Lieutenant-Colonel Sir William Myers

William James Myers was born on 27th Nov 1783 the son of Lt-Gen Sir William Myers Bt who died in 1803 while in command of the British forces in the West Indies. The younger William Myers was appointed Commanding officer of the newly raised 2nd Battalion of the 7th Royal Fusiliers in 1804. He took the battalion to Portugal in 1809 and commanded it through the early part of the Peninsula War until he was put in command of the Fusilier Brigade which was made up of the 2 battalions of the 7th and the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers. This brigade was almost wiped out at the battle of Albuhera on 16th May 1811 along with other regiments including the 3rd Buffs and the 57th Middlesex Regiment. Sir William Myers was struck by a musket ball and mortally wounded whilst riding his horse and encouraging his men to advance on the French. He died the next day, aged 27. Painting by Bertie Gall at the Fusilier Museum, London.

The Duke of Wellington wrote to his mother Lady Myers: "It will be some satisfaction to you to know that your son fell in the action, in which, if possible, the British troops surpassed all their former deeds; and, at the head of the Fusilier Brigade, to which a greater part of the final success of the day was to be attributed. As an officer he had already been highly distinguished, and, if Providence had prolonged his life, he promised to become one of the brightest ornaments to his profession, and an honour to his country." Lady Elizabeth Myers erected the Albuhera Memorial in St. Mary's Church, Cheltenham, in memory of her son.

A memorial in St. Paul's Cathedral (north transept, west aisle), London, bears the inscription: "Erected at the public expense to the memory of Lieutenant-Colonel SIR WILLIAM MYERS, Bart., who gloriously fell in the battle of Albuera, May 16th, 1811, aged 27 years." The memorial was carved by Josephus Kendrick.

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by Stephen Luscombe