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
(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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.