Charles William Wilson

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File:Charles William Wilson.jpg
Charles Wilson, sometime between 1858 and 1861.

Sir Charles William Wilson (14 March 1836 – 25 October 1905) K.C.B., K.C.M.G., F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D., M.E. was a British military officer and geographer.

Life of an explorer and soldier

He was born in Liverpool on 14 March 1836. He was educated at the Liverpool Collegiate Institution and Cheltenham College. He attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Engineers in 1855.[1]

In 1864 he worked on the Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem where he identified the eponymous Wilson's Arch.[1]

He was appointed to the Ordnance Survey of Scotland in 1867.[1]

In 1867 he joined the Palestine Exploration Fund and had a leading role in the Survey of Western Palestine project. In 1868 he joined the Ordnance Survey of Sinai. In 1872 he was elected to the Society of British Archaeology. In 1874 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1]

He became director of the topographical department at the British War Office and assistant quartermaster-general in the British Intelligence Department. In 1876 he received an Order of the Bath. He then headed the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.[1]

From 1879 to 1882, he was consul-general in Anatolia. In the summer of 1882, he took part in Garnet Wolseley's expedition to put down the rebellion of Colonel Arabi.[1]

From 1884 to 1885, Wilson took part in the Khartoum Relief Expedition, commanded by Garnet Wolseley. He was part of the advance rescue force led by Sir Herbert Stewart. After Stewart was mortally wounded Wilson took command of this group of about 1,400 men. On two Nile steamers Wilson's Desert Column reached Khartoum in the afternoon of 28 January 1885. It came two days too late: Khartoum had been seized by the Mahdists in the early hours of January 26. Between 5,000 and 10,000 inhabitants were slaughtered, among them Major-General Charles George Gordon.

He was appointed director of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland and was director-general from 1886 to 1894. From 1895 until his retirement in 1898, he served as the director-general of military education.

He served director of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, then chairman of the Palestine Exploration Fund from 1901 until his death in 1905.[1]

He died on 25 October 1905.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Major General Sir Charles William Wilson, 1836-1905". Palestine Exploration Fund. Retrieved 2011-12-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).


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Charles William Wilson