Dunn [V.C.], with one stroke of his sword sever a Russian Lancer's head all but off' (A Victorian RSM, George Loy Smith refers). Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas led the Regiment in the Charge, and Perkins, as his Trumpeter, would have been party to the key events involving the Regiment during the charge to the guns and the retreat through the Russian Lancers, 'Shortly after the Light Brigade had climbed into their saddles and been ordered to advance, Colonel Douglas turned to address the men. In a firm loud voice he said: "Eleventh, attention. Now men, in all probability we shall meet the enemy today. When you do, don't cut but give them the point and they will never face you again." What was left of the 11th after they had reached the guns rallied behind Douglas and was then joined by the 4th Light Dragoons under Paget (there is some debate as to who took command). It was not long before they realised that the Russian Lancers were blocking their retreat, recognisable due to the pennons hanging from their lance heads. Douglas describes what happens next: "I saw in our rear two squadrons of Lancers drawn up. I instantly proclaimed, "They're the 17th, let us rally on them". At that very moment Lieutenant Roger Palmer rode up and said, "I beg your pardon, Colonel, that is not the 17th, that is the enemy" Well I exclaimed, "We must only retire and go through them". So with the 4th Light Dragoons we charged the Russian Lancers and got past them with few casualties" (Forgotten Heroes, The Charge of the Light Brigade, R. Dutton refers).

It would appear that Perkins sounded the rally before the 11th Hussars and the 4th Light Dragoons charged back through the Russian Lancers.

Perkins was promoted to Sergeant in 1858 and to Trumpet Major in 1864. He received a L.S. & G.C. with a gratuity of £10 in 1869, this medal being returned when he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1896, as is the custom. Perkins was discharged in 1871, after 24 years of service with the Colours.

Perkins attended thPerkins attended the First Balaklava Banquet, 25.10.1875; was a Member of the Balaklava Commemoration Society in 1879; and attended the Annual Dinners in 1890, 1892, 1893 and 1897. During the Lord Mayor's Show of 1890 a number of Crimean War Veterans (under banners of 'Battle of Balaklava Heroes') processed in open topped carriages accompanied by the bands of the Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards and the 2nd Life Guards. In the programme for the event it lists that Trumpeters Landfried of the 17th Lancers and Perkins of the 11th Hussars were in a carriage at the head of the procession.

In later life Perkins lived at 13 Red Post Lane, Forest Gate, Essex. He died in 1899 and his burial was paid for by the T.H. Roberts Fund.bsp;


The excitement caused by the announcement of war in the Crimea in 1853 was in direct contrast to the horrendous experience of the soldiers sent out. The 11th Hussars provided two squadrons, 250 men in all, under the command of Lt Col Douglas. The cavalry, commanded overall by Lord Lucan were in two brigades, Heavy and Light. The Light Brigade under Cardigan's command consisted of the 8th and 11th Hussars, the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons and the 17th Lancers. The main base for the British and French Army was at Varna on the western side of the Black Sea. The conditions were bad and many died from cholera and dysentery.


Lt Col John DouglasLt Col John DouglasResin model sculpted by Maurice Corry



Paget + Douglas
Lord George Augustus Frederick Paget (1818-1880) and Lieut. Col. John Douglas (d.1871). Douglas married Paget's cousin, Rosa Maria Paget.  Paget also had a niece, Violet, who married Rev. Sholto Douglas, Lord Blythswood.

Paget served in the Crimean War and fought at Alma and Balaclava in command of the 4th (The Queen's Own) Light Dragoons.



The important Crimea ‘Light Brigade’ C.B. group of five awarded to Major-General John Douglas, who commanded the 11th Hussars during the Crimean War, and led them in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, on which occasion, with a remnant of some forty men of his regiment beyond the Russian guns, he charged further down the valley and ‘advanced against the entire force of Russian Cavalry! Indeed the Russian Army!’

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s, breast badge, 22 carat gold and enamel, hallmarks for London 1815, maker’s mark ‘IN’ for John Northam, fitted with wide gold suspension bar, complete with gold riband buckle; Crimea 1854-56, 4 clasps, Alma, Balaklava, Inkermann, Sebastopol (Lt. Colonel J Douglas. 11th Hussars.) contemporary engraved naming in the style of Hunt & Roskell; France, Second Empire, Legion of Honour, Chevalier’s breast badge, silver, gold, and enamel, enamel badly chipped; Ottoman Empire, Order of the Medjidie, Fourth Class breast badge, silver, gold, and enamel, enamel slightly chipped; Turkish Crimea 1855, Sardinian issue, unnamed as issued, plugged and fitted with a small ring suspension, mounted for display on a velvet pad, unless otherwise stated very fine or better  


See also:

  • Douglas of Glenfinart


    Sources for this article include:

    •  Charlotte S. M. Girard, 'Some further notes on the Douglas family', BC Studies, 72 (Winter, 1986-87), pp. 3-27.
    •  William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Three 1860-1879
    •  Nonans, auctioneers


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