Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £19,000

Estimate: £18,000 - £22,000

The Peninsula Gold Cross awarded to Lieutenant-General Sir James Bathurst, K.C.B., 60th Foot, Wellington’s Military Secretary in the Peninsula 1809-10

Army Gold Cross 1806-14,
for Roleia & Vimiera, Corunna, Talavera, Busaco (Colonel James Bathurst) good very fine £18000-22000


James Bathurst was born in 1783, the second son of the Right Rev. Henry Bathurst, D.D., Lord Bishop of Norwich, by Grace, daughter of the Very Rev. Charles Coote, Dean of Kilfenora, and sister to Charles Henry Lord Castlecoote and to General Sir Eyre Coote, K.B. He entered the army in May 1794 as an Ensign in the 70th Foot and joined his regiment at Gibraltar in 1798. He afterwards served in the West Indies as Aide-de-Camp to Sir Thomas Trigge, and was present at the capture of the colony of Surinam, returning to England in 1800. During the whole of the campaign of 1801, as a Captain in the 54th Foot, Bathurst served in Egypt, and was present in the action at the landing, as well as in the various actions to the east and west of Alexandria, as also at the siege of Marabout.

Bathurst was subsequently placed on half pay, and after attending the Military College was appointed Assistant Quarter-master-general in 1802. In 1803 he was placed on full pay in the Royals and on 1 October of that year he was appointed to a Majority in the 60th Foot. In 1804 he went to Hanover on the staff of Lord Cathcart, and in October 1805 was appointed to the staff of the King’s German Legion, as Military Commissary, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1807 he served with the Russian army, and was present at the actions fought for the relief of Dantzic, as well as those of Lomitten, Deppen, Gutstadt, Heilsberg, and Friedland. Subsequently he served on the staff of Lord Cathcart at Rugen and at the sieges of Stralsund and Copenhagen.

He was next employed in the secret expedition under Lieutenant-General Sir Brent Spencer to the coast of Spain in 1808. Spencer had a force of 5,000 men and instructions to co-operate with Moore against the Russian fleet in the Tagus; to take the French fleet at Cadiz; to assault Ceuta; and to make an attempt upon the Spanish fleet at Port Mahon. After various delays and setbacks, and the outbreak of the Spanish insurrection, Spencer’s force joined up with Wellesley’s army in August 1808.

Bathurst served with the army in Portugal and Spain in 1808-10 as Assistant Quarter-master-general, and as Aide-de-Camp and Military Secretary to the Commander of the forces. He was present in the battles of Roleia, Vimiera, Corunna, Talavera, and Busaco, for which he received a Gold Cross. He was also present at the crossing of the Douro. On Christmas Day 1810 Sir Arthur Wellesley appointed Lord Fitzroy Somerset to succeed Bathurst as his Military Secretary. Bathurst had been obliged to retire from this envied position as ‘he had been driven by his master’s temperament to a nervous breakdown’.

Bathurst received the brevet of Colonel in 1813, the rank of Major-General in 1819, and that of Lieutenant-General in 1837. He was made a Companion of the Bath in 1815, and a Knight Commander in 1833, in which year he was appointed Governor of Berwick. He married, 16 January 1815, Lady Caroline Stuart, eldest daughter of Andrew Thomas first Earl of Castle-Stuart. Lieutenant-General Sir James Bathurst died at Kibworth Rectory, Leicestershire, on 13 April 1850, in his 68th year.