Doyle, Sir Charles William (1770–1842), general, was born at Bramblestown, Co. Kilkenny, eldest son of William Doyle, KC and master in chancery, and his second wife, Cecilia Doyle (née Salvini). He entered the army as an ensign (28 April 1783), originally serving in the 14th Foot, commanded by his uncle Gen. Welbore Ellis Doyle. In February 1793 the regiment was sent on campaign to the Netherlands as part of the brigade of Gen. Abercromby (qv), who publicly thanked Doyle for his part in the attack at Valenciennes. He served as a brigade major and ADC to Abercromby again in the West Indies (1796–9), where he distinguished himself in an action against a French privateer. In 1799 he was transferred to the Mediterranean and was present at the battles in Egypt (March 1801), where he was severely wounded. He was promoted to major (July 1803); periods as commander of volunteers in Scotland and assistant quartermaster-general in Guernsey followed. Two years later he was made a lieutenant-colonel and appointed to command the 87th Foot (later the Royal Irish Fusiliers), a regiment raised and commanded by another uncle, Gen. Sir John Doyle (qv).
It was in the Peninsular war, however, that Doyle made his reputation. One of several British officers sent to aid the Spanish, he was wounded at Col de Balaguer (1811) and later honoured by the Spanish for his tenacious defence of Tortosa. By 1811 he had been made a lieutenant-general of the Spanish army, at the request of the juntas of Catalonia, Valencia, and Aragon, and had also raised a brigade of light infantry which became known as ‘Doyle's Triadores’. Ordered home in 1811, he was approached before departing by Sir Henry Wellesley, envoy to the Spanish junta, and asked to organise a new army of the south. Subsequently appointed as inspector-general of instruction, he founded a depot for recruit training at Isla de Leon. He was promoted to the rank of full colonel (June 1813) and appointed ADC to the prince regent. Although honoured by the Spanish and praised by the British government, he was criticised by Sir Arthur Wellesley (qv) for being partisan in his dealings with the Spanish, supporting the duque del Infantado, and thus causing political rifts amongst the various groups of patriots. At the end of the war (1814) he was knighted, made CB, and awarded the Spanish order of Charles III. Promoted to the rank of major-general (1819), he subsequently served as commander of the south-western district of Ireland (1825–30). In 1837 he was made a lieutenant-general and two years later a GCH. He died 25 October 1842 in Paris.
Doyle married first (1803) Sophia Coghill; they had three sons including Lt-gen. Sir Charles Hastings Doyle. In 1838 he married the widow of William Stair; they had no children. There are letters from Doyle to Lord Castlereagh (qv) in the War Office papers (1st series), PRO, London.