George Murray (British Army officer)

Sir George Murray GCB GCH FRS (6 February 1772 – 28 July 1846) was a British soldier and politician from Scotland.

Sir George Murray
General George Murray (1772-1846), by John Hoppner.jpg
George Murray portrait by John Hoppner RA
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
In office
30 May 1828 – 22 November 1830
MonarchGeorge IV
William IV
Prime MinisterThe Duke of Wellington
Preceded byWilliam Huskisson
Succeeded byThe Viscount Goderich
Personal details
Born(1772-02-06)6 February 1772
Perth, Perthshire
Died28 July 1846(1846-07-28) (aged 74)
Belgrave Square, London
Political partyTory
Louisa Erskine
(m. 1825)

Background and educationEdit

Murray was born in Perth, Scotland, the second son of Sir William Murray, of Ochtertyre, 5th Baronet (see Murray Baronets), and was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh.[1] His mother was Lady Augusta Mackenzie, youngest daughter of the Jacobite George, 3rd Earl of Cromartie. His elder brother was Sir Patrick Murray, 6th Baronet.

Military careerEdit

In 1789, Murray obtained a commission into the 71st Foot,[1] reaching the rank of captain in 1794, and saw service in Flanders (1794–95),[1] the West Indies, England and Ireland. In 1799, he was made a lieutenant-colonel, entering the Quartermaster General's Department and making his considerable reputation as Quartermaster General (1808–11) during the Peninsular War, under the Duke of Wellington, and receiving promotion to Colonel in 1809.[1] After a brief period as Quartermaster General in Ireland, Murray returned to the Peninsular Campaign as Major-General (1813–14), and was invested with the Order of the Bath in 1813.[1] During the Peninsular War he was present at the battles of A Coruña, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes de Oñoro, Vittoria, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez and Toulouse. His Peninsular Gold Medal had six clasps – only the Duke of Wellington, with nine clasps, Sir Dennis Pack and Lord Beresford, with seven each, had more clasps to their medal.[2]

He was briefly in Canada from December 1814 to May 1815 where he was appointed provisional Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and reviewed the country's defences.[1] He quickly returned to Europe following Napoleon's escape from Elba, but arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Waterloo.

After the cessation of hostilities, Murray was based in France as Chief of Staff to the Army of Occupation and, thereafter, he was appointed Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1819.[1] He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Oxford in 1820 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1824. In 1825, he married Lady Louisa Erskine, widow of Sir James Erskine of Torrie (1772–1825). Subsequently, he was made Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance and then Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, but in 1828 he resigned the position and became Colonial Secretary.[1] He was later Master-General of the Ordnance from 1834[3] to 1835 and again between 1841 and 1846.[1]

Political careerEdit

Murray was a Tory and later Conservative in politics. He was Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1824 to 1832 and from 1834 until he retired in 1835. He served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1828 to 1830.[1] He also contested Westminster in 1837 and Manchester in both 1839 and 1841, without success.

Other public appointmentsEdit

Murray was also President of the Royal Geographical Society (1833–35) and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. On 7 September 1829 he was appointed Governor of Fort George.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Murray was married to Lady Louisa Erskine (née Paget) (1777-1842), widow of Lieutenant General Sir James Erskine (1772-1825), and sister of his fellow general, Henry, Lord Anglesey; the couple had one daughter, Louise Georgina. Murray died in July 1846, aged 74, and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London. His substantial papers and maps were given to the National Library of Scotland by a great-niece in 1913.


The Memorials to Governors in the Chapel of the present-day Royal Military Academy Sandhurst include: In Memory of General the Right Hon. Sir George Murray, G.C.B., G.C H., Colonel 1st Royal Regiment of Foot. Died 28 July 1846, aged 74. He served in Holland, Egypt, Syria, the West Indies, Denmark, and Sweden ; wsLS Q.M.G. in the Peninsula; Commander-in-Chief in Canada; Chief of the Staff of the Army of Occupation in France ; Commander of the Forces in Ireland, and twice Master-General of the Ordnance. He was Governor of this College from 1819 to 1824.[5]

The Murray River and Mount Murray in eastern Australia, the Murray River and Murray County in Western Australia, were named after him. Places in Hong Kong named after him include: Murray House, one of the oldest surviving public buildings in Hong Kong, Murray Building, Murray Road and the former Murray Barracks. The city of Perth, Western Australia was named in his honour after his parliamentary constituency Perthshire.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dictionary of Canadian Biography on-line
  2. ^ Bob Burnham: The British Army Against Napoleon, p259
  3. ^ "No. 19222". The London Gazette. 19 December 1834. p. 2285.
  4. ^ "No. 18614". The London Gazette. 25 September 1829. p. 1766.
  5. ^ Major Augustus F. Mockler-Ferryman F.R.G.S., F.Z.S. `Annals of Sandhurst : a chronicle of the Royal Military College from its foundation to the present day, with a sketch of the history of the Staff College` (London: William Heinemann, 1900)
  6. ^ Bolton, Geoffrey (1989). "Perth: A Foundling City". In Pamela Statham (ed.). The Origins of Australia's Capital Cities. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-521-36242-3.
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832–1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)

Further readingEdit

  • Harding-Edgar, John (2018). Next To Wellington: General Sir George Murray: The Story of a Scottish Soldier and Statesman, Wellington's Quartermaster General. Hellion & Company. ISBN 9781912390137.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Perthshire
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Perthshire
Succeeded by
Military offices
New regiment Colonel of the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot
Battalion disbanded
Preceded by Colonel of the 72nd Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Succeeded by
Preceded by Colonel of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander-in-Chief, Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Inverness
Office abolished
Preceded by Colonel of the 1st, or The Royal Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by