Forbes, James Ochoncar, seventeenth Lord Forbes 1765-1843, colonel, was the eldest son of James, sixteenth baron, by Catherine, only daughter of Sir Robert Innes, bart., of Ortoun. The lands of Forbes in Aberdeenshire, still in their possession, have been held by this ancient family since the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214). Forbes was born 17 March 1765. He entered the army as ensign in the Coldstream guards 13 June 1781, became lieutenant and captain 21 April 1786, captain and lieutenant-colonel 23 Aug. 1793, colonel 3 May 1796, major-general 29 April 1802, lieutenant-general 27 March 1808, and general 12 Aug. 1819. He served in Flanders with his distinguished regiment, and was present in the battles and sieges of St. Amand, Famar, Valenciennes, Dunkirk, Lincelles, Tournay, Vaux, Cateau, Nimeguen, Fort St. André, &c. He subsequently accompanied the expedition to the Helder, and was present in nearly every action which took place in that campaign. He was appointed second in command of the troops in the Mediterranean in March 1808, and in the same year sailed for Sicily. He was colonel 3rd garrison battalion 1807-9, 94th foot 14 April 1809, 54th foot 23 Sept. 1809, and 21st foot 1 June 1816 till his death.
Forbes succeeded his father in the title in 1804, and was chosen a representative peer in 1806. He married at Crailing, 2 June 1792, Elizabeth, eldest daughter and heiress of Walter Hunter, esq., of Polmood, in the county of Peebles, and Crailing, in the county of Roxburgh, by the Lady Caroline Mackenzie, fourth daughter of George, earl of Cromarty, by whom he had ten children. His eldest son, the Hon. James Forbes, was an officer in the Coldstream guards in the Peninsula and at Waterloo, but predeceased his father in 1835. Forbes was from 1825 until 1830 high commissioner of the church of Scotland. He died 4 May 1843 at Bregenz, on the Lake of Constance, in his seventy-ninth year, and was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, Walter, eighteenth lord [qv.]. Forbes was a baronet of Nova Scotia, and a knight of St. Januarius of Sicily.
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland
Colburn's United Service Mag. 1843, pt. ii. 319
Account of Royal Military Chapel, Wellington Barracks, 1882
private communications from family.
Contributor: R. H-r. [Richard Hooper]