This is a fascinating story, thoroughly researched, beautifully written and one which probably provides a more balanced and sympathetic account of the man than anything that has been written about him hitherto. Many people will have heard of the unlucky seventh Earl of Lucan who disappeared in 1974 after allegedly murdering his children's nanny but few will have known much about his great-great grandfather, George Charles Bingham, the third Earl of Lucan - until now. In this biography the third Earl’s life, achievements and personality have been forensically exposed by Tom Blaney drawing on entirely new sources. If the 3rd Earl was known for anything it would have been that it was he who was blamed for sending the Light Brigade to its doom during the Crimean War of 1854-6. But Lucan was a more complex man than someone who is known only for supplying cannon fodder for a foreign war. He had inherited estates in County Mayo and while he had earned the name of ‘The Terminator’ for his eviction of tenants during the Irish potato famine he also received much praise in later years when he tried to improve tenant incomes by modernising farming methods. A strict military disciplinarian he was also well respected by his men and unfairly bore the brunt of the criticism for the failure at Balaclava when his commander, Lord Raglan should really have taken most of it. If anything, Blaney writes, Lucan was a victim of the social pressures of the age when wealth and inheritance were deemed to be all-important. Lucan’s ambition of achieving greatness was denied him by forces beyond his control.
by Hugh Tweed