Sir Vincent Eyre

(22 January 1811 - 22 September 1881)

He was born at Portsdown, near Portsmouth, on 22 Jan. 1811, was the third son of Captain Henry Eyre, of an old stock of Derbyshire cavaliers, by Mary, daughter of J. Concannon, esq., of Loughrea, co. Galway, Ireland. He was educated at the Norwich grammar school under the Rev. E. Valpy, who was also the teacher of Sir Archdale Wilson of Delhi, Colonel Stoddart, the Bokhara victim, and Sir James Brooke [q. v.].

Eyre entered the Military Academy at Addiscombe (1827), when about fifteen, and passed out into the artillery of the company on 12 Dec. 1828. He was gazetted to the Bengal establishment, and landed in Calcutta 21 May 1829. After eight years he was promoted to be first lieutenant, and appointed to the horse artillery. In 1833, Eyre married the daughter of Colonel Sir James Mouat, bart. She died in 1851.

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Mrs. Eyre 1842 Vincent Eyre

In 1829, Eyre arrived in Calcutta and after eight years he was promoted to first lieutenant, and appointed to the horse artillery. In 1839, he was appointed Commissary of Ordnance to the Cabul field force.

Eyre and his family were captured by Afghan rebels led by Akbar Khan in January 1842. They spent nearly nine months in captivity, during which time Eyre kept a diary of his experiences and sketched the officers and ladies. The manuscript was smuggled to a friend in India then published in England titled Military Operations at Cabul (1843). The family were rescued in September 1843, and the following year Eyre was appointed to command the artillery of the new “Gwalior contingent”. He took part in the relief of Lucknow, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and was made Lieutenant-Colonel the same year.

After the suppression of the mutiny Eyre was appointed to superintend the powder works at Ishapore, near Calcutta. Here, in 1860, he married his cousin, Catherine Mary, daughter of Captain T. Eyre, R.N. In 1861 Eyre was selected by Lord Canning to be a member of the commission on the amalgamation of the company's army with that of the queen, and in 1862 was appointed inspector-general of ordnance in the Bengal army. In April 1863 he was ordered home on sick leave, and retired with the rank of major-general in October 1863. In 1867 he received the second-class decoration of the Star of India. Happening to be in France on the breaking out of the war with Prussia, Eyre undertook to organise an ambulance service under the rules of the English National Red Cross Society. He formed a local committee in August at Boulogne, and for the next eight months he and Lady Eyre continued to be the presiding and most active members of a very beneficent organisation. These services were most handsomely acknowledged by the various authorities of the two belligerent nations. He passed his winters at Rome during his later years, and was everywhere a favourite in society. In the summer of 1880 he was attacked by a spinal disease, and died at Aix-les-Bains. His remains were brought to England and interred at Kensal Green.

Eyre was a man of noble and beautiful nature. Handsome, courteous, accomplished, he was at the same time daring and full of resource. High literary and artistic talent were combined with his military qualities. He left four children, all by his first wife. Three sons adopted the career of arms, and his daughter married a military officer.