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Did the 11 Light Dragoons Run Away?

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Did the 11 Light Dragoons Run Away?

Postby 84thfoot » December 5th, 2017, 7:07 pm

An interesting article from the Leeds Intelligencer 3rd August 1801 -

Private William Cowdell a private in the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, quartered at Wakefield was indicted for the murder of John Roper in Wakefield on 19th July 1801 – The two men were drinking on Saturday evening at the Malt Shovel, in Northgate, Wakefield till nine o’clock, or between nine and ten, in the back parlour of the said house; that there was a back way out, by which they entered; but found it, on their wishing to go out the same way, fastened. There was no other way but through the kitchen, where the prisoner, and comrade of his were drinking. On their opening the door the prisoner was singing a song; he did not exactly remember the words, but it ended something about “God save the King” that the deceased with the door in his hand, said in the conclusion of the verse “but they say you ran away”; and immediately went into the street. The prisoner followed, and immediately struck him on the head, which made him stagger: he then struck him on the throat, when the deceased fell lifeless into the arms of the witness,
Squire Hanson – Deposed that he went to the Malt Shovel, to look for his brother; that not finding him, he stopped some time with R. Downing and the deceased; and on passing through the room on their way out, the prisoner was singing, in the middle of the verse, which concluded with “success to the Regiment and God save the King” upon which Roper said “But they say you ran away” the prisoner then followed the deceased into the street and struck him; (this witness said three times); the last blow on the throat killed him. – On his cross examination he said he could not have sworn to the prisoner on the following Sunday morning, but on seeing him that night he perfectly recognised him.
Lieut. Col. Thomas of the Eleventh Light Dragoons, was next called, who gave the prisoner a most excellent character for humanity, sobriety and soldier like conduct. Being asked by Mr Raines, counsel for the prisoner, if there could be a greater provocation offered to a soldier, then reflecting on the courage of the Regiment to which he belonged or himself individually; he said, certainly not: That the Regiment had been publicly thanked for their services in Holland, by his Royal Highness the Duke of York.
Major Anderson, gave the prisoner the same character; as did Captains Brown and Mills.
Mr Raines, in the course of their examination, begged his Lordship’s permission for Captain Brown’s reciting a particular act of bravery and gallantry performed by the Eleventh Light Dragoons, which though it had nothing to do with the case before him, yet went to prove the injustice of attaching cowardice to the Regiment.
Captain Brown, then related the affair as follows, he deposed, that he had the honour to serve in a detachment of seventy men commanded by Major Cumming; that they met with a body of three hundred of the enemy, that they had a severe engagement, drove the French back, with a loss on their own side of thirty-five killed and wounded.
There were several officers in court ready to give the prisoner a good character.
The Judge in his charge to the jury, said that the prisoner undoubtedly received the greatest provocation a soldier could receive; but that no provocation could justify one man assaulting another. That if they believed the witnesses, whom he said appeared to him to give very correct evidence, they must find him guilty – They therefore accordingly found a verdict – Guilty, Manslaughter


Nice to see that he was supported by his Officers, keen to protect the reputation of the Regiment; I am not certain as to what action this refers but Major Cumming's was in charge of a squadron under the Duke of York in October 1799

Anybody a better idea?
84thfoot
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Re: Did the 11 Light Dragoons Run Away?

Postby 84thfoot » December 5th, 2017, 7:33 pm

William Cowdell was not discharged but recommended for Chelsea Pension 1st February 1802 at York Barracks from asthma after his horse had plunged into a canal while on active service in Holland making him unfit for further service.

He was 29 from Claybruff, Nottingham and had served 9 years with the Regiment
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