Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore (1761-1809)


Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore

It is a widely held belief that, if he had survived, John Moore would have rivalled the Duke of Wellington in terms of military reputation. Born in Glasgow, Moore received a commission in the 51st Foot (1st Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) in 1776, seeing service in the American War of Independence before entering Parliament as MP for Linlithgow Burghs in 1784.

By 1790, when he left Parliament, he was a lieutenant-colonel; eight years later he had been promoted to major-general after taking part in campaigns in Corsica (1794) and the West Indies (1796-7). Wounded at the Battle of Egmont during the Helder expedition in 1799 and again while leading his troops at Alexandria two years later, he was chosen in 1803 to command the nascent 'Corps of light Infantry' at Shorncliffe, where he introduced radical new training methods.

Knighted in 1804 and promoted to lieutenant-general a year later, he assumed command of British troops in Portugal after the humiliating Convention of Cintra in 1808. His advance into Northern Spain was well conducted, but French counter-moves forced him to retreat to Corunna where, 16 January 1809, he was killed. The Army lost a brave fighting general and a superb trainer of men.