Royal Botanic Society of London
General Sir Robert John Harvey entered the 53rd Shropshire Regiment as Ensign in 1803 and was appointed Captain in 1806. He accompanied his regiment to Portugal and served as Assistant Quartermaster General of the British and of the Portuguese armies in Portugal, Spain and France from 1809 to the close of the war in 1814, being present at nearly all the Peninsuar War battles. From 1809-11 he was employed in procuring intelligence of the enemy in advance of the army and served as the point of communication between the Duke of Wellington and the Portuguese troops, of whom he was second-in-command under Marshal Beresford. For his conduct at the Battle of Orthes, General Harvey was awarded the Gold Medal and made Commander of St. Benito d'Avis and a Knight of the Tower and Sword. Harvey accompanied Wellington to Paris where the Duke acted as British Ambassador, and his final service was to carry despatches from Paris to Lord Beresford at Lisbon, a journey of 1,400 miles which he undertook on horseback, arriving within fourteen days.
On his return to England, Harvey settled near Norwich in Mousehold House and was knighted in 1817. He was made a Companion of the Bath in 1831 and was promoted to the rank of General in 1855. During his active civil service, Sir Robert became a member of the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries, a founding fellow and member of the Council of the Botanic Society and a promoter of the British Gas Light Company (consequently, Norwich was one of the first cities in England to be illuminated by coal gas). Sir Robert inherited much land south of Norwich in Stoke and Tharston where he built a number of farms and cottages on his estate and named them after significant battlegrounds in Belgium, Spain and Portugal; Those farms that still exist today include Salamanca, Tagus, Chamusca, Picton, Cuidad and Rodrigo.
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