Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (23 September 2011)

Date of Auction: 23rd September 2011

Sold for £3,000

Estimate: £3,000 - £3,500

The Peninsula War medal awarded to Major G. T. Brice, 3rd Dragoon Guards, who was severely wounded at Talavera, taken prisoner by the French and confined to Verdun

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Talavera (G. T. Brice, Capt. 3rd Dragn. Gds.) in original named card box of issue, dark toned, extremely fine £3000-3500

Footnote

George Tito Brice was born circa 1782 and entered the army by purchasing a cornetcy in the 3rd Dragoon Guards on 17 October 1799. He was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1801; reduced to half-pay but reappointed as Lieutenant in September 1802, and promoted to Captain in December 1803.

The 3rd Dragoon Guards landed at Lisbon on 26th/27th April 1809 as part of Fane’s cavalry brigade. On 4 May they marched north to join Wellington’s army and took part at the battle of Talavera on 27th/28th July. On the 28th the 3rd Dragoon Guards and 4th Light Dragoons, having moved into the plain to the left, advanced to charge a column of the enemy’s infantry, but the attack was countermanded, and the two regiments, after supporting the charge of Major-General Anson’s brigade, were ordered to resume their former position. It was during these movements that Captain Brice was severely wounded by a cannon ball.

Brice was one of the unfortunate casualties left behind at Talavera after Wellington withdrew to Portugal and consequently became a prisoner of war of the French until April 1814. He arrived at the notorious fortress of Verdun on 13 May 1810. During his period of captivity, spent largely on parole in the town at his own expense having given his word not to attempt escape, he received the brevet of Major in May 1813. His pension for wounds received at Talavera, £100 per annum, was dated from 25 December 1811.

A curious obituary announcement of his death appeared somewhat prematurely in The Gentleman’s Magazine for January 1814 (Volume 84, Part 1) which stated:

‘At Great Cranford, where he had lately arrived from France, Capt. Brice, 3rd drag. guards, son of the Rev. George Tito B. vicar of that parish. He was severely wounded at the battle of Talavera, and had been a prisoner four years at Verdun. Bounaparte signed his passport, with those of four other wounded officers, at Dresden, the beginning of September.’

Brice, very much alive, was confirmed in the rank of Major in January 1818 and eventually settled down in Fordingbridge, becoming the local magistrate and a Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire. He died at his home, Packham House, on 29 March 1862, aged 80.