In Conan Doyle's The Great Boer War. The author talks about a famous Dalgety namesake.

The force was commanded by a dashing soldier, Colonel Dalgety, of the Cape Mounted Rifles, as tough a fighter as his famous namesake.

Who is his famous namesake? Any clues ?

  • What is wrong with the answer provided by Google? e.g. Col Dalgety ( google.com/…)
    – MCW
    Nov 14 at 23:52
  • @MCW Out of curiosity - prompted by your comment - I tried a Google search and I can't find any clear answer of that question.
    – Pere
    Nov 15 at 9:33
  • @MCW - The officer whose biography you link to seems to have had a father and brother who were also army officers - but why would ACD call one of them a 'namesake' and not mention the relationship? Nov 15 at 11:04
  • 1
    @KateBunting - The google search I provided yields multiple answers for Col Dalgety. The intent of my comment was to provide OP with resources for preliminary research.
    – MCW
    Nov 15 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


A guess is that Doyle is referring to the fictional character Dugald Dalgetty, who appears in Walter Scott's novel A Legend of Montrose.

I suppose Scott's novel was more widely read at the beginning of the 20th century than nowadays, and in a book like Doyle's the use of a fictional character to describe a historical person was (in a work of of propagandistic journalism) not unheard of. A modern analogy might be to describe (say) Allen Dulles as having had a James Bond-like career, or Admiral Cochrane as having been like Jack Aubrey.

Indirect evidence that Scott's novel was read and admired in the 19th century is the fact that the Governor's mansion in the American state of New Jersey is called Drumthwacket, following the passage in Chapter II of Montrose where Dalgetty introduces himself:

“Truly, my lord,” said the trooper, “my name is Dalgetty—Dugald Dalgetty, Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty of Drumthwacket, at your honourable service to command. It is a name you may have seen in GALLO BELGICUS, the SWEDISH INTELLIGENCER, or, if you read High Dutch, in the FLIEGENDEN MERCOEUR of Leipsic

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