Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea Sidney
b. 1810-09-16
d. 1861-08-02
Sidney Herbert, first Baron Herbert of Lea, was the Secretary at War for England during the Crimean War (1853-1856) and the Second Opium War (1857-1860).1 His role in the Vancouver Island colony was primarily to authorize the deployment of military resources. Notably, colonial officials consulted Herbert on the proposed replacement of a detachment of one hundred marines that were being recalled from San Juan Island.2 Herbert advised against the isolation of such small bodies of Troops in positions where it is impossible to support them if attacked. He recommended naval support for the contingent.3
Herbert was born 16 September 1810, and educated at Oriel College, Oxford. Elected as a Tory for South Wiltshire in 1832, he went on to become Secretary at War with a seat on the Cabinet in 1845. An avid Peelite, Herbert supported the suspension of the Corn Laws. As Secretary at War, he took a subordinate role to the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. Herbert's office was largely responsible for establishing and controlling the supply chain which included food, clothing, and shelter, and for managing medical services. Herbert resigned his seat in the Commons in 1861 amid health concerns and died later that year.4
One of Herbert's acts as Secretary at War was to place female nurses in traditionally all-male hospitals during the Crimean War. He put Florence Nightingale at the head of a group of female nurses stationed in Scutari during the conflict. Nightingale honoured Herbert's death day each year, and considered him one of the few people she respected.5
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San Juan Island

Vancouver Island