United Kingdom
58 views this week
John Drinkwater Bethune

John Drinkwater Bethune

English army officer and military historian
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro English army officer and military historian
Countries United Kingdom
Occupations Military historian
A.K.A. Captain in the late Seventy-Second Regiment, or, Royal Manchester Volunteers,, Officer of His Majesty's Land Forces,
Gender male
Birth June 9, 1762 (Latchford)
Death January 16, 1844 (Leatherhead)
The details

Colonel John Drinkwater Bethune (9 June 1762 – 16 January 1844), born John Drinkwater, was an English army officer and military historian, and was well known for his journal, which he kept during the Great Siege of Gibraltar.

Life and career

Bethune was born at Warrington, Lancashire in 1762. The son of an ex-navy surgeon, he joined the Royal Manchester volunteers at the age of fifteen and was almost immediately posted to Gibraltar. In 1787 Drinkwater travelled to Gibraltar a second time with the second battalion of the Royal Regiment of foot. He was publicly thanked by General Eliott for his book and was given sufficient funds to establish the Gibraltar Garrison Library. He subsequently accompanied his regiment to Toulon (where he acted as military secretary during the city's English occupation) and then to Corsica (where he served as deputy-judge-advocate to the English forces stationed there).

One son, John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune was a pioneer in promoting women's education in 19th century India and in 1849 founded an institution for women's education in Calcutta. The other, Charles Ramsay Drinkwater Bethune rose to Admiral in the Royal Navy.

His last years were spent living at Thorncroft Manor, Leatherhead, a fine 18th century house. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas and St. Mary's Church, Leatherhead,

A History of the Siege of Gibraltar

He first published his work in 1785, and a new edition of A History of the Siege of Gibraltar was published in 1905. The history of the four eventful years' siege is fully detailed also in the Memoir, attached to Green's Siege of Gibraltar (1784), of its defender George Augustus Elliot, afterwards Lord Heathfield.

As a soldier, Drinkwater was more interested in the military than in the civil aspects, yet his account does give some glimpses of the sufferings of the civilians.

The account was completed in 1783 and had with extreme rapidity established its reputation as a military classic.

Career as a Canal Director

Drinkwater enjoyed a second career following his military career. He was a director of the Regent's Canal Company and earned great respect in his role for his sure-footed handling of the company's many financial crises during the period leading up to the opening of the canal in 1820.


The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
comments so far.
Life and career A History of the Siege of Gibraltar Career as a Canal Director Works
arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up arrow-down instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube stumbleupon comments comments pandora gplay iheart tunein pandora gplay iheart tunein itunes