- Born 10 October 1839
- Died 7 September 1894 Halesworh, Sussex
- Educated Aldenham School
- Occupation Army Officer
- Debut 28 September 1859 v I Zingari at Phoenix Park
- Cap Number 40
- Style Hand unknown
- Teams Phoenix
Charles Guinness had a distinguished military career but little is known of his abilities as a cricketer. However he appears to have been a useful batsman at club level, though, at this distance, it has proved impossible to discover his method. His two matches for Ireland occurred before he embarked on his military career.
In late September 1859, he played in the first match v I Zingari. The Zingaros had been coming to Ireland since 1851, with Phoenix as their main opponents. The match v Ireland was at the suggestion of the cricket loving Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Carlisle, and was to be the first of 27 such encounters. On this occasion the visitors were too strong for Ireland, with James McCormick, who had previously played for Ireland, besides being well known in English cricket, and Winfield Fiennes proving too much on an unreliable Phoenix Park wicket. Charles batted at 10 and did not bowl. In his first innings, McCormick bowled him for 2, while in the second he was run out for 5. Though Arthur Samuels had taken 9 wickets to bowl IZ out for 198, Ireland went down by an innings.
Charles also appeared the following year against the All England XI at Upper Rathmines. As Ireland played twenty two, this match will not be found in his statistics on this site, but a match report and scores of the game may be found by following the links in the Statszone. The visitors, including some of the best players in England, overcame the XXII by 7 wickets. Charles, batting at 11 was bowled for 0 in the first innings by Robert Tinley. Originally a fast roundarmer, Tinley had recently switched to lobs, and was regarded as the leading such bowler in the country. In the second innings Charles got to 3 before being caught off the fast leftarmer Edgar Willsher, who was one of the best but also most controversial bowlers of the day, as many believed that he raised his arm higher than was then permitted. The catcher was Alfred Clarke son of "Old" Clarke, (William) who had founded the All England XI, and, thus, by creating a group of cricketers who performed largely for money, began a chain that could be said to have led to Kerry Packer, the IPL, Alan Stanford and possibly beyond.
After this match, Charles was not seen again in major cricket, but his military career was highly successful. Commissioned in 1860 in the Seaforth Highlanders his campaigns included the Second Afghan War in which he was mentioned in despatches. He had taken part in the capture of Kabul, following the massacre of the British Residency there in 1879, and was also on General Sir Frederick (later Field Marshal Lord) Roberts' famous march from Kabul to relieve Kandahar, the imagery of which was to be used by Douglas Jardine to rally his men during the Bodyline tour of Australia in 1932-33. By 1882, promoted to Lieutenant - Colonel, Charles was in Egypt with Sir Garnet Wolsey and took part in the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Here he was again mentioned in despatches, though he may have wished for a more eloquent commeration of the battle than that provided by the "poet" William McGonagall of which the first verse follows:
Ye sons of Great Britain come join with me,
And sing in praise of Sir Garnet Wolsey,
Sound drums and trumpets cheerfully,
For he has acted most heroically.
Charles retired on half pay in 1887, being made a Companion of the Bath (CB). He lived for sometime in Edinburgh but was resident in Sussex at the time of his death. He was unmarried, leaving the then considerable sum of £4620 in his will. When this article was being researched his CB, campaign medals, and that of the Turkish Empire Order of Osmania were being auctioned on the Internet.
Edward Liddle, October 2008