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

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Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,500

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400

Military General Service 1793-1814, 4 clasps, Martinique, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz (William Connors, 23rd Foot) edge bruising and minor contact marks, otherwise very fine £1200-1400


William Connors, a labourer from Ballykelly in Co. Derry, enlisted in the 23rd Foot in 1806 and participated in the Copenhagen operations of the following year, in addition to those in Martinique in 1809.

Next actively employed in the Peninsula, where he arrived with his comrades in the 1st Battalion in December 1810, as part of the Fourth Division, he went into action at Albuhera in May 1811, when the Fusilier Brigade was sent in to try and break the terrible deadlock between the French and the remnants of the 2nd Division, which latter corps was gradually being blown to pieces. The Fusiliers were ultimately successful in swinging the balance, but at a very great cost, the 23rd alone losing two officers and 74 men killed, and 12 officers and 254 men wounded, from an initial strength of 41 officers and 692 men.

At Ciudad Rodrigo the 23rd were but little engaged, but at Badajoz, on the night of 6 April 1812, the Battalion was given the task of storming the breaches as part of the main assault force. However, as British preparations for this momentous assault were underway in March, the French launched a surprise attack on the 19th, in the course of which Connors was severely wounded.

Sent to the Army Depot in July, he was admitted to a disability pension in January 1813, when he was awarded 9d. a day, as a result of having ‘Lost his right arm and [been] wounded through the left shoulder at Badajos’ (WO 120/24 and 121/27 refer). Connors died in November 1854, when resident in the Londonderry area.