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'Field-Marshal Sir Donald Martin Stewart Bart., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., C.I.E.

Field Marshal Sir Donald Martin Stewart, 1st Baronet, GCB GCSI CIE, (1 March 1824 – 26 March 1900), was a British field marshal. He was for five years commander-in-chief in India, and afterwards a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India.


Early life

He was the son of Robert Stewart, and born at Mount Pleasant, near Forres, Moray, Scotland. Educated at schools at Findhorn, Dufftown and Elgin, and at the University of Aberdeen [1].


Stewart entered the Bengal Army in 1840, and served in 1854 and 1855 in the frontier expeditions against the Mohmands, and the Aka Khel and Adam Khel Afridis (medal and clasp).

In the Indian rebellion of 1857 Stewart, after a famous ride from Agra to Delhi with dispatches, served on the staff at the siege and capture of Delhi and of Lucknow, and afterwards through the campaign in Rohilkhand (medal and two clasps, and brevetmajor and lieutenant-colonel). For nine years he was assistant and deputy-adjutant-general of the Bengal army, commanded the Bengal brigade in the Abyssinian expedition in 1867 (medal and C.B.), and became a major-general in 1868. He reorganized the penal settlement of the Andaman Islands, where he was commandant when Lord Mayo, British Viceroy of India, was assassinated (1872), and, after holding the Lahore command, was promoted lieutenant-general in 1877.

In 1878, Stewart commanded the Kandahar field force in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (K.C.B. and thanks of Parliament). For this campaign, Stewart assembled the Kandahar Field Force, some 13,000 men, at Multan in the Punjab. He then advanced through the Bolan Pass to Quetta, and then on to Kandahar. Although this advance was uncontested, his men found it tough going because of the extremes of both terrain and climate. He reached Kandahar on 8 January 1879 to find the Afghan garrison there had fled.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

In March 1880, he made a difficult march from Kandahar to Kabul, fighting on the way the battles of Ahmed Khel and Urzu, and held supreme military and civil command in northern Afghanistan. On hearing of the Maiwand disaster, he despatched Sir Frederick Roberts with a division on his celebrated march from Kabul to Kandahar, while he led the rest of the army back to India through the Khyber Pass (medal with clasp, G.C.B., C.I.E., baronetcy, and thanks of Parliament). Promoted general in 1881, he was for five years commander-in-chief in India, and afterwards a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India until his death.

Stewart was made G.C.S.I. in 1885, promoted to field marshal in 1894, and appointed governor of Chelsea Hospital, London, England in 1895.

Later life

Stewart died at Algiers, Algeria in 1900, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London [2].


Government offices
Preceded by
F. L. Playfair
as Superintendent of Port Blair
Chief Commissioner of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Succeeded by
Charles Arthur Barwell
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Haines
Commander-in-Chief, India
Succeeded by
The Earl Roberts


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