Field Marshal HRH Duke of Connaught

Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert was born on 1 May 1850 at Buckingham Palace. Having been born on the 81st birthday of the Duke of Wellington he was given the Duke's name of Arthur. He was the 7th child and 3rd son of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur was a professional soldier, spending 2 years at RMC Woolwich and being commissioned, in 1868, into the RE, no doubt influenced by his childhood tutor Sir Howard Elphinstone VC RE. He next held a brief commission in the RA, then the Rifle Brigade in 1869. He served in Montreal in the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade, and was at the Battle of Eccles Hill, fighting Fenians. While in Canada he toured North America and met President Ulysses S Grant. He transferred as a captain to the 7th Hussars in 1874. He commanded the Guards Brigade in the Egyptian Campaign of 1882. He also served in India, as Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army, in 1886. He had risen to the rank of Field Marshal by 1902 holding such posts as C-in-C Ireland, Third Army Corps, and Inspector-General of the Forces.

Prince Arthur was created a royal peer in 1874, receiving the title of Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Earl of Sussex. He renounced, a little later, his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. On 13 Mar 1879 he married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, and had 3 children, living at Bagshot Park in Surrey. Their son, Prince Arthur was born in 1883 (died in 1938). Their youngest daughter was Princess Patricia who became very popular in Canada and gave her name to the famous Canadian Light Infantry Regiment. For many years The Duke had a liaison with Leonie, Lady Leslie, sister of Jennie Churchill (Winston's mother).

From 1908 to 1909 the Duke held the position of Commander-in-Chief and High Commissioner Mediterranean, based in Malta but he resigned the post stating that the position was an unnecessary expense. In 1911 he was appointed Governor-General of Canada and lived at the viceroyal residence of Rideau Hall in Ottowa. He and his wife carried out many tours and led a busy social life. The Connaughts were still in Canada when World War 1 broke out and remained there to encourage Canadian involvement in the European conflict. The Duke caused an upset when he took it upon himself to visit Canadian troops and salute them as they went off to Europe. Prime Minister Borden was not consulted and stated that The Duke had overstepped his duties. The Connaughts moved back to England in 1916 and the Duchess died in 1917. After the war he was involved with the Boy Scouts and was a Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. He died at Bagshot Park on 16 Jan 1942, aged 91 and was buried at Frogmore. As well as honorary Coloncies of many foreign regiments he held the following Colonelcies of British and Empire regiments:

1880 Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade from 29 May until his death.
1883 Colonel of the Scots Guards from 24 June until 1904
1883 Hon Colonel 13th Bengal Lancers
1883 Hon Colonel 7th Bengal Infantry
1883 Hon Colonel 29th Bombay Infantry (Later 129th Baluchis)
1884 Colonel-in-Chief 3rd & 4th Queen's Own Royal West Kent Militia 23 Aug
1886 Hon Colonel Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles 27 July
1891 Hon Colonel Sligo Artillery Militia 3 Jun
1891 Hon Colonel 1st Bombay Lancers 12 Aug
1893 Hon Colonel 3rd Vol Bn The Hampshirre Regiment 25 Mar
1896 Hon Colonel 3rd & 4th Militia Bns Highland Light Infantry 12 Feb
1897 Colonel-in-Chief 6th Inniskilling Dragoons 22 June until 1922
1900 Hon Colonel 6th Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles of Canada 3 May
1900 Hon Colonel 1st British Columbia Regiment
1901 Colonel-in-Chief of the Highland Light Infantry from 4 Sep
1902 Promoted to Field Marshal 22 June
1902 Hon Colonel Royal Army Service Corps 2 Sep
1903 Colonel-in-Chief Royal Dublin Fusiliers 7 Nov
1904 Colonel of the Grenadier Guards since 1 May
1904 Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards 1 May
1904 Colonel-in-Chief of 129th Baluchis 13 May
1904 Colonel-in-Chief 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers 13 May
1904 Colonel-in-Chief 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers (Watson's) 13 May
1904 Colonel-in-Chief 7th Rajputs 13 May
1905 Colonel-in-Chief Durban Light Infantry 28 Nov
1905 Hon Colonel of the Capetown Highlanders
1905 Hon Colonel Transvaal Cycle Corps 1 Oct
1908 Hon Colonel South Irish Horse 7 July
1912 Hon Colonel Supply & Transport Corps Indian Army
1912 Colonel-in-Chief Ceylon Army Service Corps
1914 Hon Colonel Royal Canadian Regiment 13 Oct
1915 Hon Colonel 3rd Victorian Rifles of Canada 6 Feb
1919 Colonel-in-Chief Royal Medical Corps
1920 Colonel-in-Chief 3rd Victoria Rifles of Canada 15 Sep
1921 Colonel-in-Chief 47th Sikhs
1923 Colonel-in-Chief Indian Army Service Corps
1923 Colonel-in-Chief 1st British Columbia Regiment
1925 Colonel-in-Chief Royal Winnipeg Rifles 22 June
1929 Colonel-in-Chief Royal Canadian Regiment 4 Apr
1931 Colonel-in-Chief Kaffarian Rifles 6 Feb
1932 Colonel-in-Chief Royal Army Service Corps

Regimental details | Colonels


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by Stephen Luscombe