b. 06/07/1835 Rock Castle, Portstewart, Ireland. d. 24/06/1912 Chelsea Hospital, London.
Sir George Stuart White (1835-1912) was born on 6th July 1835, at Rock Castle, Portstewart, County Antrim, Ireland, the son of James Robert White, and Frances Stuart, both who came from distinguished Irish families. Frances’ father was Colonel William Stuart, a MP from County Tyrone. He was educated at Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, and later at King William’s College on the Isle of Man.
From 1850, he attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he was commissioned into the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot in 1853, prior to serving at the Indian Mutiny. He was then promoted to Captain in 1863, and transferred to the Gordon Highlanders, and was further promoted to Major in 1873.
In 1874, he married Amelia, daughter of the Ven Joseph Baly, Archdeacon of Calcutta, with whom he had one son and four daughters. Major White then took part with his Regiment, the 92nd Highlanders in October 1879, in the advance of the Division on Kabul, Afghanistan, and commanded the right flank at the action of Charasiah on the 6th of the month, where his gallantry would be noted and he would receive the VC (London Gazette, 3rd June 1881).
On 6th October 1879, the artillery and rifle fire had failed to dislodge the enemy from a fortified hill near Charasiah. It was necessary to capture the hill, so Major White led an attack on the position personally. He advanced with two companies of the regiment, and came across an enemy force who outnumbered him 8 to 1. His men were exhausted from the efforts of climbing the steep hill, so White, grabbing a rifle, moved forward himself and shot the leader of the enemy. This act surprised the rest of the enemy body so much, that they fled around the side of the hill. White was also cited for his actions on 1st September, 1880 during the Battle of Kandahar, where he led the final charge, under heavy fire, and held the position with the support of two guns.
White received his medal from the Viceroy Marquis of Ripon, on 4th October 1881 in Simla, India. He became the commanding officer of the 92nd Foot in 1881. He then commanded a brigade during the 3rd Anglo-Burmese War of 1885, as a result of which he was promoted to major-general and was knighted in 1886. In 1889 he took command at Quetta District. Sir George became Commander-in-Chief, India, in 1893.
He was appointed Quartermaster-General to the Forces in 1898, holding that post until the following year. He was commander of the forces in Natal during the opening of the 2nd Boer War; and commanded the garrison at the Siege of Ladysmith 1899–1900, for which he was appointed GCMG. General White then became Governor of Gibraltar, 1900-04, and was promoted to field marshal in 1903.
He was Governor of the Royal Chelsea Hospital from 1905 until his death there on 24th June 1912, aged 76. He was buried in Broughshane Presbyterian Churchyard, Broughshane, County Antrim, Ireland, at his ancestral home. His medals are held by the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen, Scotland.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GORDON HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM, ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: BROUGHSHANE CHURCHYARD, COUNTY ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the White VC Medal Group at the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen.
Mark Campbell – Image of White VC’s name on the Ballymena War Memorial, Northern Ireland.