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Wellington's Voice: The Candid Letters of Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle, Coldstream Guards, 1808-1821 [Hardcover]

Gareth Glover
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Sep 2012
John Fremantle was on Wellington's personal staff through the later years of the Peninsular War and Waterloo campaigns. He had a uniquely privileged view of the general and tells of his exploits good and bad. The letters were written to his uncle, who was effectively his guardian, an army man and no shrinking violet. Fremantle deals with military matters in detail and gives a great insight into Wellington's honest views of matters not the sanitised diplomatic versions Wellington allowed to be published in later life. He also talks a great deal about the personalities in Wellington's family' and the 'Great Man', giving very honest, forthright views of their strengths and failings and brings many little-known incidents to light. An exposé of what life was like working with Wellington and an honest portrait of the man warts and all this is a truly remarkable find and will certainly cause debate in the Napoleonic community.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books (30 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848325738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848325739
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 15.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 549,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

GARETH GLOVER is a historian specialising in the Waterloo campaign and the Peninsular War. He left school at 18 to join the Royal Navy as a Seaman Officer and completed his extensive training course at Dartmouth College. He has published articles in The Waterloo Journal and the Journal of the Royal Artillery, and a novel about Waterloo, Voices of Thunder.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insight into the private Wellington 29 April 2013
Format:Hardcover
Review posted by Robert Burnham on the Napoleon Series Website 30 April 2013
Wellington's Voice: the Candid Letters of Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle, Coldstream Guards, 1808-1837

Glover, Gareth (ed.). Wellington's Voice: the Candid Letters of Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle, Coldstream Guards, 1808-1837. Barnsley (UK): Frontline, 2012. 351 pages. ISBN# 9781848325739. Hardcover. 25

Wellington's Voice is a collection of over 300 letters written by John Fremantle over a 29 year span from 1808 to 1837. The vast majority of these letters cover his time in the Peninsula and the Waterloo Campaigns. John Fremantle began soldiering as a fifteen-year-old ensign in the Coldstream Guards in 1805. Twenty-seven years later he would be a colonel commanding the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards and an aide-de-camp to King William IV. He would eventually retire as a major general and having to serve as an aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. During the Napoleonic Wars he would serve as an aide to General John Craddock and as a company officer with his regiment in the Peninsula. As a junior officer he would see action at Talavera, Bussaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, the sieges of Cuidad Rodrigo and Badajoz, Salamanca, and the siege of Burgos.

However, what John Fremantle is best known for as being on the Duke of Wellington's personal staff. Fremantle was politically well-connected. His patron was his uncle William, who all practical purposes adopted him when his father died. William Fremantle was a Member of Parliament and a close friend of Lord Buckingham, who was also a Member of Parliament in addition to being the Army Paymaster, and the son of a former Prime Minister. Fremantle was always trying to improve his situation in the army . . .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Voice From Below 15 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very refreshing look at Britain's greatest military general a seen through the eyes of one of his subordinate staff, Colonel John Fremantle. It is a very timely publication offering a far more human look at The Duke of Wellington, so that we gain insight into the politics of his inner circle, the problems he had to overcome, and his often irascible temper.

Perhaps the best thing about the book is Fremantle's unvarnished opinions. These are extracted from private correspondence, not intended for publication and therefore free from contamination.

It is very fitting that Fremantle's letters remain in the possession of his ancestors and that a great deal of the leg-work for Glover's edited publication has been undertaken by Charles Fremantle and his wife, who have taken a very keen interest in their ancestral archive. I suspect there will be a great deal more to be gleaned from this fantastic new resource, which will help to add colour to life in Regency Britain.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Wellington's aide... 23 Mar 2014
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lieutenant, later Lieutenant Colonel John Fremantle of the Coldstream Guards wrote some 300 letters to his Uncle John Fremantle, his guardian and an influential member of Parliament, during 1808-1837. What makes this collection of letters noteworthy is young Fremantle's status as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington during the later years of the Peninsular War and the Waterloo Campaign.

Fremantle was a diligent correspondent. His letters are generally well written and filled with details of headquarters gossip and campaign updates. His shocking lack of concern about operational security is the historian's gain. The Duke himself is frequently mentioned. If there appear to be no grand revelations about Wellington here, there is much revealing detail about his strong personality. There are also insights into the operation of the British Army with respect to promotions and awards. Gareth Glover has done a terrific job as editor, providing context, continuity, and a score card to keep track of the various personalities who appear in the letters. The text is supplemented with a collection of Fremantle family portraits, but there are no maps.

"Wellington's Voice" is likely to be tough sledding for the general reader. It is recommended to students of the Napoleonic Wars and in particular of the First Duke of Wellington, who can appreciate how Fremantle's letters fit into the larger story.
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