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Military General Service Medal 1793-1814 4 Clasps – Talavera, Albuhera, Vittoria and Pyrenees to John McDonald of the 66th Foot W.I.A.       SOLD

Condition – Good E.F.

John McDonald was born in Anna, County Cavan, Ireland. His occupation was as a labourer until he enlisted in the 66th Foot (2nd Battalion Berkshire Regiment). John McDonald experienced a great deal of action in the Peninsular War and sustained a wound in action, which ultimately resulted in his retirement.

The Regiment arrived in the Peninsula with 772 men and took part in the Passage of the Douro River on 12th May, 1809, where the 66th Foot sustained the highest casualties of the crossing – 9 killed and 29 wounded.

Pte. McDonald’s next engagement was at the major Battle of Talavera on 27th July 1809. The 66th Foot was part of Major-General Christopher Tilson’s Brigade of the 2nd Division and defended the Madellin Ridge. Casualties sustained by the 66th Foot were quite heavy amounting to 16 killed and 99 wounded.

Following this the 66th Foot took part in the hard fought Battle of Albuhera on 16th May 1811. In this battle the Regiment served in Sir John Colborne’s Brigade. During the battle, this brigade suffered perhaps the worst catastrophe of the entire war. When still fighting in line, a tremendous storm broke and under cover of the torrential rain and smoke of battle a brigade of French cavalry, mainly Polish lancers, attacked and virtually wiped the Regiment out. The 66th Foot lost its colours and 272 men were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner out of 414 effectives. One of the wounded was John McDonald, who suffered a lance thrust to his left hand.

Following this, John McDonald was to recover in time for the Battle of Vittoria, but by this time the 66th Foot was so weakened that it was amalgamated with the 31st Foot and became the 1st Provisional Battalion. The 66th Foot’s losses at Vittoria amounted to 2 killed and 23 wounded.

Pte. McDonald’s final action was in the Pyrenees at the Battle of Sorauren on 28th July 1813 (Regimental losses not recorded).

John McDonald was invalided out of the 66th Foot aged 25 years, after a total service of 6 years 9 months. The reason given was the wound to his left hand sustained at Albuhera on 16th May 1811. He was to receive a pension of 6d per day and died on 26th Janaury 1874.

The medal is sold with a copy of Pte. McDonald’s pension details. There were two John McDonalds in the 66th Foot, but the other soldier of this name was entitled to a 6 Clasp medal. Both men are to be found in Mullen’s – Military General Service Roll 1793-1814 (P406).

This is a particularly desirable medal to a soldier who was wounded in a well documented incident during one of the major battles of the Peninsular War.

Additional information

Weight 0.05 kg


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