MILITARY GENERAL SERVICE 1793, 3 CLASPS ROLEIA, VIMIERA, TALAVERA ‘JOHN LAMB, SERJT 29TH FOOT’
John Lamb was born circa 1788 to the 29th Foot, his father being a Regimental Sergeant Major and his mother’s family all of the 29th. Lamb’s father died on active services in the West Indies in 1795, the year the 7-year-old John enlisted to serve in the Regiment. 27 years later he would state he was the only surviving member (male), of a family of military men, both Officers and NCO’s, all of whom died on active service, including 4 brothers.
Serving in Ireland from 1798, the 29th took part in the Helder campaign, August to October 1799, before returning to England. Stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 1802 and 1807, Lamb being promoted Corporal on 25 May 1806 and Sergeant the following day (still only 18 years old). On 7 August 1808, they landed at Mondego Bay, Portugal with an army under the command of the Duke of Wellington and were present at the battle of Rolica on 17 August. During the battle, the 29th, under Colonel Lake, attacked prematurely up its assigned gully and soon found itself surrounded on three sides by French troops. Despite the devastating fire, the right wing of the regiment made it to the top of the ridge, when it was charged from the rear. The Regiment was forced to retreat, leaving Colonel Lake dead on the field and suffering 190 casualties, significantly more than any other regiment and near 40% of the 500 casualties suffered by the British that day. The young Sergeant Lamb, who was present with no 9 Company, was himself wounded three times during the storming of the ridge…….
……….John Lamb died aged 67 on 13 August 1853 and was buried with full military honours in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, 5 days later. His widely published obituary:
“MILITARY KNIGHTS OF WINDSOR. A vacancy has occurred in the ancient and honourable body by the demise of Ensign John lamb, of the 2nd Veteran Battalion, who died much respected at his residence in Windsor Castle on Friday. We believe he was in every campaign with her Majesty’s 29th, or Worcestershire Regiment of Foot during the whole of war from 1793 to 1816 and was present at the battle of Rolia where he received three wounds, Vimiera and Talavera, for which he had the war medal with three clasps. The deceased veteran was the only surviving member of a numerous family, whose united military services extended over a period of upwards of a century – his father, grandfather, uncle and two brothers, all having perished in the service of their country.”
Condition VF, minor contact wear, attractive patina. Sold with a quantity of digital research (mailed to buyer), including Commission letters, applications to become Poor Knight of Windsor circa 1822 and regimental history.
A really quite outstanding medal.