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DateOriginal Topic
19th February 2004Bromhead's ancestors
By Phil Read
In ‘Zulu’, an exchange takes place between Bromhead and Chard, during which Bromhead says ‘ know my father was at Waterloo’ and ‘ great-grandfather, he was the johnny who knelt beside Wolfe at Quebec’. Can anyone tell me if this is historically accurate, and if so, does anyone have any further information about these individuals?

Thanks in advance.
19th February 2004Martin Everett
Dear Phil,

The Bromhead's were and are a serious British military family. I cannot immediately answer the Quebec link but there are many others). However:

Major Sir Edmund de Gonville Bromhead, (3rd) Baronet, of Thurlby Hall, Lincolnshire, born 22 January 1791. Succeeded to baronetcy 14 March 1855. Died 25 October 1870. Served in the Walcherne expedition (1809), Peninsular campaign and was present at the battle of Waterloo (1815).

Sometimes the scriptwriter does do his research thoroughly.
19th February 2004Martin Everett
The possible link with Quebec took a little longer to find - there isn't one as far as I can tell:

His grandfather, Lieutenant General Sir Gonville Bromhead, (1st) Baronet, born 30 September 1758, as a young subaltern served in the American War of Independence (1777) under General Burgoyne and was present at the actions at Trios Riviers, capture of Mount Independence and Freeman’s Farm (19 September 1777). He was entrusted with the Colours of 9th Foot when the British forces surrendered at Saratoga (7 October 1777). He was then held as a prisoner of the Convention for 3 years.
Gonville's elder brothers:
(1) Edward Bromhead, born 21 March 1832, served with 4th Foot during the Crimea campaign and died in Burma on 9 January 1869.
(2) Benjamin Bromhead CB, born 22 October 1838, later (4th) Baronet, Colonel Indian Staff Corps, sometime Commandant 32nd Sikh Pioneers, died in 1935.
(3) Charles James Bromhead CB JP, born 15 September 1840, served in the 24th Regiment (1859-1891) and took part in the Ashanti and Zulu War campaigns. Colonel, South Wales Borderers Regimental District (1892-1897). Died 24 December 1922.

I trust that helps.
19th February 2004John Young

I cut and pasted a reply I made back in 2002, here it is:
'According to Atkinson's 'The South Wales Borderers 24th Foot' published 1937. Appendix I, page 484, gives details of two Bromheads serving in the 24th Foot; Benjamin Bromhead - 'Capt. (from 15th Foot) 29.8.1756; to 69th Foot 23.4.58.' John Bromhead 'Ensign 30.8.1756; Lt. 3.10.57; to 69th Foot 23.4.58.'

According to a note in 'The Historical Records of the 24th Regiment', published 1892, both these officers served with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, which became the 69th Regiment. Both of them 'served at Belle Isle, Martinque and Grenada'. Belle Isle appears to have been the 69th first battle honour in 1761.

Despite both men obviously serving at the time of Quebec, no mention is made in the works I have consulted to confirm either officer was present.'

As to the claim that Sir Edmund Bromhead, actually fought at the Battle of Waterloo, there is a past posting on that subject as well.

John Y.
20th February 2004Phil Read
Martin & John

Thanks very much for the information, It's very much appreciated.
20th February 2004Martin Everett
You have no mentioned the Peninsular 'Gold Medal' awarded for Badajoz - still with the family.

The entry for Sir Edmund in Debrett's suggests that he was present at Waterloo, but not in an official capacity (I suppose John Prebble cannot be blamed for this). I have looked at back issues of Debrett's (1860s) and this fact is included - however it could be folklore. Sir Gonville is interesting because he fought alongside the 24th at Saratoga.
20th February 2004John Young

Sorry if the two I mentioned Benjamin & John had anything to do with Badajoz, they must have been in command of the Invalids' Regiment, from their Bath-chairs!

Sheldon Hall has actually made a recent comment about the possible connection to Quebec on another posting.

What are the results to your December quiz by the way?

John Y.
20th February 2004Sheldon Hall
As John mentions, I posted an answer to a similar (old) question earlier this week. Here it is again:

John Prebble's source for both the claims about Bromhead's ancestry made in the dialogue in ZULU was a letter from the Rector of Bassingham published in the Daily Telegraph, 7 March 1879. As well as stating that Gonville's father was at Waterloo (Prebble changed this to grandfather for the screenplay, presumably because he thought that the span of time between 1815 and 1879 was stretching credibility for the audience), the Rector claimed that Bromhead's "great-grandfather was the ensign who told the dying Wolfe at Quebec that 'They run, sir!'." I quote this from a letter Prebble wrote in response to a query from Bromhead's great-niece, a Mrs K Preston (nee Bromhead), after she and her husband had seen the film and the husband was sceptical about both claims (he too thought they were "Hollywood gloss" - or "a piece of nonsense," in Mrs Preston's words). Prebble went on to list those officers and men known to be attending Wolfe and speculated: "[Lt.] Browne or [a volunteer called James] Henderson may have been the man meant by the Rector, a relation on the maternal side of Bromhead's family." As a matter of interest, Mrs Preston then lived in Llandudno, N. Wales.
20th February 2004Martin Everett
Your namesake - John Bromhead was at Badajoz with 77th.
20th February 2004Martin Everett
My reference book on Quebec (13 September 1759) - written by none other that AZW Hero - FM Sir Evelyn Wood - suggests the the immortal words 'They run! See how they run!' was attributed to a Captain Currie of 28th. There you go.
20th February 2004John Young

Forgive me but I'm having trouble with this one.
Are you saying that the John Bromhead, who was commissioned into the 24th as an Ensign 30.8.1756, who I refer to above, is the same John Bromhead who in 1810/1 assumed command of the 77th from the 34th and is described in their history as 'a fit, active young man'? What 54 years after his first commission?

Surely you are actually referring to his son John Bromhead who was commissioned as an Ensign in the 24th Regiment in 1795, and left the regiment to join the 34th in 1807. In 1812 commanded the 77th at the storming of Badajoz. Commanded the 77th & 5th Fusiliers in the retreat at El Bodon, formed them into a square and marched through the French cavalry to rejoin Wellington (gold medal & C.B.). Died in 1837.

Take a gander at page 312 of the Historical Records of the 24th Regiment, first entry, followed by the smaller print.

I rest my case.

John Y.
21st February 2004Peter Ewart
It is difficult to evaluate the Rector of Bassingham's story after all these years, but presumably his version was based on having known the Bromhead family?

The Rector was the Rev Henry Calverley CALVERLEY, who had been at Bassingham Rectory since 1875. His parish was only about 5 miles NE of Newark (where I presume the Bromhead family seat remained?) and only just over the county boundary into Lincs.

Unless of course there was an even closer connection, such as a marriage into the Bromhead family, for instance? Either way, whether he was accurate or not, he surely received the details from the family. He was the second clergyman that week to write to the national press about Bromhead's family or character, as on the 5th March The Guardian published a letter about Gonville from the Rev WJ Humble, which I have transcribed earlier on the forum.

21st February 2004P.F
Of Interest-according to PP.166-167 of
"Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" Edward W. Richardson 1982
the 9th colors at Saratoga were saved by
a Lt Col John Hill (for which he was promoted
to Colonel and made Aide-de-camp by
King George III)
23rd February 2004Martin Heyes
Surely one way to resolve all this would be to contact Brigadier Gonville Bromhead, (retd, am I correct?) and ask him the official family "ruling" on the whole controversy?
29th December 2004Mike Ryko
I can't speak for Peninsula engagements but I have a searchable database of all British combatants at Waterloo and there aint no Bromhead there (the first thing I did when I heard Michael Caine's words was to look him up!)
28th May 2005mike ryko
I was wrong! (and I was right).

Have just added the reserve forces from Waterloo (stationed at Hal where they didn´t even hear gunfire) and there is an officer called Bromhead/Broomhead amongst them.

So he WAS at Waterloo except he wan´t.

Hope this clears things up.

2nd July 2005Alister Williams
I have just visited the Bromhead parish church where Sir Edmund is buried. Whatever the documentary truth is about his military service, his gravestone clearly indicates that he served at Waterloo.