Pasley, General Sir Charles William

SUBJECT AREA: Civil engineering
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b. 8 September 1780 Eskdalemuir, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
d. 19 April 1861 London, England
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Scottish Colonel-Commandant, Royal Engineers.
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At first he was educated by Andrew Little of Lan-gholm. At the age of 14 he was sent to school at Selkirk, where he stayed for two years until joining the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in August 1796. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and transferred to the Royal Engineers on 1 April 1798. He served at Minorca, Malta, Naples, Sicily, Calabria and in the siege of Copenhagen and in other campaigns. He was promoted First Captain in 1807, and was on the staff of Sir John Moore at the battle of Coruna. He was wounded at the siege of Flushing in 1809 and was invalided for a year, employing his time in learning German.
In November 1810 he published his Essay on Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire, which ran through four editions. In 1811 he was in command of a company of Royal Military Artificers at Plymouth and there he devised a method of education by which the NCOs and troops could teach themselves without "mathematical masters". His system was a great success and was adopted at Chatham and throughout the corps. In 1812 he was appointed Director of the School of Military Engineering at Chatham. He remained at Chatham until 1841, when he was appointed Inspector-General of Railways. During this period he organized improved systems of sapping, mining, telegraphing, pontooning and exploding gunpowder on land or under water, and prepared pamphlets and courses of instruction in these and other subjects. In May 1836 he started what is probably the most important work for which he is remembered. This, was a book on Limes, Calcareous Cements, Mortar, Stuccos and Concretes. The general adoption of Joseph Aspdin's Portland Cement was largely due to Pasley's recommendation of the material.
He was married twice: first in 1814 at Chatham to Harriet Cooper; and then on 30 March 1819 at Rochester to Martha Matilda Roberts, with whom he had six children— she died in 1881.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
KGB 1846. FRS 1816. Honorary DCL, Oxford University 1844.
Bibliography
1810, Essay on Military Policy and Institutions of the British Empire. Limes, Calcareous Cements, Mortar, Stuccos and Concretes.
Further Reading
Porter, History of the Corps of Royal Engineers. DNB. Proceedings of the Royal Society.
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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