Lieut.-General Robert BURNE

Commanded the 36th Regiment of Foot (1st Battalion) from January 1798 to 1809.
(became 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in 1881)


Robert Burne entered the army as Ensign in the 36th Regiment of Foot, his commission being dated 28th of September 1773; and it is remarkable that he obtained all his regimental promotions in that corps. On the 13th of January 1777 he was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant. On the 10th of March 1783 Lieutenant Burne embarked with the 36th Regiment for Madras, and arrived in that Presidency in July following.

In 1784 he succeeded to the Captain-Lieutenancy, and on the 7th of May of that year was appointed Captain of a company in the regiment. Upon the army taking the field against Tippoo Saib he was Captain of the Grenadier company. Captain Burne was in the battles of Sattimungulum and Shawoor on the 13th and 14th of September 1790, and was afterwards at the storming of the pettah and fort of Bangalore in March 1791.

Captain Burne served at the attack of Nundydroog in October 1791; he was also present in the operations before Seringapatam during the night of the 6th of February 1792, under General the Earl Cornwallis, which compelled Tippoo to enter into a treaty of peace with the British. He was at the siege and capture of Pondicherry in August 1793; and on the 1st of March 1794 he was promoted to the brevet rank of Major, which rank he attained in the 36th Regiment on the 15th of April 1796. On the 1st of January 1798 Major Burne was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel by Brevet, and he embarked at Madras in command of the 36th Regiment on the 15th of October, but did not arrive in England until July 1799, the want of convoy having caused the Indiamen to be detained three months at St. Helena.

On the 13th of November 1799 Brevet Lieut.-Colonel Burne was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the 36th Regiment, with which he embarked, in the year 1800, for the coast of France, with the expedition under Brigadier General the Honorable Sir Thomas Maitland; he afterwards proceeded with his regiment to Minorca, from which island, in 1801, he was compelled, by severe illness, to return to England for the recovery of his health, being the first time he was ever absent from the regiment. Upon the conclusion of the peace of Amiens in 1802 Minorca was restored to the Spaniards, and the 36th Regiment returned to Ireland, when Lieut.-Colonel Burne resumed the command of the regiment.

Lieut.-Colonel Burne embarked with the 1st Battalion of the regiment for Germany in October 1805, and returned with it to England in March following. In November 1806 he proceeded with the 1st Battalion of the regiment on the expedition to South America under Brigadier General Robert Craufurd; and in June 1807 landed in that country; was with the advance of the army at the operations in the suburbs of Buenos Ayres on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of July and also shared in the attack on the town of Buenos Ayres on the 5th of July.

The 1st Battalion of the 36th Regiment embarked at Buenos Ayres in September, and arrived at Cork in December 1807. On the 25th of April 1808 Lieut.-Colonel Burne was promoted by Brevet to the rank of Colonel, and in July following embarked with the 1st Battalion for the Peninsula. Colonel Burne was present at the battles of Roleia and Vimiera on the 17th and 21st of August 1808. Lieut.-General the Honourable Sir Arthur Wellesley in his despatch particularly noticed the conduct of Colonel Burne and that of the battalion. On the 8th of September following Colonel Burne was appointed Governor of Carlisle by His Majesty King George III. After these services Colonel Burne proceeded in command of the battalion with the troops destined to join Lieut.-General Sir John Moore at Salamanca, and was present at the battle of Corunna on the 16th of January 1809; after which he embarked with the army for England. Colonel Burne, for his services at Roleia, Vimiera, and Corunna, received the honorary distinction of a medal and clasp.

On the 16th of July 1809 Colonel Burne embarked in command of the 1st Battalion of the 36th Regiment, with the expedition to the Scheldt, and served in August at the siege and capture of Flushing, in the island of Walcheren. He was afterwards appointed Colonel on the staff at that place, where he continued until the evacuation of the island.

Colonel Burne was appointed a Brigadier General on the staff in Portugal on the 21st of January 1811, and landed in the Peninsula prior to the retreat of the French army from Santarem, and was present at the battle of Fuentes d'Onor on the 3rd and 5th of May, together with the other operations in which the 6th Division of the army was engaged. On the 4th of June 1811 he was advanced to the rank of Major-General, and continued on the staff in the Peninsula until the 24th of April 1812, when he returned to England; and, on the 25th of June following, was appointed to the staff of Great Britain, and was ordered to take the command of the camp near Lichfield; upon the breaking up of that encampment Major-General Burne was ordered to the command of the Nottingham district, where he remained on the staff until the 24th of September 1814.

On the 19th of July 1821 Major-General Burne was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant-General. He died in June 1825.