arthur wellesley, duke of wellington
Arthur Wellesley was born to be a soldier. He was born into Irish nobility, he wasn't particularly outstanding whilst he was at school, and it wasn't until he entered the army and was sent out to India that his skills as a soldier came to the fore.
Much was expected of the young Arthur in India, his elder brother was already serving in India as a diplomat, and he kept his eye on his younger brother.
After several very successful years in India, Sir Arthur Wellesley returned to England and was then sent overseas eventually landing up in the Peninsular taking over the British army after the disastrous retreat to Corunna by Sir John Moore.
Sir Arthur spent the next few years fighting the French through Portugal, Spain and into France, winning spectacular battles such as Talavera, Vittoria and Salamanca. He was given honorary titles by Spain, Portugal and England, and was eventually given the title of the Duke of Wellington.
His greatest battle was Waterloo, in his own words "it was a near run thing". Honours continued to be bestowed on him after this, his last battle as Commander in Chief of the British Army.
He retired from the Army and continued to serve his country until his death at Walmer Castle in Kent. He was probably Britain's greatest general.
Last update October 23rd 2004