Loyalty: Sir Ralph Abercromby of Tullibody (1734-1801)
Sir Ralph Abercromby of Tullibody was a Scottish lieutenant-general in the British Army. Samuel Smiles admired him for his gallant selflessness, loyalty and duty to his men. During the Napoleonic wars, Abercromby led an army in Egypt to fight the French. What the army managed to accomplish there helped boost its reputation as a world-renowned fighting force.
Throughout his career in the army, Abercromby did his best to look out for the health and welfare of his soldiers. When they were stationed in the Caribbean, he forbade them from doing too much exercise during the hottest part of the day. He even had their uniforms altered to make them more comfortable in the heat.
Duty to his men
Loyalty and duty to his men's welfare were important to Abercromby. He was a popular, well-known commander who became something of a father figure within the British Army.
Smiles admired Abercromby because when he was mortally injured on the battlefield and a soldier's blanket was put under his head to ease his pain, he refused and insisted that it be returned to the soldier at once. He praised Abercromby's self sacrifice and concern for the common soldiers under his command, saying 'even to ease his dying agony the general would not deprive the private soldier of his blanket for one night.'