viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Peninsular War 200 Events: John Scrope Colquitt

 El siguiente informe aparece en la página de eventos de la web de Peninsular 200:

Inauguration of the Memorial to John Scrope Colquitt in Alcalá de Guadaíra (Sevilla) on Saturday May 5th 2012
Lance Corporal George Vickers, a Grenadier  drummer, playing The Last Post and The Rouse at the Memorial to John Scrope Colquitt in Alcalá de Guadaíra (Seville) on Saturday 5th May 2012.

On Saturday May 5th 2012, Alcalá de Guadaíra paid tribute to Lieutenant Colonel John Scrope Colquitt of the First Regiment of Foot Guards at the very spot where he was buried 200 years ago. Lt. Col. Colquitt had fought with his battalion at Barrosa  in 1811 and was stationed in Cadiz during the siege of the city by the French. On 27th August 1812 he took part in the liberation of Seville where he bravely led his troops across the Triana Bridge. His company was sent to Alcalá de Guadaíra to restore the bread supply to the city, but Lt Col Colquitt was unable to join them as he was ill with fever. He died on 4th of September 1812 at the age of 37 and his grief stricken troops decided to carry his remains to the town of Alcalá. The local people refused permission to bury him at the town’s cemetery as he was an Anglican “heathen” and so they buried his body by a wayside cross, which to this very day is known as “La Cruz del Inglés” (The English Cross.)     
An emotional ceremony was held in the local Town Hall. Francisco Lopez spoke of all the research that has been carried out by The English Cross Association and how they were able to piece together a story that had been lost in time and to contact John Scrope Colquitt’s descendants. Samantha Westmacott spoke on behalf of the Colquitt-Craven family. She said that John Scrope Colquitt 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. She also praised how the rediscovery of his story had brought together a big family group which had lost touch with each other.

Top: The Colquitt-Craven family together with members of the English Cross Association and the Mayor  in the Town Hall in Alcalá de Guadaíra
Bottom : Samantha Westmacott and Andrew Martin pay tribute to Lt. Col. John Scrope Colquitt

Top : Captain Charles Elwell of the Grenadier Guards presents the Mayor with a silver statuette of a Grenadier Guard.
Bottom: Francisco Lopez, Vice-President of the Association of the English Cross addresses those present in the Town Hall      
Andrew Martin, a member of the Association, read a letter from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool who said that it is a matter of pride that a son of the city should have made his mark in the service to his country and that his name should still be honoured far from home. Stephen Thompson (Colquitt-Craven family) then read Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier”. Captain Charles Elwell spoke in representation of the Grenadier Guards and recalled all those who had died in conflicts, especially those Grenadier Guards who have been killed in Afghanistan. He presented the Mayor with a silver statuette of a Grenadier Guard to thank the Town for having honoured Lt Col. John Scrope Colquitt.The Mayor of Alcalá de Guadaíra, D. Antonio Gutierrez Limones, then spoke both in English and Spanish and thanked all those involved in the project for having recovered part of the history of the town.
All those present then proceeded to the Cruz del Inglés where the monument was unveiled by the Mayor and Sam Westmacott, representing the Colquitt-Craven family. Wreaths were then laid by the family and the English Cross Association. Owen Wynn of the Welsh Guards (member of the Colquitt-Craven family) recited the Ode of Remembrance and the Grenadier drummer Lance Corporal George Vickers then played the Last Post followed by a minute of silence. He then sounded The Rouse, saluted the monument and marched away.
The monument is located near the centre of Alcalá de Guadaíra at the roundabout known as La Cruz del Inglés on the road from Mairena del Alcor to Utrera and Dos Hermanas. There is an exhibition about John Scrope Colquitt, The English Cross and Spain in 1812 in the local museum from May 7th until September 23rd where John Scrope Colquitt’s original bilingual tombstone, which was commissioned by his dear friend John Downie, can be viewed.

Bottom: Samantha Westmacott and Owen Wynn laying a wreath on behalf of the Colquitt-Craven family.
Top: A minute’s silence in memory of Lt. Col. John Scrope Colquitt

Captain Charles Elwell has kindly sent the speech he made at the ceremony on May 5th 2012:
I am here to represent Her Majesty´s First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards, the regiment of Colquitt and the regiment I also serve, when required, but from which I retired many years ago. I am here to express our appreciation of the manner in which you are commemorating Col Colquitt and of the honour you do him and to us, his regiment. We give our heartfelt thanks to all those who have made this occasion possible;
Firstly to His Excellency the Mayor, their excellencies of the town hall and, above all to the people  of Alcalá de Guadaira. The effort and cost you have expended to enable this occasion to take place is an example of the sort of solidarity and generosity shown during the best moments of the time when our two nations fought together during the War of Independence. The very difficult economic conditions we are living through at present make this effort all the more laudable.
Second, I must thank you members of The Association of the English Cross. It was your curiosity backed by dogged detective work which set the whole thing alight. In particular I must thank Andrew Martin who has been such a solid supporter of this event.
Third, thanks and congratulations to the Colquitt clan. Under the leadership of Sam Westmacott you have demonstrated a determination and tenacity worthy of your ancestor and without which this would not have come to pass.
Please will you allow me a few words to talk about the origins and history of our regiment. We were first formed around the person of the man who was to become Charles the Second who was then in exile in Bruges. At that time, as you will be aware, Bruges was under the dominion of the Spanish crown. The first engagement we were involved in was the Battle of the Dunes when we fought alongside Spanish troops against an English force in what was the last battle of the English Civil War. And so we were born on Spanish soil and fought our first fight with Spanish allies against an English army, and yet when Charles was restored to the throne he decreed that we should be the senior regiment of his guards, ranking above all other infantry regiments in the English army´s order of battle.
Some one hundred and fifty years and many battles later we were again in the Iberian peninsular. The regiment fought from Cadiz to the Pyrenees, passing via Seville where Col. Colquitt fell.  It was not long afterwards, on the field of Waterloo that the regiment was involved in the most celebrated action of its long history. After hours of bloody conflict Napoleon, in a last desperate throw of the dice, launched his Imperial Guard at the English line. These superb veterans had been undefeated in dozens of battles throughout Europe and amongst them were the Imperial Grenadiers, the elite of the elite. This force had taken no part in the battle until that moment when they crashed into the depleted and exhausted ranks of His Majesty´s First Regiment of Foot Guards. But the Foot Guards held them.  First they held them and, then after the most tremendous conflict they flung them back and charged them. The most feared troops in Europe, the invincible Imperial Guard had been put to flight. Dismay and disbelief swept through the rest of the French army on seeing this and they turned tail, threw down their weapons and ran from the field. It was to honour and remember this historic moment that by Royal Decree the regiment was renamed The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards, the only regiment in the British army whose name was won on the field of battle.
I suppose that in the minds of many people the Grenadiers are mostly associated with ceremonial duties taking place within the relatively harmless arena of Buckingham Palace. And seeing the magnificent figure of L/Cpl Vickers, who we are so lucky to have present, it is easy to understand why. However, it should be remembered that it is first and foremost an elite fighting force, trained to the very highest standards. Two centuries after Col Colquitt died near here fighting to free Spain the regiment he served continues to shed its blood on foreign soil. The regiment is now in the Helmand province of Afghanistan and just eight days ago Guardsman Roland was killed in action. When we observe silence to remember Col. Colquitt I would ask that you also remember Roland and his family and his comrades. And I ask that we give thanks that there still exist men and women who possess the virtues of courage and honour which shone in Colquitt and who are prepared to pay the ultimate price in defence of those we love and that which we hold dear.
I have with me a present for the people of Alcalá de Guadaira, it is from the Lt. Col. And all ranks of the regiment. It has a plaque inscribed thus
“To the City of Alcalá de Guadaíra from The Regimental Lieutenant Colonel and All Ranks, Grenadier Guards on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Monument in the Cruz del Inglés in memory of Lieutenant Colonel John Scrope Colquitt, hero of the Peninsula War in 1812” .It is a token of gratitude for the honour you have done us and a reminder of the friendship which exists between us.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario

Deja tu comentario