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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Col "Rollo" Gillespie

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Col "Rollo" Gillespie

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 14th, 2013, 11:32 am

I'm attaching this rather scant wiki page about the amazing life of Colonel Gillespie, once I think called the bravest officer in the army, who served at Vellore in 1806. Java 1811 and died at the head of his men fighting the Ghurka's in Nepal 1814. Wikipedia doesn't do him justice. I know there was a biography written about him which is on google books but do any members know about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollo_Gillespie


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Re: Col "Rollo" Gillespie

Postby Student of 1812 » August 15th, 2013, 11:31 am

Gen Gillespie seems to have achieved immortality with his last words "One shot more for the honour of Down" that encouraged the citizens of Comber, County Down to erect a memorial.

Makes me think important people should be careful with last words to ensure they get a memorial in the right place - perhaps prepare them in advance, thinking carefully of the target site if one wants a nice spot for a statue? I don't know Bognor. Is George V commemorated there - perhaps he was keen not to be?

Also, very important to ensure someone with good hearing and reputation for accurate reportage be on hand when one utters them - viz Hardy who couldn't work out if Nelson was saying Kismet (fate) or kiss me quick.

Being clear about one's last words avoids any retro manipulation. Gen Sir Isaac Brock is commemorated near where he fell in 1812. Most histories have Brock’s dying words as “Push on York Volunteers” and this is captured in the present day Brock University’s “Push on” motto. A pensioner of the Light Company of the 49th claimed Brock’s words were, more esoterically: “Push on, don’t mind me.” As Brock's coatee has a bullet wound indicating a heart shot he probably said nothing but this wastes a good marketing opportunity.

So, if preparing your last words try and avoid being too general - 'for the honour of France' or 'I die for my country' is a bit like leaving your money to the government to spend as they like i.e. on themselves. Think of a nice spot for a statue and for goodness sake be specific, possibly including the post code or Grid Reference, in your last breath!
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Re: Col "Rollo" Gillespie

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 15th, 2013, 2:28 pm

Interesting thoughts there student.

I think we can allow some accuracy for Gillespie though. As he apparently called this out as he was leading the charge, just before he was shot, IE he didn't know they were to be his last words, so perhaps we can allow him his "One more shot" legacy, though it is painfully ironic.

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