Court Martial of George Henry Eckford

How the military career of George Henry Eckford was brought to an end.

George Henry Eckford court martial George Henry Eckford court martial


It seems that George Henry Eckford had told Lieut. Roper that an officer from a different regiment had said Roper, and some others, were drunk and in debt and "a disgrace to the service". The next day, Roper had used "most opprobrious language" towards Eckford, and Eckford did not take "any measures to vindicate his insulted honour and character". Presumably Eckford was considered to have libelled Roper, and not justified his claims. He had, after all, accused Roper of incurring debt without intending to repay - which is fraud. (And hard to prove.)

For this, Eckford is court-martialled, and found guilty of "scandalous, infamous behaviour, unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentlemen".

The subsequent comments by the Major-General Commanding the Army in Chief seems to suggest that the original accusations of drunkedness and debt were partly justified.

There may be one important factor. This happened in 1840. George Henry Eckford married Catherine Haldane in 1836. She was the daughter of a noted evangelical Christian, James Haldane. Presumably, George Henry Eckford was acceptable to his father-in-law, so perhaps he had a horror of drunkedness and debt. And eventually, the regiment go fed up with him!