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

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £700 - £900

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Toulouse (J. Bosworth, Serjeant, 48th Foot) very fine £700-900


John Bosworth was born, about 1786, in the parish of Desborough, Northamptonshire, and enlisted in the 48th Foot in August 1807, aged 21.

Advanced to Corporal in July 1813 and to Sergeant in April 1814, he had joined the 1st Battalion from the 2nd in June 1811, and appears to have served with that unit throughout its campaigning in the Peninsula (WO 12/5967 and 68 refer). These regimental musters taken in July, August and September 1814 are marked, ‘sick absent in France’, and in October and November, ‘left Peninsula’, while that in December 1814 is endorsed, ‘York Depot’. But, for whatever reason, he claimed for Toulouse only (WO 100 confirms), and was on the battlefield with his regiment on Easter Sunday, 10 April 1814, the last engagement of the Peninsular War.

On that occasion, the 48th were in Anson’s Brigade in the 4th Division, which, although not as heavily engaged as their immediate colleagues the 6th Division, suffered regimental losses of 5 men killed and 4 officers and 39 men wounded. During the battle both divisions under Marshal Beresford had the main part in clearing the Calvinet Ridge to the east of the city. Eventually Beresford was successful and when the fighting died down, the French had no choice but to prepare to abandon Toulouse. The war officially ended on 17 April when Soult signed an armistice.

However, fortune did not smile on Sergeant Bosworth that day, for he was so badly wounded in the left arm by a gunshot that it was necessary for him to have the limb amputated. He was accordingly discharged in March 1815, ‘in consequence of an amputated left arm, from a gunshot wound at the battle of Toulouse, 10th April 1814’ (WO 97/622 refers), and was granted a pension of one shilling a day. Bosworth, who returned to Desborough, died in January 1848.