Michael Childers is one of the heros of the 11th's regimental history. Much of the regiment's exploits in the Peninsula are known because of the letters he wrote to his half-brother Col J Walbanbe Childers a former CO of the 11th. Michael earned the praise of the Duke of Wellington both in the Peninsula and at Waterloo. He also fought at the battle of Bhurtpore. He had joined the 11th as a Cornet by means of raising a certain number of men for the regiment instead of the usual cash purchase. |
El Bodon 1811
In his letters, Childers wrote that there was much sickness in Wellington's army, 19,000 including 800 officers. The army was near the town of Ciudad Rodrigo on 25th September 1811. Childers' squadron along with another squadron of the 11th led by Captain Ridout and a squadron of German Hussars were placed on the heights to the left of El Bodon. French cavalry charged across the plain from Ciudad Rodrigo and up the hill under fire from the 5th and 77th Foot and Portugese artillery. As they approached the heights, the 11th and the German hussars charged down at them repeatedly. Childers describes how his own squadron charged 8 times within the space of an hour. By the time the last charge was made they were down to only 20 men and had trouble pulling out of the melee. They fled at the gallop for almost a mile, saved by musket fire from the 5th and 77th. The battle of El Bodon was a landmark in the history of the regiment. The strength of the 11th was very much reduced by sickness before the battle started, two thirds of the officers were unable to take part. Ten men were killed and 21 wounded, including Lt-Col Cumming, the CO. The courageous conduct of Michael Childers and TQMS Hall were singled out for particular praise.
Childers was a Major at Waterloo and in an incident at Hougoumont, he brought up his squadron behind a Belgian regiment to stop them deserting. This was observed by Wellington himself who expressed his gratitude. The regiment was commanded by Lt-Col A Money who had fought in Egypt in 1801. They broke a French infantry square after an exhausting day's fighting. the casualties for the 11th were, killed;10 privates, one sergeant, one officer and 17 horses. Wounded;30 rank and file, 4 sergeants, 2 trumpeters, 4 officers and 38 horses. Childers was promoted to Lt-Col.
Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Childers was in command of a cavalry brigade at Bhurtpore. The regiment itself was commanded by Major Bellingham-Smith and remained in India for nearly 20 years from 1819-1838.