Almost everyone knows the name of Sherlock Holmes’ older brother Mycroft, and most people probably know something about his employment. Likewise, those who study the Georgian era, particularly the period of the Napoleonic Wars, know something about Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, one of the leading British military and political figures of the 19th century. Famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare that resulted in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimizing his own losses, he is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, and many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world.
Fewer are familiar with Arthur’s older brother, Richard, who may actually be responsible for Arthur’s success. Due to his mother’s concern for Arthur’s future, Richard asked his friend, the 4th Duke of Rutland (then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), to consider Arthur for a commission in the army. Soon after, on 7 March 1787, he became an ensign in the 73rd Regiment of Foot. In October of that year, again with the Richard’s assistance, he was assigned as aide-de-camp to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Buckingham at a salary of ten shillings a day (twice his normal pay as an ensign), thus kick starting his illustrious career. Continue reading