Soldier, cricketer and king’s friend

John Wallington's grave
John Wallington's grave

This year is the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and here is the story of another veteran of the battle who settled in Leamington.

Leamington historian David Eason has researched the life of Lieutenant John (James) Clement Wallington, of the 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own) Hussars, 6th British Cavalry.

John was born in July 1792, in Ealing, Middlesex.

At Waterloo he was a Lieutenant in No 6 Troop in the 10th Hussars (452 men). During the battle the 6th British Cavalry Brigade was posted on the Duke of Wellington’s left flank. In the late afternoon the 6th Brigade along with the 4th Brigade were moved to support the centre, as Napoleon threw in his massed infantry in a last ditch attempt with his Old Guard in the vanguard.

Once the Imperial Guard had been repulsed, the 6th Brigade made the last charge of the day between Hougomont and La Haye Sainte “sweeping everything before them”.

During a charge against French cavalry John had his charger shot under him by a cannonball, which passed through his mount and went on to kill a fellow officer comrade behind him. The very same cannonball is held in exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. At Waterloo, the 10th Hussars suffered 13 per cent casualties.

After Waterloo, the regiment returned to their base in Brighton. In January 1820 King George III died and the regiment was on duty on July 16 1821 at the Coronation of King George IV, with whom John would become a personal friend later.

January 1827 saw the 10th Hussars in Portugal, until March 1928 when they returned to Brighton. In the 1840s they served in India where, after commanding the regiment in 1846, John retired from the Army. John had been promoted to Major in 1833, and Lieutenant-Colonel in 1846.

From 1817 to 1828, John played first-class cricket for both the MCC and Hampshire four times.

John had two children by his first wife Anne, but in 1869 he married his second wife Fanny Rose Bailey in Leamington. By 1868 John had moved to No 5 Beauchamp Walk (Avenue) Leamington, where on August 25 1872 he died, aged 82. His funeral at All Saints church was conducted by curate L Hamilton Davies.

In 2004 John’s Waterloo Medal was sold by auction for £3,600. His wife Fanny Rose died at No 12 Beauchamp Avenue in May 1890, aged 58, and is buried at Leamington Cemetery with John.