Napoleonic, Regency and Victorian soldiers of Ryedale.

Compiled by Paul Brunyee Adv Dip Ed, MA.

Captain John Gurwood, 10th Hussars.

According to the entry in Charles Dalton's, 'The Waterloo Roll Call':

'As a subaltern in 52nd Regt., commanded the forlorn hope, at the lesser breach, a the assault on Cuidad Rodrigo, and received a severe wound in his head. On this occasion he took the Governo this occasion he took the Governor Gen. Barrie prisoner, whose sword was presented to Gurwood by Wellington. Came of poor but honest parents in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Was a frequent visitor at Langton Hall, near Malton, the seat of his friend Col. (aftwds. Maj. Gen.) Norcliffe, K.H., who persuaded Gurwood to sit to Morton the painter, for his portrait, which is still at Langton. Editor of the Wellington Dispatches. C.B. and Col. Dep. Lt. of the Tower D. at Brighton, 25 Dec., 1843. Bd. In the Tower Chapel.'

Notes about John Gurwood

A photocopy of a letter from Col. Arthur Shakespear to Capt Siborne, in the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London ADD MSS 34706 20-63, 20/08/94:

Ogwell house
Newton Abbott
March 8th 1836

Captain Gurwood my right squadron officer was shot in the knee at this time, so I believe was Major Wood - our horses were wounded more than the men - tho' they suffered too . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[This was after they moved to the right of the cross roads. He numbers several comments evidently in reply to Siborne's questions - earlier, on page 1 he says; No.2 In what I described in the paper before sent, of the regiment of Brunswickers (I supposed them to be such from their dark uniforms) being about to pass between two of the squadrons to the rear ...]

Lt. Gunning, according to the account of my poor servant, formerly my batman, who died this year, was killed later in charging the square - I understand the Adjutant, he saw him fall in the advance and particularly described his instant death, he was shot through the heart.

after the letter, a passage entitled, 'The Sketch' * ;

. . . my Squadron, the centre of the 10th . . . our right squadron came in upon the lancers and sent them off . . .

[This is happening after Wellington gives the signal for the general advance. * Presumably Siborne sent everyone a map asking them to pinpoint their position at 7:30 pm.]

In the Wellington Museum in London, which is still the London home of the Dukes of Wellington is a portrait of Gurwood in the ceremonial uniform of a Lieutenant of the Tower. He looks extremely unwell. There appears to be great strain in his face. Sometime after the painting was completed Gurwood did commit suicide.

Gurwood is best remembered as Wellington's secretary. It was Gurwood who edited Wellington's memoirs. Modern historians have begun to speculate about the first Duke's control of Gurwood. To what extent did Wellington have documents destroy documents rather than have them reveal unflattering evidence of poor performance by his subordinates?

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