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Sir Alexander Woodfood
15 June 1782 – 26 August 1870
Place of birth London, United Kingdom
Place of death London, United Kingdom
Resting place Kensal Green Cemetery
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank General
Battles/wars Peninsular War
Napoleonic Wars
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Field Marshal Sir Alexander George Woodford, KCB, KCMG (15 June 1782 – 26 August 1870) was a British Army officer.

Military career

Woodford was born at 30 Welbeck Street, London, the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Woodford (d. 1800), and his second wife, Lady Susan (d. 1814), the eldest daughter of Cosmo Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon, and widow of John Fane, 9th Earl of Westmorland. Sir John George Woodford was his younger brother. He went to Winchester College as a commoner in 1794, and in 1799 to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He obtained a commission as an ensign in the 9th (the East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot on 6 December 1794. His further commissions were dated: lieutenant, 15 July 1795; captain, 11 December 1799; regimental captain in the Coldstream Guards and lieutenant-colonel, 8 March 1810; colonel, 4 June 1814; regimental second major, 25 July 1814; regimental first major, 18 January 1820; regimental lieutenant colonel, 25 July 1821; major general, 27 May 1825; lieutenant general, 28 June 1838; colonel of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot, 25 April 1842; general, 20 June 1854; transferred to the colonelcy of the Scots Fusilier Guards, 15 December 1861; field marshal, 1 January 1868.

Woodford was promoted to lieutenant in an independent corps and was brought into the 22nd (the Cheshire) Regiment of Foot on 8 September 1795, but placed on half pay the following year, as he was too young to serve. He was again brought into the 9th Foot as captain lieutenant of the newly raised battalion in 1799. He served with this regiment in the expedition to Den Helder in September 1799, and was severely wounded on the 19th at Bergen. He was brought into the Coldstream Guards on 20 December 1799. In 1803, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir James Ochoncar Forbes. He rejoined his regiment to serve at the investment and bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. He again joined the staff of Forbes in Sicily and the Mediterranean as aide-de-camp from March 1808 to June 1810.

From duty in London, he joined his company at Isla de León for the Siege of Cadiz in 1811, commanded the light battalion of the Brigade of Guards at Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 January 1812, at Badajoz on 6 April, at Salamanca on 22 July, at the occupation of Madrid and the capture on 14 August of the Retiro, at Burgos in September and October, and in the retreat from that place. He commanded the 1st battalion of the Coldstream Guards during the battles of 1813 and 1814, including Vitoria and Nivelle. He was appointed aide-de-camp to The Prince Regent on 4 June 1841 for his service in the field, and aide-de-camp to the king on the prince's accession to the throne. He commanded the 2nd battalion of the Coldstream Guards at the battles of Quatre Bras on the 16th and of Waterloo on 18 June 1815, at the storm of Cambrai on 24 June, at the entry into Paris on 7 July, and during the occupation of France.

For his services, Woodford was frequently mentioned in despatches, and received the gold medal with two clasps for the battles of Salamanca, Vitoria, and the Nive, the silver medal with two clasps for Ciudad Rodrigo and Nivelle, and the Waterloo medal. He was appointed a CB (military division) and was permitted to accept and wear the insignia of knighthood of the Military Order of Maria Theresa and of the fourth class of the Order of St George.

Woodford was lieutenant governor and commanded the infantry brigade at Malta from 1825 until he was transferred in a like capacity in 1827 to Corfu. He was promoted to KCB on 13 September 1831, and appointed a KCMG on 30 June 1832, in which year he was appointed to the command of the forces in the Ionian Islands, and acted temporarily as Lord High Commissioner. He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar on 28 February 1835, and Governor and Commander-in-Chief on 1 September 1836, a position he occupied for seven years.

He was promoted to a GCB on 7 April 1852. He became Lieutenant-Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 25 September 1856, and succeeded to the governorship on 3 August 1868, on the death of Sir Edward Blakeney.[1] He died at the governor's residence, Chelsea Hospital, on 26 August 1870, and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery on 1 September.


Woodford married, in 1820, Charlotte Mary Ann (died 21 April 1870), daughter of Charles Henry Fraser, British minister at Hamburg. One of the six lancet windows in the north transept of Westminster Abbey was filled with stained glass by Woodford in memory of his second son, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles John Woodford (1823–1857) of the Rifle Brigade, who was killed while leading a charge at the Siege of Cawnpore during the Indian mutiny of 1857.


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Lionel Smith, Bt
Colonel of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire)
Regiment of Foot

Succeeded by
Richard Greaves
Preceded by
The Duke of Cambridge
Colonel of the Scots Fusilier Guards
Succeeded by
Sir John Aitchison
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Adam
Lord High Commissioner
of the Ionian Islands


Succeeded by
The Lord Nugent
Preceded by
Sir William Houston, Bt
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Wilson
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Edward Blakeney
Governor, Royal Hospital Chelsea
Succeeded by
Sir John Pennefather


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