lunes, 30 de abril de 2012

Memorial honour at last for Duke of Wellington's hero... two centuries after his death

El siguiente artículo apareció en el periódico "This is Somerset" de Inglaterra:

Monday, April 30, 2012
A Grenadier Guards officer who died fighting for the Duke of Wellington two centuries ago is to receive a 10,000 euro (£8,175) memorial in the Spanish town where he was laid to rest.
Lieutenant Colonel John Scrope Colquitt of the First Foot Guards died of fever in either Seville or nearby Utrera, Spain, on September 4, 1812, after fighting Napoleon’s troops in temperatures of 40 degrees during the Peninsular War.
On May 5, a memorial will be unveiled in the neighbouring town of Alcala de Guadaira at the site where Lieutenant Colonel Colquitt was buried, as a member of the Grenadier Guards in full regimental uniform sounds the Last Post on the bugle.

The monument will be situated in a part of town known as La Cruz del Ingles (the Englishman’s Cross) after the cross which once stood over Lieutenant Colonel Colquitt’s grave.
Its inauguration comes as Spain commemorates the bi-centenary of events in the Peninsular War, which pitted the allied nations of Britain, Spain and Portugal against Napoleonic France and lasted from 1808 to 1814. Relatives of the soldier will travel from Britain to join local historians, dignitaries and representatives of the Grenadier Guards.
Among them will be psychologist and author Sam Westmacott, who only discovered she was Lieutenant Colonel Colquitt’s cousin five times removed when a local history group investigating his story contacted her.
Mrs Westmacott (nee Colquitt-Craven), who is from Watchet, Somerset, said: “It is fantastic the Spanish people are honouring this relative of mine that I did not even know about.
"It has really brought the families that are related to John Scrope Colquitt together – I have met cousins I did not know existed and the funny thing is that we are pretty much alike. About half a dozen of us will be going over to Spain and even my ex-husband, who was a Grenadier Guard himself, has lobbed in £100 to help pay for the visit.
“We are all going to go to this wonderful ceremony and then go and drink several bottles of champagne to John Scrope Colquitt’s memory. This memorial will remind people of the tremendous history of the Grenadier Guards.”
The story of how Lieutenant Colonel Colquitt’s remains came to rest in Alcala de Guadaira and the origins of the name “the Englishman’s Cross” have only recently emerged from the mists of time.
Born in 1775 in Liverpool, he was the son of the city’s bailiff and studied at Rugby public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, before joining the elite Foot Guards regiment as an ensign. There is still a Colquitt Street in Liverpool town centre which bears witness to the power the family once had there.
During the Iberian campaign, Lieutenant Colonel Colquitt fought the French in the liberation of Cadiz and then led his men into battle in Seville on April 27, 1812.
Upon his demise a few days later, members of his battalion carried their 37-year-old leader’s remains to Alcala de Guadaira, where they were stationed. They asked the locals for a Christian service and burial, but the Spanish would not allow his body to be laid to rest in the town’s cemetery because he was an Anglican “heathen”.

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