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General Sir William Henry Clinton GCB KCH (23 December 1769 – 15 February 1846) was a British general during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars as well as the First Miguelist War. He was also the grandson of Admiral George Clinton and elder brother of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton.

Sir William Clinton
General Sir William Henry Clinton.jpg
Born23 December 1769
Died15 February 1846 (aged 76)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary
Napoleonic Wars
First Miguelist War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath


Military careerEdit

Born to General Sir Henry Clinton in 1769, Clinton entered the British Army in 1784 as a cornet in the 7th Light Dragoons. Under the Duke of York, Clinton took part in the Flanders and Low Countries campaigns as a Captain in the 1st Guards in 1793, winning promotion to Lieutenant Colonel the following year. Serving as a Member of Parliament (MP) for East Retford from 1794 to 1796, he left Parliament to become aide-de-camp to the Duke.

In 1799, Clinton travelled to Italy on a diplomatic mission to Russian forces, before returning to take part in the Dutch expedition later that year. In 1801, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and participated in the capture of Madeira. He was then appointed governor of Madeira from July 1801 until March 1802, before becoming Military Secretary in 1803 and Quartermaster-General in Ireland in 1804. He returned to Parliament in 1806 as MP for Boroughbridge, a seat he held until 1818. After another diplomatic mission to Sweden in 1807, Clinton became a Major General the following year.

During 1812, Clinton served in the Mediterranean leading a division at Messina on the Italian island of Sicily, where he commanded a force of 12,000 British and Spanish troops.[1] Commanding the 1st Division during the Duke of Wellington's Spanish Campaign from 1812 to 1813, Clinton won distinction during the Battle of Castalla on 13 April 1813. In June 1813, Clinton became commander-in-chief of the British Forces in eastern Spain serving until April 1814, however he would see little action for the remainder of the war. After promotion to Lieutenant General, Clinton was knighted Order of the Bath in 1815. In 1814 he was given the Colonelcy of the 55th (Westmorland) Regiment of Foot, a position he held until his death.[2]

Returning to his post as a member of Parliament, he would command a division consisting of around 5,000 soldiers during the First Miguelist War where he attempted to support Portuguese forces from December 1826 until April 1828. Promoted a full general, Clinton resigned from Parliament serving as governor of Chelsea Hospital from 1842 until his death on 15 February 1846 on Cockenhatch, near Royston, Herts. There is a memorial plaque to Clinton in St. Mary Magdalene Church, Barkway, Herts.[3]


Clinton was married to Lady Dorothea Louisa Holroyd and had two sons who both served in the British Army.


  1. ^ A New Biographical Dictionary, of 3000 Contemporary Public Characters, British and Foreign, of All Ranks and Professions. G. B. Whittaker. 1825. p. 369.
  2. ^ "55th Regiment of Foot-Colonels". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. ^ Bromley, Janet; Bromley, David (2015). Wellington's Men Remembered Volume 1: A Register of Memorials to Soldiers who Fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo- Volume I: A to L. Pen and Sword. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-4738-5768-1.

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