Royal Military Academy Class of '47


George Hamilton Gordon 2nd Lt., 2nd May 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 9th April, 1848; 2nd Captain, 19th June, 1855; Captain, 1st April 1861; Major, 5th July, 1872; Lt. Col., 3rd August, 1872; Colonel, 1st July, 1883 - Retired, 5th November, 1886. Died at Weston-super-Mare, 15th July 1896
Augustus Jonathan Clerke 2nd Lt., 2nd May 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 14th May, 1848; 2nd Captain, 1st August, 1855 - Killed in action at Lucknow, 17th March, 1858.
Charles Augustus Rice 2nd Lt., 2nd May 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 26th February, 1849; 2nd Captain, 1st August, 1855; Major, 1st July, 1881 - Retired, 1st July, 1881
Alexander Ross Clarke, C.B. 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 11th July, 1849; 2nd Captain, 8th September, 1855; Captain, 18th December, 1861; Major, 5th July, 1872; Lt. Col., 27th August, 1872 - Retired, 1st October, 1881. Gold Medallist of the Royal Society.

For more detailed information, please see Captain Clark's page on the excellent RE site created by Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Edward De Santis: UBIQUE -Royal Engineers and Military Engineers of the British Empire and Commonwealth.

Captain Alexander Ross Clarke, c. 1861
Photograph courtesy of the Southampton Archives Services
UBIQUE -Royal Engineers and Military Engineers of the British Empire and Commonwealth

Charles John Fowler 2nd Lt., 2nd May 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 19th June, 1849; South African Campaign 1851-53; 2nd Captain, 15th August, 1855; Captain, 1st October, 1861; Major, 5th July, 1872; Lt. Col., 4th August, 1872 - Retired 31st December, 1881. Died in London, 3rd December, 1896
Edward Bainbrigge 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 6th September, 1849 - Killed before Sebastopol, 4th March, 1855

Wednesday, Apl. 4th, 1855

The cold wind has done blowing and the weather is very pleasant.  It appears quite true that the Turks are to come from Eupatoria, leaving enough men there to defend the place.  Walked out to the lookout in front of two mortar battery in front of Light Division Picket House.  There was a heavy fire going on between the two batteries on the Sapoune the Mamélon & the French 15 gun battery.  Mr. Filder came up for a minute or two.  The Turks were bringing in gabions to make traverses in Gordons battery.  The inside is being revetted with sandbags.  Yesterday evening [Lt. Edward] Bainbrigg RE was killed One Sapper had his head blown off by a round shot & his head struck agst the jaw of another Sapper & broke it.

-- From Romaine's Journal
The Ben Smyth / Kinglake Archive

James Murray 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 14th August, 1849; Killed Before Sebastopol, 18th June, 1855
George Ranken 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 29th December, 1849; 2nd Captain, 25th September, 1855 - Mortally wounded during the demolition of a wall at Sebastopol, 28th February, 1856.
The ladder parties were also packed into the foremost sap.  They were provided by The Buffs under Captain Maude, and the 90th and 97th Foot under Major Welsford.  Each contingent of 160 men carried 20 ladders, 8 men to a 24 foot ladder plus one sapper for technical assistance.  The sappers armed with axes saws and crowbars would move swiftly ahead of the ladders to hack a path through the abattis should this still be necessary.  Ten ladders per group were to be placed for use by the storming parties, who would be seen through the ditch and joined by the ladder carriers, the other ten would be left on the counterscarp side for use by the following Support Group.  Overall control for the placement was as usual given to a sapper officer, this time Major Ranken.  He was not in the best of moods.  He had not been told of his assignment until after 5 am that morning.  His subordinate Lieut Anderson had been assigned to the Working Party, and General Jones, still actively commanding the Engineers even if stretcher-bound, gave out orders that it should develop a ramp from ditch to parapet immediately after the ramparts had been stormed.  Yet although the Operation Order had stipulated 200 men for the Working Party, no soldiers had been detailed other than a few sappers with shovels, and Ranken had to rush about making a nuisance of himself amongst all the preparatory kerfuffle, trying to drum up some workers.  In the end he managed about 100, better than nothing but only half the requirement.  The storming parties deployed along the 5th Parallel.

This sudden move understandably caught Major Ranken and his ladder party on the hop.  The perceived wisdom had been that it would take a couple of hours at least for the French to take the Malakoff - now scarcely were they in, than they seemingly had taken the place.  Relates Ranken, suddenly observing the rear view of the infantry he needed to be in front of:

"I hurried up my sappers as fast as I could, shouting to them until I was nearly hoarse and ran forward with them and the ladder party, with a drawn sword in my the hurry and confusion, many ladders were left behind. There was however, little excuse for this, as the men had their places distinctly assigned to them, and should not have left the trench without their ladders."

-- Excerpt from
Crimean War - A Matter of Policy - Part I

by John Barham
Copyright © 1996-2005 Creative Marketeam Canada Ltd. doing business as, All rights reserved

"The Rev. Edward Cullen Parkin, the first resident minister about whom any parish records exist, was appointed as Incumbent of Valcartier, Stoneham and Lake Beauport in 1844.  Due to his untiring and ceaseless efforts the Church prospered and increased in membership until the original building became to small for the needs of the congregation.  Plans were made to erect a larger Church, a beautiful stone Church which we trust may stand for many generations as an enduring monument.  Not much is known about the struggles of the congregation to gather funds and material for the new Church, but they seem to have had considerable help in the undertaking.  For instance there is an old story to this effect.  An officer killed in the Crimean War left among his personal effects a letter which requested that a sum of money be left to help build a Church at Valcartier.  There is a brass tablet just above and behind the pulpit, reads the inscription:

 To the glory of God and in memory of Major George Ranken, R.E. who fell at Sebastapol, A.D. 1856.  The windows in this Church were placed by his friend Alfred R. Roche of the Canadian Civil Service and formerly a Lieutenant of the British Legion.  Seeing that during life, these two friends joined cordial hands in promoting the general welfare of Valcartier and in helping to build its Church.  It is but fitting that their names should be linked upon this simple tablet.

Since Major Ranken died in 1856 and the Church was not build until 1863 and the memorial states that he helped build the Church, it is reasonable to suppose that the story related above is true and that it was Major Ranken who bequeathed a sum of money towards the erection of the building.

Lieut. Roche had these inscriptions placed on the lower panel of the windows as a fitting guide to all who in later generations might enter the Church he loved so well. Live by Faith, God is Love, Search the Scriptures, Hold fast the Faith, Thy will be done, Thy Kingdom Come.

There is a tradition that a company of
Royal Engineers stationed in Quebec City built the Church from a design taken from an old parish Church, somewhere in England."

-- From Rourke and History of Christ Church Anglican, 1817-1964,
a now defunct
website that used to be found at

Francis Horatio De Vere 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 16th April, 1850; Turkish Campaign, 1854; 2nd Captain, 27th October, 1855; Crimean Campaign 1854-56; Captain, 20th June, 1862 - Died at Brompton Barracks, 22nd August, 1865, from a gunshot wound inflicted by a Sapper, who fired at him on the parade from the barracks, on the 11th of that month. The sapper was executed for murder.
Henry Raymond Pelly 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt. 26th July, 1850; 2nd Captain, 23rd February, 1856; Crimean Campaign 1856; Captain, 26th March, 1862 - Died at Aldershot, 29th July, 1869.
Memorial at St. Peter's church, Farborough, Hampshire:

"To the dear memory of Henry Raymond Pelly Captain Royal Engineers Born 15 May 1829 Died 29 July 1869."

-- From the P section of Officers who died of Natural Causes, Murdered, Accidental Deaths at the bottom of the page at

Robert Mann Parsons 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847
Frederick Brine 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847, Royal Engineer; Lt., 11th November, 1850; Crimean Campaign 1855-56; 2nd Captain 23rd February, 1856; Captain, 1st April, 1862; Served in Japan, 1863; Major, 5th July, 1872; Lt. Col., 2nd April, 1873 - Retired, 3rd may, 1884. Died in London, 30th June, 1890.
Arthur Agincourt Fisher, C.B. 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 5th July, 1851; Crimean Campaign 1855-56; 2nd Captain, 23rd February, 1856; 2nd China Campaign 1857-60; Captain, 1st April, 1862; Major, 5th July, 1872; Lt. Col., 2nd April, 1873 - Died at Inverness, 2nd November, 1879.
George Montagu Stopford 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 14th July, 1851; Crimean Campaign 1854-56; 2nd Captian, 23rd February, 1856 - Died at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, 7th August, 1860.
Edward Bridge 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 31st August, 1851; 2nd Captain, 23rd February, 1856; Captain 1st April, 1862 - Died on board the mail steamer "Calabar" on passage from W. Coast of Africa to England, 3rd April, 1866.
Henry Reynolds Luard 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847
Montagu Stopford Whitmore 2nd Lt., 1st October 1847; Royal Engineer; Lt., 11th November, 1851; Crimean Campaign 1855-56; 2nd captain 29th February, 1856; Captain, 1st April, 1862 - Resigned Commission, 8th January, 1868. Accidentally killed near Hornsey Station, G.N.R., 16th October, 1880.
Howard Craufurd Elphinstone 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847; Lt., 11th November, 1851; Crimean Campaign 1854-55, Awarded Victoria Cross; 2nd Captain, 20th April 1856; Captain, 1st April, 1862; Major, 5th July, 1872, Lt. Col., 23rd May, 1873; Colonel, 3rd May, 1884 - Drowned off Ushant, being thrown into the sea by the lurching of the "Tongarico" while proceeding to Teneriffe, 8th March, 1890.

Photo courtesy of the Wikipedia entry for Elphinstone

Please see Wikipedia for more information
Charles Edward Cumberland, C.B. 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847; Lieutenant, 13-11-1851; 2nd Captain, 10-6-1856; Captain, 1-4-1862; Major, 5-7-1872; Lieutenant Colonel, 1-6-1873; Colonel, 10-5-1884. Army Ranks: Major, 15-6-1860; Lieutenant Colonel, 11-4-1871; Colonel, 1-10-1877; Major General, 17-12-1887. War Service: Crimea, 1855-6; Indian Mutiny, 1857-9. Retired: 17-12-1887.
Alexander Stephen Creyke 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
William Coles Phillpotts 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847; Lieutenant, 6-12-1851; 2nd Captain, 11-8-1856; Captain, 1-4-1862; Major, 5-7-1872; Lieutenant Colonel, 2-8-1873; Colonel, 21-5-1884. Army Rank: Colonel, 2-8-1878. Retired, 21-1-1888.
Henry Sandeman 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
Amelius Beauclerk Fyers 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
Joseph Wallis O'Bryen Hoare 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
Lionel Charles Barber 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
James Grantham 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
Glastonbury Neville 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
James Ponsonby Cox 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847
George Reid Lempriere 2nd Lt., 18th December 1847; Brother of Arthur Reid Lempriere of the Columbia Detachment
The PROFESSORS who taught the Class of '47


Peter Barlow was born at Norwich on October 13, 1776.  He became a correspondent to the 'Ladies' Diary', then under the management of a Dr. Hutton, professor of mathematics at Woolwich.  By his advice Barlow sought and obtained the post of assistant mathematical master in 1801.  He was promoted to the post of professor of mathematics in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.  Barlow was one of a group including Edward Sabine, Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and Michael Faraday interested in magnetic and geomagnetic subjects.

Picture courtesy of the Peter Barlow page

His first book, titled An Elementary Investigation of the Theory of Numbers was published 1811, followed in 1814 by A New Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary.  His best known publication is probably New Mathematical Tables of the same year, giving the factors, squares, cubes, square and cube roots, reciprocals and hyperbolic logarithms of all numbers from 1 to 10.000, together with the first ten powers of numbers under 100 and the fourth and fifth of all from 100 to 1.000.

The now famous 'Barlow Lens' is the result of a collaboration of Barlow with George Dollond.

After his optical experiments Barlow was much occupied with experiments for steam locomotion.  He sat on railway commissions in 1836, 1839, 1842 and 1845.  He resigned his post at Woolwich Academy in 1847, his public services recognized by the continuance of full pay.  Peter Barlow died on the 1st of March 1862, aged 86.

The above info comes from both the Peter Barlow page at, as wellas  a now defunct website that was at


Their most famous professor, Michael Faraday, the discoverer of electro-magnetic induction, electro-magnetic rotations, the magneto-optical effect, diamagnetism, field theory and much else besides, was born in Newington Butts (the area of London now known as the Elephant and Castle) on 22 September 1791.

Photo courtesy of The Papers of Joseph Henry

Between 1830 and 1851 Faraday was Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. During his tenure generations of officers of the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery learnt their chemistry from him. The Admiralty frequently sought his advice on matters as diverse as the quality of oats at sea to the best way to attack Cronstadt during the Crimean War. In 1844 he and the geologist Charles Lyell were asked by the Home Office to attend the inquest into the explosion at Haswell Colliery. The report they produced stated that increasing the ventilation of mines would reduce explosions. However, the government and mine owners ignored their conclusions.

Above info from