Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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General Sir Henry Dermot Daly – August 2006

General Sir Henry Dermot Daly
General Sir Henry Dermot Daly

General Sir Henry Daly G.C.B., C.I.E.
RSHG is grateful to Trish Lovell for the following research

The inscriptions on the grave tell of General Sir Henry Daly G.C.B, C.I.E and his wife Charlotte Claudine Georgeana, and at first it was assumed that these two were a successful Victorian couple who had moved to the Isle of Wight to end their days.

Within a very short time it became clear that the story was rather more complicated than at first appeared. Searches revealed that two years of birth were recorded for Sir Henry, and no less than three places of birth! A book by Sir Henry’s son (Sir Hugh) states that he was born on 25 October 1823 at Kirkee in India and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography gives 25 October 1821 at Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. To make matters worse, another source gave the same date as the son, but in Dalysgrove, Galway, Ireland!

The Daly family were found in Burke’s Landed Irish Gentry with an impressive pedigree, and Sir Henry’s father was revealed as Francis Dermot Daly, an officer in the 4th Light Dragoons and his mother as Mary Anne McIntosh, daughter of Hugh McIntosh, an officer in the 101st Regiment of Foot.

Sir Hugh’s book states that his father, having been born in Kirkee, was sent home from India as an infant to be cared for by his maternal grandmother, Mrs McIntosh, where he and his elder brother were brought up in Newport.

The Army List showed that Captain Hugh McIntosh went on half-pay after the Napoleonic Wars and became Quarter Master at the Isle of Wight Depot, Albany Barracks, in 1816, a post which he held until the depot was closed some ten years later.

Sir Henry’s elder brother, Francis, gave his place of birth as Albany Barracks in the 1871 census, and Sir Henry stated that he was born in Carisbrooke or Parkhurst in the three censuses in which he was found in England.

His connection with the Isle of Wight deepened as information came to light that his parents were married in Northwood, his grandparents are remembered on a plaque at Carisbrooke Church, his father was buried at Gatcombe and BOTH his wives came from the Island! Census returns showed that his first wife, Susan Kirkpatrick was born on the Island and at one time lived in Vernon House in Ryde. His second wife, Charlotte Claudine Georgeana (nee Coape) was born at Chale.

The Army List was consulted for details of Sir Henry’s military service but no trace of him was found in British regiments at first. It emerged that he had first joined the Bombay Infantry as a Cadet in 1840. He reached the position of Captain by 1854 and Lieutenant General by 1877.

A note in the Army List, 1882 et al, gives the following details:-

“Sir Henry Daly served with the Bombay Column in the Punjaub campaign of 1848-49 and was present at the siege and surrender of Mooltan, battle of Guajerat, pursuit and surrender of the Sikh Army. (For which he was awarded a Medal with two clasps)

Commanded the 1st Punjaub Cavalry at the passage of the Kotah Pass, and against the Hill Tribes in 1850-51-52 (For which he was awarded a Medal with clasp)
Commanded the Corps of Guides at the siege of Delhi in 1857 (twice wounded and horse killed, Brevet of Major and CB)

Commanded Hodson’s Horse at the siege of Lucknow in 1858 (Brevet of Lt. Colonel) and the Brigade of Hodson’s Horse throughout Sir Hope Grant’s campaign in Oude in 1858-59 including the action at Nawabgunge and passages of the Goomtee and Gogra.”

In a series of articles about Sir Henry received from Daly College it is mentioned that he was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross. This is not mentioned by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which nevertheless states that he was mentioned for conspicuous gallantry on at least two occasions.

As well as being a brave and able soldier, he was also an excellent Administrator, having qualified as an Interpreter early on in his career and becoming the Governor General’s Agent for Central India between 1870 and 1881.

He became a KCB (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath) Military, on 29 May 1875, and a GCB (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath) Military, on 25 May 1889.

Before leaving India Sir Henry had taken a great interest in education and had begun a College which was later named after him. The Daly College is in Indore in India, celebrating the 125th Anniversary of its formal founding in 2007 although Sir Henry had actually initiated the College some years before.

Sir Henry’s son, Sir Hugh, continued his father’s good work in India after Sir Henry had retired to the peace of Ryde House in Ryde. He did not intend to be inactive, however, becoming a J P on the Island and taking a good deal of interest in local affairs. He unsuccessfully contested one of the divisions of Ryde at the first County Council election.

He was a Master of Foxhounds, the website for the Island states

“… General Sir Henry Daly, K.C.B., who is perhaps the only officer who ever rode in action in a velvet hunting cap. He obtained leave to do this at the storming of Delhi, which was one of Sir Henry’s professional experiences. His term of office last (sic) eight seasons, during which the hunt prospered exceedingly and its prospects improved. But failing health compelled him to resign and he was succeeded by a committee who carried on and kept the game alive for a season or perhaps two.“

The Daly College website states that the reason for Sir Henry’s ill health was that

“Towards the end of 1889, he suffered a serious injury in a fall while riding and never fully recovered.” So concerned was Queen Victoria about his health that she called at Ryde House to make personal enquiries. She was also sponsor to his son by his second marriage, to Charlotte, who joined him in the grave in 1920.

He was also a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Whatever the reason for Sir Henry’s death in 1895, he was buried with some honour in Ryde Cemetery, several column inches being devoted to reports of his life and death in the local papers. Ten carriages followed the hearse, the second being occupied by a representative of Queen Victoria, who laid a wreath on her behalf. The Royal Yacht Alberta dipped its ensign on passing Ryde House, and the shopkeepers in Ryde honoured the General by putting up the shutters on their shops for the time of the funeral.

Although no mention was made in the newspaper of Sir Henry’s birth in Carisbrooke, or the fact that he probably went to school at the Corn Market (now St Thomas’ Square) in Newport, information from the British Library India Office makes it clear that Sir Henry was born on the Island in 1821 – rather strange that the age he gave at his marriage, at three censuses and that quoted at the registration of his death all suggest that he was born in 1823. The original Baptism Book for Albany Barracks, quoted by the papers at the India Office, cannot now be found. Either it was destroyed or has been deposited unrecognised at a Record Office or other Archive, waiting for another researcher to unearth it.

Researched by Trish Lovell

General Sir Henry Daly grave