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Russell, William Howard LLD CVO (Sir)

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William Russell was born in Ireland on 28 March 1820, the son of John Russell, of Lilyvale, and his wife Mary, the daughter of Captain John Kelly, Castle Kelly, Dublin. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and then, as a special correspondent to "The Times", covered many of the major events that occurred in the middle of the nineteenth century. He reported on the Crimea (1854-1856), the American Civil War (1861-1862), the Franco-German War (1870) and South Africa (1879-1880). He was charged by Nubar Pasha to select the guests at the opening of the Suez Canal, and accompanied the Prince of Wales as Honorary Private Secretary to India (1875-1876). Russell also published a number of letters and diaries from his expeditions. In writing of the battle of Balaclava in 1854 he applied to the English infantry the phrase ‘the thin red line,’ which has passed into the language. His letters describing the suffering of the British Army in that winter of 1854-1855 brought home to the public the dreadful conditions under which the troops lived, and inspired in part the work of Florence Nightingale. He was knighted in 1895. His first wife, whom he married on 16 September 1846, was Mary Burrowes (d. 1867), and his second was Countess Antoinetta Malvezz, whom he married on 18 February 1884. Russell became a member of the Garrick Club in 1853. He died on 10 February 1907 and was buried in Brompton Cemetery. (DNB)
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