General James Wolfe was born in Westerham, Kent, on 2nd January 1727, the son of Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe and Henrietta Thompson. His boyhood years were spent in Westerham and then Greenwich. He entered the army at the age of 14, and served with distinction throughout the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-47) and the Scottish campaign of 1746 against the pretender to the British throne, Charles Edward Stuart. In 1757 the British secretary of state, William Pitt (the Elder), made Wolfe second in command under Major General Jeffrey Amherst, British commander in chief in North America. Wolfe's competence in the siege and capture (1758) of the French fortress of Louisbourg, N.S., earned him promotion to major general and the command of a military and naval expedition against Québec.
In June 1759, he sailed up the Saint Lawrence River with some 9000 troops and encamped above the city. Baffled by the inactivity of the French defenders, he launched a frontal attack on their entrenched positions on July 31. The attack was unsuccessful, and Wolfe's aides counselled a landing on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. On the night of September 12, Wolfe moved about 5000 of his men downstream to a landing point about about 1.5 miles south-west of Québec. Scaling a steep cliff to the Plains of Abraham above Québec, the British troops forced the French into an open battle early on September 13 and decisively defeated them. This success ended France's ambitions in North America.
Wolfe was, however, wounded and died on 13th September 1759. His body was taken back to Great Britain, where it was interred at the church of St Alfege, Greenwich, on 20 November 1759