Major-General Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie

Gillespie, Sir Robert Rollo, Major-General, descended from a family long settled in the parish of Tynan, County of Armagh, was born at Comber, County of Down, 21st January 1766. He entered the Carabineers as a cornet, in April 1783, served in St. Domingo against Toussaint L'Ouverture, became a major in 1796, and a lieutenant-colonel in 1799. Before his return to England with his regiment, in 1802, he received a vote of thanks from the House of Assembly in Jamaica. Shortly after this he was "most honourably acquitted" of charges brought against him at a court-martial, for his management of the 20th Light Dragoons, with which regiment he had latterly been connected.

In 1805 he proceeded across the continent of Europe to India (at Hamburgh being saved from falling into the hands of the French by the interposition of his countryman Napper Tandy), and was instrumental in suppressing the mutiny at Vellore in 1806. He saw much active service in Java, rose to be a colonel, and on the surrender of the island to the British, was appointed Military Governor. In 1812 he led an expedition against Sumatra, deposed one sultan and installed another favourable to the British. He received the special thanks of the Governor-General in Council of India, and was promoted to the rank of major-general. In 1814 he was associated with Colonel Ochterlony in the invasion of Nepaul, and fell, heading his troops in the unsuccessful effort to take the fort of Kalunga, 31st October 1814, aged 48. He was after his death gazetted Knight Commander of the Bath. A monument has been erected to his memory at Comber.


147a. Gillespie, Major-General Sir Robert R., Memoir. London, 1816.