Statues and monuments: Thomas Dundas

Posted: January 14, 2016 in History, London, UK
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Thomas Dundas was born in Scotland in 1750 and was educated in Edinburgh. He joined the army in 1766 and was swiftly promoted to the rank of major in the 65th foot. He left the army in 1771 and was elected MP for Orkney and Shetland, a seat which he held until 1780. With the outbreak of the American war of independance he was promoted to Lt-Colonel in the 80th foot and saw service at a number of actions including Williamsburg and the seige of Yorktown, where he was captured. He was repatriated in 1782 and promoted to Colonel. Dundas then put aside his army career and was re-elected MP for Orkney and Shetland, which he held until 1790. In 1793 he served as Lt Governor of Guernsey, but with the outbreak of the war of the French revolution he was appointed to command the 2nd brigade and was posted to the West Indies, where he took part in the second invasion of Martinique and the capture of Guadeloupe. In April 1794, he was appointed Governor of Guadeloupe. In June of the same year he contracted yellow fever and died. He was buried on the island. When the French regained possession of the island, the French governor ordered that his body be dug up and left for the birds. This caused a great deal of outrage in Britain and as a result a memorial to his memory was erected in St Paul’s Cathedral.

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