Lieutenant General Sir Henry Balassis KT
Of all the queries posed to staff by members of the public at Clandon Museum, one of the most frequent concerns the name of Lieutenant General Sir H Balassis who is recorded on the plaque of Colonels of The Queen’s Royal Regiment as “dismissed by CM (Court Martial)”. This inevitably brings the question, “What did he do?” But more of that later.
Sir Henry Balassis was a monarchial loyalist who, as a youth, suffered in the Royal cause during the usurpation of Cromwell. Soon after the Restoration he was nominated Captain of an Independent company in garrison at Hull, later becoming Governor, but resigned in 1673 in consequence of the Test Act, he being a Roman Catholic. Later raising a company of musketeers and pikemen, he was engaged in some military campaigning on the continent before being appointed Colonel of the 6th Foot on 3rd April 1678. He was wounded during the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth in 1685.
In 1689 he succeeded the Duke of Norfolk in the Colonelcy of the 22nd Regiment, later becoming Brigadier General and serving under King William in 1690. A Major General in 1692, and Lieutenant General in 1694, he became Colonel of the 2nd Queen’s on 28th June 1701.
At the close of the campaign and battle of Namur he was President of a General Court Martial who sentenced one officer, Major General Ellenberg, to be shot, for surrendering Dixmude and Deinse to the enemy.
In 1702 he was Second in Command of British troops in the expedition to Cadiz and, had he known it, was soon to experience Court Martial from the other side of the table. Having participated in the plunder of Port St Mary, from which he sent home a transport loaded with loot valued at £4000, he was dismissed the service in February 1702 although reinstated in March.
He became Governor of Berwick in 1713 and died on 14th December 1717.