John Dawson, 2nd Earl of Portarlington

John Dawson, 2nd Earl of Portarlington

Lithograph by Alfred, Count D'Orsay, 1828
Died 28 December 1845(1845-12-28) (aged 64)
Lambeth, London
Buried at Kensal Green Cemetery
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1798-1845
Rank Colonel
Unit 46th Regiment of Foot
23rd Light Dragoons
10th Regiment of Foot

John Dawson, 2nd Earl of Portarlington (26 February 1781  28 December 1845) was a British Army officer who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.


He was the son of John Dawson, 1st Earl of Portarlington (1744–1798) who had been created Earl of Portarlington in 1785. His mother was Lady Caroline Stuart (before 1763–1813) the fifth daughter of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute.[1]


He began his career as an ensign in the 20th Foot in March 1798 and was promoted to Lieutenant in December of the same year.[2] On 24 March 1800 he was promoted to captain in the 46th Foot before transferring to the 23rd Light Dragoons. After a spell as a major in the 4th Garrison Battalion and as a lieutenant colonel in the 10th Foot he returned to the 23rd Dragoons on 6 April 1809.[2] Dawson served during the Peninsular Campaign and at the Battle of Talavera.[3]

Waterloo Campaign

Although he commanded his regiment at the Battle of Quatre Bras on June 16–17, 1815,[2] Dawson failed to appear at the head of his dragoons on the morning the Battle of Waterloo a day later. The reason for his non-appearance is unknown but it has been speculated that he was advised not to go by a surgeon[4] or that "he had betaken himself that same evening to Brussels or elsewhere."[3] Although he joined the 18th Hussars towards the end of the battle and took part in Major General Sir Hussey Vivian's decisive charge, he resigned from the army shortly afterwards.[3]

Later career

Owing to his friendship with "Prinnie", the Prince Regent, later King George IV, he was offered a cornetcy in the 23rd Dragoons, which he accepted and became and aide-de-camp to the king with the automatic rank of colonel.[4]


Dawson died at his residence in the Kennington Road in Lambeth, London, on 28 December 1845. He is buried in Catatacomb B in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.[2]

As he was unmarried and had no issue, the earldom passed to his nephew Henry Dawson-Damer, 3rd Earl of Portarlington (1822–1889).[1]


  1. 1 2 "Death of the Earl of Portarlington". Morning Post. 2 January 1846. Retrieved 10 September 2015 via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)).
  2. 1 2 3 4 Bromley & Bromley 2015, p. 187.
  3. 1 2 3 Dalton 1904, p. 94.
  4. 1 2 Stewart 2008, p. 165.
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
John Dawson
Earl of Portarlington
Succeeded by
Henry Dawson-Damer
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