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Sir Abercromby

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ABERCROMBY, SIR Ralph, distinguished British soldier: b. Menstry, Scotland, October 1734; d. 28 March 1801. He was designed for the bar by his father and studied from 1752 to 1755 at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leipsic. His natural inclination, however, was toward a military career, so in 1758 a cornet's commission was procured for him in the 3rd Dragoon Guards, with which regiment he went to Germany and saw some active service, as well as gained his first ex perience. After peace was concluded he was stationed in Ireland for some years, but in 1767 he married and retired to private life. In 1793 he accompanied the Duke of York to Hol land, in which unfortunate campaign he was one of the few to distinguish themselves. On his return to England he was appointed chief in-command of an expedition to the West Indies, which he conducted with marked suc cess, capturing Demerara, Grenada, Essequibo and Trinidad. Soon after he was made com mander-in-chief of the British forces in Ireland, but so obviously was he not in sympathy with the Government's policy of repression in that country that he was transferred to Scotland.

In 1799 he was appointed second in command to the Duke of York in the expedition to Hol land, another ignominious campaign, where Abercromby was the only one to conduct him self with distinction. On his return he was appointed to command the expedition to the Mediterranean. The fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay, 2 March 1801. On the 7th Abercromby reconnoitered the shore in person. The next day a landing was effected in spite of a heavy fire and within a few days the enemy was driven within his lines around Alexandria. On 21 March Menou attempted to surprise the British camp; a terrible battle followed, in which the British forces were completely vic torious, but Abercromby had been mortally wounded by a musket ball which caused his death some days later. The gratitude of the nation for his services took the form of a peerage, granted to his widow and afterwards enjoyed by his son, with the title of Baron Abercromby.