Colonel Thomas Hawker


Thomas Hawker was commissioned into the 11th Light Dragoons in 1795 and served in Holland in 1799. He was appointed ADC to Lord Cathcart, Commander of the army in Ireland in 1803 and held that appointment until November 1804 when he was promoted to major and transferred to the 20th Light Dragoons. He served with the 20th in the Mediterranean from 1805 to 1815. He was commanding the regiment when they invaded Ischia and Procida in 1909, and when they were campaigning on the east coast of Spain in 1813 and 1814. He was with the troops that went to the Gulf of Genoa in April 1814. In June 1814 he was given the brevet of colonel and put in charge of the light cavalry brigade which included the 20th LD, the Brunswick Hussars and the Foreign (Sicilian) Hussars. This brigade was part of a force, together with Austrian troops, prepared by General McFurlance in 1815 to go up against Murat, King of Naples. But the expedition was abandoned and the 20th returned to England with Colonel Hawker, although by this time the regiment was commanded by George Wyndham.

The miniature of the youthful Colonel Hawker is by an anonymous artist, and featured in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research vol LXIII no. 254 of Summer 1985. It was also published in the Osprey book, Wellington's Light Cavalry (1982). The uniform he wears was adopted around 1812 or 1813 to replace the braided dolman. The jacket is blue with orange collar and plastron front, although R G Harris in the JSAHR says that the colour is actually a shade of red. The epaulettes are gold with twisted gold wire fringes and the pouch-belt has gold lace with edges and a central stripe of the facing colour. The boss, chins, pickers and plate are silver. Also in silver are the rank badges on the gold epaulette. The wearing of rank badges was authorised for the British army in Feb 1810. The rank of Colonel was indicated by a crown and star which seem to be what Hawker has on his epaulette.


Regimental Details | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe