Thursday, June 26, 2008
IMPORTANT REGIMENTAL SILVER FROM THE PENNINSULAR WARS CA 1812
Important regimental silver from the 52nd Foot, presented to the widow of Captain William Jones who fell at Badajoz 6th April 1812 and acquired from the Family of Capt Wm Rintoul, his close friend.
Captain William Jones, 52nd Foot, was a hero, he served in the Peninsula with the 52nd Foot, and was present at Busaco,Ciudad Rodrigo Badajoz. His heroic deeds were much written about in the 19th century in numerous books.
He is credited with saving the life of Lord Wellington !
an exerpt from
A BOOK OF GOLDEN DEEDS, by Charlotte Yonge 1864
"on the taking of Ciudad Rodrigo, in 1812, by the
British army under Wellington, Captain William Jones, of the 52nd
Regiment, having captured a French officer, employed his prisoner in
pointing out quarters for his men. The Frenchman could not speak
English, and Captain Jones--a fiery Welshman, whom it was the fashion in
the regiment to term 'Jack Jones'--knew no French; but dumb show
supplied the want of language, and some of the company were lodged in a
large store pointed out by the Frenchman, who then led the way to a
church, near which Lord Wellington and his staff were standing. But no
sooner had the guide stepped into the building than he started back,
crying, 'Sacre bleu!' and ran out in the utmost alarm. The Welsh
captain, however, went on, and perceived that the church had been used
as a powder-magazine by the French; barrels were standing round, samples
of their contents lay loosely scattered on the pavement, and in the
midst was a fire, probably lighted by some Portuguese soldiers.
Forthwith Captain Jones and the sergeant entered the church, took up the
burning embers brand by brand, bore them safe over the scattered powder,
and out of the church, and thus averted what might have been the most
terrific disaster that could have befallen our army. [Footnote: The
story has been told with some variation, as to whether it was the embers
or a barrel of powder that he and the sergeant removed. In the Record
of the 52d it is said to have been the latter; but the tradition the
author has received from officers of the regiment distinctly stated that
it was the burning brands, and that the scene was a reserve magazine--
not, as in the brief mention in Sir William Napier's History, the great
magazine of the town"
an extract from
"DEEDS THAT WON THE EMPIRE" HISTORIC BATTLE SCENES BY W. H. FITCHETT
"One of the dramatic episodes of the fight at this juncture is that of Captain Jones, known in his regiment as "Jack Jones" of the 52nd. Jones was a fiery Welshman, and led his company in the rush on General Simon's column. The French were desperately trying to deploy, a chef-de-bataillon giving the necessary orders with great vehemence. Jones ran ahead of his charging men, outstripping them by speed of foot, challenged the French officer with a warlike gesture to single combat, and slew him with one fierce thrust before his own troops, and the 52nd, as they came on at the run, saw the duel and its result, were lifted by it to a mood of victory, and raised a sudden shout of exultation, which broke the French as by a blast of musketry fire."
GEORGE GAWLER also wrote of Jones
"I was the Ensign of the Storming Party of the 52nd, of which Jones was the Captain, and Brook and McNair the Lieutenants. We formed for the assault at the little bridge over the left bank of the Rivellas, a mile or so from the breaches. I was ordered to take charge of the six ladders at the extreme head of the stormers. We moved on rather rapidly, and saw no other parties on the way. The town clock loudly and heartily tolled ten just after the breaching batteries had suddenly ceased. A sharp fire of musketry was sounding far away to the right, but besides this all was still.
I planted the leading ladder, and went down it; the other ladders followewd very quickly. The last ladder was not steady when the enemy's fire opened. The light was most brilliant. I saw distinctly all the ditch to the Bastion of Santa Maria on the left, and along a good part of tlie counterscarp of the proper left face of the ravelin. I scrambled immediately to the top of the ravelin to look for the way to the centre breach, having had no orders to attack any in particular ; and on the top of the parapet of the proper left face was struck by a musket ball on the bone of the right knee, and rolled over the left face of the ravelin into three or four feet of water. Just as I fell, the discharge of a field piece from the flank of Santa Maria passed close to me, pointed, very probably, at the head of tlie 4th Division stormers, who might at this moment have been making their first attempt to descend the counterscarp opposite La Trinidad."
"While the forlorn hope waited to assault Badajoz in 1812, Maj O'Hare of the 95th Regiment confided to Capt Jones of the 52nd that he felt depressed. ‘Tut, tut man!’ replied Jones. ‘I have the same sort of feeling, but keep it down with a drop of the cratur’, and passed his calabash"
He also has a chapter devoted to him in "Recollections of an Old 52nd Man" by Captain John Dobbs.
The silver consists of a pair of salts with 52nd crests, with spoons, salts 1811 by Story & Elliot, the salt spoons1805 by Eley, Fearns &Chawner.
The mustard pot with original blue glass liner,1809, by TW Mathews the mustard spoon1809 by Eley, Fearns &Chawner .
The engraved teaspoon 1804 s by Hennel reads "Captain Wm Rintoul 52nd Foot the gift of Captain Jones The night before the seige of Badajoz where he fell, 6th April 1812"
Rintouls' mess spoon Dublin 1827 W Cummins
4 rat tail spoons Dublin 1789 by John Power