Orders, Decorations and Medals (19 & 20 March 2008)

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Albuhera (Hugh Parbut, Serjt., 39th Foot) edge bruise and light contact marks, otherwise very fine £1000-1200


Hugh Parbut (or “Parbett”), a shoe-maker from Malpas, Cheshire, enlisted in the 39th Foot in May 1806, aged 20 years, and must have had previous service in the Militia, for he was appointed a Corporal with immediate effect; so, too, to Sergeant, just a few months later, in which rank he remained for the duration of his 25 years with the Colours:

‘Served for four years in the Peninsula. Severely wounded in the thigh at the battle of Albuhera and was present at the battles of Busaco, Badajos, Roi De Nevline, Campo Mayor, Albuhera, Lusantes. Three years with the Army of Occupation in France and the remainder with the Regiment and Depot at Home’ (WO 97/557 refers).

The 2/39th formed part of Abercrombie’s Brigade at the battle of Albuhera and lost 98 men killed and wounded. Abercrombie’s and Hoghton’s Brigades had been sent to meet a massive French assault directed on the Spanish who were occupying the southern flank of the British position. A concentrated firefight ensued and enormous casualties were suffered by both sides. An attack by Myers’s Fusilier Brigade eventually broke the deadlock and the French were driven from the field, by which time half the British infantry were casualties.

Discharged in January 1832, Parbut returned to Malpas in Cheshire, the 1851 census revealing that he was resident at 53 Church Street, with his wife, Ellen, and a ‘Chelsea Pensioner’. He died in the Chester area in January 1861.