Nostalgia: Waterloo hero settled here

George and Anne's gravestone in Lillington.
George and Anne's gravestone in Lillington.

A British Army officer and hero of the Battle of Waterloo, who later hunted down smugglers in Ireland, settled in Leamington after his retirement. He died in the town and is buried in St Mary Magdalene Churchyard, Lillington.

Lillington historian David Eason has researched his story.

Major George Nugent was born in Ireland in 1794. He enlisted into the 16th Dragoons in 1813 as a cornet and joined the regiment in Spain, seeing action during the latter part of the Peninsula Campaign (1809-1814).

After Napoleon’s escape from Elba in March 1815 and his return to Paris, the regiment embarked for Belgium in April. During the Battle of Waterloo on June 18 1815 George and the 16th made four charges. With the Imperial Guard defeated, the French fled the field. The most critical of the four charges was in support of the ‘Heavies’ when both the ‘Union’ & ‘Household’ (2nd & 1st Brigades) charged D’Erlon’s Infantry and had gone too far. With blown horses they were counter-attacked by French and Polish Lancers and but for the intervention of the Light Dragoons the ‘Heavies’ would have been lost.

George survived and returned to England. In 1821 George, now a lieutenant, avoided a posting to India by exchanging regiments with Lt John Crossley of the 7th Dragoon Guards.

His new regiment was posted to Ireland in May 1823, where they were kept busy at Enniskillen over the summer raiding illicit stills and hunting down smugglers and dealers in contraband.

In 1824 George was promoted to captain through purchase, and in 1833 to major, also by purchase. In early 1839 the 7th were warned of a future posting to India, and again George was not keen so he exchanged, this time to the 2nd Dragoons (Queen’s Bays).

The following year, 1840, George married Anne Murray (nee Brown) the widow of R Murray of Jamaica at St James’s Church in Marylebone, London. In 1857 The Queen’s Bays were informed of their future posting to India and George decided to retire from the Army.

George is believed to have moved to Leamington around 1865 and took up residence at Clonfina Lodge (27 Kenilworth Road) where in January 1876 Anne died aged 83 and was buried at St Mary Magdalene Churchyard.

George died at Clonfina Lodge on February 10 1878, aged 84, and was buried with Anne.