domingo, 6 de mayo de 2012
British Forces News/ Noticias de las Fuerzas Armadas británicas
A Grenadier Guards officer who died 200 years ago in the Peninsular War has been honoured in the Spanish town where he was laid to rest.
Lieutenant Colonel John Scrope Colquitt of the First Foot Guards died of fever after fighting Napoleon's troops during the Peninsular War in Seville in September 1812.
Members of his family joined local dignitaries and representatives of the Grenadier Guards as he received a monument in the nearby town of Alcala de Guadaira, where he was buried by his men.
Psychologist and author Sam Westmacott (nee Colquitt-Craven) only discovered she was Lt Col Colquitt's cousin five times removed when a local history group investigating his story contacted her.
Speaking after travelling from Watchet in Somerset for the ceremony, she said: "I had the feeling that John Scrope Colquitt was stretching out at us over 200 years of history.
"He is a symbol of what is really good about the British military, the idea that men serve their country in order to protect what is good against what is evil.
"The rediscovery of his story has brought together a big family group which had lost touch with each other."
Other relatives of Lt Col Colquitt came from Shropshire, Buckinghamshire and Ronda in Spain for the unveiling of the monument, which is situated where his grave was originally situated.
As the 10,000 euro (£8,175) memorial was inaugurated, Lance Corporal George Vickers of the Grenadier Guards played the Last Post on the bugle wearing full regimental uniform.
He said: "It went spectacularly and there was a lot of expectation because in a place like Alcala de Guadaira people have never seen something like this before.
"There seemed to be mixed emotions, at first there was confusion about what was going on, but also a lot of respect."
The inauguration comes as Spain commemorates the bicentenary 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.
During the day, rain fell over the town in southern Spain, but the sun came out just as the monument was unveiled.
Andrew Martin, an English teacher who lives in Alcala de Guadaira, has been one of the driving forces behind the creation of the memorial.
The 50-year-old, originally from Blackpool, said: "We had some real British weather on the day but when it was time to inaugurate the monument the rain stopped.
"This is the culmination of a big project and to be honest it is a relief that it is all over, we got what we wanted which was the monument."
Retired Grenadier Guards captain Charles Elwell represented the regiment at the ceremony.
During a speech, he paid homage to Lt Col Colquitt and Guardsman Michael Roland from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, who was killed in Afghanistan on April 27.
The Grenadier Guards was formed in 1665 and is the most senior regiment of the infantry in the British Army.
PICTURE - 1st Foot Guards on drill (re-enactment group)