THE VERY THING BY JONATHAN CROOK
Jonathan Crook is a recent retired British army officer who for the past decade has researched the life and military experiences of an ancestor, Drummer Richard Bentinck of the 23rd of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers)
Jonathan found unpublished and remarkable first-hand accounts from Drummer Bentinck of desperate conflict across the globe, from Copenhagen to Martinique, throughout the bloody Peninsular Campaign and culminating at the battle of Waterloo.
These first-hand accounts are drawn from a series of interviews that Bentinck conducted with a local journalist just before his death and a dictated recollection of his life.
The research has unearthed some fascinating material: from the photograph of Drummer Bentinck in his final years, his engraved ’serpent’ musical instrument in a museum to his gravestone and its incorrect markings.
Remarkably, Bentinck was discharged from the army in 1823 for perceived ill health, but lived robustly, ultimately dying in 1878 as an incredibly old man.
The title of the book is taken from the engagement of Aldea de Ponte: Wellington identified a tactical vulnerability and called for infantry to conduct an immediate manoeuvre.
On being informed that the 23rd of Foot was best disposed, he smiled and said, ‘Ah, the very thing,’ demonstrative of his hard-earned confidence.
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