General Sir Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner GCH KH

Tomkyns Turner was born on 12 Jan 1764, the son of Richard Turner a surgeon in Uxbridge, Middlesex. He fought in Egypt in the Napoleonic War, at Aboukir Bay and Alexandria, and when certain artefacts fell into British hands following the defeat of the French in 1801, Colonel Turner was entrusted with the delivery of the Rosetta Stone to Britain. This large black piece of stone is now on display in the British Museum. It has a text carved on it in three languages, Egyptian, Demotic and Greek, dating back to 196 BC (196 BCE). It proved invaluable to Egyptologists, enabling them to decipher hieroglyphics. The story of it’s capture from the French, by Turner himself, is clouded in controversy as is the national ownership.

He was Colonel of the Green Howards for 32 years from 27 Apr 1811 to 30 May 1843. Other posts that he held were Groom of the Bedchamber to George VI, Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, and Governor of Bermuda. He was married to Esther Senecaut and they had 3 sons and 2 daughters. He died on 6 May 1843. The portrait is by an unknown artist showing him in the uniform of a 3rd Foot Guards officer.

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by Stephen Luscombe