HL Deb 05 March 1846 vol 84 cc623-5

said, that he wished to call the attention of the noble Earl at the head of the Board of Control, to a mistake which he made the other night when moving the thanks of the House to the army in India. He was sure that the mistake was unintentional, and that the noble Earl had no intention whatever of detracting from the merits of any of the officers who were engaged in those battles. In describing the conduct of the 80th Regiment, his noble Friend said that Colonel Wood, the aide-de-camp of the Governor General, had led that regiment to the storming of a certain fortified post. He (the Duke of Richmond) did not wish to cast the slightest reflection on Colonel Wood, who had been twelve years in the army, and who was the junior Major of the regiment, and who did accompany the 80th in that advance: he believed that he was an officer of great gallantry and promise. But his noble Friend omitted, through mistake, the name of the officer who was really the commanding officer of the corps. If an aide-de-camp galloped in front of a regiment, he was not leading the regiment; it was the officer who was responsible, who did in fact command the regiment, that led it. That commanding officer was Colonel Bunbury, who had been in the army thirty years on full pay, and six years on half-pay. He served in the Peninsula, where he landed in 1808, and remained until the end of the war. He found that he was present at the capture of Oporto, the battle of Talavera, the defence of Tariffa, the battles of the Nive, Nivelles (where he was wounded), and Toulouse. He was also wounded at the recent battle of Moodkee. What he (the Duke of Richmond) wished to remark was, that officers were very sensitive, and naturally too, on these points; and, therefore, he would only ask his noble Friend whether he was correct in stating that Colonel Wood, not Colonel Bunbury, led the regiment? There could be no doubt that Colonel Wood accompanied the regiment. Still, the gallant officer whom he had alluded to, and he himself knew that no better officer ever served in the army, led the regiment on the occasion in question. He, therefore, was sure that his noble Friend would be glad to have the opportunity of stating, as he was sure he would do so, that he believed Colonel Bunbury to be a very good officer, and that he did lead his own regiment.


His noble Friend, he was sure, acquitted him of having purposely omitted to notice Col. Bunbury's services. He had seen Col. Wood's name in the Gazette as having led the regiment, and he had, therefore, given him the credit of having led the regiment, not being at the time aware that he was junior to Colonel Bunbury. If he could have followed his own inclination, he would have mentioned, with becoming praise, the names of all the officers who distinguished themselves in those battles. Since he last addressed the House, he had had an opportunity of referring to some additional papers; and he must say, that the effect of their contents on his mind was to convince him that no officer had rendered better service, or better deserved the eulogium even of one so insignificant as he (the Earl of Ripon) must necessarily be on a subject purely professional. He was obliged to his noble Friend for having given him an opportunity of repairing an accidental error, and he begged to express his firm belief in all that could be said in Colonel Bunbury's praise.

House adjourned.

Back to