Blakeney, Sir Edward
- G. C. Boase
- , revised by John Sweetman
Blakeney, Sir Edward (1778–1868), army officer, born at Newcastle upon Tyne, was the fourth son of Colonel William Blakeney of Newcastle upon Tyne, MP for Athenry in the Irish parliament (1781–3, 1790–1800). He was appointed a cornet in the King's Royal Irish light dragoons on 28 February 1794, lieutenant in an unattached regiment of foot on 24 September 1794, and captain in the 99th foot on 24 December 1794. He accompanied the expedition under Major-General White to the West Indies and was present in British Guiana at the capture of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo in 1796; during this service he was taken prisoner by privateers three times. After a short period on half pay he joined the 17th foot as a captain on 8 March 1798, and in 1799 he went with the duke of York's expedition to the Netherlands, taking part in actions on 10 and 19 September and 2 and 6 October. After being promoted major on 17 September 1801, and again going on half pay the following year, he joined the 47th foot on 9 July 1803 and exchanged into the 7th foot on 24 March 1804. In 1807 Blakeney sailed to the Baltic with Lord Cathcart's force, which captured the Danish fleet and secured the surrender of Copenhagen. Appointed brevet lieutenant-colonel on 25 April 1808, he was present with the 1st battalion of the 7th foot at the capture of Martinique in 1809, then led it during the battles of Busaco (27 September 1810) and Albuera (16 May 1811), once the battalion had joined the duke of Wellington in the Peninsula. After recovering from a severe thigh wound suffered at Albuera, on 20 June 1811 as a substantive lieutenant-colonel Blakeney assumed command of both battalions of the 7th, which had been combined after sustaining heavy losses at Albuera. He subsequently commanded the regiment during the action at Aldea de Ponte, the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz (where he was severely wounded in the arm), and the battles of Vitoria, Pamplona, the Pyrenees, and Nivelle, as well as various minor encounters.
Having been made colonel on 4 June 1814, Blakeney took part in the British expedition to the United States and fought at the battle of New Orleans. Subsequently, he joined the duke of Wellington's allied force in the Netherlands prior to its entry into Paris in 1815, and remained in France with the army of occupation. Appointed KCB on 2 January 1815, he also received the gold cross and one clasp for Martinique, Albuera, Badajoz, Vitoria, and the Pyrenees, and the silver war medal with four clasps for Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, Nivelle, and Nive; in 1812 he had been created a knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal. He married, in 1814, Maria, daughter of Colonel Gardiner of the East India Company's service. She died at Chelsea Hospital, London, on 21 January 1866, aged seventy-six.
Although retaining nominal command of his regiment until 2 June 1825, and being promoted major-general on 27 May 1825, Blakeney commanded the 1st brigade of the army sent to Portugal in 1826. On 20 September 1832 he was appointed colonel of his old regiment, the 7th foot, and he served in Ireland as commander-in-chief from 1836 to 1855. A privy councillor from 7 May 1836 (thereafter appearing in the Army List as 'Rt Hon.'), Blakeney was promoted local lieutenant-general on 26 August 1836, substantive lieutenant-general on 28 June 1838, and general on 20 June 1854. He had been appointed GCH in 1836 and GCB on 7 May 1849, before leaving the 7th foot on 21 December 1854 to become colonel of the 1st foot, a post retained until his death. After his return from Ireland he became lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital in London (with a salary of £400 p.a.) on 6 February 1855 and governor (at £500 p.a.) on 25 September 1856. Sir Edward attained the rank of field marshal on 9 November 1862 and was made colonel-in-chief of the rifle brigade on 28 August 1865. He died at Chelsea Hospital on 2 August 1868 and was buried at Twickenham, Middlesex, on 8 August.
- Army List
- W. Wheater, ed., Historical record of the seventh or royal regiment of fusiliers (1875)
- M. Foss, The royal fusiliers (1967)
- The royal fusiliers in an outline of military history, 1685–1938, 3rd edn (1938)
- CKS, corresp.
- Beds. & Luton ARS, corresp. with Earl de Grey
- McGill University, Montreal, McLennan Library, corresp. with duke of Wellington, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, and others, relating to military matters in Ireland
- R. J. Lane, lithograph, 1840 (after J. Nogues), NPG
- G. Sanders, mezzotint (after S. C. Smith), NPG
- S. C. Smith, oils; formerly at United Service Club, London
Wealth at Death
under £45,000: probate, 25 Aug 1868, CGPLA Eng. & Wales