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Addison, Henry Robert (1805–1876), playwright and army officer, was born of Irish parentage in 1805 at Calcutta, and spent his early life in India. He acquired on 12 July 1827 a commission in the cavalry as cornet in the 2nd dragoon guards, and progressed to lieutenant on 15 March 1831. Part of his ...

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Aldington, Edward Godfree [Richard] (1892–1962), writer, was born on 8 July 1892 at 50 High Street, Portsmouth, the eldest among the two sons and two daughters of Albert Edward Aldington (1864–1921), bookseller and stationer, and later solicitor's clerk and amateur author, and Jessie May Godfree (1872–1954)...

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Alexander Alexander (b. 1781/22) by Thomas Hodgetts, pubd 1830 (after Sir John Watson-Gordon) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alexander, Alexander (b. 1781/2), soldier and writer, was born in Dundonald, Ayrshire, the illegitimate son of a wealthy Scottish merchant. Almost everything known about him comes from his remarkable autobiography, published in Edinburgh in 1830. After what he recalled as an unhappy childhood marred by physical violence, at the age of eighteen he was sent to work as an overseer on slave plantations in ...

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Allbeury, Theodore Edward Le Bouthillier [Ted] (1917–2005), intelligence officer and novelist, was born on 24 October 1917 at 478 Manchester Road, Stockport, Lancashire, the son of Theodore Allbeury, cotton goods buyer, and his wife, Florence, née Bailey. He had one sister. His father died when ...

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Andrewe, Thomas (fl. 1600–1604), soldier and poet, is known only by his poem in rhyming couplets The Unmasking of a Feminine Machiavell, published in 1604. Its autobiographical nature is revealed in its preface 'To the Reader' and in a commendatory poem by Samuel Rowlands...

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Arnold, William Delafield (1828–1859), army officer and novelist, was born at Laleham, Middlesex, on 7 April 1828, the fourth son of Thomas Arnold (1795–1842), headmaster of Rugby School, and his wife, Mary (1791–1873), daughter of the Revd John Penrose. He was educated at ...

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Atkyns, Richard (1615–1677), army officer and writer on printing, was the only child of Richard Atkyns (1584–1636/7) of Tuffley, Gloucestershire, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of Sir Edwin Sandys, of Latimer, Buckinghamshire, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Sandys, of The Vyne, Hampshire...

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Baggerley, Humphrey (fl. 1648–1654), army officer and supposed biographer, was among the troops who on 9 October 1648 surrendered at Appleby, Westmorland, to superior parliamentarian forces under Colonel Assheton. The royalist soldiers were granted very generous terms and, having been allowed his freedom, ...

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Bartlett, Ellis Ashmead- (1881–1931), war correspondent, was born at 57 Grosvenor Street, London, on 11 February 1881, the eldest son of Sir Ellis Ashmead Bartlett (1849–1902), a Conservative MP, and his wife, Frances Christina, née Walsh (1851/2–1929). The family mixed in and scandalized high society. His uncle ...

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Ellis Ashmead- Bartlett (1881–1931) by George Charles Beresford, 1909 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beaton, (Donald) Leonard (1929–1971), journalist and strategic analyst, was born on 20 June 1929 in Montreal, the son of John W. Beaton. He was educated in Montreal, at Westmount high school, and at McGill University, where he took an honours degree in economics and in political science. In 1950 he entered ...

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Francis Espinasse

revised by Philip A. Hunt

Beatson, Robert (1741–1818), writer and army officer, was born at Vicarsgrange, Dysart, Fife, on 25 June 1741, the eldest son of David Beatson (d. 1785) of Vicarsgrange and his wife and cousin, Jean, daughter of Robert Beatson of Kilrie, the descendant of a local laird. His father enjoyed the patronage of the ...

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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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Rupert Chawner Brooke (1887–1915) by Sherril Schell, 1913 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brooke, Rupert Chawner (1887–1915), poet, was born on 3 August 1887 at 5 Hillmorton Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, the second of the three sons born to William Parker Brooke (1850–1910), schoolmaster, and his wife, Ruth Mary (d. 1930), the daughter of the Revd Charles Cotterill...

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John Burgoyne (1723–1792) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766 © The Frick Collection, New York

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Burgoyne, John (1723–1792), army officer, politician, and playwright, was born on 4 February 1723 at Park Prospect, Westminster, legally the son of Captain John Burgoyne (d. 1768) and his wife, Anna Maria, daughter of Charles Burneston of Hackney, but possibly fathered by ...

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Burleigh, Bennet Gordon (c. 1840–1914), journalist and soldier, was born in Glasgow. Little is known about his early life: in his later years he concealed his age, and his father has been variously described as a timber merchant and as a master mechanic. At the time of the Civil War, ...