A light Infantryman with Wellington: The letters of George Barlow

A light Infantryman with Wellington: The letters of George Barlow

Gareth Glover (editor)
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Letters from serving Light Division members in the Napoleonic wars turn one’s thoughts to Rifleman Harris and Private Wheeler, two well known books. Gareth Clover has edited the letters of Captain George Barlow to produce a fine addition to this period of history.

George Barlow saw service with the 52nd Light Infantry (later The Oxford Light Infantry) and the 69th (South Lincolnshire later Welch Regt). Active campaigning included the battles of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Nivelle, Quatre Bras and Waterloo. The final section relates to service in India but I have left out the details so as not to spoil the book.

As with most memoir collections there are more of the homeward bound letters preserved rather than the outward bound set but plenty of references to these letters in replies help one along.

The writer displays a delightful mix of observation, political background, military matters and the everyday life of a young officer. Barlow was career minded and well connected, he might have gone far.

What distinguishes this work from so many other sets of correspondence is the meticulous footnotes, a good index and a really useful note on other members of the family p303-4. The editor has trawled the India files at the British Library and he has written widely in the world of memoirs.

Helion and Company have produced a good quality paperback of 302 pages priced at £19.95 but there are copies on Amazon from £9.51. There are a number of matt illustrations with the text, a few simple maps of the battles would assist the reader. The book will interest not only military readers but social historians of the period.

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