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Military General Service – Corunna, 1st Foot Guards, served from 1793, also present Walcheren.


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Military General Service – Corunna, 1st Foot Guards, served from 1793, also present Walcheren.

Military General Service 1793-1814,  clasp, Corunna , J. Whitmore, Serjt 1st Foot Gds.

John Whitmore was born in Warrington in Lancashire, 1771, and served in the 1st Foot Guards from the 3rd June 1793 to his discharge on the 9th September 1814 with the rank of Sergeant, aged 44

His papers note that he suffered from diseased Viscera acquired at Walcheren

He died on the 3rd October 1857 and is buried at Norwood.

Lincelles 1793

Under the command of General Lake they marched to Lincelles to retake the fortified village which was on a hill. The Prince of Orange’s force had been driven from there but were not around to help re-take it. Lake had only 1100 men against 5000 Frenchmen but they attacked uphill under fire from artillery and muskets taking the village with great bravery, earning themselves a battle honour.

The Helder 1799

This was a combined British and Russian expedition which failed in it’s objective to oust the French from Holland. The country was under the control of the Batavian Republic (1795-1806) which was a puppet of Revolutionary France. The Allies had decided that French occupied Europe should be attacked on two fronts. Austria and Russia were to drive the French from Italy while Britain and Russia would invade Holland. The British force was led by the Duke of York but it was split into two parts. The first was under the command of Lt-General Sir Ralph Abercrombie was made up of two Guards Brigades, one of which was composed of the Grenadier Companies of all the Guards regiments plus the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Guards.

The fleet appeared off Texel on 20th August 1799. The intention was to land the troops on 22nd August but bad weather prevented any landing until dawn on 27th by which time the element of surprise had been lost. The Dutch must have been pleased to see the fleet because they only put up a token resistance before withdrawing. The crews of the Dutch ships refused to fight at all and the Admiral struck his flag and surrendered 6 line-of-battle ships and 6 frigates. Despite all this the expedition ended in failure because of lack of back-up from the Russians.

Corunna 1808

During the Corunna campaign, both First and Second battalions of the 1st Foot Guards served together in Major-General Henry Warde’s Brigade, part of Lieutenant-General Sir David Baird’s 1st Division. They totalled 1027 men at the start of the march. At the Battle of Corunna, on 16 January 1809, the Guards were initially in reserve before being personally committed to the hand-to-hand fight for the village of Elvina by the army commander, General Sir John Moore – it was just after this moment that Moore received his mortal wound. The Guards suffered 13 men killed and 40 wounded at the Battle of Corunna.

Walcheren 1809

The 1st Guards only had a few months to recover from their exertions in Spain. By late summer they were packed off on the ill-fated expedition to the Dutch island of Walcheren with the objective of capturing Antwerp. The attack failed and the whole army was struck down with a terrible fever. The expedition was abandoned and they returned home.

Condition – GVF, Slight remains of previous lacquer.