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Ainslie, George Robert (1776–1839), army officer and numismatist, was born near Edinburgh, the eldest son of Sir Philip Ainslie and his wife, the Hon. Elizabeth Gray, fifth daughter of John, twelfth Lord Gray. He entered the army as an ensign in the 19th regiment...

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Ambroise (fl. 1188–1195), crusader and historian, was a Norman, possibly from the region of Évreux. His Estoire de la guerre sainte is a unique vernacular eyewitness account of the third crusade, and perhaps 'the best source for the crusade of Richard' (...

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Raymond Asquith (1878–1916) by Malcolm Arbuthnot, c. 1915 Raymond Asquith

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Asquith, Raymond (1878–1916), scholar and army officer, was born on 6 November 1878 in John Street, Hampstead, the eldest of the five children of Herbert Henry Asquith (1852–1928), later prime minister and first earl of Oxford and Asquith, and his first wife, Helen (...

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Baillie, John (1772–1833), army officer in the East India Company and orientalist, younger son of George Baillie of Leys Castle, Inverness, and his wife, Anne (née Baillie), was born at Inverness on 10 May 1772, and entered the East India Company's service in 1790, arriving in ...

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Basset, Peter (fl. 1415–1437), soldier and historian, was co-author of an incomplete account in French of English activities in France between the capture of Harfleur in 1415 and the raising of the siege of Orléans in May 1429. Only one manuscript of this work is known, in ...

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Batey [née Lever], Mavis Lilian (1921–2013), code-breaker and garden historian, was born on 5 May 1921 at 20 Crebor Street, Dulwich, London, the only daughter and younger child of Frederick (formerly Fred, later Stanley Frederick) Lever (1887/8–1971) and his wife, Lily Elizabeth, ...

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Beamish, North Ludlow (1797–1872), army officer, writer, and antiquary, was the third son of William Beamish of Beaumont House, co. Cork, and his wife, Anne Jane Margaret, daughter of Robert De-la-Cour of Short Castle, co. Cork. The family claimed descent from one of the followers of ...

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Bell, Donald Simpson (1890–1916), schoolteacher, footballer, and soldier, was born in Harrogate, North Riding of Yorkshire, on 3 December 1890, the youngest son and fifth of the eight children of Smith Bell (b. 1860), a butcher, and his wife, Annie, née Simpson (...

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W. E. A. Axon

revised by Andrew Lambert

Bellot, Thomas (1806–1857), naval surgeon and philologist, was born on 16 March 1806 at Manchester, where his father, after whom he was named, was a practising surgeon in Oldham Street. The father, a native of Derbyshire, gave evidence in 1818 to a House of Lords...

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Bizzarri [Bizari], Pietro (b. 1525, d. in or after 1586), historian and spy, was born probably in Sassoferrato Castello (Marche), Italy, the son of Antonio Bizzarri, a soldier who died in 1528. He must also have lived in Perugia, hence his common description as ...

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Blunden, Edmund Charles (1896–1974), poet and university teacher, was born on 1 November 1896 at 54A Tottenham Court Road, London, the eldest of the nine children (five sons and four daughters) of Charles Edmund Blunden (1871–1951) and his wife, Georgina Margaret (1868–1967), daughter of ...

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Edmund Charles Blunden (1896–1974) by Ralph Hodgson, 1921 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Boden, Joseph (d. 1811), army officer in the East India Company and benefactor, details of whose birth and parentage are unknown, was appointed lieutenant in the Bombay native infantry on 24 November 1781. He became captain on 25 October 1796, major on 12 October 1802, and lieutenant-colonel on 21 May 1806. His name was borne at various times on the rolls of the ...

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Bolton, Sir George (fl. 1790–1799), tutor and inventor of gun-locks, of unknown parentage and early life, was schooled in military tactics and mathematics preparatory to a career in the army, but was instead appointed instructor to the royal princesses in writing, geography, and arithmetic. Being of independent means, he indulged his interest in firearms by seeking to improve the musket gun-lock, which in both military and sporting firearms was so defective that accidents were frequently caused by guns going off at half-cock in the heat of battle or when forging through dense vegetation. The self-acting and detached bolting lock that he designed was constructed by mathematical instrument makers (whom he found more obedient to his orders than the gun makers), and patented in 1795 (no. 2041). The ...

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John Bourchier, second Baron Berners (c. 1467–1533) attrib. Ambrosius Benson, c. 1521–6 Galerie Jan der Maere

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Bourchier, John, second Baron Berners (c. 1467–1533), soldier, diplomat, and translator, was the son of Sir Humphrey Bourchier (d. 1471) and Elizabeth (d. 1497), daughter and sole heir of Frederick Tilney of Boston, Lincolnshire. His father, a Yorkist, was killed at the battle of ...

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Cammaerts, Francis Charles Albert (1916–2006), special operations officer and teacher, was born on 19 June 1916 at 17 Launceston Place, South Kensington, London, the elder son and third of the six children of Emile Leon Cammaerts (1878–1953) and his wife, Helen Geralda Louise, ...

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Chamberlayne, Thomas (fl. 1609–1638), soldier and expert on Russia, began his eighteen-year military career as a sentinel and rose to the rank of captain; nothing is known about his birth, family, or education. In 1609, with the approval of the English government, he assisted ...

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H. M. Stephens

revised by J. M. Hussey

Church, Sir Richard (1784–1873), soldier and philhellene, was born in Cork, the second son of Matthew Church of Cork, and Anne, daughter of John Dearman, of Braithwaite in Yorkshire. His father and mother were both members of the Society of Friends. Bent on a military career, ...