QUESTION Did any British soldiers survive both the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Waterloo?
A famous example of this was Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith (1787-1860), better known as Harry Smith. It is impossible to do his life justice here or even run through all the battles he was involved in, but the following should give a flavor.
Smith was born in Whittlesey, Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire. He was appointed to the elite 95th Rifles in 1805. His first active service was in South America in 1806. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Montevideo in 1807, but only really rose to prominence during the Peninsular War.
Small, stout, elegant and highly intelligent, he was fluent in Spanish and became indispensable to Lieutenant-General John Moore, from October 1808 to January 1809, in the campaign which ended in the evacuation of the British army at Corunna.
In July 1809 he joined the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) and served throughout the Peninsular War until his final battle at Toulouse, in April 1814, which provoked the abdication of Napoleon. Smith distinguished himself at the capture of Badajoz (April 6, 1812), where the British succeeded in breaking into the heavily fortified town after a fierce battle.
Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith (1787-1860), better known as Harry Smith, is one of the most famous examples of a British soldier who fought in both the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Waterloo
In May 1814, Smith was appointed assistant adjutant general of the force sent to continue the war against the US in the War of 1812 (which ended in 1814). On August 24th he fought in the battle of Bladensburg where, in his own words, ‘…we licked the Yankees and took all their guns and entered Washington for the barbarous purpose of destroying the city’.. He was therefore present at the infamous burning of The White House, which he was shocked by.
Smith accompanied Sir Edward Pakenham’s force, sent to seize New Orleans. It was a disaster. On January 8, 1815, Pakenham was killed and the attack was repulsed with heavy losses by an American army under General Andrew Jackson. Smith was sent to negotiate a two-day truce, to bury the dead and help the wounded. He was back in England in time to take part as General Lambert’s Brigade Major at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
Despite all this, Harry Smith is perhaps more famous for his love story. The day after the storming of Badajoz, a noble Spanish lady, whose property had been destroyed, offered herself at the British lines for protection from the ravages of the soldiers for herself and her sister, the 14-year-old Juana Maria de Los Dolores. to search de Leon.
Smith was smitten and married Juana days later. She accompanied him throughout the war and they had a lifelong love affair. In 1847 Smith became governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner, with the local rank of lieutenant general. His Spanish wife is remembered to this day in the name of Ladysmith.
James O’Henry, London N11.
A palm oil plantation in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Patches of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make way for monoculture oil palm plantations. This has destroyed critical habitats for many endangered species, including Sumatran tigers
QUESTION What is the most environmentally destructive crop?
Palm oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the fruit grown on the African oil palm tree, which can be found in most processed foods, as well as many cosmetics.
Patches of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make way for monoculture oil palm plantations. It has destroyed critical habitats for many endangered species – including pygmy elephants and Sumatran rhinos and tigers. Oil palm plantations cover more than 27 million hectares of the earth’s surface.
Much of the rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia has been replaced by oil palm. Its most famous victim is the orangutan, whose population has declined by about 50 percent (more than 100,000 animals) in the wild over the past decade.
The drainage required for oil palm cultivation causes peat oxidation, and the release of carbon dioxide, and makes the land more susceptible to fires and floods.
There has been a move to replace these oils with substitutes, such as soybean oil. But soy yields less oil per hectare than palm oil and requires more fertilizers, pesticides and energy inputs per hectare. Much of its production takes place in Latin America. Soy cultivation has already affected bird populations in Brazil and Argentina.
Penelope Noble, Manchester.
Pierce Brosnan starred as Robinson Crusoe in the 1997 adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s famous book. Defoe’s involvement in espionage was directly linked to the Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland
QUESTION Was Daniel Defoe — author of Robinson Crusoe — a spy?
Daniel Defoe was born Daniel Foe in 1660 at a time of many upheavals across Europe. His first known work of fiction, Robinson Crusoe, was not published until 1719, when he was 59. He was involved in trade and statecraft across the continent. He began a business career and added the prefix ‘de’ to his surname to give it a more aristocratic sound.
Defoe was brought up a Presbyterian and held dissenting views. He was involved in the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 which unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the new Catholic King James II. With the start of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, he threw his weight behind the cause of the Protestant King William III.
Defoe’s involvement in espionage was directly linked to the Act of Union of 1707 between England and Scotland. Robert Harley, Secretary of State for the Northern Department, was tasked with piloting through the union with Scotland under Queen Anne. He used Defoe as a pamphleteer and spy.
Defoe traveled to Scotland under the guise of writing The History Of The Union Of Great Britain. His mission was to monitor public and private sentiments regarding the proposed Union. Publicly, Defoe became involved in promoting the Union through ghostwritten speeches, essays and pamphlets, despite prosecution and the shares for a satirical suggestion that non-conformists should be killed.
Defoe died in 1731, probably while hiding from his creditors.
Mark Courtney, Pateley Bridge, North Yorks.