General Rowland Hill

OF SHROPSHIRE

By

Rowland Hill joined his first regiment in 1790 and forged his military career in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was Wellington’s most trusted subordinate, a consummate soldier and a compassionate leader.

Rowland Hill (1772-1842) was born to a well-established Shropshire land-owning family whose ancestors had amassed considerable wealth and property as traders during the reign of Henry VIII and had subsequently occupied senior positions under William III and Queen Anne. Rowland was the second son, and fourth child, of 16 children born to John Hill and Mary Chambre. Rowland and his brothers and sisters had an idyllic childhood; the Hill children were ‘familiar with the River Severn, the farms, the grain fields and cattle, and the numerous mines located in the region’.

Educated at Chester he was earmarked for a career in law. Rowland, however, had no such plans, making clear his intention to follow his elder brother’s footsteps and pursue a military career. Somewhat bemused, but aware of Rowland’s wishes, his father purchased him an ensigncy in the 38th (Staffordshire) Foot. Hill joined his Regiment in July 1790.

KEYWORDS: Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo, Napoleon, Wellington, Worcester

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