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David Buttery’s


‘Wellington Against Junot’


By Janet Smith


‘And ever since that martial synod met, Britannia sickens, Cintra! At thy name; And folks in office at the mention fret,


And fain would blush, if blush they could, for shame. How will posterity the deed proclaim! Will not our own and fellow-nations sneer,


To view these champions cheated of their fame, But foes in fight o’erthrown, yet victors here, Where Scorn her finger points through many a coming year?’


Lord Byron


Local historian David Buttery has his third book on military history due out in the spring. Titled ‘Wellington Against Junot’ it deals with the first


Peninsula Campaign in which the British are battling Napoleon Bonaparte over his plot to block Portuguese (and all other European) ports to British trade, thus wrecking our economy. As in David’s previous books - Wellington Against Massena, in which Napoleon’s Marshal Massena nearly gives Wellington the boot; and Messenger of Death, in which Captain Louis Nolan, the unfortunate, short-lived and long-blamed messenger, carries the order for the Charge of the Light Brigade – the book revolves around its colourful, bold, eccentric, undoubtedly brave – and often deeply flawed characters.


David said that the two men in the book’s title were real opposites.


‘Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) was a sober individual, he was no saint and had mistresses but he was discreet and conducted himself as an archetypal aristocrat. He was concerned with appearances and upholding family honour. Later he became the father figure of Victorian England and Prime Minister. Jean Andoche Junot on the other hand was wild and impetuous: although he had learned at the foot of the master (Napoleon) who was a deep thinker and strategist, Junot was too much of a fun lover and a slave to his own passions. He was a gambler, a drinker, a womaniser and a brawler; always ready for a fight, whether in a battle context or not.’


Re-enactor in uniform of French infantryman


70 country images


‘Debatably he would never have made it to such an exalted rank if he hadn’t been such a close friend of Napoleon, who he knew from the old


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