King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Duke of Wellington

Towards India

IndiaIndiaBusacoBusacoWellesley spent a year during 1786 in Angers in France at the Royal Academy of Equitation where he mastered his horse riding skills and became fluent in French.

In March 1787 he was finally gazetted ensign in the 73rd Highland Regiment of Foot and was appointed lieutenant in the 76th on Christmas Day 1787. His extraordinary path to greatness had begun.

Wellesley remained in Ireland and was elected to the Irish Parliamentary constituency of Trim, but following the French Revolution in 1789 and the outbreak of war, he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and despatched to join the Duke of York's Anglo-Hanoverian force in Flanders in 1794.

The expedition proved a failure but Wellesley emerged with his reputation enhanced. It had taught him that the lessons of defeat are as important as those of victory, in his own words discover

'what one ought not to do'

The war with France now moved to India, as the East India Company and native princes vied for position.

Wellesley was ordered to set sail as part of a British force deployed to head off the threat of French intervention.

He was fortunate because under the patronage of his brother Richard, newly appointed governor general of India, Arthur now had the opportunity to prove himself faster and more fully than could his rivals.

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