Field Marshal Sir William Maynard Gomm GCB

William Maynard Gomm was born on 10 Nov 1784, the son of the CO of the 46th Foot. His father was killed in battle when William was 9 years old, and in recognition of this he was given a commission as an ensign in the 9th Foot (24 May 1794). He was educated at Woolwich and joined his regiment in 1799. He fought in the Netherlands at Bergen and Alkmaar, then went to Spain in 1800. He later took part in many of the major battles in the Peninsula including Corunna. He also fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. In 1839 he commanded troops in Jamaica and saved many men from yellow fever by establishing a healthier barracks in the mountains, at Newcastle. When he was Commander-in-Chief in India he established promotion exams for officers.

He is wearing a large medal, the Army Gold Cross which he was awarded for his service in the Peninsular War. It has a single clasp for BADAJOZ. The four arms of the cross are inscribed with SALAMANCA, VITTORIA, SAN SEBASTIAN and NIVE. He was also given a Silver War Medal with six clasps for ROLEIA, VIMIERA, CORUNNA, BUSACO, FUENTES D'ONOR and NIVELLE. The large star on his chest is the Knight Grand Cross, a division of the Order of the Bath. At Waterloo he was a staff officer in the role of Quartermaster-General to the 5th Division on the left of the line. He was Commanding Officer of the Coldstream Guards in 1836 for only one year but later in 1863, as Field-Marshal, was appointed Colonel of the regiment which post he held for nearly 12 years. Before that he was Colonel of the 13th Foot from 1846 to 1863. Other posts he held included Governor of Mauritius 1842-49, Commander-in-Chief in India 1851-55 and Constable of the Tower of London 1872-75. The painting depicts him in the uniform of the Constable of the Tower of London.

He was married first to Sophia Penn in 1817, but she died in 1827. He was then married to Elizabeth Ann Kerr on 13 Jan 1830. She was the daughter of Maj-General Lord Robert Kerr. There were no children from either marriage. He died in Brighton on 15 March 1875 aged 90.

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by Stephen Luscombe