General Sir William Medows KB


William Medows was born on 31st Dec 1738 and entered the 50th Foot in 1756. He was a Lt-Colonel in the 5th Foot in 1769 and exchanged to the 12th Light Dragoons in 1773 to command the regiment. But in 1775 he was in the 55th Foot serving in America. Then he went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1781 followed by service in Madras in 1782. He remained in India to take the post of Governor of Bombay from 1787 to 1790 and Commander-in-Chief of Madras from 1790 to 1795 where he campaigned against Tipu Sultan. At the battle of Seringapatam on 6th Feb 1792 The commander, Lord Cornwallis directed Medows to command 7 battalions on the right flank and attack the enemy defences. But his advance was impeded by ravines and swamps, leaving a gap in the line which gave Tipu Sultan an advantage. Eventually, after weeks of fighting, the defences of Seringapatam were breached and Tipu surrendered. Medows was distraught that his part of the attack was unsuccessful. On 27th Feb, after a meeting with Cornwallis, he returned to his tent and attempted suicide. He shot himself 3 times but failed to kill himself. He was in agony for several days but recovered. He was awarded 5,000 pounds as his share of the spoils of victory, but he had the money distributed among his men. On 14th Dec he as made Knight of the Bath. He was Governor of the Isle of Wight in 1798. His appointment as Colonel of the 73rd Foot was from August 1786 to Nov 1796, and from Nov 1796 until his death in Nov 1813 he was Colonel of the 7th Dragoon Guards.


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