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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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Broughton, Thomas Duer (1778–1835), army officer in the East India Company and writer on India, was born in Bristol on 8 March 1778, son of the Revd Thomas Broughton, rector of St Peter's, Bristol, and his wife, Jane; he was great-grandson of the ...

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Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1842–1885) by James Tissot, 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Burnaby, Frederick Gustavus (1842–1885), army officer and traveller, was born at the old rectory, St Peter's Green, Bedford, on 3 March 1842, the elder son of the Revd Gustavus Andrew Burnaby (1802–1872) of Somerby Hall, near Oakham, Rutland, rector of St Peter's, Bedford...

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Stanley Lane-Poole

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Campbell, Donald (1751–1804), army officer and travel writer, of Barbreck, Argyll, is best known for his A journey over land to India … by Donald Campbell of Barbreck, who formerly commanded a regiment of cavalry in the service of the nabob of the Carnatic: in a series of letters to his son...

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Cavendish, Henry (1550–1616), soldier and traveller, was the eldest son of Sir William Cavendish (1508–1557) of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, administrator, and his third wife, Elizabeth [see Talbot, Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608)], noblewoman, known as Bess of Hardwick, daughter of John Hardwick...

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Champion de Crespigny, Sir Claude, fourth baronet (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman, was born in Chelsea on 20 April 1847, the eldest son of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, third baronet (1818–1868), of Wivenhoe Hall, Essex, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of ...

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J. M. Rigg

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Chavasse, William (1784/5–1814), army officer and traveller, tried with a brother officer, Captain Macdonald, to explore in 1814 the route traversed by the ten thousand under Xenophon. Starting from Constantinople they got as far as Ingra, near Baghdad, where they were captured by a ...

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Dartasso, Janico (d. 1426), adventurer, was born in Navarre, of Basque descent; he is first mentioned in 1367–8, while serving in the garrison of Cherbourg, then in the possession of Charles d'Évreux, king of Navarre. It seems likely that he remained at Cherbourg...

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Devereux, Walter, first earl of Essex (1539–1576), nobleman and adventurer, was born on 16 September 1539 at Chartley, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of George Hastings, first earl of Huntingdon. Sir Richard, who was created a knight of the Order of the Garter on 20 February 1548, died the same year, in the lifetime of his father, ...

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Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex (1539–1576) by unknown artist, 1575? [after original, 1572] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fermor, Sir Patrick Michael [Paddy] Leigh (1915–2011), special operations officer and author, was born on 11 February 1915 at 20 Endsleigh Gardens, Bloomsbury, London, the younger child and only son of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor (1880–1954), geologist, and his first wife, Muriel Aileen (otherwise Eileen or Æileen), ...

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Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor (1915–2011) by Joan Leigh Fermor, 1946 © Patrick Fermor Archive, Trustees of the National Library of Scotland

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Harris, Sir William Cornwallis (bap. 1807, d. 1848), army officer and traveller, the son of James Harris of Wittersham, Kent, was baptized on 2 April 1807. Robert Harris (1809–1865) was a younger brother. After attending a military college Harris was appointed to the ...

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Kinneir, Sir John Macdonald (1782–1830), army officer, traveller, and diplomatist, born at Carnden, Linlithgow, on 3 February 1782, was the illegitimate son of John Macdonald, comptroller of customs at Bo'ness, and Mrs Cecilia Maria Kinneir. In 1802 he was nominated to a cadetship by ...

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Leachman, Gerard Evelyn (1880–1920), army officer and traveller, was born in Petersfield, Hampshire, on 27 July 1880. Known to his friends as Gerald, he was the sixth child and only surviving son of Dr Albert Leachman, a medical practitioner, and his wife, Louise Caroline Singer...

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Gregor MacGregor (1786–1845) by Samuel William Reynolds senior (after Simon Jacques Rochard) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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MacGregor, Gregor (1786–1845), soldier and adventurer, was the grandson of Gregor MacGregor Drummond who had enlisted in the forerunner of the Black Watch (then Sempill's Highlanders), served abroad with distinction, and been instrumental in obtaining the repeal of legislation which had outlawed the clan ...

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Mercadier (d. 1200), adventurer and mercenary, rose from obscure Provençal origins to become a general and intimate of Richard I. He receives his first mention in October 1183 fighting for Richard against rebellious lords in Aquitaine following the death of Henry, the Young King...