Military Memoirs of Four Brothers

By The Survivor, Thomas Fernyhough.
Introduction by Philip Haythornthwaite


This is one of those wonderful memoirs that is crammed with terrific detail about the life of British soldiers and gives you the bonus of describing some rarely mentioned aspects of the Napoleonic Wars.

It centres on the service of four military brothers - Thomas, John, Henry and Robert Fernyhough, two of whom fought in the Marines, one in the 95th Rifles and Thomas, the survivor and author, in the 60th Rifles.

Military Memoirs of Four Brothers follows the careers of the officers via letters to each other, friends and their parents and takes the reader on some interesting escapades.

Henry, a Marine 2nd lieutenant, died in 1803 as a result of an accident.

John was also a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines and saw action in various actions from the West Indies to the Mediterranean. He lived through Trafalgar only to die while trying to save captured Spanish crewmen from drowning.

Robert began in the Marines and gives a vivid description of the British capture of the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch, an account of the disastrous South American campaign - and a harrowing tale of captivity, the Walcheren expedition and service as a volunteer officer with the 95th in the Peninsula.

Thomas, who served in the 60th until illness forced him on to half-pay, became a noted historian and researcher and held the office of Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor.

On first look, Military Memoirs of Four Brothers appears dry, however, within its pages is not only a wealth of information, but also some extremely interesting anecdotes such as discussing the paintings in the Louvre with an Austrian field marshal, a brother officer dying of rabies and the accidental killing of another.

An excellent addition to a serious Napoleonic buff's home library.

- Richard Moore



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