A VERY "fine figure of a man" is Lieutenant-General Sir Baker Creed Russell, commanding the Southern District, headquarters Portsmouth, and very conspicuous at Southampton Docks was that fine figure on scores of important occasions on which troops were being shipped for South Africa in the earlier stages of the War. One can understand that Sir Baker Russell, like the "hot soldier" he is, and always has been, would have greatly preferred accompanying the troops to "seeing them off." But he has had his fair share of hard fighting, and in his own special line-that of cavalry leading-may well be content to let younger men have a chance of winning the distinction which he himself won well-nigh two decades back.
Sir Baker Creed Russell is the son of the late Captain the Hon. W. Russell, of Ravensworth, Australia, and was born in 1837. He entered the Army in 1855 as a Cornet of the Carabiniers, and was present at Meerut on that eventful Sunday when the Mutiny first burst into flame. He served right through the Mutiny with great distinction, taking part in numerous actions, and in the pursuit of the redoubtable Tantia Topee, and emerging in 1858 with such an excellent record, that on the earliest opportunity he was given a brevet majority. In 1862 he was transferred to the 13th Hussars, which he subsequently commanded, and which, under his regime, became one of the smartest and best light cavalry regiments in the world. In 1873 Major Russell, as he was then, accompanied Sir Garnet Wolseley to the Gold Coast in connection with the first Ashanti Expedition, and won fresh distinction in command of a native corps which he raised, organized, and led through all the principal actions. In 1879 he again served under Wolseley, this time in the Zulu campaign, in the course of which he had charge of the operations against Sekukuni. For these services he was made a K.C.M.G. and A.D.C. to the Queen.
In 1882 Sir Baker Russell accompanied the Expedition to Egypt in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade. He led the midnight charge at Kassassin, was present at Tel-el-Kebir, and took part in the march to and occupation of Cairo, which was carried out by the Cavalry Division under Drury-Lowe.
In 1886 Sir Baker was for a short time Inspecting Officer of Auxiliary Cavalry, and from 1890 to 1894 was thoroughly in his element as General Officer Commanding the Aldershot Cavalry Brigade. From 1895 he was in charge of the North Western District, headquarters Chester; from 1896 to 1898 he held the important command of the troops in Bengal, and, returning to England in 1898, was posted to Portsmouth, where he is as popular as he is respected and admired—which is saying a great deal.