The Grand Old Duke of York

A Life of Frederick, Duke of York and Albany 1763–1827

Derek Winterbottom

* Biography of the commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars

* Reconsiders the Duke of York's record as a battlefield general

* Insight into his achievements as an army reformer

* Explains his reputation as the ‘Soldier's Friend'

* Describes his extravagant, sometimes scandalous personal life
Date Published :
July 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
8 pages of illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473845770

Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 216
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Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany is famous because of the nursery rhyme which ridicules him for poor leadership but, as Derek Winterbottom’s biography shows, he was far from incompetent as a commander. What is more, the famous rhyme does not even hint at his achievements as commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars. His career as a commander and administrator and his scandalous private life are long overdue for reassessment, and that is what this perceptive and absorbing study provides.
He transformed the British military machine, and the Duke of Wellington admitted that without York’s reforms he would not have had the army that fought so well in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. York also led a turbulent personal life which was engulfed by scandal when his mistress was accused of using her influence over him to obtain promotion for ambitious officers.
Today the Duke of York is a neglected, often derided figure. This biography should go some way towards restoring his reputation as a commander and military reformer.

About The Author

Derek Winterbottom read modern history at the University of Oxford and a further degree at the University of York. He is the author of some twenty publications in the fields of history, biography, local history and education. See his website at

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