Sir William Marcus Coghlan (Biographical details)

Sir William Marcus Coghlan (official; military/naval; British; Male; 1803 - 1885)

Also known as

Coghlan, William Marcus


Born in Plymouth, the son of Jeremiah Coghlan, a Captain in the Royal Navy; educated at the Indian Army's academy at Addiscombe and joined the Bombay Artillery as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1820; commanded Artillery detachments in the Dooab Field Force (1826-27) and in the Kolhapur Field Force (1827-28). He was a Brigade Major of Artillery with the Bombay Column Army of the Indus in the 1838/39 campaigns in Scind and Afghanistan. He was decorated after the storm of Ghazni and Kalat in 1850. He was appointed Political Resident and Commandant in Aden (1854-63), and after whom one of the so-called Aden Tanks is named. He is said to have recruited an exceptionally able staff although he is said to have had a reputation of being rather stern and inflexible. Among his staff were Rev. George Percy Badger (q.v.), chaplain of Aden and brother-in-law to Hormuzd Rassam (q.v.); it was Badger who suggested to Coghlan that he found a school in Aden which he did in 1856, although it was abolished two years later, whereas Rassam had previously excavated in Mesopotamia and Van on behalf of the Museum and had been posted to Aden in 1854 as a political interpreter. In 1857 Coghlan annexed Perim. He had troubles with Lahej and in March 1858 commanded the force which stormed the Sultan's fort at Sheikh Othman. He was the principal member of the Commission which adjudicated upon the division of the inheritance of Sayyid Said between his sons, the rulers of Muscat and Zanzibar, which was known as the Canning Award (1861). He made anti-slavery treaties with the Lower Aulaqis and Somalis and purchased Little Aden in 1862. He presented a collection of South Arabian antiquities to the British Museum in the same year, and two more in 1863, during which time he held the rank of Brigadier Colonel. He was knighted upon his retirement from Aden and settled as a J.P. in Kent. He was promoted General in 1877. Honours: KCB. He died in Ramsgate.


R. Bidwell, "The Political Residents of Aden: Biographical Notes", 'Arabian Studies' V (1979), pp.149-59; J.D. Pearson, ed., 'A Guide to Manuscripts and Documents in the British Isles relating to the Middle East and North Africa', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980, p. 314; John F. Riddick, 'Who Was Who in British India', Westport, Connecticut/London: Greenwood Press, 1998, p. 78.