MILITARY GENERAL SERVICE 1793, CLASPS, FUENTES D'ONOR, SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, TOULOUSE ‘JAMES CALVARLEY, 52ND FOOT’
James Calvarley joined the 1/52nd Foot on 5 April 1809 and transferred to the 2nd battalion on 25 May that year. Musters show him ‘on foreign service’ from June 1809 and is present on the musters until noted as ‘Sick Castenia’ in the May 1811 muster, which would have been after the battle of Fuentes D'Onor. He remained ‘sick absent’ and still sick (with other so noted), joined the 1st battalion from the on 25 February 1812, the muster for that quarter noting that he was ‘absent sick’, remaining sick until the July muster when he took part in the battle of Salamanca. The August 1812 muster shows Calvarley as ‘absent sick’ and this time he did not rejoin from sick until April 1813. He was ‘absent sick’ again in June 1813, which was the month the battle of Vittoria was fought but is shown present the following month. Calvarley remained on duty with the regiment until again noted ‘absent sick’ in June 1815. He was discharged in June 1816, the GH roll noting him being discharged having received a wound in the right thigh by a musket ball at the Battle of Waterloo. He had served in the 52nd for seven and a half years, with two extra for Waterloo.
The 52nd Foot musters are unclear whether a man was wounded or actually ill when a soldier is noted as ‘absent sick’. We know for sure Calvarley was wounded at Waterloo, the musters just noting the usual ‘absent sick’. Whether any of the other ‘absent sick’s were due to wounds is not clear. However Calvarley was noted as sick after the battles of Fuentes D'Onor, Salamanca and Vittoria, with the first two periods being for many months, which does suggest he was likely wounded. Service record has yet to be located and this may provide confirmation.
The 52nd Light Infantry, a regiment which saw much hard service during the Peninsular War, was in reserve at Salamanca but was positioned in the centre of the Allied line at Vittoria. Brigaded with the Light Division, they assaulted and captured the bridges of Villodas and Tres Puentes; after the battle the battalion were sent in pursuit of the retreating French, frequently skirmishing with the opposing rearguard. At Toulouse, Lieutenant Whichcote of the 52nd was the first officer into the city.
Note; James Calvarley, also noted variously as ‘Calvally’ or similar on musters and 'Calverley' on GH roll, is transcribed incorrectly as 'Colvarley' on the published medal roll, original roll spelt Calvarley (copy with research). Confirmed to entitlement with these four clasps.
Condition VF. Couple of small EK’s and carriage a slightly bent at first clasp but not damaged. Glendining's November 1962. Sold with Copy medal and GH rolls and muster pages for the period 1809-16. A fine medal to a soldier of this famed Peninsular Regiment.