The Duke Of Wellington - Warrior of the Empire, Part 1
Patrick Harris -
The Hon. Arthur Wellesley was born on May 1st 1769 at 24 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin Ireland. He was the fourth son of the Earl of Mornington. May 1st of this year will celebrate his 244th birthday. Little Arthur spent most of his childhood in Dublin and at Dangan Castle. His father died in 1781 and his brother, Richard, succeeded the Earldom. Arthur enrolled at Eton from 1781 to 1784, though he hated it.
A lack of family money after his father's death forced Arthur and his mother, Anne, to move to Brussels. From there he enrolled at the French Royal Academy of Equitation. Arthur had previously worried his mother, as he showed promise in nothing except his violin. After he was taught by the French, he showed much promise in riding, also learning French during his time there. His brother, Richard, pulled a few strings and he was commissioned as an Ensign in Ireland. He served as an Aide-de-Camp of the several successive Lord Lieutenants of Ireland. Arthur was eventually promoted to Captain. He also served as a member of the Irish Parliament for two years.
It was at this time that Kitty Pakenham caught his eye. His proposal of marriage was turned down by her brother (The Earl of Longford) on the basis that Arthur had very poor prospects in his career. Arthur resolved to burn his violin (he would never play again) and pursue military career. He used loans from his brother to buy a Majority and then a Lieutenant Colonelcy in the 33rd Regiment of Foot.
The 33rd was part of the brief British Expedition to Flanders in 1793. Arthur did well for himself, thought the whole expedition was a failure. Shortly after, Arthur was made a full Colonel by seniority. The 33rd was then sent to India, where Arthur's brother Richard had just been appointed Governor General.