Tuesday, December 21, 2004

How to Prepare for a Siege by Lord Heathfield

In 1775 George Augustus Eliott, Lord Heathfield (1717 - 1790), was appointed Governor of Gibraltar. During the siege of 1779-83 he held the British fortress against Spanish attack, and was made Baron Heathfield 6 July 1787.

"The system of his life, as well as his education, particularly qualified him for this trust. He was perhaps the most abstemious man of the age. His food was vegetables, his drink water. He neither indulged himself in animal food nor wine. He never slept more than four hours at a time so that he was up later and earlier than most men. He had also inured himself to habits of severity that the things which to others are painful, were to him of daily practice and rendered agreeable to use".

Burke's Dormant & Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, pp 188.

Heathfield had a very distiguished military career. In 1759 he formed the King's Light Dragoons and commanded until 1789. During the peace between 1763 and 1775, general Elliot served for a time as commander of the forces in Ireland. He was nicknamed "Old Cock of the Rock" after his sucessful defence of Gibraltar.

Lord Heathfield died at Aix-la-Chapelle, July 6, 1790, of a second stroke of palsy, while endeavouring to reach Gibraltar, where he was anxious to close his life.

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