Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Grey


Colonel Thomas GreyLieutenant Colonel Thomas Grey, who died of an abscess at Capetown on 17 January 1797. He had been left behind, unwell, while the rest of the Regiment sailed for India.


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Thomas Grey was born in July 1770 in Howick, Northumberland, the fourth son of Sir Charles Grey (later the 1st Earl Grey) and Elizabeth his wife. He was commissioned into the 85th Regiment but transferred to the 12th Regiment as its 2nd Lieutenant-Colonel on 30 January 1796.


In the same month the 12th were ordered to India. They left the Isle of Wight on 27 June and arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on 19 September for a stay of two months. However when they left the Cape for Madras on 10 November it was without Lt Col Grey.  Richard Bayly in his diary explains:


“Our second Lt-col, the honourable T Grey, met with a most melancholy fate during our delay at the Cape. He was one day walking in his bed-chamber, and suddenly struck his hip against the corner of a chest of drawers; the pain occasioned by the contact was very trifling, and he neglected all precautions of friction or embrocation; about a week afterwards he complained to the surgeon of a very disagreeable sensation in the part affected. On examination an incipient abscess was discovered; in six weeks after he was a corpse.  Sic transit gloria mundi!”


However according to George Elers in his memoirs, “At Eton he received a blow from a cricket ball, and that eventually caused his death.”

Whatever the cause, Grey died in Capetown on 17 January 1797.

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