Peninsula War Medals from the Collection of the late A.L.T. Mullen

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Date of Auction: 29th June 2006

Sold for £3,700

Estimate: £2,000 - £2,500

Military General Service 1793-1814, 6 clasps, Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes D’Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Orthes (Dennis Larazy, 88th Foot) some edge bruising, very fine £2000-2500

Footnote

Ex Murray Collection and Jourdain Collection.

Variously named on the Muster Rolls as ‘Laraccy’, ‘Lariccy’ and ‘Laricey’ and possibly in Grattan as ‘Larracy’. Clasps confirmed but the recipient also made disallowed claims for Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees and Nivelle. It is possible that these failed claims were covered by periods of sickness or recovery from wounds. Discharged at St. John’s, Canada on 24 June 1815. Sold with copied research.

William Grattan wrote a book of reminiscences covering the period 1808-14 - Adventures of the Connaught Rangers. One of the anecdotes he tells refers to a ‘Larracy’ of the 88th Foot who may equate to the ‘Larazy’ who was awarded the medal.

‘An Irish soldier, belonging to the 88th Regiment, of the name Larracy, a shoemaker, who had been working for the Portuguese, ... came up to the officer and thus accosted him.

“Ah! your honour, I see you can’t talk to him, but lave him to me; I’ve been working in his shop these three weeks, and saving your presence, there isn’t a bigger rascal in all Ireland: but I can spake as well as himself now, and I’m up to his ways,”

Larracy thus became interpreter and mediator, .... Possessing no knowledge whatever of the language, notwithstanding his repeated assurances that he talk it “nately”, he brought that most happy talent for invention, for which the Irish most undeniably stand unrivalled, into play. Seizing one of the boots, he approached his employer, and suiting the words to the action, addressed him in the following words:

“Si senhor! Quanto the munnee, for the solee, the leelee, and the nailee?”

The astonishment portrayed on the countenance of the Portuguese baffles all description; he surveyed Larracy from head to foot, and with much gravity of manner replied, “Eu nao entend-o que vos me dizeis” (I do not understand a word you are saying to me).

“What does the fellow say?” demanded my friend -- “What does he say, is it?” He says he put a fine pair of welts to your boots, sir, and that your honour will have to give him a dollar (about two shillings more than was demanded by the Portuguese!) but just only lave him to me, and give me the dollar, and if I don’t bate him down in the price, never believe a word that I’ll tell your honour again ....”

“Oh! never mind, you are an honest fellow, Larracy, and keep the change for your trouble; but you may tell your employer it is the last job he shall ever do for me.”

“Och! sure I told your honour he was a blackguard” grinned Larracy, escorting his officer to the door, and putting the dollar in his pocket.