John Palmer Brabazon is exceptional in so much that, as an officer,
he left the army after obtaining Captain's rank, and rejoined it as
a subaltern at the age of thirty-one. He was born on 12th February 1843.
On 4th February 1863, “Gentleman Cadet” Brabazon, was gazetted
to a Cornetcy in the 16th Lancers (about the time of the death of his
elder brother Captain Luke Brabazon in China). Six months later he was
promoted to the rank of Ensign and then Lieutenant in the Grenadier
Guards, and finally on 10th July 1869, he was further advanced to the
rank of Lieutenant and Captain. On 26th February 1870, he moved to the
69th Regiment, and then on 24th September 1870, he retired from the
service by selling his commission.
inherited the Swinford estate in 1864, being the last landlord but decided
to concentrate on his army career so choose to be an absentee landlord.
He returned to Ireland to manage his estates at the time of the 2nd
Famine. Many estates were in dire circumstances due to lack of rents
being paid. He briefly visited Swinford in 1877 with his two sisters
and in 1880 he gave permission for the erection of the Ball Alley in
Swinford. When Sir Garnet Wolseley was nominated, at the end of 1873,
to proceed to the West Coast of Africa to conduct the Expedition to
Kumassi, Captain Brabazon applied to accompany him and made known his
readiness to embark in any capacity. He was permitted to go as a Special
Service Volunteer, with the rank of Captain, being attached on arrival
to the column under Captain (later Lieutenant-General) Butler, in Western
Akim, and afterwards to the Transport Service.
He was so successful in this venture, that in addition to the War Medal,
he received the offer of a commission as Lieutenant in the 10th Hussars,
being appointed on 13th June 1874. He joined his regiment in India,
where he served with it in the Afghan War of 1878-79, and was afterwards
employed as Officiating Brigade Major and Staff Officer of Cavalry,
with the Kuram Field Force, being present at the capture of the Peiwar
Kotal, in the operations of the Khost Valley, in the engagement at Charasiah
on 6th October 1879, and in the operations round Kabul in December 1879,
including the investment of Sherpur.
He cam to the notice of Sir Frederick Roberts, and was selected to act
as Cavalry Brigade Major in the march from Kabul to Kandahar, and was
present at the battle before the latter Kandahar on 1st September 1880.
For his services he was repeatedly mentioned in Dispatches, was promoted
to Brevet Major, and received the War Medal with clasp, and bronze decoration.
In 1884 the 10th Hussars were ordered to land at Suakim on their way
home from India, for Sir Gerald Graham's Soudan Expedition, that was
being organised. Brevet Major Brabazon was with them, taking an active
part in the actions of El Teb and Tamai, and in recognition of his services,
was promoted on 21st May, 1884 to a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonelcy, and
decorated with the Egyptian Medal with Clasp, and Khedives Star. When
in the following year the Camel Corps was formed for the Nile Expedition,
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Brabazon was the officer chosen to take out
the 10th Hussars contingent. In this role he played a prominent part
in the operations of the Desert Column, and was present in the disastrous
engagement at Abu Klea, on 16th and 17th February 1885, when the lamented
Major-General Sir Herbert Stewart received his death wound, and the
Gallant Colonel Fred Burnaby was killed. His reward for this campaign
was a Clasp only. He was made a Companion of the Bath on 3rd June 1893.
On 10th August 1889, he was promoted to his substantive majority in
the 10th Hussars, and steps were taken that his professional merits
be acknowledged. On the 28th August he was appointed an Aide-de-Camp
to the Queen, with the rank of Colonel in the Army. He was promoted
on 12th February 1891 to a half-pay Lieutenant-Colonelcy, and on 13th
May following, he was gazetted to the command of the 4th Hussars, a
position he retained for five years, an extra year being given him due
to the superb manner in which the regiment had been brought as a fighting
unit under his hands. Then came a period of inaction until 28th January
1899 when he was posted to Canterbury as Colonel on the Staff to command
the Cavalry there and at Shorncliffe. On the formation of the Field
Force for South Africa, he was chosen to command a Cavalry Brigade,
and promoted to the temporary rank of Major-General as from 9th October
1899, and commanded the Imperial Yeomanry, mainly due to his remarkable
organising powers, and personal acquaintance with many of the best known
officers of the Force. He
ended his life in London as a member of the Court of George V, he died
from "British Commanders in the Transvaal War 1899-1900"
published by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd:
J. P. BRABAZON
born in 1843, and entered the 16th Lancers nearly forty years ago. He
has also served in the Grenadier Guards. Bearing an exceptionally fine
soldierly address, and possessing cool and determinate power over his
subordinates, he is a typical British Commander.
He gained great experience during the Ashanti Campaign, 1878-80, and
in 1884, during the Soudan Campaign, where he was wounded. During the
Nile Campaign organized in 1884, for the relief of Gordon, General Brabazon
repeatedly distinguished himself.
Quite recently he was promoted to the rank of Major-General, and to
the command of the Second Brigade, Cavalry Division, First Army Corps.
At the beginning of January, he took up his post at Rensburg, to assist
in coping with the Boer invasion of Cape Colony, and the rebellion of
the Cape Dutch in that district.
In February he was appointed to the command of the Imperial Yeomanry.