13th Light Dragoons

Death of Samuel King

In November 1811 an exchange of prisoners took place outside Badajoz. A French officer who was being held by the 13th Light Dragoons was to be exchanged for an English officer held captive in the fortress. The French prisoner was escorted by Lieutenant Samuel King and a trumpeter. On the morning of the 21st November, the parties met up as arranged, half way between Campo Mayor and Badajoz. The English officer was released but King wanted to have a better look at Badajoz, so the French officer, who by this time was on friendly terms with King, agreed to go with him. On the way, they saw a group of mounted and armed Spanish peasants on a nearby hill. The French officer warned King that these guerillas would not respect the flag of truce being carried by the trumpeter and that it would be a good idea to make a run for it, which he proceeded to do. King assumed that the Spanish were friendly to the British troops and approached them, gesturing towards the white flag. But one of the Spaniards pointed his carbine at King's chest and shot him dead. The trumpeter escaped under a hail of bullets, managing to join the French party who soon reached their outpost. A troop of cavalry was sent out to catch the murderers, but they were too late. they recovered the stripped body of Lieutenant King and took it to Badajoz for burial.

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by Stephen Luscombe