Colonel John George Adamson was born in 1855 in Douglas on the Isle of Man. His father, Lawrence William Adamson was born in Dublin, a solicitor and successful businessman who became Grand Seneschal of the Isle of Man in the 1860s.
The family later moved to Northumberland and John joined the Army there in 1874 as a sub- lieutenant in the Northumberland Artillery Militia. He had no foreign posting until 1883, when one month after his marriage to Caroline Sara Landon in Ledsham, West Yorkshire, he was posted to India as a Captain with 1st Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, (KOYLI). The first of his two daughters, Muriel Annie Pearl, was born the year after in Dinapore, Bengal. Like all army families they moved around depending on John’s postings, and his second daughter, Catherine Evelyn, was born in Gosport, England in 1890.
By 1898 John was a Major in the 2nd KOYLI and had decided to retire from the Army. This was short-lived however as he was recalled to service in 1900. He became Deputy Assistant Adjutant General in Dublin and one of the highlights of this period of his life must have been taking part in Queen Victoria’s Review in Phoenix Park on 2 April 1902. The Times reported the event and John Adamson got a mention:
“There was a murmur growing to a roar from the direction of Dublin, then one saw the cuirasses of the Life Guards flash, and in a moment the Queen was there. In that shouting multitude of about 200,000 persons, none seemed to have eyes for any persons but the Queen, who was looking very bright, with silver shamrock on her bonnet and parasol, and her two daughters, Princess Christian and Princess Henry of Battenberg, who sat facing her in the carriage. “God Save the Queen” was played, the air was rent with cheers, and from that moment it seemed hardly worthwhile to be possessed of a hat. For the inspection began at once, and as the brilliant cavalcade swept slowly past the troops band after band took up the National Anthem……..Next came the division of Infantry, consisting of two brigades, headed by the Divisional Staff Commander, Major-General M. W. E. Gosset, C.B., with his aide-de-camp, Captain R. P. Butler, Colonel L. A. Clutterbuck and Colonel E. M. Baker, A. A. G.’s, Major J. G. Adamson and Captain E. J. Buckley, D.A.A.G.’s. , Lieutenant-Colonel J.C. Campbell, Commanding R.E., Major St. Clair, Staff officer, R.E. and Captain the Hon. A. W. Foljambe, garrison adjutant. ”
John retired again in September that year, having reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He bought the Glenfarne Estate, almost 400 acres of untenanted land at Glenfarne, County Leitrim as well as the mansion house there. Glenfarne Hall, overlooking Lough MacNean, was built around 1820. He became a J.P, an office he also filled in Northumberland later in life.
This country idyll was brought to an end with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, when John was once again recalled to active service. He was by this time aged 59 and so did not go abroad but was put in charge of the Territorial Forces records in London. He finally retired in 1920 with the substantive rank of Colonel.
His had been a long and distinguished career, being twice mentioned in dispatches and being appointed C.M.G – Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George which is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. He died in 1929 at Linhope, Powburn in Northumberland, in 1932 aged 77.