Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (11 & 12 December 2013)

Date of Auction: 11th & 12th December 2013

Sold for £18,000

Estimate: £8,000 - £10,000

Pair: Captain Peter Bowlby, 4th Foot, who served with the regiment in the Walcheren Expedition, in the Peninsula, in North America, and at Waterloo, was wounded at Bladensburg and at New Orleans, and by family tradition ‘was the first officer who entered the town at the storming of Badajoz’

Military General Service 1793-1814, 5 clasps, Badajoz, Salamanca, St. Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive (Peter Bowlby, Capt. 4th Foot.); Waterloo 1815 (Lieut. Peter Bowlby, 1st Batt. 4th Reg. Foot.) fitted with original steel clip and contemporary silver bar suspension, light contact marks, otherwise toned, nearly extremely fine (2) £8000-10000


Provenance: Sotheby, July 1998.

Peter Bowlby was born in 1792, second son of the Rev. Thomas Bowlby of Durham. He was appointed an Ensign in the 4th Foot on 7 June 1808, and promoted to Lieutenant in 31 May 1809, accompanying the regiment on the Walcheren expedition shortly afterwards. He served in the Peninsula with the 1st Battalion, April to June 1812, and with the 2nd Battalion, July 1812 to January 1813, before returning to the 1st Battalion, September 1813 to April 1814. He was present at the siege and storming of Badajoz, the battle of Salamanca, the retreat from Burgos, action at Villa Muriel, siege of St Sebastian, crossing of the Bidassoa, Nivelle, Nive and Bayonne. According to family tradition Bowlby ‘was the first officer who entered the town at the storming of Badajoz’ (The privately printed Family of Haslewood, Staffordshire and Warwickshire Branches, compiled by the Rev. Francis Haslewood, refers).

Bowlby embarked with the regiment at Pauillac and left France in the early part of June 1814, bound for North America, where they arrived in mid-August. He was wounded at the battle of Bladensburg on 24 August 1814, and also at New Orleans on 8 January 1815. The regiment afterwards took part in the siege of Fort Bower in February, before being ordered to return to England
where they arrived on 16 May. He accompanied the regiment to Flanders and was present at the battle of Waterloo. Bowlby was placed on half-pay on 25 March 1823, and received promotion to Captain on 23 October 1824. He married Elizabeth Haslewood on 4 March 1819, but she died on 19 February 1827, and is buried in Durham Cathedral yard. Captain Peter Bowlby died on 8 November 1877, and is buried in New Cemetery, Cheltenham, where a monumental inscription records the engagements in which he served.

A typescript transcript of his memoir survives in the archive of the National Army Museum (NAM 2002-02-729). The memoir includes accounts of his service during the Walcheren expedition, the Peninsula War, the American war of 1812, 1814-15, Waterloo and the West Indies. It also includes incidental details such as the dressing of soldiers’ hair, life on board troop transports, officers’ messing arrangements, and matters of health.