United Kingdom
20th Hussars

Carte-de-Visite, studio J. Batemann in Canterbury
and Signed Cabinet Card, studio Francis Guy in Cork

George M. Onslow, officer in the 20th Hussars

George Manners Onslow was born on December 7th 1843, son of Captain William Campbell Onslow, 44th Native Infantry (1806-1880) and Anne Moriarty Douglas, eldest daughter of Capt. P.Douglas, R.N..

The East Indian Company registers say George Manners was a Cadet in in 1859-1860.
He then joined the Madras Army (he will subscribe to the Madras Army Fund) - his rank of Cornet is dated on 20 May 1861.

The London Gazette announces on September 16th 1862 :
"MADRAS - Promotions - Cavalry General List
Cornet George Manners Onsow to be Lieut., vice Alexander, 8th Light Cavalry, promoted

This promotion would not last long - this is the troubled period of the Amalgamation of the Indian Army, and George Manners Onslow appears on the list of the Officers of the newly formed 20th Hussars published in the London Gazette of September 30th 1862, as a Cornet :
"Cornet George Manners Onslow, from General List, Bengal Army".
(one will note the change from Madras to Bengal).
Most of the officers of the new 20th Hussars were coming from the 2nd Bengal European Cavalry, organized in Muttra in 1861.

"Geo" Onslow became Lieutenant on November 13th 1866.
On June 19th 1869 he was presented by Colonel Cureton to the Prince of Wales at the Levée held at St.James's Palace.

In January 1873 he "left the Canterbury station to join is regiment at Colchester, his period of Staff service having expired". He was promoted to Captain on April 30th 1873. On May 1st 1874 he was again presented to the Prince of Wales at the Levée held at St.James's Palace, this time by Lieutenant-Colonel Cotton.

On September 15th 1874 he was in command of the honour firing party of 100 men of the 20th Hussars, at the burial of Captain John Dent Bird (murdered by a trooper of the regiment) who was interred in the Aldershott Military Cemetary with full honours.   

 He was promoted to Major on July 26 1881, and to Lieutenant-Colonel on May 1 1883. He was not however in command of the regiment. He retired on half pay in August 1884.

On February 3rd 1885 he was appointed from half-pay Inspector of Gymnasia and an Assistant Adjutant and Quarter Master General on the Staff. On March 15 1885 he was presented by the Adjutant-General to the Prince of Wales at the Levée held at St.James's Palace, upon his appointment. On July  2 and 3 1885 he was the judge at the ninth grand Army athletic meeting at Aldershott. In June 1886 he is noted as belonging to the Council of the National Physical Recreation Society.

"Punch" gave a colourful account of the Royal Military Tournament organized at Islington this year (Punch, June 26th, 1886) :
"(...) The grand finish, the "Combined Display of all Arms," invented and arranged by Lieut.-Colonel ONSLOW, Inspector of Gymnasia for Great Britain, is so remarkable for the celerity of the performance, that Lieut.-Colonel ONSLOW ought to be properly re-named "Lieut.-Colonel On-quick," as he has trained the soldiers to camp, strike, fight a battle, build a bridge, bring in a mounted battery, scutter our ennemies, confound their knavish tricks, and storm the fortress to the tune of "Rule Britannia" all in something under seven minutes. Wonderful !  (...)"

He was promoted to Honorary Colonel on September 16th 1887.

On June 6th 1888, in his capacity as Inspector of Gymnasia, he gave a lecture at the Royal United Service Institution meeting, presided by General Lord Wolseley, titled "Physique of the Soldier and his phusical training". He offered various observations like "the young soldier (...) did not have a suficient number of meals, and that the time at which they were given was not well chosen ; and then proceeded to lay down a system of physical training and exercise necessary for the infantry soldier, holding that the cavalry or artillery man received enough exercise in  his work to keep him in condition". The thanks of the meeting were voted to Colonel Onslow.

Later this month he was in charge of the Troops at the Royal Military Tournament held at the Agricultural Hall, Islington.

He was appointed "Assistant Commandant and Superintendant Riding Est." of the Canterbury Cavalry Depot on May 3rd 1892. He retired in 1897, upon which instance the  appointment of Superintendent of the Riding Establishment was abolished.

As a representative of the National Physical recreation Society, he was appointed a member of the council of the British Olympic Association who organized the 1908 London Olympics, then re-appointed to hold office until the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He apparently died however in 1911. George Onslow had married Louisa Cooke

George Manners Onslow had also been an amateur comedian : on June 14th 1882 he played among Irish Amateurs at the Savoy Theatre, a theatrical performance being given in aid of "Irish Ladies in Distress", under the Distinguished Patronage of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, among others. The play of the day were a comedy, titled "Old Soldiers" and a fairy tale titled "Creatures of Impulse".

The top left photo show us George Manners as a Lieutenant in the pre-1880 rank pattern : one crown on the collar, simple cuff braiding. The photo is however legended "Captain Geo M Ouslow - 20th Hussars - Brighton Dec.1876", by which time he had been a Captain for three years and a half ! That tells much on the Carte-de-Visite use...The 20th Hussars had come back from Ambala  in 1872 - so the photo dates from 1872-73.

On the top right photo he's wearing either the Major (one star) or Lieutenant-Colonel (one crown) rank badge on his shoulder straps (post 1880 pattern). The 20th had been moved to Cahir in 1879, before shifting to Ballincolig in 1883. In August 1884 they went to Aldershot before boarding for Egypt. Ballincolig is on the outskirts of Cork so it's more than likely that the photo was taken in 1883-84.

I am particularly happy with that group as I obtained the photos from different sources. Uniting them was a rare collector's pleasure.