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Sir William Houston
10 August 1766 – 8 April 1842
Place of death Bromley Hill, Kent
Resting place Carshalton, Surrey
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Rank General
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Peninsular War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Royal Guelphic Order

General Sir William Houston, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCH (10 August 1766 – 8 April 1842) was a General in the British Army who served as acting Governor of Gibraltar from 1831 to 1835. His earlier service included a tour in India as commander of the 20th Regiment of Foot (East Devonshire Fusiliers). In 1836 he was created a Baronet.

Military career

Houstoun entered the army as an ensign in the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot on 18 July 1781. He became a lieutenant of an independent company in 1782, and captain of the 19th (The 1st Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot in 1785. After serving in the West Indies, at Gibraltar, and at home, he became a major in 1794, and commanded the 19th in Flanders under the Duke of York.

Houston was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the 84th Regiment of Foot in 1795, and after transferring to the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot, he commanded that regiment at the capture of Minorca in 1798, in the Mediterranean in 1800, and in the expedition to Egypt in 1801. The 58th was heavily involved on the British left at the Battle of Abu Qir on 20 March. Houston subsequently commanded a brigade at the capture of Rosetta and Cairo and during the Siege of Alexandria. He received the second-class decoration of the Order of the Crescent. He next held brigade commands in Malta, at Brighton, and in the Walcheren expedition of 1809. On his return to Brighton, he was made a major general. On 5 November 1808, he married Lady Jane (died 1 June 1833), daughter of James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale, and the widow of Samuel Long; they had two sons.

Houston commanded the 7th division in the Peninsular War from 10 January 1811, and was present with it at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro and the attack on San Christobal Fort at Badajoz, before being invalided home in the autumn of 1811. He subsequently commanded the south-western district, and though he applied for re-employment in Spain, Wellington was unable to provide a vacancy. Houston was appointed a KCB in January 1815, and served as Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar from 8 April 1831 to 28 February 1835.

Houston was promoted to a GCB in 1831 and appointed a GCH in 1827. He was created a baronet by William IV in 1836 and became a full general in 1837. He was colonel of the 4th garrison battalion and the 20th (the East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot respectively. Houston died at Bromley Hill, Kent, on 8 April 1842, and was buried at Carshalton, Surrey.



  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
  • Leigh Rayment's Baronetage Page
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Stuart
Colonel of the 20th (the East Devonshire)
Regiment of Foot

Succeeded by
Sir James Burns
Government offices
Preceded by
George Don
Governor of Gibraltar

Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Woodford
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Succeeded by
George Houstoun-Boswall


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