Talk:Ralph Abercromby

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--In terrorem fidei defenso 02:20, 6 July 2006 (UTC)I've changed the reference to Abukir Bay; however, I've not made the change in the Title given to his wife. Even if the wrong spelling was used in the title, that title would now have an existence of its own, and would not change with a subsequent other changes of Aboukir to Abukir. --Eclecticology, Tuesday, June 11, 2002Reply[reply]

Bold in first sentence[edit]

Per the MOS, the article title is bolded. See WP:MOS#Article_titles: The first time the article mentions the title, put it in bold using three apostrophes — '''article title''' produces article title. Do not bold "Sir", it is a title, not the title of the article. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:44, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please see WP:MOSBIO#Honorific prefixes, where a precisely analogous example (Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur...) is shown. The title of an article does not always correspond to the bolded section at the beginning: compare James Garfield and James Abram Garfield. Choess 15:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With all due respect, the style guide is inconsistant; the Policy always trumps the guide. KillerChihuahua?!? 20:26, 15 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Try reading the second sentence of my previous comment for comprehension this time, rules-lawyer. Choess 20:32, 15 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Titles and honours are not bolded. Treating UK knighthood differently is a clear and obvious violation of WP:NPOV - we are not allowed to endorse one country's system of honours but not those of other countries. NPOV is non-negotiable. Simple enough. Guettarda 16:27, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is not a POV issue and it is utterly spurious to say that it is "a clear and obvious violation of WP:NPOV". NPOV is indeed non-negotiable, but no particular person has been appointed guardian of it, and the fact that several people have been reverting Guettarda's changes here and elsewhere suggests that his claim that the issue is "simple enough" and "titles and honours are not bolded" is no more than his own personal opinion, which has not, as far as I am aware, suddenly become the official Wikipedia policy on NPOV. The fact that titles are bolded has even been incorporated into the Manual of Style after discussion, which is rather more democratic than one editor saying the opposite is the case.

Nobody is endorsing one country's system over another. Were that the case we would write Paul von Hindenburg and Otto von Bismarck, since the "von" in these cases (and many others) is a mark of ennoblement. The fact that we don't (and in fact, these are even present in the article titles) shows that we certainly appear to acknowledge German honours, contrary to Guettarda's claim. We even have an article entitled Joachim von Ribbentrop, a title he only acquired through adoption. Removing these (or not bolding them) would, of course, be ludicrous, since these people used the mark of ennoblement as part of their name. Guettarda claims, with no basis in fact, that this is not the case in Britain, thus discriminating against British people with equal titles. He then completely illogically, and flying in the face of all the facts to the contrary, claims that he is enforcing NPOV and those of us who oppose him are adding POV by endorsing "one country's system of honours but not those of other countries", which is quite simply untrue. Apparently therefore it is only pretitles Guettarda dislikes, which seems to show discrimination against the British system as opposed to the European system, in which the title is often incorporated into the middle of the name. Why is it NPOV to discriminate only against Britons with titles? That seems to be the true POV issue here. Anyway, see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (biographies) for discussion and proof that the knighthood is officially part of the recipient's name. -- Necrothesp 22:25, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. This is a spurious POV allegation. Chicheley 23:18, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a huge deal. I am fed up with Necro's personal attack, plicy violations (he is an experienced user, but happily violated the 3rr to push his POV) and false allegations. I have nothing further to say to people like that. Despite the fact that I have explained it to him at length, and here, he makes false allegations about me here as well. The system is a huge violation of NPOV. Giving precedence to certain titles and not to others is a violation of NPOV. NPOV is non-negotiable. If you believe that it's a name, as some people claim, then use it in the article name, because it should be what the person is best known as. Wikipedia cannot endorse these if it hopes to remain true to NPOV.
Necro, in his typical way of twisting the truth, claims that I have an opinion in European titles. Diffs? Is he arguing that it's ok to violate NPOV if other people do as well? Well, it isn't. I have never expressed an opinion on European titles anyway. If we believes that "Sir" is part of the person's name (and some people have argued) then the article should be at Sir Ralph Abercromby. It isn't, and he hasn't called for moving this one (or any of the others on which he was POV-pushing). Why? Probably because it isn't the person's name. If it is, move the articles. A change to MOSBIO a couple months ago does not overturn NPOV. It's dishonest to argue otherwise. Guettarda 23:42, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It isn't a POV matter, but a presentational one. You are in a minority of one and the guidance and usual practice are against you, so please stop being a pain. Not bolding titles just looks sloppy. The personal attacks you are making are totally out of order. Chicheley 23:53, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How is it a style issue to violate NPOV? How is it a personal attack to point put that the person making all sorts of false allegations about me (above) saw no problem is ignoring policy in order to keep this POV into an article?
Please explain why it is ok for Wikipedia to endorse one country's system of honours, but not those of other countries or of religious groups? How is that not a POV issue? Please explain. Address the issue, please. Guettarda 04:39, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are two possible solutions to the "NPOV problem" (to wit, that our MOS recognizes the styles of the UK but not of other countries, at least for styles below that of baron or the equivalent). The one you have unilaterally implemented here is to declare "Sir" not to be part of the name. The other, as I suggested several days ago on your talk page, is to recognize the equivalent style of other countries; the primary example that comes to mind being the Spanish "Don". I suggest that the second is the preferable course of action. Your suggestion that the article should be moved to "Sir Ralph Abercromby" if "Sir" is "really" part of the name is as absurd as insisting that James Garfield be moved to "James Abram Garfield", something I attempted to explain above on this talk page, apparently not simply enough. Choess 08:02, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should further point out, as regards the last point, that we do occasionally title articles "Sir X Y", to distinguish the knight from another person, also named "X Y". In your zeal, you proved this point very nicely by changing a redlink to Sir Robert Abercromby to a link to Robert Abercromby, an entirely different person not intended to be linked from here. Choess 08:07, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
British titles are consistently bolded and there is no reason for others not to be. The are part of the full formal name and title, all of which should be presented in the same font as it looks neater. On the other hand article titles usually take the short familiar version of the name. Chicheley 16:09, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Titles are not bolded because it's a POV issue. It's an endorsement of a particular view. You are arguing for changing the format of the page away from the stable version (it was stable as "Sir Ralph for about a year). The stable version was NPOV - it did not endorse a system of honours particular to one country. Changing it to bold all honours would be endorse many POVs, not move towards NPOV. NPOV says that Wikipedia cannot endorse any particular point of view. Endorsing some points of view is no better than endorsing many points of view. Saying "everyone does it" does not make it ok. NPOV is non-negotiable. So, please tell me, how is it compatible with NPOV for a Wikipedia article (or many Wikipedia articles) to endorse a particular POV? Or, if you consider that too loaded a question, how some evidence that this doesn't violate NPOV? Guettarda 17:05, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First, my blushing apologies to Guettarda, as I blew away an edit by him, in part useful, to make a point while complaining about how he made a careless edit to make a point. Poetic justice, I suppose. Now, I agree that it represents a nationalist POV to bold the titles of one nation in preference to the equivalent titles of another. I strongly disagree that the titles simply represent POV, anymore than it's a POV that Tony Blair is First Lord of the Treasury at present. For that matter, I don't understand why, if they're POV, their non-bolded inclusion in the article is any less an endorsement of that POV than their bolded inclusion. As a number of people seem to agree that knighthoods have some sort of objective standing, perhaps it would be better to move this discussion to a more visible forum to prevent further edit warring? Choess 17:33, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Facts of History[edit]

The defeat that Abercrombie suffered on the Island of Puerto Rico is missing from almost all of the history books written in England and or the USA.

Well, at least part of the edit is correct. According to Military history of Puerto Rico, the Spanish/Puerto Rican forces numbered 16,000, while History of Puerto Rico says 7,000–13,000 British troops. According to, he had four full regiments of infantry, five companies of the Black Watch, and the 26th Light Dragoons, operating dismounted, which suggests a muster towards the smaller end of the range. So Abercromby was at some disadvantage in numbers; the history of the Black Watch says "As the inhabitants of Porto Rico, who had been represented as favourable, did not show any disposition to surrender, and as the Moro or castle was too strong to be attacked with such an inconsiderable force, which was insufficient to blockade more than one of its sides, the commander-in-chief resolved to give up the attempt, and accordingly re-embarked his troops on the 30th of April." Choess 17:11, 2 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wouldn't be too sure about jumping to conclusions from the 16,000 Spanish/Puerto Rican forces cited. The Military history of Puerto Rico page does not give reasonable references as to where this number comes from. I am part of the recreated Regimiento Fijo de Puerto Rico (look up for the Spanish forum or for English), a historical reenactors group in Puerto Rico that precisely plans to reenact in San Juan in 2007 (in a much, much smaller version, of course) the events of 1797. Some of our members are extremely well informed on the details of this specific battle and they are also puzzled as to where this 16,000 number comes from. --RAMPG 01:46, 5 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wrote the majority of History of Puerto Rico. The troop figure I have is taken from Alonso, María M., The Eighteenth Century Caribbean & The British Attack on Puerto Rico in 1797 ISBN 1881713202. The exact chapter is available online in this website, Hope that helps. It must be noted that the troop count ranges from 7-13K. I do not remember exactly why I chose 7,000. Joelito (talk) 00:40, 6 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Again, the problem here is not with your page but with the total disregard of the event on this page (up until a few days ago) and the 16,000 Spanish/Puerto Rican forces cited in the Military History of Puerto Rico page and the lack of information as to where the number came from when the contemporary sources (as named by Negroni, et al) have it as less than half. And the known fact that the invading forces outnumbered the defenders at least 2 to 1 and probably 3 to 1. And worst of all the seeming intention of both mentioned pages of making it look as if the expulsion of the Abercromby/Harvey invasion by combined Spanish and Puerto Rican efforts was no big a deal. An obvious infraction of the NPOV policy or an inexcusable lack of historical rigor. Still, both pages stubbornly resist editing. --RAMPG 01:12, 7 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are citing from Alonso this: "Also, there are discrepancies in numbers of troops landed, Ramón de Castro mentioning seven to eight thousand, (15) Felipe Ramírez quoting eleven thousand(l6) and Father Rodríguez Feliciano from twelve to thirteen thousand. (17) (See Chapter XV. )

On seeing the size of the enemy force, the defending officers decided to retreat, Linares and Toro towards the Martin Peña bridge and Vizcarrondo towards the San Antonio bridge, in accordance with their orders."

But in the article you said the the Puertorican forces amounted to 16,000 [souls] and that was the reason for the defeat of the englishmen. I beleive this is a POV on your behalf, because it is a very well history fact that the PR forces where outnumbered by the englismen; as is stated on the chapter that you copied, see: Also, there are discrepancies in numbers of troops landed, Ramón de Castro mentioning seven to eight thousand, (15) Felipe Ramírez quoting eleven thousand(l6) and Father Rodríguez Feliciano from twelve to thirteen thousand. (17) (See Chapter XV. ) On seeing the size of the enemy force, the defending officers decided to retreat, Linares and Toro towards the Martin Peña bridge and Vizcarrondo towards the San Antonio bridge, in accordance with their orders.

The same citation that you use is the same that contradicts you. So you better check that out if you are not willing to accept the editing of "your" article; because I would not rely much on Alonso. When one gets toread the whole book, one gets this hard feelings that something is biased, for whatever reason that I don't care about; history is history. General Ramon De Castro would not hade been promoted to Field Marshall if it was not for some extraordinary feat, such as kicking butt to a well armed force that outnumbered his own, and with the reputation that they had at the time,and the momentum the had after Trinidad, the piece of cake.--In terrorem fidei defenso 10:34, 7 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are confusing the articles. The one I mainly wrote is History of Puerto Rico where it is said "The British attempted again to conquer the island, attacking San Juan with an invasion force of 7,000 troops and an armada consisting of 64 warships[16] under the command of General Ralph Abercromby. Captain General Don Ramón de Castro and his army successfully resisted the attack.[17]" I do not talk about the size of the Puerto Rican forces nor do I try to decide which was the reason for ther defeat. I believe you are talking about Military history of Puerto Rico. For that article you may wish to contact User:Marine 69-71 who is the main writer of that one. Joelito (talk) 14:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well I do not know to whom is anybody answering but the point is that the information about the english attack to Puerto Rico in many ways is incorrect, and someone is not accepting editions to correct it. The efforts made by me and that of RPGM have rendered no results because of some thinktank.--In terrorem fidei defenso 10:34, 7 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPOV - More Bits of History[edit]

The article, up until several days ago, totally dismissed the events of San Juan in 1797. This was not a simple "assault" as quoted in the text. This was one of the largest invading fleets ever assembled to invade Spanish territory; more than 60 ships and close to 9,000 men. And yet one has to wonder as to why an inconsequential "victory" as that of Abercromby's immense fleet in Trinidad is mentioned as being influential in his being rewarded " ... for his important services, (was) appointed colonel of the regiment of Scots Greys, entrusted with the governments of the Isle of Wight, Fort-George and Fort-Augustus, and raised to the rank of lieutenant-general." In Trinidad Abercromby's troops were offered no resistance at all; the local Spanish garrison and governor hid literally in the bushes.

Historian José Rigau Pérez cites a letter from a Charles Steward, a lieutenant who served under Abercromby, to an Alexander Leith Hay citing the events at San Juan 1797 as having been so ill conceived and executed that "it must have [been] planned at Winbleton by Billy (P.M. William Pitt?) and Harry after two bottles at least". This even when the British foot soldier and seamen were considered the best in the world at the time. Trafalgar, just a few years later, comes to mind.

The "assault" on Puerto Rico, in 1797, proved such a massive failure that British history has all but obliterated it from its history books. --RAMPG 00:07, 3 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Billy and Harry" are probably William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister, and Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, Secretary of State for War. Choess 21:42, 3 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are correct. --RAMPG 22:54, 3 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The figure of 16,000 local militia cited by Choess probably refers to armed militia in all of Puerto Rico. San Juan's defending forces were actually little less than 2,500 or practically one third or the invading force. It took several days by ship (a lot more by land) to reach San Juan from the more larger cities in the South of Puerto Rico. And this was an impossibility due to the blockade by Henry Harvey's fleet which included some of the most formidable ships of the era, among them none other than the Prince of Wales. Col. Héctor Andrés Negroni, a noted Puerto Rican military historian, in his Historia Militar de Puerto Rico, ed. 1992, cites several contemporary sources that calculate the San Juan garrison and militia forces as being anywhere from 2,400 to 6,471. Abercromby in his report to his superiors downplays his dismal results and blames them on bad intelligence and the built defenses. Actually, as Rigau Pérez notes, his forces never directly engaged the main defenses of the city since they could not even overcome the first line of defense of the island city. Lucky for him, I may add; go look up the magnificent San Cristóbal fortress and the smaller and wonderful El Abanico fort before it which awaited Sir Abercromby. To understand part of what went on during the siege of San Juan one has to look up old engravings of the relatively small San Gerónimo fort and the San Antonio and Escambrón batteries (the first line of defense) at the Easternmost tip of the San Juan islet. Theses defenses received such fire that they were totally devastated by three weeks of almost hourly bombardment by the invading artillery. And yet, Abercromy's well equipped forces which were counted in the thousands and included the legendary Royal Marines simply could not overcome them. Bad intelligence and built defenses?

There is a better explanation for the final outcome of the battle as forthrightly described by lieutenant Charles Steward to his friend Mr. Leith Hay - "superior... fire" and "astonish(ing) bravery". --RAMPG 00:51, 3 July 2006 (UTC

Noted For Service during Napoleonic War?[edit]

If you click on Napoleonic War it says it started in 1803... and Abercromby's service ended in 1801... so surely is he not noted for his service in the French Revoloutionary Wars...? Seperate from the Napoleonic War

Copy paste from Lecky[edit]

This section is almost a verbatim copy paste from the great Irish historian W.H. Lecky, and reflects the moral outrage of a 19th century historian sympathetic to the Liberal Ascendancy interest, and not the non biased predelictions of a 21st century encyclopedia;

There he laboured to maintain the discipline of the army, to suppress the rising rebellion, and to protect the people from military oppression, with the care worthy of a great general and an enlightened and beneficent statesman. When he was appointed to the command in Ireland, an invasion of that country by the French was confidently anticipated by the British government. He used his utmost efforts to restore the discipline of an army that was utterly disorganized; and, as a first step, he anxiously endeavoured to protect the people by re-establishing the supremacy of the civil power, and not allowing the military to be called out, except when it was indispensably necessary for the enforcement of the law and the maintenance of order. Finding that he received no adequate support from the head of the Irish government, and that all his efforts were opposed and thwarted by those who presided in the councils of Ireland, he resigned the command. His departure from Ireland was deeply lamented by the reflecting portion of the people, and was speedily followed by those disastrous results which he had anticipated, and which he so ardently desired and had so wisely endeavoured to prevent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 23 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPOV — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:49, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article seems hugely biased, more a praise extracted from a book about the person than a neutral article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 11 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"the fateful action at Boxtel "[edit]

"He commanded the relief column at the fateful action at Boxtel"

Why was the action at Boxtel 'fateful'? What does'fateful' mean in this context?

In addition, Abercromby's orders were to restore the allied outpost line at Boxtell, if he thought it feasible. There was no position to relieve. The outpost troops had been captured.

JF42 (talk) 20:44, 17 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

After two weeks of fierce combat[edit]

"After two weeks of fierce combat, which included prolonged artillery exchanges and even hand-to-hand combat, Abercromby was unable to overcome San Juan's first line of defence and withdrew. This was to be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in the Americas."

Having scanned the debate in the preceding section, I understand why this paragraph has been included. However, the wish to restore balance in relation to the British failure in Puerto Rico has produced a rather clumsy, compensatory passage, with its own hint of NPOV, that seems to protest too much.

What is so notable about "prolonged artillery exchanges" or, even, "hand to hand to combat"? Both these would be expected in an attempt to storm prepared fortifications. If the fighting was fierce, then that statment should surely suffice. Thus:

"After two weeks of fierce fighting, Abercromby was unable to overcome even San Juan's first line of defences and withdrew."

Secondly, what is the significance of the second sentence in relation to Abercromby's life, whether his force was "one of the largest invasions" or even the largest? This seems to be more a comment on -British?- challenges to the integrity of Spanish territory in the Americas. If it is intended as a comment on Abercomby's generalship, I would suggest that a more straightforward discussion of this be added in a separate section.

Overall, to concentrate on this one unsuccessfull operation without setting it in the context of the successfull campaign of which it was part, seems to be unbalanced; indeed more preoccupied with Caribean history than the biography of Abercromby. As is the reference to the Garifuna of St Vincent. These details are more relevant to the history of the respective islands than in an article on Sir Ralph Abercromby.

JF42 (talk) 09:46, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Abercromby returned to Europe[edit]

"Abercromby returned to Europe, and in reward for his important services, was appointed colonel of the regiment of Scots Greys; entrusted with the governments of the Isle of Wight, Fort-George, and Fort-Augustus; and raised to the rank of lieutenant-general."

This one-sentence paragraph reads oddly and contains some misrepresented facts. 'Important' is probably superfluous and is not colloquial English. The importance of Abercromby's services is implicit in the reward.

The cavalry regiment known informally (until 1866) as the 'Scots Greys' was at this date known as the '2nd (Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons.'

With regard to the 'government' of the Isle of Wight, Fort George and Fort Augustus, this also reads oddly, despite quoting, it would seem, from the 1806 'Life of Sir R. Abercromby.' In each case this is a reference to the post of Governor, Abercromby in fact being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Wight, and Governor of Fort George and Fort Augustus(without hyphens). JF42 (talk) 10:12, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

German mercenary soldiers[edit]

The reference to 'mercenary soldiers' is not accurate. The British army, needing to expand rapidly at the start of the war with France, was supplemented with regiments formed of men recruited on the continent from French emigrés, Alsatians, Germans, Swiss, etc. They were embodied and paid as soldiers recruited in Britain. What is the purpose of distinguishing these German (and other) troops from other troops in Abercromby's force?

There tends to be a pejorative value attached to the word mercenary, particularly in relation to foreign regiments, as well as foreign contract troops, employed by Britain in the late C18th. Is that intended here? In any case, it seems an unnecessary distinction. JF42 (talk) 10:39, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No.2 (Edinburgh).[edit]

The image of the building captioned: 'Kilwinning Lodge, Edinburgh' is actually the HQ of the Order of St John Scotland. See: I am not sure if I can, or should, remove the image? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ericthearcher (talkcontribs) 09:27, 13 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@Gaelicbow: Hi, I'm happy to discuss the issue here. My thought process is that A) his rank is already in the infobox in the correct "rank" slot and repeating it is unnecessary (see this discussion) and B) I'm really not sure why he has "the right honourable". If you're able to explain why that's completely fine and it should be kept, but a brief look of my own didn't dig up any reason. Thanks, Pickersgill-Cunliffe (talk) 16:57, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi there! That is true; it seems to be subjective as per different articles. For instance, Horatio Nelson uses full prefixes and from my understanding, it is the modern-day officers’ articles that don’t use any prefixes. Rt Hon. comes from him being MP for Clackmannanshire. Gaelicbow (talk) 17:32, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Governor-General of Trinidad also entitles him to be referred to as Right Honourable. Gaelicbow (talk) 17:33, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not seeing where it says Rt Hon is for all MPs? Also, I haven't seen much precedent for that prefix in historical MP articles, especially considering he hadn't been an MP for 3 years at the time of his death. Re Nelson, his Rt Hon makes sense to me because it comes from his peerage; if I were a real pedant I would however try and remove the rank from the prefix. Not going through that hassle though! Pickersgill-Cunliffe (talk) 17:35, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just saw your follow-up comment. Same query for that; does the position confer the honorific upon him even after he has left it? Pickersgill-Cunliffe (talk) 17:40, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]