British General Sir Thomas Graham
1st Baron Lynedoch 1748-1843
1/10 scale resin bust
Sculpted by: Carl Reid
Box Art Painted by: Mike Cramer
Sir Thomas Graham certainly had one of the more unusual British army careers – as he took up arms at the age of 50.
Graham joined the army to fight the French after an incident in 1792 when he saw Revolutionary officials open his wife’s coffin as he was returning her body to England for burial.
Furious with the treatment of his beloved, he volunteered to help the British efforts at Toulon and then raised his own regiment – the 90th Perthshire.
Despite his obvious passion and talent, Graham was not initially given a permanent commission, but still served with the regiment as its colonel at Quiberson and in 1796 became a liaison officer with the Austrians in Italy.
Trapped by the French inside Mantua with General Wurmser, the middle-aged Graham staged a daring escape during a severe snowstorm. His next campaigns came with Sir John Moore, firstly to Sweden in 1808 and then into Spain.
After Corunna, his temporary status was made permanent, and before setting out on the Walcheren Expedition, he was promoted to general. Sickness saw him sent back to Britain, but a year later he took command of the British troops at Cadiz.
Under siege in 1811, Graham went on to the offensive and caught the French by surprise. He later defeated them at the battle of Barrossa.
Illness struck again just prior to the battle of Salamanca and he did not return to the Peninsula until 1813 when he arrived just in time to play a major part at Vitoria.
At the head of 20,000 men, Graham was sent on a wide hooking operation to threaten the French flank and rear. Its success cut the French supply lines and line of retreat.
His follow-up capture of San Sebastian was his last major success as sickness again forced his return to Britain.
His last military assignment came in 1814 when he unsuccessfully tried to take Antwerp. General Graham’s honors include Order of the Bath, Order of St. Michael and St. George, Spanish Order of Ferdinand, Portuguese order of the Tower and Sword. In 1834, he was made Colonel of the Scots Royals. He died in 1843 at age 95. In Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, St. Ives, Graham is featured in chapter 8, the chapter is well worth reading. General Graham’s Order of the Bath Breast Star, his crimson sash worn at the battle of Barrossa, a sword presented to him from William IV and two of his General’s uniforms along with his Scots Royals shako are in the Cramer Museum.